New devices like Apple’s AirPods and Beats Solo3 headphones are among some of the simplest Bluetooth devices you can use with your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, thanks to the new pairing process that’s made possible by the proprietary W1 chip. But they’re not perfect.

As many of the early reviews have already pointed out, including the one published right here on iDB by my colleague Sebastien, AirPods are especially susceptible to what’s described as ‘cracking’ while audio is being streamed from your device to the receiver in the Bluetooth headphones.

So, what’s causing this weird crackling as audio streams from your device to the audio headset? It turns out the most common reasoning behind this is simple Bluetooth interference. If you have more than one Bluetooth device in your proximity, it could be that the wireless signals are getting a little jammed.

There are other possible causes as well, but we’ll get to fixing those later in the post. That said, here are some of the best ways to resolve crackling sounds in your Bluetooth headphones, whether you’re rocking the full-sized Beats Solo3 or the miniature AirPods.

Turn off unnecessary nearby Bluetooth devices

If you have multiple Bluetooth devices around you, then as noted earlier, the interference could be the root cause of your problems. Although it may not be the solution for everyone, it’s a good idea to check into this as a potential cause, as fixing it may resolve your problem once and for all.

Try turning off any Bluetooth devices you’re not using, such as headsets, keyboards, and even alternative wireless headphones that you might have left turned on somewhere in the same room from the last time you used them.

If you’ve disabled all your Bluetooth devices, and you continue to hear the cracking, try the additional troubleshooting steps below instead.

Toggle Bluetooth off and on again

Just like turning Wi-Fi or cellular data off and on again can sometimes fix your internet connection woes, Bluetooth is also a wireless radio that can experience connectivity bugs, and sometimes restarting it can help it to connect correctly and stop acting up.

Try opening Control Center on your iPhone or iPad and turning Bluetooth off for about 10 seconds, then turn it back on again before attempting to listen to music on your AirPods or Beats again.

If you’re using a Mac, you go to the Bluetooth menu in the Menu Bar and click Turn Bluetooth Off. After waiting 10 seconds, go into the Bluetooth menu once again and click Turn Bluetooth On.

In some cases, this will get you back on your feet, but if it didn’t, try the next step.

Reset your AirPods or Beats Solo3 headphones

Another potential solution is to reset your AirPods or Beats Solo3 headphones, which if you remember, was a viable solution for many that reportedly fixed the battery issues for many AirPods users early on.

After you reset your Bluetooth audio device, you will need to pair it again with your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, so keep that in mind.

To reset your AirPods, just follow these steps:

1) Press and hold the setup button on the back of the AirPods case for approximately 15 seconds.

2) As you wait, you should see the LED indicator turn white. It will then flash amber a few times, then begin flashing white again.

Once you get to this step, you can pair them with your iPhone again and attempt to listen to audio.

To reset your Beats Solo3 headphones, follow these steps:

1) Press and hold both the power button on the bottom/side of the right earmuff cover and the volume-down button on the left earmuff cover for approximately 10 seconds.

2) After you wait a while, the LED indicator (referred to by Beats as the Fuel Gauge) should begin flashing white.

When you do see the light display, it’s ready to be paired again with your device(s).

Update your iOS device(s)

Apple frequently releases software updates for their devices, and iOS 10 was a major update that adds official support for the W1 chip that comes in the AirPods and Beats Solo3 headphones.

According to Apple, your AirPods’ internal software will be kept up to date automatically as long as you’re connected to an iOS 10 device. That means you should make sure to update your iPhone or iPad to iOS 10 if you haven’t already. Beats devices, on the other hand, have an update process of their own.

Sure, AirPods might work on iOS 9 just fine, but if you’re experiencing problems and Apple releases a software update to fix it, the software update won’t pass on to your AirPods or Beats Solo3 if you’re on iOS 9.

Although some of you might be hesitant to update because you have a jailbreak, or for some other reason, keep in mind that this might be one of the only ways to solve the problem, otherwise you’ll need to forever hold your peace.

Call Apple

If it’s still happening despite these fix suggestions, Apple might be willing to replace the potentially defective AirPods or Beats Solo3 headphones under the warranty. According to many early reviews, the AirPods are not supposed to exhibit these effects and many were offered free replacements.

That said, try giving Apple a call. Your local Apple Store might be able to help.

Unfortunately, because Apple’s AirPods are under such high demand, you might have some trouble getting replacements this early on in the game, but if you’re using Beats Solo3 headphones on the other hand, then you should be able to find them pretty easily.

Also read:

As far as my experience with AirPods and Beats Solo3 goes, I have noticed some crackling in the AirPods, but not really with the Beats Solo3 headphones. Usually just avoiding all my other Bluetooth devices does the trick for me, and I’ve managed to solve the problem by just turning off devices when they’re not in use.

Have you experienced any crackling with any of Apple’s W1-equipped Bluetooth headsets? Share in the comments.

  • Joaquim N.

    My only “solution” is not even purchase this faulty headphones. Too many issues to handle, it wasn’t supposed to be like that. If it was from another brand people wouldnt buy it and bother to make it work somehow.

    “It just works!”
    Only it doesn’t!

    • Mine work okay. Realistically I have a problem less than 1% of the time. I’m still happy I bought them.

    • Spock

      What a useless comment! Did you come here just to whine about a product you have no intention of buying? And, if you cared about facts, you would know that AirPods have better performance and fewer problems than any other bluetooth headphone on the market today. Now go pollute some other discussion board.

      • Joaquim N.

        Seriously? I feel sorry for you felling so miserable with your life but hey, it’s not my fault you are a loser. Do something about it! And I don’t mean to take your life away, I mean change it man.

      • Colin

        How can you say this when they have only been out a short while. Have you tried all similar wireless headphones, no for sure. I have tried AirPods alongside my staple headphones they have significantly more problems, worse performance and functionality. Certain aspects are good but are offset by the significant downsides.

      • Probably just need a new software update. All new products have their glitches and get fixed eventually. I know it’s no excuse, but keep your chin up.

  • malhal

    yeh lots of crackling on Airpods when using Facetime audio on the Mac in a coffee shop

  • Great post by author… it may be useful for many users

  • diggitydang

    I find several non-A1-Bluetooth devices have this problem. Connecting to my car, or connecting to my wireless headphones occasionally cut out for a split second every 10 seconds or so. I only have an Apple Watch connected to my phone. Anyone else? I do like the freedom of wireless but when this starts happening, it’s when I think that Apple MAY have been SLIGHTLY early in removing that jack, before a truly reliable alternative was in place.

    • ravinigga

      Maybe but Bluetooth headphones already exist for years.
      And mine almost 1 year old I never had such problem.

  • Boo urns. Wireless audio is just another degradation to an already degraded experience. Use wires and lossless files and enjoy music they way it was meant to be enjoyed.

  • n0ahcruz3

    Uh duh.. everybody knows wired>Wireless when it comes to audio quality lol

  • Joey Numbaz

    The issue I am having is whenever I’m on a call there is crackling in the background every time the other person calls. I assumed it was the bluetooth devices, etc. But it turns out that when I get on a conference call, using AirPods for audio, but my Mac’s microphone, the issue goes away. As soon as I turn on the AirPods’ microphone for the call, *even if it’s muted*, the interference is back when anyone on the call talks. Any ideas for how to fix?

  • Victor Font

    The left side of my Beats Solo3 gave up the ghost last night when connected through Bluetooth. They are five months old. Both sides work fine when connected by wire.

  • BloodTypeiOS

    Solutions for beats solo 3. Whenever my audio gets distorted I change my audio input device from my beats to the internal speakers and that usually fixes it. It’s annoying that it happens, but I hope this helps someone else.

  • Denisse Benitez

    restetting the airpods did the trick. THANK YOU

  • I’ve got this issue with my airpods, it’s only when using FaceTime, never happened when I was speaking with someone over cellular. Always FaceTime over WiFi and over 4G. I can hear the crackling usually for about 20 seconds and then it fixes itself. Then randomly in a couple of minutes it happens again and fixes itself. Really disappointing… also the beam forming microphones doesn’t remove the background noise, people always complain that they can hear lots of background noise when they speak with me.