Here’s Why Your AirPods Might Sound Worse on Your iPhone Than Your iPad

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Do your AirPods sound different when they’re connected to different devices? The answer should be no, but some users may disagree.

A recent Reddit post brought this question to light when user LongRose asked why their AirPods sound better when connected to their iPad instead of their iPhone. They also mentioned that audio quality was similarly different with wired headphones.

As mentioned above, there shouldn’t be any discernible difference in audio quality based on the device. Because of that, there’s likely something else going on.

But if you’re noticing a distinct sound difference when you’re using AirPods with various devices, here are some troubleshooting steps you can run through.

Why Your AirPods Might Sound Better on Different Devices

  1. Is cellular data to blame? By default, Apple Music won’t play high-quality audio over cellular data. This could cause a difference in quality if you’re listening to tracks on an iPad that’s connected to Wi-Fi instead of cellular data. You can adjust the behavior in Settings > Music > Cellular Data.
  2. Check your EQ settings. In addition to cellular settings, there are certain EQ and Sound Check preferences in Settings that could be causing audio on your iPhone and iPad to sound different. Make sure that EQ and Sound Check are set to the same setting in Settings > Music. Then, check audio quality on both of your devices again.
  3. What device do you have? Older Apple devices, both iPhones and iPads alike, may be limited to a lower-quality codec or audio coding standard. If one of your devices is showing its age, then that may be the culprit of poorer audio quality.
  4. Consider your streaming platform. Most streaming platforms have some sort of adjustable audio quality baked in. Spotify’s Music Quality setting could be different set a different level on your iPhone vs your iPad.
  5. Reconnect your AirPods. Sometimes, things can go wrong with a Bluetooth connection. We recommend disconnecting and reconnection your AirPods to a specific device. See if that alleviates any lower-quality audio playback.

Ultimately, there shouldn’t be any discernible variation in audio quality played from an iPad or an iPhone, so the difference could just be in your head.

If all else fails, then consider that the difference in audio quality could possibly be the result of your imagination.

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