Apple offers advice for AirPods Pro users with crackling audio and noise cancellation issues

Amid some recent complaints from AirPods Pro owners of degrading performance, including crackling audio and noise cancellation issues, over time, Apple has released a couple of support articles with troubleshooting suggestions.

AirPods Pro crackling audio. AirPods Pro Lite production. Image: AirPods Pro bring the magic of AirPods to an all-new lightweight, in-ear design.
AirPods Pro

Benjamin Mayo for 9to5Mac:

In the first support article, Apple suggests steps if your AirPods Pro are making crackling or static sounds. Firstly, you should check that your connected iOS device or Mac is up to date.

Apple recently released new firmware for the AirPods Pro themselves, which will be automatically downloaded and installed when the AirPods are left connected to an Apple product for a little while…

For Active Noise Cancellation assistance, Apple again recommends updating your operating system to the latest version. Then, clean the mesh on the top of the AirPods Pro using a dry cotton swab. Apple says noise cancellation performance can be impacted if the mesh gets gummed up with earwax or other debris.

MacDailyNews Note: Apple’s support articles are:
• If your AirPods Pro make crackling or static sounds
If Active Noise Cancellation isn’t working as expected on your AirPods Pro


  1. The AirPod Pro has been garbage since the firmware update in December. This latest update did nothing. Numerous calls to Apple did nothing. AirPods 2nd gen are 100 times better sadly. This issue is on par with the keyboard issue.

    1. I beg to differ. Yesterday’s firmware update drastically improved transparency mode and noise cancellation performance.

      I suggest you clean the wax out of your ears and your AirPods…

  2. Having had to have three replaced because of internal parts coming loose and causing clicking and other noises upon thuds of footfall or rapid head movements, I suspect that there is either a design problem, or a build problem, because three out of three, with fairly careful handling and not too many drops, seems to me there is a fundamental problem, somewhere. I had the original AirPods from day one, and everyday usage, including occasional drops, never changed their performance.

    I can’t determine which, and, while I respect Apple trying to clarify issues that may help some users, it seems to me more that they’re trying to buy time while they investigate the clicking, solve it, and then make the necessary changes to production. Another problem that I think is related is an increase in low-frequency spine noise through the skull when the clicking starts. Eventually, just turning one’s head becomes a sub-woofer-type rumble.

    There are many reports on Google and in the Apple support threads about the clicking upon footfall, starting early in the year.

    When they work, they are as magical as the originals, if not more so, however. 🙂

  3. Mine worked great for months, until I wore them to the kitchen during a webinar a month or so ago. It turns out that my microwave is both really powerful and not at all well-shielded. The AirPods Pro started cutting in and out, and then the right one started exhibiting an intermittent crackling that’s painfully loud. They’ve had the crackle ever since. With everything that’s going on, the Apple Store isn’t open for easy replacements, and I need them all day, every day for work, so I just ordered new ones, which just arrived.

    Now that the new ones are here, I’ve realized that my original left AirPod Pro has never changed the listening environment (off, active noise cancellation, etc). It’s frustrating to realize this.

  4. I’ve enjoyed my original AirPods since late 2016, unfortunately the batteries are failing and won’t hold a charge for longer than 15-20 minutes. I was thinking of getting the Pros, but after hearing about these problems, I’ll pass for now. Sadly the “new and improved” products are often worse than their rock-solid originals, same goes for Bose headphones.

    1. Here’s an alternative anecdote. I bought a pair of AirPods Pro back in November. No issues and they work great. Plus, the latest firmware update noticeably improved both noise canceling and transparency mode.

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