I’ve always loved Apple’s AirPods, ever since they were first released in 2017, but I never had to book a Genius appointment at an Apple Store… until I bought the AirPods Pro (2019) in 2021, due to the crackling issue.
It turned out that this was a common problem: Apple has its own supporting document (opens in a new tab) all about that, where one or both earbuds start crackling, and there’s no way to fix it on your own.
I’ve had to replace mine every year since, so I’ve got my third pair of AirPods Pro since July 2020, and while it’s not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, it’s irritating that it happens at all.
Anyway, I have the AirPods Pro 2 on pre-order, but the only upgrade I’m hoping for, ignoring the enhanced noise cancellation features and touch gestures for volume, is not visiting a Genius Bar at an Apple Store for my AirPods Pro. never more.
A story about my crunch
It’s a slow process, from occasional static to being so loud you have to remove the AirPod from your ear. The first time didn’t seem too bad in 2021: the left earcup crackled from time to time, but it would be more frequent once ‘Noise Cancellation’ was enabled.
After a visit to an Apple store in Sheffield, the entire AirPods Pro unit was replaced and I thought that was it. But it was not like that. Instead, a year later I experienced the same problem with my right earbud, but the crackling sound was even louder, as if something had come loose inside.
Another visit to an Apple store (Manchester this time, I really did the rounds) beckoned, and after a genius confirmed that both were at fault, they were replaced. It was interesting as I had explained the problem to someone else there while I was waiting, and it seemed like it was a much more common problem than I had realised.
It’s interesting how a glitch like this can ruin the times when you need to sit down and work on something, with the AirPods streaming a favorite podcast or album, and all you’d hear is a crackle.
Maybe I should be more annoyed by the whole situation, but when noise cancellation drowns out a noisy coffee machine in my nearest coffee shop, all is forgiven. These are still one of the best headphones I’ve ever owned, and having them paired between my iPhone, my Mac, and my Apple Watch for when I’m running saves me a lot of hassle.
So am I looking forward to the AirPods Pro 2? Of course, I just hope they last more than a year this time, regardless of how easy it was to replace them in both Genius quotes.