How to Connect AirPods To Your MacBook

Pairing Apple wireless earbuds to a Mac laptop

A MacBook Air with the AirPods webpage displayed on it

Apple Inc.

Everyone knows that AirPods are a great on-the-go accessory for your iPhone, but did you know you can connect AirPods to MacBooks too? You can, and it's a super simple way to get great sounding wireless audio when you're working at your laptop.

What You Need

To connect AirPods to your Mac, you need the following things:

  • Any recent MacBook model.
  • AirPods
    • For AirPods Pro, the Mac needs macOS X 10.15.1 (Catalina) or higher.
    • For 2nd Generation AirPods, the Mac needs macOS X 10.14.4 (Mojave) or higher.
    • For 1st Generation AirPods, the Mac needs macOS X 10.12 (Sierra) or higher.

The instructions in this article apply to all kinds of MacBooks: MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and MacBook. The key thing is that the laptop needs to be running the right version of the macOS for your AirPods. As long as you have that, you'll be fine. These instructions will also work with your desktop Mac too!

If You've Already Connected AirPods to an iPhone

An iPhone and AirPods resting on a piece of wood
EnDyk/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus

If you've already connected your AirPods to an iPhone, your Mac may automatically detect and connect to the AirPods without you having to do anything at all.

If your iPhone and Mac are both signed into iCloud using the same Apple ID, the Mac may recognize and connect to the AirPods on its own. In that case, just select the AirPods from the Bluetooth or Volume Control menus in the top right corner to play audio to them.

If that doesn't work, or if these AirPods are brand new and haven't been connected to anything, follow the instructions in the next section.

How to Connect AirPods to Your MacBook

Connecting AirPods to a MacBook is just like connecting any other Bluetooth headphones to your Mac. Here's what you need to do:

  1. On your MacBook, click the Apple menu in the top left corner.

    Screenshot of selecting System Preferences menu on Mac
  2. Click System Preferences.

  3. In System Preferences, click Bluetooth.

    Screenshot of macOS System Preferences window
  4. In the Bluetooth preferences, click Turn Bluetooth On. Leave this window open.

  5. Put both AirPods in the charging case and open the lid.

  6. Hold down the setup button on the back of the AirPods case until the status light starts to blink white.

  7. When the AirPods appear in the Bluetooth preferences window on the Mac, click Connect.

    Screenshot of connecting airpods to a mac
  8. When the AirPods are connected to your Mac, they'll move to the top of the list of Bluetooth devices. You can now use them to listen to audio.

The Options button in the Bluetooth preferences window lets you control the features of the AirPods. Click it to control what action a double tap of each AirPods triggers, whether to automatically use AirPods as microphones, and more.

How to Change Mac Audio Output to AirPods

Usually, your MacBook will automatically connect to your AirPods and set the audio from the computer to play to them. If that doesn't happen, here's what to do to send audio to your AirPods:

  1. Click the Apple menu -> System Preferences -> Sound.

    Screenshot of macOS System Preferences window
  2. Click the Output tab.

    Screenshot of audio output settings on the Mac
  3. Check the box next to Show volume in menu bar.

  4. When the volume control appears in the top right corner of your MacBook, click it and then click your AirPods.

    Screenshot of selecting audio output on Mac

How to Connect AirPods to Other Devices

AirPods don't just work with the iPhone and MacBooks. They work with basically anything that supports Bluetooth, including a Windows 10 PC and AppleTV.

If you AirPods won't connect to any of these devices, some simple AirPod troubleshooting tips might help you get them back online and get your audio flowing again.