AirPods on a tabletop next to an iPhone.

Nothing interrupts your audio bliss quite like your AirPods unceremoniously pausing without notice. There are a few things that may cause this issue, but all of them are simple to diagnose and easy to fix.

Quick Fixes For AirPods Pausing

Before we get to the more in-depth causes of your AirPods suddenly pausing, we’ll look at some smaller issues that could be causing your AirPods to stop playback.

If your AirPods aren’t pausing entirely, but instead the audio is repeatedly stopping and starting, it could be an issue with your connection. One of the simplest causes for this is if you leave your phone in one room and walk away while you’re still listening. Once you get around 30 feet away from your AirPods, you’ll encounter this issue.

This type of audio stuttering can also happen thanks to a bad Bluetooth connection. If moving closer to your phone doesn’t help, you can try unpairing your AirPods and pairing them again. For instructions on pairing your AirPods, take a look at our complete guide to AirPods and AirPods Pro.

If your battery is starting to get low, this can occasionally cause your AirPods to lose your connection. This doesn’t happen all that often, but if you’re encountering pausing or stuttering and your AirPods are almost out of battery, this is one possible cause worth considering.

Finally, it’s possible that the AirPods Pro tap or double-tap actions could be causing your AirPods to pause playback. If you find your AirPods are pausing mainly when you put your hands near them, this is worth checking.

Check Your Double-Tap Actions

This issue is less common if you use AirPods Pro, as the gestures they require aren’t as easy to accidentally activate. If you’re using the standard AirPods, your double-tap settings could be pausing playback.

Assuming you’re wearing your AirPods, keep them on. If they’re tucked inside their case, open the case. Now on your iPhone or iPad (you cannot do this on an Android device), open the Settings app and open the Bluetooth section. On the menu option for your AirPods, tap the “More info” button (represented by the lowercase letter “i” inside a circle).

Connected Bluetooth devices on iPhone

On the next screen, choose whether you want to change settings for your left or right AirPod. Now you can select which action to use with a double-tap. The options include activating Siri, skipping between tracks, and pausing and resuming audio playback.

Double-tap actions for AirPods on iPhone

If one of your AirPods has its double-tap option set to playback control, this could be causing your issue. Try changing it to Siri or track skipping and see if your issue is resolved.

RELATED: How to Get Your AirPods to Announce Calls and Notifications on iPhone

Another Likely Suspect: Automatic Ear Detection

No matter which AirPods you buy, they’re going to include Automatic Ear Detection. This is what pauses playback when you remove the AirPods from your ears and resumes playback when you put them back on.

That said, Automatic Ear Detection doesn’t always work perfectly. If you’re having issues with your AirPods pausing and the above fixes haven’t worked, chances are good that Automatic Ear Detection is the culprit.

To disable Automatic Ear Detection, open the Settings app and navigate to the Bluetooth section. Find your AirPods in the list of devices, then tap the “More info” button on the right side of the screen. This opens the settings for your AirPods.

Connected Bluetooth devices on iPhone

Here, look for Automatic Ear Detection near the bottom of the screen. The green option slider next to this option is enabled by default. If it is, try tapping on the option to disable it.

Automatic Ear Detection option for AirPods on iPhone

Now try using your AirPods for a while. If turning off Automatic Ear Detection resolves your problem, it’s probably the culprit. Of course, leaving Automatic Ear Detection off isn’t convenient.

Without Automatic Ear Detection, you’ll need to remember to pause playback before removing your AirPods, as otherwise they’ll keep playing and drain your battery. This isn’t ideal, but it may be better than dealing with your AirPods pausing all the time.

RELATED: How to Replace Your AirPods Battery

Profile Photo for Kris Wouk Kris Wouk
Kris Wouk is a freelance tech writer and musician with over 10 years of experience as a writer and a lifetime of experience as a gadget fan. He has also written for Digital Trends, MakeUseOf, Android Authority, and Sound Guys. At MakeUseOf, he was Section Editor in charge of the site's Mac coverage.
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