Can You Connect AirPods with One Missing?

AirPods are, without a doubt, one of the best sets of earbuds to have at hand for someone who requires to wear headphones for prolonged amounts of time, as the convenience they bring to the table is practically unmatched with how light they are, and how wires are entirely out of the equation.

That being said, while the lightness and the lack of wires make the AirPods highly convenient, it’s also worth mentioning that these factors can make it easy to forget the presence of the AirPods at times, with many users experiencing various unfortunate scenarios related to this.

In today’s article, we will be diving into a particular distressing scenario that you can experience as the owner of AirPods, where one of the earbuds end up getting lost without you noticing, and you end up needing to connect the remaining AirPod to your device until you have the means to find a more permanent solution.

So, can you connect AirPods with one of the earbuds missing?

Provided that your AirPods were already paired with your smartphone before one of the earbuds went missing, you can indeed connect the remaining AirPod to your phone without any problems, as your phone will pick the AirPod up automatically as it usually does.

In the following sections, we will examine the possibility of connecting AirPods with one missing in more detail, find out how to hear the entirety of the incoming sound with only one AirPod, go through the process of potentially locating a missing AirPod, and finally, learn whether it’s possible to purchase a single AirPod as a replacement.

Can You Connect AirPods with One Missing?

While using only one AirPod is far from optimal, there is no denying that it’s a whole lot better than not being able to listen to anything at all, making connecting a single AirPod a temporary solution that can save your day.

You’re in luck if your AirPods are already paired to the device that you would like to connect the remaining earbud to, as all you will need to do in this case is to take the remaining AirPod out of the charging case as usual, which will prompt it to connect to your device automatically.

On the other hand, if your AirPods are not paired with the device that you would like to connect the remaining earbud to, you will need to initiate the pairing process first, which, unfortunately, requires both AirPods to be present in the charging case.

In such a scenario, the most straightforward way to temporarily solve the problem at hand is to borrow an AirPod that corresponds to the missing side, which will allow you to complete the set and initiate pairing, making it possible for the remaining AirPod to connect to your device.

How to Hear the Entirety of the Sound with One AirPod?

As Stereo sound is the default in today’s technology, which means that both the left and the right earbuds require to be present for you to be able to hear the entirety of the sound spectrum, using a single AirPod will naturally create a scenario where some sounds are missing.

To hear the entirety of the sound that the device you’re using produces with only one AirPod, you will need to switch to Mono audio from Stereo audio, as this will prompt your device to send the full audio to both the left and the right earbuds.

If you’re an iPhone user, you can follow the steps below to quickly switch to Mono audio and make it possible to use a single AirPod to hear all sounds:

  1. Open the Settings application on your iPhone.
  2. Navigate to the Accessibility section.
  3. Navigate to the Audio/Visual section located under the Hearing category.
  4. Press the switch next to the Mono Audio label.

When the switch turns green, it means that Mono audio is enabled.

iphone mono audio

While the exact process of switching from Stereo to Mono audio will naturally vary based on the device and the operating system you’re using, you should be able to find this functionality on all modern operating systems, whether you’re using your AirPods on a Windows laptop or an Android phone.

Is It Possible to Locate a Missing AirPod?

Even though it’s most likely too late to recover an AirPod that has gone missing some time ago, it’s entirely possible to locate a missing AirPod in cases where you have noticed that it’s missing quickly enough to react.

Locating a missing AirPod is a process that you will need to conduct through the Find My application, as AirPods, similar to most other Apple devices, are connected to the Find My network that makes it possible to locate an Apple device as long as the conditions below are satisfied:

  • The Find My Network feature is active for the AirPods.
  • The AirPods are charged and powered on.
  • The AirPods are in the range of a device connected to the Find My network.
  • The AirPods have been missing less than 24 hours since they last connected to your device.
airpods find my network

Provided that the conditions above are satisfied, all you will need to do is to open the Find My application on your Apple device, which will show you the location of your AirPods on the map.

airpods left and right airbuds shown on find my

Additionally, to make it easier to find your AirPods once you’re in close proximity, you can use the Play Sound functionality of the Find My application, which will prompt your AirPods to emit a loud noise that will point you in the right direction.

airpods play sound on find my

On the other hand, if the Find My application is not actively able to locate your AirPods due to one or more of the conditions we have listed above not being met, you will either see a message that tells you the location is not found, or the last known location of the AirPods, based on the scenario.

In this case, we highly recommend activating Lost Mode for your AirPods as a last resort, which will cause a custom message, a phone number, and an e-mail address to be sent to the person who finds the AirPods and potentially make it possible for you to retrieve them.

find my mark as lost

Is It Possible to Buy a Single AirPod to Replace the Missing One?

There is no denying that having to purchase new AirPods just because a single AirPod (or the charging case) is lost can feel like a complete waste, especially if the AirPods you currently have are the latest generation and work without any problems.

Fortunately, Apple made it possible to buy a single AirPod at a cheaper cost than the complete set with both earbuds and the case, meaning that you can easily replace your missing earbud and avoid having to pay the full price for brand-new AirPods.

To learn more about the costs of replacing a single AirPod, you can visit the Apple AirPods Replacement, Repair & Service page, where you will be able to fill in the information regarding the exact model of your AirPods and get a price estimate.

It’s worth mentioning that it’s also possible to buy the charging case for AirPods separately, which provides an option for those who have lost the charging case but not the AirPods themselves.


With how light it is on the ear, losing an AirPod is definitely not an outlandish mistake by any means, especially if you change locations frequently during the day with your AirPods on your ear but your music paused.

To summarize, while your remaining AirPod will automatically connect to any device that it’s already paired to without any problems, you will need to find a secondary AirPod to initiate pairing with any new device that you would like to use the remaining earbud with.

Once you get your AirPod to connect to your device, we highly recommend switching to Mono audio to ensure you can hear the entirety of the sound from a single earbud, as you will be missing one of the channels required for Stereo audio to work as intended.