I have used my 2 year old AirPods simply for listening previously, but I would like to use the enhanced iOS 12 Siri.

Alas, the microphone on both AirPods does record only very muffled audio - the iOS dictation feature does not register anything, and Audio Recorder records extremely quiet audio.

Back when they were new, Siri could pick up my voice without any problem.

Things I have tried

  • Cleaning the microphone holes at the bottom - with a toothpick and with Q-tips and rubbing alcohol

  • Blowing through or sucking on the microphone holes

  • Using different devices - iPhone 7, iPhone Xs, MacBook Pro

  • Resetting the AirPods by pressing 15 seconds on the case-button

  • Using alcohol on the device may have damaged it even further.
    – IconDaemon
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 13:13
  • This was a problem in iOS 11 and it could have resurfaced in iOS 12. Have you contacted Apple? You might also try resetting the device or even restoring from backup, iOS 11 (just to see if the problem goes away and verify it's an iOS issue)
    – Allan
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 13:34
  • 1
    @IconDaemon Yes, that could be the case, but it was worth a shot to clean it. The speakers' volume did improve massively after such a procedure, the AirPods are out of warranty, and listening to them works fine.
    – nd.
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 13:53
  • @Allan I did read the question you are referring to - it has to do with AirPods switching the codec to a low quality one. However, in my case, the quality is fine, but the audio is very quiet. If I scream into the microphone, then I am able to record some sound.
    – nd.
    Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 13:56
  • To test if it's an issue with the physical hardware on one ear piece, with the AirPods connected to your device and out of their case, go to Settings > Bluetooth. Find your AirPods and tap the "i" next to it. Then go to "Microphone" and change to "Always Left" or "Always Right". Record a voice memo with each setting. I was able to confirm that one of the ear pieces worked fine and set my iPhone to always use the microphone on that side. Then I tried the blu-tack/sticky tack solution posted by @Chad and that fixed the issue entirely.
    – ChrisB
    Commented Aug 30, 2021 at 18:49

1 Answer 1


I had AirPods with low mic volume, and the volume significantly improved after using Blu-Tack to clean out the microphone grill. I pressed a small wad of it into the grill several times, very firmly. I saw the idea first in this Reddit thread.

  • 1
    This fixed my microphone issue on one of the ear pieces. There were tiny metal filings (more like dust) inside.
    – ChrisB
    Commented Aug 30, 2021 at 18:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .