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Why Do My AirPods Keep Pausing?

AirPods have many undeniable qualities which have made them extremely popular amongst music listeners and iPhone users. However, like all electronic devices, they can sometimes malfunction.

Why do AirPods keep pausing?

The two most likely causes for AirPods pausing randomly are a poor Bluetooth connection and the malfunctioning of Automatic Ear Detection sensors. Thankfully, both of these problems can be solved fairly easily by reconnecting the AirPods or disabling the feature.

Several other factors could also be causing your AirPods to keep pausing when you are listening to music, podcasts, or any other form of audio.

In this guide, I’ll instruct you on how to troubleshoot the issue, find the cause, and rectify the problem by taking simple steps. You’ll be enjoying audio through your AirPods with no pauses in no time!

Student Girl Relaxing on Couch at Home, Listening Music And Chatting on Phone

What You Should Do if Your AirPods Keep Pausing

Whether you’re taking a long walk, traveling on the train or bus, or working out in the gym, AirPods provides a practical way to listen to your favorite music or audio content.

However, this experience is hindered when AirPods randomly pause the audio without your instruction.

This is a surprisingly common problem, that many AirPods users seem to encounter. While there is a range of potential causes, sudden pausing is often the result of one of these issues:

  • Poor Bluetooth connection
  • Proximity sensor malfunctioning
  • Poor internet connection

We’ll cover each of these potential culprits in detail later in this guide.

For now, the good news is that they are all relatively easy to solve. The difficult part is identifying what is causing your AirPods to keep pausing.

If the pausing seems to be occurring when you are moving, for example when running on a treadmill, walking, or doing some other form of physical activity, then it’s likely that the sensors in your AirPods are faulty.

On the other hand, if the pausing occurs randomly, both when you are stationary or in motion, then it’s more likely to be caused by your AirPods’ connection to your iPhone or another mobile device.

Another factor that impacts this is the exact model of AirPods that you use. Newer AirPods, like the 3rd generation or AirPods Pro, have additional features that older versions lack.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the most common causes for AirPods pausing so that you can diagnose the problem and fix it right away.

AirPods Poor Connection And Pausing

The first thing I’d recommend that you check is the quality of your AirPods Bluetooth connection to your iPhone, iPad, or another device.

AirPods receive audio signals from the source device via Bluetooth.

This type of connection is renowned for its reliability, long operating range, and high-quality audio transmission. However, no wireless form of audio connection is perfect.

If the Bluetooth on either your AirPods or your iPhone is malfunctioning, this would likely cause the audio to pause. As the connection is suddenly weakened or is momentarily disconnected, this may trigger the source device to pause the audio, then resume it when the connection is reestablished.

Alternatively, the audio may remain paused until you press play again on your phone or AirPods. This can be very frustrating, especially if it happens regularly when you’re listening to music.

  • An easy way to determine whether it is the Bluetooth connection quality that is causing your AirPods to pause is by connecting a different set of Bluetooth or wired headphones to your phone, then checking if the problem persists.

You can then reconnect the AirPods, to see whether they are still pausing. If it is only the AirPods that cause the sudden pausing, then it is probably an issue with their Bluetooth signal.

It’s also possible that a poor internet connection is causing your AirPods to suddenly pause. If you stream music or other audio online rather than saving it to an offline playlist, a poor internet connection would cause it to pause while it buffers.

If the pauses are occurring in the same location, perhaps you don’t get a good signal there, or the Wi-Fi is not particularly strong. This would not indicate a problem with the AirPods or your phone, but rather the location you’re listening in.

Airpods Pro is now available, I have written a comprehensive guide to help you decide if you should choose AirPods or AirPods Pro. There are various pros and cons to both.

This guide will help you decide if AirPods Pro is worth it for your circumstances and needs.

You can read this guide here.

How to Reset AirPods

A potential quick fix for AirPods that keep pausing is to reset them.

You can do this whether you’re using the earbuds with an Apple device like an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, or any other mobile device, like Android or Windows phones and tablets.

Firstly, you’ll need to place your AirPods inside their charging case and make sure the lid is properly closed. Then, leave them for at least thirty seconds before opening the charging case lid.

If you’re using an iPhone or iPad, open the settings menu, then the Bluetooth menu. You should be able to see your AirPods in the Devices list, and there should be a small icon next to them. Tap this icon, and then choose “Forget This Device”. You will then need to confirm this.

Keeping the lid of your AirPods case open, hold down the button on the rear of the case, which is known as the “setup” button. Press it down for around 15 seconds, and you will see the status indicator light start to flash amber, before turning white.

Keeping your AirPods inside their charging case, and with the lid still open, position them near your iPhone or another device. You will then be prompted on the device the reconnect them via Bluetooth, and the reset will be complete.

Hopefully, this will solve the problem of the AirPods pausing all the time, but if it doesn’t, move on to the next section.

Here’s a useful Youtube video to help you reset your Airpods.

AirPods Proximity Sensors And Pausing

Another likely reason that your AirPods keep pausing is proximity.

If the AirPods are too far from your smartphone or another device, this might cause them to lose connection, which would result in sudden pausing of audio.

  • AirPods Bluetooth connection has maximum proximity of around 30-60 feet.

If your AirPods are further away from the source device than this distance, then you may experience problems with the audio transmission.

Proximity sensors are also impacted by any surfaces between the AirPods and the source device, such as walls or even people. If you are in an electromagnetic environment this will also impact the maximum proximity.

Thankfully, if it is the AirPods’ proximity sensors that are causing the sudden pauses, this is one of the easiest problems to rectify.

You simply need to move your iPhone or another source device closer to the AirPods, and the connection will be re-established.

Automatic Ear Detection And Airpods Pausing

Automatic Ear Detection is an innovative feature that uses internal sensors to determine whether AirPods are inside the user’s ears. When this feature is enabled, the AirPods will automatically pause any audio when they sense that the earbuds have been taken out.

The problem is, many AirPods users aren’t aware of this feature.

Therefore, they may be confused when they touch the earbuds with their hands and the audio suddenly pauses. This is because their hands come into contact with the sensors, which disrupts the audio.

  • Integrated sensors are present in all Airpods.

This feature can be very useful, especially if you’re listening to long-form content such as an audiobook or podcast.

If you take your AirPods out to speak with someone, or they fall out of your ears, the audio will pause so that you can resume it from where you left off later.

If the automatic ear detector sensors in your AirPods have become faulty, this may cause the audio to pause randomly.

A solution would be to disable the Automatic Ear Detection feature so that your AirPods aren’t affected by the malfunctioning sensors.

To disable Automatic Ear Detection, follow these steps.

  • On your iPhone or iPad, open the settings menu
  • Open the Bluetooth tab
  • Find your AirPods in the listed devices
  • Click the information icon next to the AirPods
  • Find “Ear Detection” and disable the feature

You can then play some audio through your AirPods and check whether this has solved the problem of them pausing randomly.

Related Questions

Can Reset Airpods Be Tracked?

I have written a separate article on this subject. You can read it here.

Why does Apple Music keep randomly playing?

A common reason that Apple Music randomly starts playing is the “Shake to Shuffle” feature. If this is turned on, it will activate a sensor to know when your iPhone is moving, causing audio to be played. It can be disabled in the Settings > Music menu.

Can you connect AirPods to multiple devices?

AirPods can be set up with any number of devices. However, it’s only possible to connect them to one device at any given time via Bluetooth connection. This means that two iPhones could not be connected to a set of AirPods simultaneously.

Can you use two sets of AirPods at once?

With their Audio Sharing feature, Apple has made it possible to hook up two separate pairs of AirPods to one iPhone, iPad, or iPod. To do this, you simply need to open the AirPods case close to the device and connect both sets to enjoy audio sharing with another person.