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Why Do AirPods Sound So Bad on PC?

Why Do AirPods Sound So Bad on PC?

The community of Apple users accepts AirPods as a helpful product that has become part of their everyday lives. Recently, some of them have encountered a rather odd issue when it comes to using Apple AirPods. Some users found that using the AirPods on their PC can result in muffled sounds and bad audio quality. So why does this happen, and how can you fix it? 

Bad audio quality from AirPods on PC can be a result of not changing to stereo mode. In some cases, switching over to a Bluetooth adapter with a USB port may do the trick, while in others, you may have to get a separate microphone altogether. Alternatively, you could have to update your Bluetooth driver to be able to connect better. 

While this may all seem complicated, you can easily do most of these steps. Just follow as we guide you through the process, and if any of these steps work, you have resolved your issue! You will also know precisely what went wrong, so you don’t run into the same problem again.

What Affects Audio Quality When Using AirPods With PC? 

The main thing you will see change when using AirPods with a PC is the sound quality when using your mic. This drop in quality is because several different factors on a PC control the mic sound quality. To fix this issue, you need to understand the difference between the different factors.

Comparing Stereo And Hands-Free 

Whenever you connect any music-playing or mic device to a PC from Windows, two modes of audio management are available. These modes are Stereo Audio and Hands-Free Audio. Both these modes have a different way of playing audios and integrating mic properties so you can answer calls like Zoom meetings or conferences. 

Stereo AudioHands Free Audio
Playing MusicYesYes
Using MicNoYes
Audio QualityHighLow

Newer versions of Windows also include the option of Windows Sonic, which delivers higher quality and surround sound experience. If you have Windows 10, we recommend that you opt for this to get the best AirPods experience with playing media and music. 

Switch to Sonic

If you listen to music through your PC, you might find that the number one culprit for lousy audio quality is Hands-Free mode. Sonic will help play music at a better quality overall. Here’s how to switch to Window Sonic and get a virtual surround sound experience.

  1. Click the ‘Start’ Button on the left-most side of your taskbar.
  2. Open up, Settings, and select the ‘Systems’ Button.
  3. Choose the Sound tab, and scroll down to find ‘Related Settings.’
  4. From here, open up the Sound Control Panel.
  5. You will be able to see all of the audio devices connected. Click on the AirPods, and click on ‘Properties.’
  6. A new window will come up. Switch over to the ‘Spatial Sound’ tab.
  7. Select ‘Windows Sonic for Headphones’ and click Apply to save the settings

Switching over to Sonic mode will help improve sound quality, so you have a better surround-sound experience. 

Related: How to Sync AirPods (and Connect Your AirPods to Your PC)

Update Drivers

Photo: Alexandar Todov

AirPods connect to devices using a Bluetooth connection. For the AirPods to deliver the best possible results, you need to be able to establish a stable Bluetooth connection between them and your PC. However, this can’t happen due to the Bluetooth drivers in some cases.

If your Bluetooth drivers aren’t working well, this can mean that they need an update. Luckily, you can update the Bluetooth drivers reasonably easily on your PC. Microsoft offers regular updates for your general Windows operating system, but there are also optional updates you can check out. Here’s how to look out for Bluetooth driver updates:

  1. In your taskbar, there is a search box. Click that and type Device Manager.
  2. Open up Device Manager from the results you see.
  3. Select Bluetooth, and then the Bluetooth adapter.
  4. Right-click the adapter, and choose Update Driver.
  5. From here, select ‘Search Automatically for Update Driver Software.’
  6. Follow the on-screen prompts.
  7. Once you download and install the driver, the PC may need to restart.

Bluetooth Adapters

An option available to PC users is to opt to get a USB Bluetooth adapter. These adapters are an extremely useful as they can help you connect to multiple devices, extend the range of Bluetooth signals, and manage your own preferred audio settings. 

With a USB Bluetooth adapter, you can set the sample rate and bit depth you need on your PC when using your AirPods. This ability helps improve sound quality, especially when you are using the mic. The adapter can connect to your PC through a USB port and offers you the ability to communicate on the go – it can even help you expand the kind of devices to connect to on your old PCs. 

Contact A Professional 

It may be the case that you are encountering difficulties based on your devices not being compatible with each other. In that case, you can contact a professional to help you understand how to resolve this issue in the best way. Using the latest versions of the Windows operating system or the AirPods firmware can also improve your audio quality significantly. 

Another option to consider if nothing else pans out is to use the Hands-Free mode but to get a separate mic while using the AirPods. This change may be an inconvenience for some, but in some cases, it is the only way to resolve issues when using AirPods. A simple mic built for PCs can make a drastic change to how your voice carries in calls and meetings. 


Trying to make Apple and Windows products work together can end up becoming a frustrating venture for anyone. After all, the manufacturers did not design these products with compatibility in mind. So you are bound to run into some issues here and there. However, with some fixes, you can improve your sound quality when using AirPods with a PC.

However, using some fixes here and there can drastically change the way you hear sound using AirPods. Changing your audio mode, connecting an adapter, or updating Bluetooth files is the best way to understand what causes issues and resolve them promptly.