How to fix an Apple iPhone XS that keeps disconnecting from Apple Airpods after updating iOS [Troubleshooting Guide]

  • Learn how to fix your Apple iPhone XS that keeps disconnecting from Apple Airpods.
  • Understand the reason why your iPhone disconnects from another Apple accessory.

In December of 2016, Apple released its patented wireless Bluetooth earbuds called the AirPods. With the AirPods, you can automatically sync through Apple’s iCloud service and switch audio sources to other supported devices that are connected through the same Apple ID.

In order to use AirPods with your iPhone, Bluetooth must be enabled. Once your devices are paired, you can start playing audio from a different device or switch the audio to other headphones or speakers. You can also answer phone calls through the AirPods for as long as they’re connected to your phone. While the entire process may sound simple, there are certain instances when problems occur and you will just realize the AirPods aren’t working with your iPhone as they should.

Among the widespread issues concerning AirPods on iPhones are no sound or other audio problems, syncing errors, and intermittent Bluetooth connection. Tackled in this post is the problem on intermittent connectivity between the iPhone XS and AirPods, following the recent iOS 12.1.4 update implementation. Read on to find out why this happens and how to fix it.

Before we continue, if you found this post while looking for a solution to a different problem, then visit our iPhone XS troubleshooting page for we have already fixed a lot of issues with this device. Find issues that are similar with yours and feel free to use our solutions. If you need more help, you may contact us by completing our questionnaire.

What causes your iPhone XS to keep disconnecting from your AirPods?

Bluetooth pairing and syncing problems in iOS devices are usually attributed to software errors. For paired devices that often disconnects, interferences are most likely to blame. Other possible culprits are bad updates and network settings errors on either device. Tackled in this post is a pertinent issue on the iPhone XS that keeps disconnecting from the AirPods after installing iOS 12.1.4. But despite the fact that the problem instigated from the recent update, ruling out other possible triggers is still recommended. Mapped out below are a few tweaks and workarounds you can use when troubleshooting the same issue on the same device. Read on for more details.

Before troubleshooting, check the battery status of your AirPods. Your AirPods must have sufficient charge for it to work seamlessly with your iPhone XS. If necessary, allow it to charge up to a hundred percent then retry pairing them with your iPhone. Also ensure that the AirPods are properly set up. If you aren’t sure if the AirPods were set up accordingly, get them back into the case and then close the case. After about 30 seconds, open the case again and press the Setup button found on the rear part of the case. You should see a status light flashing white. If you see that white flashing light, it means that everything is working fine and your AirPods are ready for pairing. You may need to hold down the Setup button a little longer for the flashing white light to appear. If your iPhone XS continues to disconnect from your AirPods, refer to the following methods to troubleshoot software-related errors that might have interfered with your iPhone and AirPods.

1st solution: Restart your iPhone XS.

The first workaround you should try if you haven’t already is a restart or soft reset on your iPhone XS. This is highly recommended after installing new updates because apps would tend to go rogue following a system transition. If you restart your iPhone after installing an update, chances are that all new system changes will be properly implemented and therefore apps aren’t acting up. So here’s what you should do first:

  1. Press and hold the Side/Power button and either Volume buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. Release the buttons when the Slide to Power Off command appears and then drag the power off slider to the right.
  3. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Power/Side button again until the iPhone reboots.

After restarting, connect your AirPods to your phone and see if they’re connection is already stable. If they disconnect again, then you will need to try other applicable solutions.

2nd solution: Toggle Bluetooth off and then on again.

Bluetooth system glitches are also among the underlying causes. The new update might have caused minor conflicts to the Bluetooth system and thereby triggered erratic syncing. To fix such minor update glitches, refreshing the phone’s Bluetooth functions will likely fix the problem. So here’s what you can try doing next:

  1. Go to Settings-> Bluetooth menu.
  2. Toggle the Bluetooth switch to turn OFF.
  3. After a few seconds, toggle the switch to turn Bluetooth back ON again.

Another way to refresh Bluetooth connection and clear out random syncing issues is by toggling Airplane Mode on and off. Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  2. Then toggle the switch to turn Airplane Mode ON. Doing so will disable the phone’s wireless radios including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.
  3. Restart or soft reset your iPhone XS while Airplane Mode is enabled.
  4. After the phone reboots, head back to Settings-> Airplane mode menu and then tap the switch again to turn Airplane mode OFF.

After disabling Airplane mode, enable Bluetooth and  retry pairing your iPhone XS with your AirPods. If they’re able to sync but still disconnect, it means that you’ve got to troubleshoot further and rule out other triggers.

3rd solution: Disconnect your AirPods from your iPhone XS.

Bluetooth connections on your iPhone XS might have been corrupted from the update and therefore need to be set up again. This is when deleting the Bluetooth device from your iPhone is needed. That said, delete or forget the AirPods from your iPhone XS Bluetooth directory and then add it back to restart pairing. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Then select Bluetooth. Make sure that Bluetooth is enabled or turned ON.
  3. Tap on the information “i” icon next to AirPods.
  4. Then select the option to Forget this Device.

It is also recommended to remove other saved Bluetooth devices from your iPhone. Some Bluetooth devices may tend to interrupt the current Bluetooth connection between the phone and the Airpods. Just follow the same steps to forget or delete other saved Bluetooth devices.

4th solution: Switch between microphones for your AirPods.

You can also try setting the AirPods to use either left or right microphone.

By default, both the earphones are set and used as microphones during calls. Some people who have had trouble using AirPods during phone calls discovered a trick that works by allowing only one microphone to work at a time. If you wish to give this trick a shot, then here’s how you do it:

  1. From your Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Next, tap on Bluetooth.
  3. Then tap on the information “i” icon next to AirPods.
  4. Scroll down and tap Microphone.
  5. Finally, select from either “Always Left AirPod” or “Always Right AirPod” option.

The option to Automatically Switch AirPods is set by default, so you have to switch to other options.

5th solution: Disable Automatic Ear Detection.

When enabled, the audio route from connected devices will automatically be transferred to the AirPods the moment you place them in your ears. Thus, enabling this feature will likewise increase the chance of other devices to interfere with the current connection between the iPhone and AirPods. To make sure this isn’t the trigger, follow these steps to turn off Automatic Ear Detection on your iPhone XS:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select Bluetooth.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom of the screen then tap Automatic Ear Detection.
  4. Then tap to turn the Automatic Ear Detection switch OFF.

If you’ve previously paired your AirPods to other devices than our iPhone XS and you wouldn’t want to disable Automatic Ear Detection, then you should disconnect them first. Some device may interrupt the connection between your iPhone XS and AirPods when they automatically attempt to pair with the AirPods. Otherwise, turn other devices off to make sure they wouldn’t cause any sort of wireless interference.

6th solution: Reset all network settings on your iPhone XS.

Network settings error caused by the recent iOS update can also be the underlying cause of the problem. In this case, performing network settings reset is often needed. This reset will erase your phone’s current network settings and then restores the default network values. Your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections are also deleted, so you will need to set them up again later. If you wish to take a chance in this reset, then simply follow these steps:

  1. From your Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset network settings.
  5. If prompted, enter your passcode then follow the onscreen instructions to confirm network settings reset.

When the reset is finished, the phone restarts automatically. After it restarts, set up network  features, reconnect to your Wi-Fi network, enable Bluetooth and pair your iPhone XS with the AirPods again. See if that fixes the problem.

7th solution: Restore your iPhone XS to its factory default settings.

The symptom may continue if complex system errors are the underlying cause. To deal with persistent issues including post update errors, performing a master reset or factory reset on the iPhone is needed. Be sure to note though that this process will erase everything from your phone memory. That said, backing up files would be necessary. You can back up files from your iPhone XS to iCloud or iTunes drive. After securing a backup, you may proceed with these steps to factory reset your iPhone XS through settings:

  1. From your Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Erase all content and settings.
  5. If prompted, enter your passcode then follow the onscreen instructions to confirm factory reset.

Factory default settings will be restored after the reset. Thus, any error brought by the iOS update to your phone’s Bluetooth system will also be cleared out in the process. Wait for your phone to restart and then follow the initial setup prompts to set up your iPhone XS as new.

Still disconnecting from Airpods?

If your iPhone XS still disconnects from your AirPods after performing all the above procedures, there is a chance that either your iPhone or AirPods has obtained some sort of hardware damage and the symptoms just coincidentally instigated after updating your iPhone. To rule this out, you can take your device to the nearest Apple service center in your place and have it diagnosed by an iPhone technician. Else, escalate the problem directly to Apple Support so they can assist you further. There might be some complex system errors inflicted by the recent iOS update that require more advanced procedures.

I hope that we’ve been able to help you fix the problem with your device. We would appreciate it if you helped us spread the word so please share this post if you found it helpful. Thank you so much for reading!