How to Connect AirPods to a MacBook
So long as your Mac and AirPods are compatible, connecting the two devices to listen to music or video chat is super simple. And even if you encounter some problems, there are only a few steps needed to pair them and start enjoying your favorite audio again.
This article will give you quick tutorials on how to do it on MacBooks. But the same steps apply to other Mac computers, assuming they run the correct version of the software.
Without further ado, let’s dive right in.
How to Connect AirPods to a MacBook
This section assumes your AirPods aren’t linked to your iPhone or iPad. Regardless, you can easily connect them to a MacBook. Here are the steps:
- Put the AirPods in the case with the lid open.
- Press the setup button and wait for the status light to flash white (the light inside the case between the Airpods). That shows the device is ready for pairing.
- Launch System Preferences on your Macbook and choose Bluetooth.
- The AirPods should show up on the device list. Select Connect.
After pairing, all you need to do is wake up your Macbook and put your Airpods in your ear. The Airpods will connect automatically.
When your iPhone is already connected, you can start using AirPods in two clicks.
- Open the case.
- Click on the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar of your screen.
- You should see your Airpods on the list.
- You can also open the Bluetooth Preferences for more options.
Note: Your Mac needs Handoff support, and you must use the same Apple ID on both devices. Handoff-compatible MacBooks start from the MacBook Pro mid-2012 and onwards. The same goes for late-2012 iMacs and Mid-2011 Mac Minis.
Reconnecting your AirPods to a MacBook or any other compatible Mac is typically simple. Of course, this is possible so long as the two devices are compatible, up-to-date, and use the same Apple ID.
That out of the way, the next thing you should do is:
- Open the AirPods case lid with the headphones inside.
- Depress the Setup button on the back of the case and wait for the green light to turn white.
- Let the button go; the light will continue flashing to indicate the AirPods are ready to pair.
- AirPods automatically show on compatible Mac.
- Open Bluetooth on your Mac, select AirPods, and you can start using them.
Connection Getting Rejected?
There are a couple of things to check to determine why the connection is rejected. And you might need to reset your AirPods.
First, check the compatibility of the AirPods with your MacBook. For example, AirPods 2nd Gen. work only with macOS 10.14.4 and later software iterations. And if you’re an AirPods 1st Gen user, you’ll need macOS Sierra or a newer macOS.
If the software is incompatible, run an update from System Preferences before reconnecting the AirPods.
But, if you can see the AirPods under the Bluetooth devices list and they won’t connect, do the following.
- Highlight the AirPods in the list and select X on the right side to remove them.
- Put the AirPods in the case and open the lid.
- Place the case close to your MacBook.
- They should connect to the computer automatically and appear in the Bluetooth devices list.
Sometimes, that doesn’t work, and you’ll need to reset the AirPods.
How to Reset AirPods
- Put the AirPods in the case, close it, and wait about 30 seconds.
- Open the lid and go to Bluetooth under System Preferences on your Mac.
- Select your AirPods from the Device list.
- Click Forget This Device and confirm your action.
- Open the AirPods case lid and depress the setup button for 15 seconds. The light will flash amber, then white when they’re ready for pairing.
- Go back to Bluetooth settings, select your AirPods, and test them.
Let your AirPods Max charge for a while before resetting them. Then, take these steps:
- Depress the Digital Crown and the Noise Control button for about 15 seconds.
- The Status light will flash amber, then white.
- Release the buttons and proceed to reconnect the AirPods Max via Bluetooth settings on your Mac.
Sometimes, just rebooting these AirPods does the trick.
- Depress the Digital Crown and Noise Control buttons until the Signal light flashes amber.
- Release the buttons and wait until the AirPods reconnect to your Mac.
Note: Resetting AirPods Max, or any other model, reverts everything to the original factory settings. This means you’d need to go back to AirPods settings on your mobile device and tweak the preferences to your liking.
Your AirPods may support Siri, and you could be asked to help improve Dictation and Siri. If so, do the following.
- Click Enable when prompted to start using Siri with AirPods.
- To improve Dictation and Siri, select Share Audio Recordings.
You can always choose not to share the recordings by clicking Not Now. But if you decide to do it, know that Apple will analyze samples of the AI interactions with your Mac to improve performance.
Also, it’s possible to change these preferences later by doing the following:
- Launch System Preferences and click Security & Privacy.
- Click the Lock icon in the lower left corner and input your password.
- Go to the Privacy tab and select Analytics & Improvements from the side menu.
- Uncheck the Improve Siri & Dictation box, and that’s it.
If you’re worried about privacy, you can also delete your recording history.
- In System Preferences, select Siri.
- Choose Delete Siri & Dictation History and confirm the selection.
It’s worth stressing that none of the additional steps affect your connection with AirPods.
Frequently Asked Questions
This section answers more questions you may have about setting up your Airpods.
Why can’t I use Hey Siri when I’m using my Airpods?
If Hey Siri isn’t working when you’re using your Airpods, it’s likely because the option is disabled in your Mac’s System Preferences. Here’s how to enable the feature:
1. Click the Apple icon in the far upper left corner of your Mac.
2. Click System Preferences.
3. Click Siri.
4. Click the checkbox next to Enable Ask Siri.
Enjoy Your AirPods
The great thing about connecting AirPods is that similar steps to fix the connection apply if you’re pairing the wireless headphones with mobile devices: you simply remove or forget the device via Bluetooth settings and follow the same actions to restart or reset the AirPods via their case.
However, you shouldn’t forget to check if your iOS is up to date to ensure you can establish the connection.