How to Connect (Pair) AirPods to Mac

AirPods Pro vs AirPods 3

How to Connect (Pair) AirPods to Mac

Pairing your AirPods with your iPhone is easy. You open the case and tap a button on your iPhone’s screen. Then, anytime you put the wireless earbuds in your ears, they automatically connect to your iPhone! But how do you pair your AirPods with a Mac?

For reasons known only to Apple, the Mac doesn’t offer the same ease of use with AirPods that iOS devices do. What’s even more interesting about pairing the two devices; your AirPods will pair with all of your iCloud-enabled Apple devices after the initial setup.

Fortunately, we’ve tested the steps and learned everything about pairing AirPods to Macs so that we can teach you! Without further ado, let’s connect your AirPods to your Mac!

Get Your AirPods Ready to Pair to Your Mac

It’s no wonder people like to use their AirPods with their Macs. Aside from streaming music, they’re the perfect wireless solution for conference calls or watching videos because they cancel background noises and emit only the sounds you want to hear!

Perhaps you already tried pairing your AirPods to your Mac and failed. So, let’s review some things to ensure you can connect your AirPods seamlessly:

  • Make sure your AirPods case is charged
  • Ensure both earbuds are in the AirPods case
  • If you try pairing with only one AirPod in the case, the following instructions won’t work.
  • Get in Bluetooth range (approximately 30 feet)

If your AirPods don’t have the charge to support the pairing process, aren’t in their case, or aren’t close enough to your Mac, you won’t see them on the available devices list. After checking off the prerequisites above, it’s time to connect your AirPods to your Mac.

How to Pair AirPods to Mac

Those unfamiliar with macOS are likely to struggle with the pairing process. To start, you need to go to the System Preferences, but unlike PCs and iPhones, there’s no Settings option. Next, you have to figure out how to make your AirPods discoverable, and those steps vary depending on the model.

While the AirPod rules may seem overwhelming on the surface, the pairing process is relatively straightforward; just follow these steps!

Step 1: Put Your AirPods in Pairing Mode

Pairing Mode makes your AirPods discoverable. Essentially, it activates the Bluetooth connection between your AirPods and nearby devices. Pairing Mode works differently on each model AirPod, but it’s characterized by a white flashing light on all models.

If you’re using the AirPods models with two earbuds (the traditional AirPods and the AirPods Pro), open the case and hold the only physical button on the case. Be sure to leave your AirPod’s buds seated correctly in the case.

AirPod Max users need to press and hold the Noise Control button on the headphone. This button is the elongated button across from the Digital Crown.

When your AirPods go into pairing mode, we need to act quickly to pair them. Hold the button pairing for 5 or 6 seconds until the light flashes white. If the pairing mode turns off during the process, reactivate it by following the steps above.

AirPod Pairing
If you’re using the AirPods models with two earbuds (the traditional AirPods and the AirPods Pro), open the case and hold the only physical button on the case.


Step 2: Click the Apple Icon

Unlock your Mac or open your MacBook to begin the pairing process. macOS devices don’t have a traditional Bluetooth Settings option like the iPhone. You won’t see an icon with the Settings cog.

Instead, click on the Apple icon in the top left corner. This menu will open a small dropdown box in the upper left corner of your Mac.

Pair AirPods
Click on the Apple icon in the top left corner.


Step 3: Click System Preferences

Your computer’s System Preferences are the main control center for your Mac or MacBook. In the dropdown menu that appears, click System Preferences.

Pair AirPods
In the dropdown menu that appears, click System Preferences.


Step 4: Click Bluetooth

Now you’ll see a lot of icons, from Network to account management selections; click on the Bluetooth icon.

Pair AirPods
Click on the Bluetooth icon.


Step 5: Click Connect

You’ll see a list of Bluetooth devices. When your AirPods are ready to pair, they’ll appear at the bottom of the list. Click on your AirPods.

This is a quick video we recommend to see the convenient different ways to pair your AirPods with a Mac.

How to Connect Your Airpods to Mac After Pairing

After your AirPods initial pairing process, they can connect to your Mac anytime you put them in your ears or take them out of the case. But if your iPhone is nearby and unlocked, the automatic pairing process is hit or miss.

However, there are only a couple of steps to connect them to your Mac if they don’t connect automatically.

Step 1: Click the Bluetooth Icon in the Upper Right Corner

With your AirPods out of their case and in your ears, your Mac should detect them and immediately connect. If they don’t, you can click on the Bluetooth icon in your Mac’s upper right corner to access your paired devices and connect them.

Click on the Bluetooth icon in the upper right corner.

Step 2: Choose Your AirPods

Now, you’ll see a list of connected Bluetooth devices. Select your AirPods.

Remember that your AirPods’ name matches that of the first device they connected to (unless you changed the name), so your AirPods may have the name of your iPhone or iPad.

When the two devices connect, you’ll hear a confirmation tone. You will also see your AirPod’s battery life, and the AirPod icon will turn blue in the Bluetooth menu, letting you know they paired correctly.

When you don’t see your AirPods in the Bluetooth dropdown menu, select System Preferences and retrace the steps above to re-pair them.

Pair AirPods
When your AirPods are ready to pair, they’ll appear at the bottom of the list. Click on your AirPods



Mac & AirPods: Connected

When paired with your Mac or MacBook, you can make calls, listen to your favorite music, and host meetings without external disturbances. Newer AirPod models can even activate Siri with voice commands!

Pairing the two devices, although not as easy as on an iOS device, is still a quick and easy process. All you need to do is walk through the steps above, and you can use your AirPods with your Mac in seconds!

Up Next

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Hey Siri work with my AirPods on my Mac?

Yes. But only certain models and you must enable the feature. Newer generations of Apple’s AirPods let you activate Siri by saying, “Hey, Siri.”

Why don't I see my AirPods?

There are a few possible reasons why you don’t see your AirPods in the Bluetooth device list. Your AirPods may have a different name than you’re expecting because it kept the name of another companion device.

Your AirPods may not have the battery life to support pairing, or one of the buds is missing.

Sometimes you need to restart your Mac or reset your AirPods and attempt the pairing process again.


How do I reset my AirPods?

You can’t factory reset your AirPods (in the traditional sense). But you can forget them. Open the Bluetooth Settings on your Mac and click the x icon to the right of your AirPods. Then, select Remove in the dialogue box that appears.

You can also forget your AirPods on your iPhone by navigating Settings>Bluetooth>i icon>Forget Device.

How do I pair my AirPods to my Mac if an earbud is missing?

If an earbud is missing, your AirPods will not activate pairing mode. They’re essentially useless at that point. If you can’t find the missing earbud, you can order a replacement from Apple.

How do I change my AirPod's Settings on a Mac?

You can change your AirPod’s functions and commands in the Bluetooth Settings on your Mac. Connect your AirPods and wear the headset. Then, open the Bluetooth Settings and click Options to the right of your AirPods.

Here, you can enable Siri, change the tap feature to play or pause a song, skip to the next track, and more!

How do I make my AirPods connect to my Mac automatically?

Based on our tests, our AirPods didn’t always connect to our Macs automatically. But if it never works for you, be sure to enable the feature in your Mac’s Bluetooth Settings.

Follow the steps above to navigate through System Preferences and Bluetooth Settings. Wear your AirPods and click Options. Then, click the dropdown menu next to Connect to this Mac and select Automatically.

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