How to Connect AirPods to Mac and Windows PC

How to Connect AirPods to MacBook or PC Featured

AirPods work best with the iPhone and iPad. The built-in chip automatically connects with an iPhone or iPad device when you remove the AirPods from the case and put them in your ears. But underneath all of Apple’s secret sauce, lies a layer of standard Bluetooth technology. So as long as your MacBook or PC supports Bluetooth 4.0 and higher, you should be able to use your AirPods with your computer. Here’s how to connect your AirPods to your MacBook or PC.

Note: The following steps will work for both first generation AirPods and second generation AirPods. To know the difference between them, check out our guide here.

How to Connect AirPods to Mac

Unlike a traditional Bluetooth device, AirPods actually pair using your iCloud account. When you first pair your AirPods to your iPhone, they’ll be paired automatically with every iOS and macOS device that’s on the same iCloud account. In theory, this means you don’t need to pair and repair AirPods again and again. You just click the Connect button and go from there. But this doesn’t always work. Let’s look at a couple of scenarios below.

If this is the first time you’re connecting your AirPods with your Mac after pairing them with the iPhone, go to the Bluetooth section in the menu bar to get started.

AirPods Connect to Mac

Open the AirPods case and you’ll see your AirPods listed in the devices menu. Click on them and then click on Connect. In a couple of seconds, your AirPods will be connected to your Mac and ready to go.

Pair AirPods to Mac

There are times when you’ll need to start the entire pairing process for AirPods on the Mac. This can either be if you’ve never paired the AirPods with an iPhone/iPad device, or if you’ve just reset the AirPods because they were giving you trouble.

In any case, here’s the process for pairing AirPods to Mac (MacBook).

Step 1: Open System Preferences and go to the Bluetooth section.

Step 2: Now open the AirPods case and press and hold the Round pairing button at the back of the AirPods case.

AirPods Case Back Button

Step 3: In a couple of seconds, you’ll see the AirPods in the Bluetooth section. Click on the Connect button.

AirPods Not Connecting to Mac 1

In a couple of seconds, the AirPods will be paired and connected to your MacBook.

Make the Mac Connection Process Simpler

Using AirPods on an iPhone is a much better experience as they connect automatically. On the Mac, you always have to go to the Bluetooth section to manually connect them. If you’re frustrated by the unreliable pairing experience, spend $5 on the AirBuddy app. It’s a little utility that brings iPhone style AirPods connection menu to the Mac.

AirBuddy

When you open the AirPods near your Mac, a panel will slide down telling you the battery in the AirPods and you can click on the Connect button to automatically connect to them.

DownloadAirBuddy ($5)

How to Connect AirPods to Windows PC

While AirPods do work on Windows PCs, they don’t support all functionality. For example, AirPods automatically pause playback when you remove one AirPods from the ear when using with a Mac or iPhone. This won’t happen on a Windows machine. But, as AirPods work with any Bluetooth 4.0+ device, they’ll still function as regular wireless headphones.

Here are the instructions for pairing AirPods with a Windows 10 computer.

Step 1:  From the Windows taskbar, click on the Bluetooth button.

Step 2: Click on Add a Bluetooth Device.

Step 3: This will open the Bluetooth & Other Devices menu. From here, again, click on the button that reads Add Bluetooth or other device.

Step 4: Now, on the AirPods, open the case lid and press and hold on the Round pairing button at the back of the case.

Step 5: Back on the Windows computer, choose the Bluetooth option and wait for the AirPods to show up on the list.

Step 6: Click on the AirPods from the list to start the pairing process. In a couple of seconds, the pairing will be done and your AirPods will be connected to your Windows machine.

AirPods Tips and Tricks

AirPods are a seemingly simple device. But there’s a lot you can do with them. You can customize the gestures, the case and even add accessories to make them fit better. Read all about it in our complete AirPods tips and tricks guide.

Let us know in the comments section below as to how the entire experience of connecting AirPods to your Mac or PC was.