In short: Reestablish the Bluetooth connection, reset your AirPods, and disable the Automatic Ear Detection whenever Apple Music is not playing on your AirPods.
So, you’ve put on your AirPods and turned on Apple Music. The thing is, Apple Music is not playing through your AirPods. If you’re dealing with this issue, here are some workarounds.
Reestablish the Bluetooth connection
Sometimes, Apple Music won’t play on your AirPods because both devices didn’t connect properly. The first thing you should do is to reestablish the Bluetooth connection.
When you toggle the Bluetooth button in the Control Center, your iPhone will immediately disconnect from any Bluetooth device, including your AirPods.
Open Control Center on your iPhone or iPod touch, or iPad and tap the Bluetooth button. The icon will dim and your device will disconnect from any accessory it’s connected to.
After doing that, you’ll want to completely disable Bluetooth for all networks and devices. To turn off Bluetooth completely, go to Settings > Bluetooth and turn off Bluetooth.
At this point, I’d recommend restarting your iPhone before turning Bluetooth back on in the Control Center. Once you’ve done this, let’s reconnect your AirPods back to your device.
To reconnect your iPhone or iPod touch, or iPad to your AirPods, go to Settings > Bluetooth. You can also tap the AirPlay icon and select your AirPods when you’re playing Apple Music.
Make sure you’ve chosen AirPods to play audio
If Apple Music is not playing through your AirPods, it could be that you’ve chosen a different device, like the Bluetooth speaker, for example, to play the audio.
Open Control Center on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Then, touch and hold the audio card in the upper-right corner of the Control Center to control the audio.
From the list of options, make sure that your AirPods are selected as the device that plays the audio from Apple Music. It sounds simple, but it’s worth checking.
On your Mac computer, click the volume control in the menu bar and choose your AirPods under Output. If you’re using macOS Big Sur or later, sound controls are in Control Center.
Reset your AirPods or AirPods Pro
If Apple Music is not playing on your AirPods, you should reset them. According to Apple, resetting your AirPods is a great way to resolve issues on the device.
When you reset your AirPods, the settings for your AirPods also reset.
To reset your AirPods, place your AirPods in their charging case, close the lid, and wait for 30 seconds. Open the lid of the charging case, and put your AirPods in your ears.
Go to Settings > Bluetooth. If you see your AirPods there as connected, tap the More Info button next to your AirPods, tap Forget This Device, then tap again to confirm.
If your AirPods aren’t connected, press and hold the setup button on the back of the case for about 15 seconds, until the status light on the front of the case flashes amber, then white.
Once you’ve “forgotten” your AirPods, put them in their case, and keep the lid open.
Now it’s time to reconnect your AirPods. With your AirPods in their case and the lid open, place your AirPods close to your iPhone or iPad. Follow the steps on your device’s screen.
More often than not, resetting your AirPods should solve the issue of Apple Music not playing. You should do this troubleshooting step because it takes so little of your time.
Disable Automatic Ear Detection
Resetting your AirPods obviously works whenever Apple Music is not playing through your AirPods, but no one should keep forgetting the AirPods every single time.
It’s just not a feasible solution, in my opinion.
For folks with their very first set of AirPods, I discovered all you needed to do was put them in my ears and wear them! Sounds dumb, but none of the solutions I found online mentioned this.
When I first got my AirPods, I had them in my hand since I was unfamiliar with them at the time. The volume was set to super low, but I didn’t want my ears blasted.
By default, the Automatic Ear Detection feature is turned on, which means that your AirPods sense when they’re in your ear and receive the audio from your device.
When you remove one of your AirPods, they pause and resume playback. But when you remove both of them, they would stop playback entirely and won’t resume the music.
So, the next thing you should try is to disable the Automatic Ear Detection feature on your AirPods because there could be a glitch in the auto-detection feature.
On an iOS device (iPhone or iPad), launch the Settings app and tap Bluetooth. Find your AirPods in the list of devices and tap the information (i) icon.
Toggle the Automatic Ear Detection off.
On a Mac computer, go to System Settings or System Preferences and select Bluetooth. Find your AirPods in the list of devices and tap the information (i) icon.
Toggle the Automatic Ear Detection off.
Once the Automatic Ear Detection feature has been disabled, try playing Apple Music through your AirPods. Now they won’t interfere with the music playback and should work normally.
It’s not your AirPods, it’s Apple Music
If you’ve tried everything but the Apple Music app is still not playing on your AirPods, maybe the problem lies in the former, not the latter. Have you thought about that?
I’ve made a comprehensive article on why Apple Music stops playing so if you’re still having issues with playback on your AirPods, I suggest you give the post a quick read.