AirPods are great. But are they great on Android?
The answer is not that simple. You could just go ahead and dismiss Apple’s AirPods for its apparent low volume and connectivity issues on Android. But Is this the fault of the AirPods? Or is this because of how Android handles Bluetooth audio?
If you’re reading this article, you probably have a pair of AirPods, or are about to get one. In this article I’m going to discuss the implications regarding AirPods low volume on Android, why they perform like this, and if there’s a remedy for this issue. Let’s get started.
Do AirPods Sound Worse On Android?
If you’re looking for a cold hard fact, then I’d have to say, yes. AirPods do suffer from a low volume on Android. But this doesn’t mean that AirPods are generally bad wireless earphones. They don’t deliver poor-quality sound either. AirPods are great earphones that don’t work well with Android.
To jump to this conclusion without any proper explanation would only give you a wrong idea about AirPods. The first thing we need to understand is that AirPods are just like regular Bluetooth earbuds. You can connect them to your Android device, just like you’d connect any other earbuds.
You can use them to listen to any kind of media content or streaming service you like. You’ll get the same battery life as an iOS user from the AirPods. You can even customize the outer buttons on it to skip a track or receive/end a call.
AirPods Pro now comes with ANC (Active Noise Cancellation). Though you can’t use the different modes, you can still enjoy your music in a noisy environment with no interruptions. With the latest generation AirPods Pro and Max, you can enjoy Spatial Audio even without owning an Apple device. These features aren’t available on any other Bluetooth earbuds in the market. This is the reason why so many Audiophiles prefer AirPods, even though they use Android.
So what’s wrong with AirPods?
AirPods don’t work well with Androids. Compared to how they interact with Apple devices, the experience is convoluted. Many people have complained that AirPods sound was significantly quieter on their Android devices, with no easy fixes.
Several advanced features (such as the Transparency mode) are missing from the AirPods Pro and Max. You can’t turn the volume up or down from the AirPods. You can’t use Google Assistant on it. All these missing features and low volume makes AirPods an unfavorable partner for Android.
However, the most pressing concern is, why do AirPods sound bad on Android? They’re not bad earbuds. They’re considered one of the best Bluetooth earbuds in the market. Well, there’s a perfectly good explanation for that.
Why Do AirPods Sound Bad On Android?
If you know anything about Bluetooth earphones, you’ll know that they use specific Bluetooth codecs to send the audio from your phone to your earbuds. For example, AirPods use Apple’s AAC Bluetooth Codec. The most widely used Bluetooth codec for Android is SBC (Sub band codec).
Apple emphasizes the best sound quality. AAC is a codec that is designed to provide the optimum audio output. AAC even considers Psychoacoustics, to create an almost lossless quality sound. This is something that even Qualcomm’s AptX or Sony’s LDAC doesn’t do.
Bear in mind that doing all this makes AAC a very power-hungry codec. It simply requires more processing power than any other Android-centric codec.
On the other hand, Android handles Bluetooth codecs very differently from Apple. Android puts its emphasis on battery saving. Android has the EAS or Energy-Aware Scheduling algorithm. It decides where a device will spend its energy. Since EAS doesn’t prioritize sound quality over battery saving, Android degrades its audio streaming quality for energy efficiency.
This is where the AirPods clash with Android. AAC is a heavier Bluetooth codec compared to AptX or SBC. To conserve battery, Android deprioritizes Bluetooth encoding, which results in poor audio quality. Android simply doesn’t handle the AAC codec well. Which often results in poor quality sound within the AirPods.
You can also check our article, why are my AirPods so quiet?
How to Fix Volume Issues On AirPods?
If you’re using AirPods with your android device, and are indeed facing volume issues, then there are a couple of ways you can fix that. As long as you have a working android device and an Airpod, the volume issues are most likely because of your settings. Follow these methods to fix the low volume on your AirPods.
Check EQ On Your Phone
There’s an in-built equalizer in every Android device. Choosing a different equalizer actively changes the output volume and sound quality, no matter what kind of earbuds you are wearing.
To check the sound quality of your AirPods, open the lid of your AirPods case, and press the button behind the case till you see a flashing white light on it. Now, turn on the Bluetooth option on your phone, and connect your AirPods. Once your AirPods are connected, you’ll see that the flashing White light has turned Green.
Now, play something in the background, preferably a song or a podcast.
Go to Settings, and select the Sound and Vibration option. This option is available on all Android devices, so don’t worry. Inside, you’ll find a Sound Quality, or Sound Effects option. Click on that.
You’ll find the Equalizer option. Select any one of them, like Bass Booster, Jazz, or Treble. You’ll instantly hear the differences in sound quality. You can even create your own equalizer option to maximize the sound output on your AirPods.
If you still think these equalizers aren’t loud enough, you can download a third-party equalizer like Poweramp to further boost the sound quality of your AirPods.
Disable Absolute Volume
There is a feature on Android devices that disables Bluetooth devices from reaching too much volume. It’s called Absolute Volume. You can disable it to gain a much louder sound on your Apple AirPods.
To disable the Absolute Volume feature from your Android settings, you need to first enable the Developer mode. To enable the developer mode, go to your phone’s Settings option and tap on “About Phone”. Inside, click on Software Information, then find the model number. Tap on it 7 times. Then, your phone will tell you that now you’re a developer.
Now, go back to Settings and find the Developer Options. Inside, you’ll find an option called “Disable Absolute Volume”. Turn it on. Now, restart your phone, and connect your AirPods to your phone. You’ll hear significantly louder audio.
Check Audio Balance On Your AirPods
Many people complain that their AirPods have a low volume. What they don’t know is that their AirPods have low volumes on only one side, creating an overall low sound.
To check whether the audio balance on your AirPods is correct or not, connect them to your phone via Bluetooth.
Now, go to the Settings option, and then go to Accessibility settings. You’ll see an option called Hearing enhancements, or Hearing. Click on that. You’ll see an option called Left/Right Audio Balance, or Audio Balance.
Check if the balance is correct. If not, this is probably why you’re experiencing lower volumes on your AirPods. Put it right in the middle, then check the sound quality. It should sound significantly better.
Use A Volume Booster
If the native volume controls on your Android simply aren’t doing it for you, just download a third-party volume booster such as Bass Booster, or Poweramp. These volume boosters will override the settings on your android device, and give you a louder sound every time.
Clean Your AirPods
Most of the time the AirPods are either in their case or in our ears, because of which we never take a closer look at them. Since they spend so much time in our ear canals, AirPods collect a lot of dust and ear moisture. This makes them dirty over time.
This dirt can take up so much space that it can muddle up the sound of the AirPods. Cleaning up the AirPods will give you a drastic improvement in sound.
Take a cotton stick or a dry brush to clean the insides of the AirPods. Do not use any wet clothes or moisturized brushes, as they will damage your AirPods. After cleaning, connect them to your android device and enjoy the amazing sound quality.
Update Your AirPods Firmware
This could be another reason why your AirPods aren’t working very well with your Android device. Firmware is very important for Bluetooth earbuds, such as the AirPods, to maintain connectivity and provide optimum sound.
To fix your AirPods firmware, you’ll need an iPhone or an iPad. This isn’t something you can fix from your Android.
Connect your AirPods to an iPhone, and check if its firmware is updated or not. If there is an existing firmware update available for your AirPods, update it.
Now, go to your Android’s Settings option, and find the Reset Network option. This will erase your AirPods connection from your Android device.
After resetting, connect AirPods to your phone again. This is a method that’s been proven useful for many AirPods users.
If interested, please check our article, how to unmute Airpods?
Android phones don’t prioritize audio quality as much as Apple. If you’re an Android user, and you don’t care about audio quality as much, then you’re better off with some different earbuds that have Android-friendly codecs. There’s nothing wrong with AirPods, or Android phones. They’re simply very different from each other. So if you want to use AirPods with your Android device, make an informed decision, so that you don’t regret it later.