AirPods Max keep disconnecting from iPhone, iPad or Mac? Here are some workarounds

The COVID-19 pandemic opened the door for many people to start working from home. As a result, products and services that were previously deemed a luxury have somehow become a necessity.

Take noise-canceling headphones, for instance. Gone are the days when they were considered a tool for professionals. Today, just about everyone working from home needs one of these.

As you would expect, Apple is among the companies involved in making premium noise-cancelling headphones. Be it the on-ear Beats models or the in-ear AirPods Pro, Cupertino has your back covered.


But if you are in the market for the best of them all in terms of sound, build quality, and even the feature set, well, you can’t be too far from that with Apple’s AirPods Max.

These are the most premium set of headphones Apple wants you to buy instead of getting a pair from Bose or Sony. But even at $550, the AirPods Max are still far from perfect.

Over the past few weeks, social media has been awash with reports of disconnection issues from AirPods Max users.

Apparently, the headphones keep dropping connection after every few seconds, something that completely distorts the otherwise excellent audio experience.


Anyone having intermittent connection issues? They were fine for the first few days, however now they will randomly drop connection and interrupt the music I’m listening to. Sporadic how frequently it occurs.

Every time I manually select my AirPods Max from my iPad or iPhone the audio starts playing and then it disconnects. I then need to reselect. After that it stays connected. This happens every single time I need to manually connect… which is all too often since the transfer from one device to another does not work reliably for me. BTW I have AirPods Pro as well and they connect and switch between device fine.

Whenever I play a video on MacBook Pro, my AirPods Max disconnect. If I start the video, then connect my AirPods Max, the connection holds. But if I then pause the video and hit play again, the connection drops. I’ve had the AirPods Max since launch, and this has only started this past week. I’ve experienced the disconnect while playing videos from Hulu, Youtube, and other sites in both Safari and Chrome. When I connect my AirPods Pro to the MBP, they don’t disconnect at all. Thoughts?

Going by the reports we’ve encountered from Reddit and the official Apple support forums, it looks like the AirPods Max disconnection issue is quite widespread, affecting iPhone, iPad and Mac users.

Some say the issue started after a software update to macOS Big Sur 11.1 and iOS 14.3 while others tie the issue to newer versions of both operating systems. Multiple firmware versions of the AirPods Max are also affected.

Came across this thread trying to find a solution. Was rock solid for the first while, but now I get constant drops on both my M1 Mac and my iPhone 12; regardless of the sound source. This seems to have come about since updating to 11.2, but that doesn’t seem relevant since I’m experiencing this on iOS as well.

While Apple has yet to make an official statement on this issue, there are several indicators suggesting that Cupertino is willing to listen to affected users.

For starters, several users have confirmed that they did go for replacement units. But unfortunately, it looks like even these units still carry the disconnection defect.

In the event that there is no replacement stock, Apple has been reported to offer refunds, urging affected users to re-order the AirPods Max once back in stock.

For those whose replacement units are still experiencing disconnection issues, you might want to try the following workarounds.

Workarounds for AirPods Max disconnection issues

1. Hard reset AirPods Max, iPhone, iPad and Mac: Some users can confirm that hard-resetting the AirPods Max did the trick for them. However, you may also need to do the same for your iPhone, iPad and/or Mac.

Hi, I know it’s late, but it might be worth a factory reset again (hold both buttons til the light flashes white). I did this a couple days ago and it’s not come back.

2. Disable automatic head detection: Several other users have also revealed that disabling the automatic head detection feature works magic.

I just got my APmax headphones in yesterday and by this morning the same exact thing happened to me. The audio only works if I turn the automatic head detection off. Very frustrating considering the price and low availability. I hope I don’t have to wait a month or two for a replacement if they aren’t able to fix this issue.

To disable it, grab your iPhone device and head to Settings > Bluetooth > Tap the “i” adjacent to listed AirPods Max > Automatic Head Detection and toggle the switch to off.

Since the issue seems to be present even in the latest iterations of iOS and macOS updates, we will be looking for any possible fixes when the stable iOS 14.5 and macOS Big Sur 11.3 updates arrive.

Meanwhile, keep an eye on our iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur 11 bugs and issues trackers for related coverage and possible solutions.

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Hillary Keverenge

Review Editor. Besides phones, I also enjoy the farm, music, football, and, of course, food.