If you’ve been hearing static or crackling sounds on your AirPods Pro, rest assured: You are sane. The sound issues are actually an Apple problem, and the company wants to fix them for you for free.
Apple launched a service program on Friday for AirPods Pro manufactured before October 2020. According to Apple, users with affected devices may hear crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, while exercising or while talking on the phone. Besides that issue, some AirPods Pro may have problems with active noise cancellation not working as expected, which can result in problems such as the loss of bass sound.
Other issues include an increase in background sounds, such as airplane or street noise.
Users that experience one or more of the above problems can get in touch with Apple or Apple-authorized service providers to get their device examined. If Apple or the service provider determines that the devices are eligible for the service program, the AirPods Pro will be replaced. The program covers one or both earbuds.
However, although the earbuds will be replaced, the AirPods Pro case is not affected by sound issues and is not covered by the service program.
Apple did not specify what might be causing the sound problems, although some have speculated that it’s a hardware issue. Users have been complaining about the issue for months. In May, Apple posted some troubleshooting advice on its website for people experiencing static and crackling sounds, which assumed that the problems were due to wireless interference or specific apps. We now know that was not the case.
Considering that the AirPods Pro are not exactly cheap ($250), I’m glad users that experience this will be able to get these issues fixed. (I’ve experienced crackling, though not with the AirPods Pro, and it’s always made me fear my headphones would explode). Apple’s new service program covers devices worldwide, and covers affected AirPods Pro for two years after purchase.