How to Adjust AirPods Max Headband

Airpods max too tight

Some users have even reported the onset of intense headaches after the prolonged use of AirPods Max due to the tightness of the fitting. This is not ideal, especially for headphones that offer some of the most advanced noise-canceling capabilities currently available.

This guide will walk you through many of the common complaints that people have when using their AirPods Max regarding the tightness of the headband. Later in this guide, you will find ways to stop your AirPods Max from being so tight on your head.

Are AirPods Max Supposed to be Tight?

By design, the AirPods Max are supposed to be relatively tight-fitting. This is to ensure that they do not slip off unintentionally. Since many people use their AirPods Max when exercising or while they are on the go, they needed to be designed to stay fit to the head of the user securely.

That being said, the AirPods Max should not be so tight that they cause discomfort for the user. If you are experiencing discomfort while using your AirPods Max you should stop using them until you can try out some of the methods in this guide for loosening them up.

Several things could be causing your AirPods Max to be too tight on your head. These reasons will be covered later in this guide.

Does AirPods Max Get Comfortable?

Like any pair of headphones, the AirPods Max might take some breaking in to truly fit comfortably on your head. As the tension in the headband adapts to your head over time, the fit will become more comfortable. You will also get used to the fit more over time, making them appear more comfortable.

Both of these facts over time will make your AirPods Max more comfortable for you during use. Some circumstances will be covered later in this guide that could cause your headphones to remain tight and ill-fitted.

If you have been using your AirPods Max for a while and are still experiencing discomfort you should consider trying some of the troubleshooting methods listed below to resolve your tightness issue.

Why Do The AirPods Max Hurt My Ears?

The list below will cover many of the common causes of ear discomfort when using your AirPods Max. Being able to properly identify the source of your discomfort can help you pick the right troubleshooting method to solve your problem.

1. You Are Not Used To Them Yet

It can take some time to get used to the feel of the AirPods Max. This is especially true if you have mainly been using ear-bud-type headphones like Apple AirPods for some time. The switch to over-the-ear headsets can take some time to adapt to. As you use them more you will notice them less.

The amount of time it will take you to get used to your new AirPods Max will depend on how often you use them and the duration of use. Try prolonged listening sessions to help them get used to the way that they feel.

If you are experiencing significant discomfort when using your AirPods Max, you should stop using them until you can better identify the source of your discomfort. Once you have identified the source you can use the troubleshooting methods at the end of this guide to help solve your issue.

2. You Got A Bad Pair

Unfortunately, there are instances where the AirPods Max that you purchased has a manufacturing error that is causing them to be tighter than intended. Errors like these could cause your AirPods headband to not fit correctly, leading to discomfort.

You must try your AirPods Max on as soon as you get them and gauge the comfort level accurately. Doing this can help you avoid being stuck with a defective device. If you notice early on that your AirPods Max are not fitting correctly, you could return them for a new pair or get a refund.

Manufacturing errors are rare but are still a possibility. If you suspect that you have purchased a pair of Apple AirPods Max that has an error, you should return them for a new pair or a refund or use some of the troubleshooting methods down below if you are out of the return or exchange period.

3. The Cups Are Not Placed Properly On Your Ears

You must have the AirPods Max ear cups positioned correctly on your head during use or you could experience mild discomfort. Due to the size of the ear cups on the AirPods Max, they need to be positioned properly or else they will clamp the head tightly in areas that are not intended.

Consult the manual that comes with your AirPods Max for more information regarding proper placement on the head. Doing so will ensure that your headphones fit like they are intended to.

If you have been using ear-bud headphones for some time, the large cups on the AirPods Max might take some getting used to. Try wearing them around correctly and see if that help relieve the discomfort.

4. The AirPods Max Are Too Small For Your Head

While the AirPods Max headband is adjustable to a point, it does not account for all head sizes that it might be used with. Because of this, some users might find that the AirPods Max simply does not fit their heads.

Apple did what they could to make the AirPods Max adjustable to a range of head sizes but it is not uncommon for users to find that the headset is extremely tight-fitting even when adjusted to the largest setting.

If you often have problems with headphones fitting correctly you will likely experience discomfort when using the AirPods Max. You should consider using in-ear headphones like the Apple AirPods instead.

5. You Have The Headband Adjusted Too Tight

Sometimes your discomfort while using your AirPods Max can stem from simply having the headband adjusted too tight.

When the headband is adjusted too tight it will cause an extremely tight fit on your head that can cause discomfort and in some instances headaches after prolonged use.

If you have not adjusted the headset since you got your AirPods Max, consider adjusting them to the right size that fits your head comfortably. This can help resolve any potential discomfort that you might be feeling when using your AirPods Max.

How To Stop AirPods Max from Being So Tight

Now that you have properly identified your issue using the list above, you can focus on ways to resolve your issue. There are several things that you can do to try and keep your AirPods Max from fitting so tight.

Keep in mind that you should be careful when attempting some of the methods as you could risk damaging your AirPods Max if you apply too much pressure to them.

The most common methods for stopping AirPods Max from being so tight are listed below:

1. Carefully And Slowly Stretch Your AirPods Max


One simple way that you can help remove some of the headband tension is to simply stretch out your AirPods Max. Doing this can help the headband adjust the tension to fit your head more quickly.

Keep in mind that this should be done extremely carefully, as stretching too hard or too fast could break your headphones. Use small, slow stretches to help extend them to fit your head more comfortably.

This is a common method used to break in new over-ear headphones and when done carefully can make the break-in period considerably shorter. You should consider this method as soon as your get your AirPods Max to ensure that they will eventually fit your head comfortably.

2. Wait For Them To Feel Comfortable

Sometimes all a user needs to do is wait for the discomfort to disappear over time. This is a viable method if you are not experiencing significant discomfort. It takes time for a pair of headphones to adjust and fit comfortably on the head of a user.

It also takes a while for the user to get used to the feeling of the headset on their head. If you have properly confirmed that your headset is being worn correctly and not defective in some way, then the discomfort experience when using your AirPods Max will likely disappear over time.

The actual time it takes for the discomfort to disappear will depend on the user and the duration of use. You can generally expect your headphones to be broken in after only a few weeks of regular use.

3. Adjust Your Ear Cups Properly

As previously mentioned, the ear cups on the AirPods Max can take some getting used to. Due to their size and sometimes tight fit, it can feel rather uncomfortable at first. This discomfort can be amplified by improper adjustments made to the ear cups by the user.

Ensure that your ear cups are properly adjusted to your specific head size and comfort level. This can help you avoid any discomfort and tightness that might be incurred due to the way you have the ear cup’s position on your device.

You can consult the AirPods Max manual for more information regarding ear cup adjustments and proper setup. This is important if you want to keep your listening experience comfortable.

4. Ask Apple For Help

If you are experiencing significant problems with your AirPods Max and none of the troubleshooting methods found in this list have helped, you should consider contacting Apple Support to further investigate your issue.

You can contact Apple Support on their website or by phone. You will need to provide a detailed account of your issue so that they can investigate it and offer you additional troubleshooting methods and solutions to your problem.

You should first exhaust the list of troubleshooting methods found in this guide. This will save you time when dealing with Apple Support as they will likely suggest many of the troubleshooting methods already listed in this guide.

It can be frustrating dealing with customer support over the phone, but rest assured that Apple Support is the highest authority on your AirPods Max and can offer the most accurate and relevant advice regarding tightness and discomfort issues that you might be experiencing.

5. Return or Replace Your AirPods Max

If you have purchased AirPods Max that have incurred some type of manufacturing error during production or have somehow damaged your AirPods Max headband, you might consider replacing or returning your device.

If you noticed issues with your AirPods Max early on after purchasing them, you could likely return them for a full refund or exchange them for a new pair. This is also a good idea for someone who has purchased AirPods Max and decided that they are not for them.

If it has been a while since your purchase, your only option is to replace them (view on Amazon). This applies to AirPods Max owners who might have damaged their devices headband somehow.

To avoid damage to your AirPods Max headband you should store them properly and handle them carefully.

6. Try and Understand Why They Hurt

You should use this guide to try and understand exactly where the discomfort is stemming from. Doing so could help you pick the best troubleshooting method to apply to your issue.

This could also help you determine if the AirPods Max is designed to fit your head. If you find that the AirPods Max is simply just too tight, you might consider returning them and getting some in-ear headphones like AirPods instead.

Identifying your issue accurately is important and can save you time and money. Some discomfort during the break-in stage is expected but it should not be significant and should diminish after a short time of regular usage.

If this is not the case for you, this guide has provided you with all the information that you need to properly identify and resolve your issue.

7. Super Stretch Your AirPods Max For 60 Seconds

This method of relieving the tension in your AirPods Max headband should be used with extreme caution, as the act of stretching your headphones could cause some serious damage.

If you have tried all of the other methods on this list and your problem has not been resolved, consider seriously stretching your AirPods Max for at least 60 seconds. This can help to effectively stretch out the headband so that it will more properly fit onto your head.

Keep in mind that you should not stretch your AirPods Max too hard or too fast or you risk severely damaging your device. The act of stretching headphones to break them in is common and has been known to solve headband tightness issues on most models of over-the-ear headphones.

8. Consult the Internet For More Information

Guides like the one you are currently reading can give you valuable insights into the problems that you are experiencing with your AirPods Max. This guide has covered many of the common causes for tightness issues with AirPods Max as well as common solutions for those problems.

The Apple forums are another great resource that you can use when trying to troubleshoot your issue. There you will find a community of other AirPods Max users who could potentially be experiencing and discussing the same issues that you are currently experiencing.

9. Use AirPods Instead

There are some instances where the AirPods Max is just not what a user is looking for. If the AirPods Max does not fit comfortably or you have issues with the large ear-cups, you should consider returning your AirPods Max and purchasing the in-ear AirPods instead (view on Amazon).

The AirPods are some of the most advanced in-ear headphones on the market and are by far the most popular. If you do not think that the AirPods Max are something that you want to get used to, you could switch to the in-ear AirPods without sacrificing any musical or listening clarity.

Final Thoughts

Although the Apple AirPods Max are some of the most advanced noise-canceling headphones ever made, users have reported several issues regarding the tight-fitting nature of the headphones.

The tightness of the AirPods Max has even been reported by some users to cause headaches. This is not ideal, especially considering the hefty price tag on the AirPods Max.

This guide has provided you with all the information that you need to identify and resolve any issues that you might be experiencing with the tightness of your AirPods Max. Use the information provided here to ensure that you no longer experience any discomfort from using your device.

Briley is a freelance writer and has been writing for over 10 years. The former journalist now content writer currently writes for Techzillo and focuses on consumer tech in general. His main interests include video games and consumer technology. He also writes for websites such as Lifewire, and Digital Trends. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


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