Apple’s AirPods Pro wireless headphones may be defective and may have rustling, crackling, or malfunctioning noise cancellation. The company therefore wants to replace affected devices free of charge. This is communicated by Apple on a specially set up support website.
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Production errors as the cause
How Apple confirmed in this support document, the AirPods Pro bluetooth headphones may have sound problems. “A small percentage” of the devices is affected by this, as it is vaguely called. These devices were also produced “before October 2020” – which means that all AirPods Pro sold up to October could show these errors and the cause of this was apparently only resolved after production in October.
Owners of affected headphones may hear crackling or static sounds that are amplified in noisy environments or when making calls. Another bug concerns Active Noice Canceling (ANC), which could suppress bass sounds or increase some background noise. Apple will exchange defective AirPods Pro for free, either just one pair of headphones or both, if applicable. Only the Pro model of the AirPods headphone range is included in the exchange program.
Pollution is not the cause
Customers can drop off their AirPods Pro at an Apple Store or at an Apple Authorized Service Provider. The exchange does not extend the guarantee. The exchange program will continue until October 2021 (two years after the model went on sale in October 2019).
These malfunctions have been known for a while with the AirPods Pro. However, Apple had previously cited soiling of the grilles above the microphones (which are required for noise suppression) as the cause of the ANC problems. In a support document in May of this year, the manufacturer gave tips on how to remove such soiling. In the case of crackling or static tones, however, you should import the latest firmware. The exchange program that has now been launched, however, is also an admission that the pollution is not the cause, but rather a production problem.