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AirPods Keep Pausing? Why it happens and how to fix

Apple transformed the world of wireless audio with the launch of AirPods. AirPods became the world’s most popular wireless earbuds within a short period. Although AirPods are arguably the best, they have a few common issues that appear occasionally. One such issue that seems to plague many AirPods users is that their AirPods continually pause audio playback, making them wonder, why do my AirPods keep pausing?

Why Do My AirPods Keep Pausing?

A poor Bluetooth connection and the malfunctioning of Automatic Ear Detection sensors are the reasons why your AirPods pause unexpectedly during playback. If you are an AirPods user wondering why do my AirPods keep pausing, you can fix the issue by reconnecting your AirPods. 

Numerous additional causes might trigger your AirPods to frequently halt while you are playing music, audiobooks, or any other type of audio. 

This guide will walk you through the best methods to fix your AirPods that keep pausing. 

Common Reasons Why AirPods Keep Pausing

If your AirPods keep pausing, there are multiple factors to consider. We’ve listed all the reasons below. 

Issue with Automatic Ear Detection sensors

Apple AirPods are equipped with proximity sensors that enable them to recognize when they are placed inside the user’s ear. Because of these sensors, when you put your AirPods in your ears, your music will begin playing instantly; when you remove one or both of them, the music stops playing immediately. If your music stops playing even while the AirPods are in your ears, the sensors may have a problem. 

To determine whether or not the proximity sensors are the source of your issue, follow the procedures outlined below.

How to disable Automatic Ear Detection For AirPods 

  1. Connect your AirPods to your Apple device and then open Settings 
  2. Tap the Bluetooth option and look for your AirPods under My Devices
  3. Now, tap the “i” icon next to your AirPods 
  4. Toggle the Automatic Ear Detection switch

After you have turned off this function, check to see whether your AirPods are functioning normally. It is important to keep in mind that by disabling the automatic ear detection option, the battery life of your AirPods will decrease since they will continue to play your media regardless of whether or not they are in your ears.

You’ve removed one AirPod

Your AirPods can pause when you remove one AirPod from your ear. The Automatic Ear Detection feature easily determines whether or not the earbuds are inserted into your ear. 

This feature automatically carries out the ‘Ear Switching’ function when it recognizes that the user is only using one AirPod and then turns off the music playing in the AirPod that is not being used.

Automatic Ear Detection is a handy piece of technology backed by your AirPods’ proximity sensors, which are pretty small but play an essential role in the product’s overall design. You can disable this feature to test if your AirPods stop pausing suddenly. 

Bluetooth connection

Since the AirPods link to your phone through Bluetooth, it is essential to maintain a strong connection between the two devices to enjoy uninterrupted media playback. 

If your AirPods keep pausing repeatedly, it may be a problem with how they connect to your device through Bluetooth. 

Taking care of this problem is as simple as following these steps: 

  1. Place the AirPods in their charging case
  2. Put your device into airplane mode and turn off Bluetooth 
  3. Wait for 30 seconds and then enable your Bluetooth connection again
  4. Re-establish the connection between the AirPods and your device 

By following the process above, you can eliminate any transient malfunctions that may cause the problem.

Bluetooth range

AirPods command a signal range of around 30 to 60 feet. There have also been reports of them working up to roughly 100 feet from the paired device, but this isn’t always the case. AirPods don’t always work well when subjected to long distances. They can fail when the signals between your device and AirPods are obstructed by walls, pillars, doors, etc. If you find that your AirPods pause regularly, they may be too far from your device.

Internet connection

If you are used to streaming your music and videos, then a slow internet connection could be why your AirPods keep pausing. If your AirPods work fine when listening to media stored on your device but glitch when using the internet to stream media, then you must check your internet speed. Switch to mobile data if your WiFi connection is slow or vice versa. 

Hardware issues

In most cases, tampering with an AirPod’s circuitry causes it to malfunction. Dropping the AirPods into water or on the floor is one of the most prevalent causes of hardware malfunction. 

Any physical damage to the device might be the reason why your AirPods keep pausing abruptly. Repairing an AirPod’s circuitry is difficult; thus, physical damage should be avoided at all costs. You can get a case to protect your AirPods when you carry them around.

In addition, if you often use your AirPods without cleaning, wax and other dirt will accumulate inside of them and harm their components. To prevent these problems, you should clean your AirPods often.

Software issues with your device

The current firmware 6.8.8 upgrade for AirPods (Gen 1) has received several complaints regarding connection issues. One of the most common complaints from consumers is that their AirPods stop working after around 30 to 45 minutes of playback and that their calls are automatically disconnected within 10 seconds. The transition from music playback to phone mode causes a disconnection. 

For now, the 1st gen AirPods still face the same firmware issue. The AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro, on the contrary, have already gotten an upgrade to version 3E751 of the firmware (the current version is 4E71 as of July 2022). That firmware patch resolves the issue for AirPods 2 and AirPods Pro, so make sure you upgrade your AirPods to the latest available version.

How to update AirPods software

  1. Connect your AirPods to your Apple device, and then open Settings.
  2. Tap Bluetooth and then tap the ‘i’ icon next to your AirPods. 
  3. You can now check the firmware version of your AirPods — if it is not the latest version, put your AirPods in their case (with the lid open) and leave it next to your device, and it will install the update automatically.

Dated device settings

Any audio you play on a device that isn’t set up correctly or isn’t up to date will be interrupted often. Ensure the main device’s Bluetooth and software configurations are up to date before proceeding. The usual fix is to check for the latest update for your device, install the update, and reconnect your AirPods for a better listening experience. 

How To Fix AirPods That Keep Pausing

Here, we have listed some proven methods to troubleshoot AirPods that keep pausing. 

Check the double-tap settings

The double-tap feature is available on various Apple products and accessories. Double-tapping the gadget triggers an action from a list of pre-programmed behaviors that you can control. The default action on AirPods is a double-tap that pauses or restarts music playback. 

AirPods may stop playing music if you accidentally touch them. You can customize what happens when you double-tap one of your AirPods. Double-tapping can be used to stop the video you’re watching, among other possibilities. The AirPods may mistakenly pause your music if you’ve selected this option in the settings. 

Your AirPods may be configured to perform different actions when you double-tap them, and you can edit or set these actions in your Settings app.

How to change the double-tap action on AirPods 

  1. Open the AirPods charging case.
  2. On your Apple device, go to Settings > Bluetooth.
  3. Tap the More Info icon (i) next to your AirPods name.
  4. Choose the left/right AirPod to configure the double-tap action to trigger different functions like activating Siri, pausing/playing content, or skipping tracks.

Here’s a video that will walk you through different ways to customize double-tap actions for your AirPods:

Repair damaged AirPods

A hardware issue may be the reason you’re facing the pausing issue with your AirPods. Manufacturing flaws, like those found in a limited number of AirPods Pro models shipped in October of 2020, are among the many problems that might arise during production. Damages due to continuous usage are also a common cause of why your AirPods keep pausing. 

Damaged AirPods
A physically damaged AirPods

Check your AirPods closely to see if they have suffered any visible hardware damages. It’s possible that you didn’t notice when you dropped your AirPods, and it caused an internal issue triggering a glitch causing your AirPods to keep pausing. If you don’t notice any visible damage, you must take it to your nearest Apple Store to check it properly at the Genius Bar. 

Clean your AirPods

AirPods that aren’t clean aren’t only unsightly; they also work poorly and can have technical concerns. As such, filthy AirPods might become quieter and more difficult to use. The proximity sensors on the AirPods are particularly vulnerable to dirt. 

Earwax and dirt accumulation might cause the AirPods to misjudge whether or not you have them in your ears, which can cause the random pausing problem. 

The process of cleaning AirPods is relatively straightforward. There are several ways to clean your AirPods, including using rubbing alcohol, a static-free wipe, a cotton swab, or even a moist cloth to remove any dirt or dust that may have accumulated on the earbuds. 

Your AirPods’ proximity sensors should work as intended after thoroughly cleaning them. You should always maintain your AirPods as best as possible, regardless of whether or not that resolves the issue. We have a terrific guide that you should read if your AirPods get dirty often.

Test different apps

If your streaming media pauses randomly, it may not entirely be your AirPods’ fault. The app you’re using to play music or video is something many AirPods users overlook. 

An intermittent internet connection, an error in a recent software update, or a “technical hiccup” might all be to blame. However, you should attempt to determine whether your streaming applications are the cause of the issue. 

Use different apps to check whether the issue with your AirPods pausing continues. The issue is either with your Apple device and AirPods or the app you’re using, depending on whether or not it works. 

When listening to music on Spotify, do your AirPods keep pausing? Check to see if the issue persists on another platform, such as the YouTube app. Just close the app and open it again if you find that the problem is exclusive to one app. Even though this one may seem simple, we tend to overestimate a situation’s difficulty when confronted with it. So, don’t forget to keep an eye on your apps and make sure they’re running fine.

Charge AirPods

When the battery in your AirPods drops to less than 5%, they’ll start to go out, lose volume, and even stop working altogether. You could even reduce the battery life of your AirPods significantly by leaving it on low juice! 

When AirPods are nearing the end of their battery power, they cannot even carry out normal playback smoothly. It’s not just odd pauses that you have to deal with when the Apple AirPods aren’t properly charged.

The best way to avoid these problems is to keep your AirPods fully charged. AirPods can charge from practically empty to full in an hour, so it’s not a tedious process. Keep your AirPods charged and avoid using them at the end of their charge. 

Restart your device

Why do my AirPods keep pausing? The solution may not always be to reset your AirPods but to restart the device your AirPods are paired with. It’s not uncommon for iPhones or other Apple devices to have software glitches or other difficulties that are difficult to explain. 

Occasionally, these difficulties may compromise the performance of your AirPods. It’s possible that your AirPods stopped working after you cleaned them, plugged them in, or disconnected other Bluetooth devices — so restart your device and see what changes. It may fix the issue and your AirPods will stop pausing abruptly.

Reset AirPods

Another possible fix to stop your AirPods from pausing is resetting them. You need to reset your AirPods to give them a fresh start and wipe any glitch that was hampering their performance earlier.

How to reset AirPods

  1. Place your AirPods inside the charging case. 
  2. Wait for at least 30 seconds, and then open the case lid.
  3. On your device, go to Settings > Bluetooth > tap the “i” icon next to your AirPods.
  4. Tap Forget This Device > Confirm.
  5. Now, open the lid of your AirPods case and press and hold the reset button behind the case for 15 seconds.
  6. Don’t release the button until you see the status light go from amber to white.
  7. Now, reconnect your AirPods to your device by opening the lid of the case and placing it near the device.
  8. Follow the on-screen instructions to pair your AirPods.

Here’s a video that will show you how to reset your AirPods:

Check other devices connected to your AirPods

The majority of AirPods owners will link the earbuds to a variety of Apple devices. When your AirPods try to transition between devices, a function called ‘automatic switching’ triggers the action, which can sometimes malfunction. 

There is a simple and efficient approach to end any glitch caused by the automatic switching feature. If you don’t want AirPods to connect to other devices, turn off Bluetooth on those gadgets. Also, you may turn off the automatic switching feature on certain devices. To do this, follow these steps: 

Put on your AirPods and connect them to the device you’re trying to use them with. 

How to disable the auto-switching feature for AirPods

  1. Open the Settings app on the device and then go to Bluetooth.
  2. Your AirPods will appear in the list of devices
  3. Next to the name, click on the ‘i’ (More Info) button
  4. Tap the button that says Connect To This iPhone/iPad/iPod (depending on your device).
  5. Now choose the When Last Connected to This [Device] option.
  6. The auto-switching feature is now disabled

Apple Support

If none of the methods listed in this guide help fix your AirPods, then the last resort is to contact Apple support. You can either contact them via Apple’s website or go to your nearest Apple Store to get your AirPods checked at the Genius Bar. If your AirPods are under warranty and without any physical damage, then they will be repaired for free or even replaced. 

Frequently Asked Questions

We hope that the above-given methods answer your question — why do my AirPods keep pausing? Now, let’s get to some related questions about AirPods that pause abruptly.

How do you turn off auto-pause on your iPhone?

To turn off auto-pause for connected audio devices like AirPods on your iPhone, go to Settings > Bluetooth > toggle off Automatic Ear Detection.

How do I turn off auto-pause?

You can turn off auto-pause for Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and others. For example, to turn off auto-pause for AirPods, go to Settings > Bluetooth > toggle off Automatic Ear Detection.

How do I turn off Smart pause?

You can turn off smart pause for your AirPods by going to the settings of your connected device. From the Bluetooth settings, disable the Automatic Ear Detection feature. By disabling this feature, your AirPods won’t pause your content. 

Conclusion

Even though AirPods may have minor faults, it’s essential to remember that they’re usually effortless to solve. AirPods are a convenient way to listen to music since they eliminate the need for cords, provide excellent sound quality, and are easy to use. 

If you found yourself asking why do my AirPods keep pausing, we sincerely hope that this guide has helped you fix the issue of your AirPods pausing when you’re watching videos. 

Did any of our listed methods help resolve the issue with your AirPods? Let us know in the comments!

About Melissa

Hey! I'm Mel, I write the occasional article for Spacehop, amongst other things. I love meeting new people and chatting, so if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

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