A seasoned audiophile knows that Sony products are characterized by having immersive audio and valuable features. Their earbuds and headphones have some heavy hitters that have taken the market by storm upon their release.
For this reason, I quickly purchased the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds while looking for a quality brand to ensure I get the whole experience when listening to my favorite hits.
My excitement was short-lived because the earbuds would not turn on after several months of use. I was devastated and was ready to move away from the brand altogether.
However, after much thought, I gave the buds a last chance and searched the internet for what the issue could be and how I could solve it. To my surprise, there were a lot of complaints about the same issue, but the solutions were scattered, making it difficult to get one that worked.
Hence, I compiled all the solutions I came across to make it easier for fellow XM4 users to fix their buds.
- You can turn on the XM4s by taking them out of their charging case. The earbuds will play a Power On audio prompt to show they are on.
- If the buds are left in pairing mode for fifteen minutes, they will automatically power off.
- Sometimes, the XM4s will refuse to power on because the battery is drained to the extent that the LED on the case cannot light.
- A system malfunction (firmware bug) can prevent the earbuds from powering on. It can be solved by rebooting the buds or resetting them.
- If there is a problem with the earbuds’ charging system, they will not have the power to turn on.
- Some users have experienced the buds not powering or charging because they used a fast charger to recharge the case.
- The earbuds or the case could be damaged to the point that the buds cannot power on anymore.
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Why Won’t My XM4s Turn On?
Whenever the buds power off and won’t come back on, we usually assume the worst. That is usually not the case; the issue is often easy to solve if you know what steps to take.
However, it would help if you had an idea of why the buds won’t work as they should to figure out what to do.
Here are some reasons why the Sony WF-1000XM4 buds will not power on:
- If the earbuds have stayed discharged for long, they might take some time before they become responsive, even when connected to a charger.
- Another reason is that the earbuds or the case have a problem charging, preventing them from storing the necessary power for regular operation.
- If you use an incompatible charger or USB cable, the case might not take in power, resulting in the buds not working.
- The batteries in the buds and the case function within specific temperature ranges, and if these ranges are exceeded, the earbuds will not power on or charge.
- It could also be that a system bug is preventing the earbuds from powering on.
- Another reason is that the buds or their batteries are damaged, and thus, they cannot function as usual.
How to Get the Earbuds Working?
Now that we know why the XM4s refuse to power on, it will be easier to get them working again. Here are the solutions that will bring your earbuds back to life.
Place the Buds in the Case, then Take Them Out
When the buds are removed from the case, they are supposed to power on automatically and go into pairing mode.
If you place them in your ears, you will know the buds are on because they will play a ‘Power On’ audio prompt. They will also play a ‘Bluetooth pairing’ audio prompt to show they are in pairing mode or a ‘Bluetooth connected’ prompt to show they have paired to a device.
However, if this is not the case, you should return the buds to the case, close it for a minute, and open it.
Before taking the buds out of the case, observe the LED on the charging case, as it will communicate the earbud’s state, which will help you figure out the issue.
When you place both earbuds in the case, the LED will glow, indicating the battery level of the bud with the least power. If you place one bud in the case, the case will display the battery level of that earbud, and when both buds are out of the case, the LED will display the case’s battery level.
You can get the LED on the case to light up by opening or closing it or disconnecting it from the USB charger.
For instance, the LED will light green for six seconds to show that the earbuds are fully charged, that is, if the buds are in the case. If the buds are outside the case, a six-second green LED means the case’s battery is full.
On the other hand, the LED will light orange for approximately six seconds if the buds are in the case and they have a ninety-four and below battery percentage. If the buds are not in the case and the LED goes orange for six seconds, the case’s battery is at thirty percent or less.
The LED will behave the same way when you take them out or place them in the case, with the only difference being that the LED will light for three seconds instead of six.
If there is no reaction from the LED when you open, close, take the buds out, or place them in the case, it could be that the case’s battery is depleted. The same goes if the earbuds do not play an audio prompt when you take them out of the case.
So, should this be the case, place the buds in it, close it, and connect it to a charger.
Are the Earbuds Charged
At this point, you should have established whether the case and buds are fully charged, and if they are not, it is time to recharge.
The WF-1000MX4 has two charging methods, i.e., wired and wireless. You can choose either, but the wired method is quicker.
You should begin with wired charging by placing the buds in the case. The Left earbud has a tactile dot, which goes into the case’s left compartment, while the right one goes into the right compartment. The case has magnets that will ensure the buds are correctly seated, provided they are in their respective slots.
Once the buds are in the case, close it and connect it to a USB charger, preferably using the supplied USB cable, and observe the LED on the case.
In normal circumstances, the LED would light orange and go off once charging is complete, but this might not be the case if the buds were refusing to power on.
If you connect the case to a charger, whether using an adapter or a USB port, and there is no reaction from the LED, leave the case connected for approximately thirty seconds.
That is necessary, especially if the XM4s have remained unused for a while because the LED will need some time to indicate charging.
If you connect the USB charger to a USB port, do not connect it to a hub, as it might not have sufficient power to charge the buds.
Additionally, if the cable is connected to a laptop or desktop, ensure the device does not go to sleep (hibernate), as it will not charge the buds when in sleep mode.
It will take approximately three hours to charge the buds and the case, assuming the battery was depleted fully and you are using the wired charging setup.
Check the Charging Contacts and the Charger
At this point, the buds should be turning on if the issue is a depleted battery, especially if it has been charging for over thirty minutes.
However, if the charging case does not show signs of charging, there could be an issue with the earbuds’ charging system.
In such a case, you should take the buds out of the case and disconnect it from the power source.
Then, check the USB cable and ensure it is not damaged or the charging port on the case is not clogged with dirt and other debris.
Also, observe the charging contacts on the earbuds and the charging case to ensure they are in good condition and not rusted or covered in dust or dirt.
If you notice dirt on the buds in the case, find a dry, soft, lint-free cloth and use it to wipe the affected areas. If the dirt is stuck, you can dampen the cloth with a diluted mild detergent and clean the dirt. Do not use strong cleaning agents or solvents because they will corrode the metal parts on the buds and in the case.
How to Clean True Wireless Earbuds
If there are areas that are hard to reach, use a soft brush, but do not use a compressed air can as it can blow the dirt further into the case or the buds.
Removing Corrosion and Persistent Dirt from Charging Contacts on True Wireless Earbuds
Use a Different Charger
If you notice that the current charger is defective or the case does not charge, try a different charger. This is particularly important because the issue could be that the case is not charging, which results in the buds not charging, which causes them not to power on.
You should check the rating on the adapter if you are using one since some users have experienced the XM4s misbehaving because they attempted to charge them with a fast charger.
The recommended rating of a power adapter for the XM4 is five hundred milliamps (0.5A) or more, but strive to avoid using a fast charger.
If you cannot find the recommended charger, use a USB port on a desktop/laptop, as they are less likely to be rated as fast charging.
Also, consider using a different USB cable if you believe the current one is defective.
Try Wireless Charging
One upside of the WF-1000XM4 is that it supports two charging methods, i.e., wired and wireless. This is advantageous because it can help determine whether the case’s wired charging system is damaged.
Therefore, place both buds in the case on a wireless charging pad that meets the QI standard. The case should be placed so that the Sony logo faces upwards, and you should check the pad’s manual on how it should be used.
The LED on the case should light orange and then turn off at intervals of 0.3 seconds to show that the XM4 is charging.
Ensure the wireless charging pad is clean and has no objects on it apart from the case, as foreign objects can result in fires and other injuries.
Ensure the Temperature Is Ideal for the Bud’s Operation
The Lithium-ion batteries on the buds and the case react when exposed to extreme temperatures, which can result in the buds not turning on.
Ensure the earbuds are in an environment that meets the recommended temperature range of 15 °C and 35 °C which translates to 59 °F – 95 °F.
If these limits are exceeded, charging will slow down or stop altogether, and you might even notice the LED on the case constantly flashing red.
If that is the case, relocate the XM4 and give it time to stabilize its temperature. You can remove the buds from the case and return them once the temperature returns to normal.
Do not attempt to cool them using a fridge or heat them using a heat source, as this will cause further damage.
Also, prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures will permanently damage the earbuds.
Connect the charging case to a charger with the buds inside once the temperature has stabilized, and try powering them on after they have recharged.
Reset the Earbuds
A system reset will clear any bugs preventing the buds from turning on. The reset will not erase any pairing information stored on the buds or undo customized settings.
You can reset the XM4 by following these steps:
- Place one of the earbuds in its respective slot in the charging case and close it.
- Connect the case to a charger via the USB cable and an adapter. Ensure the earbud is charging.
- Open and close the case’s lid 5 times within 20 seconds. Then on the 6th repetition, leave the charging case closed. The LED on the case should start flashing red.
- The LED will flash green four times to show the reset is successful.
- Remove the earbud from the case and repeat the same process with the other one.
- You can try this process more than once in case the LED does not behave as stated here.
How to Reset the WF-1000XM4 Earbuds?
Restore the Factory Settings of the XM4s
If the reset does not solve the issue, it is time to restore the XM4’s factory settings.
This procedure will erase all customized settings and pairing information stored on the buds and hopefully any bugs affecting the earbuds.
You can restore factory settings by following these steps:
- Go to the Bluetooth settings of devices that have been connected to the earbuds and forget the WF-1000XM4s.
- Ensure the buds are adequately charged because the restoration will not work if the battery is low.
- Place both buds in the charging case and leave it open.
- Hold the touch area of both buds for ten seconds, and the LED should start flashing red.
- The LED will flash green four times once restoration is complete
Go through this procedure even if the LED does not behave as expected.
How to Restore the WF-1000XM4 Earbuds to Factory Default Settings?
Contact Sony Support
If the earbuds still won’t turn on until now, the issue could be more severe than anticipated.
Contact Sony’s customer support and tell them about the troubleshooting you have already conducted. They will suggest more solutions or explain how to validate your warranty if the buds are still covered.
Do not hesitate to contact them, as there have been reports of Sony replacing the buds at no cost, even for clients whose warranties have expired.
Bonus Fix – Replacing the Battery on Sony WF-1000XM4 Earbuds
Frequently Asked Questions
- Question: What to do if my Sony headphones won’t turn on?
- Answer: You can:
- Reboot the earbuds by placing them in the case and then taking them out.
- Give the buds and the case some time to charge. Approximately thirty seconds.
- Ensure you are using a compatible charger (0.5A one), and not a fast charger.
- Try resetting the buds, and if it does not work, restore the factory settings.
- Question: How do I manually turn on my WF 1000XM4?
- Answer: If the buds have been out of the case for over fifteen minutes, they will power off. Power them on by placing them in your ear, touching the touchpad on the buds, or placing them in the case and then taking them out.
- Question: How do you reset the battery on a Sony WF 1000XM4?
- Ensure the buds are adequately charged, then place one of them in the case and close it.
- Connect the case to a USB charger that is connected to a power source.
- Open and close the case 5 times within twenty seconds. Then, close it and wait.
- The LED should start flashing red.
- The reset is complete once the LED flashes green four times.
- Repeat the same procedure with the other earbud.
A working pair of earbuds is all one wishes for whenever one wants to use the buds. However, sometimes, things are beyond our control, and the buds will not comply.
Fortunately, such stress has been simplified since you have sure troubleshooting tips to get your XM4s working.