How to reset AirPods, remove AirPods Apple ID

Have an issue with charging or connecting to your AirPods? Or maybe the AirPods Apple ID is locked to a previous owner? Read along for how to reset AirPods and AirPods Pro and the separate process to remove AirPods Apple ID.

Part of the magic of Apple’s AirPods is a super seamless experience setting up the headphones and automatic pairing with whatever Apple device you’re using. However, if they’re not behaving normally or not charging, taking the time to reset AirPods can fix that.

Interestingly, one of the security features of AirPods gen 3 and AirPods Pro (AirPods Max too) can also cause a problem for refurbished or used AirPods since the standard factory reset process does not remove the associated AirPods Apple ID.

Let’s look at what to do for both scenarios.

How to factory reset AirPods and AirPods Pro

  1. If they’re not already, pop both AirPods in the charging case
  2. Close the lid and wait at least 30 seconds
  3. Open the lid, and on iPhone or iPad launch the Settings app
  4. Choose Bluetooth > circle “i” next your AirPods (skip to step 6 if they aren’t showing up)
  5. Swipe to the bottom and tap Forget This Device, tap it again to confirm
  6. Keeping the AirPods charging case open, press and hold the botton on the back until it the light on the front flashes amber and then white

Now you should be all set to connect your AirPods – that is as long as they’re not paired to someone else’s Apple ID, keep reading below on how to fix that.

  • Bring your AirPods in the charging case with the lid open close to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
  • You should see a prompt appear on-screen, follow the steps
reset AirPods walkthrough
Image via Apple

How to remove AirPods Apple ID

If you see a message when trying to set up AirPods (gen 3) or AirPods Pro/Max that the headphones are connected to another Apple ID:

  • You’ll need the previous owner to open the Find My app on their iPhone or iPad
  • Choose the bottom Devices tab > choose the AirPods
  • Swipe to the bottom > Remove This Device
  • If the previous owner does this outside of the Bluetooth range, you’ll need to reset AirPods before you can set them up as new (follow the steps above again)

Notably, Apple says “These steps are the only way to remove an item from an Apple ID. Apple can’t remove Pairing Lock for you.”

Unfortunately, if you just bought used or refurbished AirPods and they’re connected to someone else’s Apple ID and you don’t know them, you’ll likely need to return the AirPods.

Customers returning AirPods to retailers without removing them from the Find My app have been causing trouble for refurbished partners of Amazon and Walmart.

This will also be the case for those selling AirPods on eBay or other services, make sure to not only reset them but also remove them from Find My. And if you’re buying used AirPods, check to make sure the seller has done this.

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