How to Connect AirPods or AirPods Pro To Your MacBook

Pairing Apple wireless earbuds to a Mac laptop

Apple presents AirPods as an on-the-go accessory for your iPhone. But you can connect AirPods and AirPods Pro to MacBooks, too.

Before You Begin: 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 second-generation AirPods, the Mac needs macOS X 10.14.4 (Mojave) or higher.
    • For first-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. Just be sure the laptop is running the correct version of the macOS for your AirPods.

How to Connect AirPods to Your MacBook

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

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top left corner and select System Preferences.

    The System Preferences command under the Apple menu
  2. In System Preferences, click Bluetooth.

    Bluetooth in System Preferences
  3. In the Bluetooth preferences, click Turn Bluetooth On. Leave this window open.

    The "Turn Bluetooth On" button
  4. Put both AirPods in the charging case and open the lid.

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

    Airpods set up button
    Apple 
  6. When the AirPods appear in the Bluetooth preferences window on the Mac, click Connect.

    The Connect button
  7. 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. Select System Preferences under the Apple menu.

    The System Preferences command under the Apple menu
  2. Click Sound.

    The Sound heading in System Preferences
  3. Click the Output tab.

    The Output tab in Sound preferences
  4. Check the box next to Show volume in menu bar.

    The "Show volume in menu bar" option
  5. When the volume control appears in the top right corner of your MacBook, click it and then click your AirPods.

    Select your AirPods under the volume menu

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 Windows 10 PCs and the Apple TV.

If your 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.

If You've Already Connected AirPods to an iPhone

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 in to iCloud using the same Apple ID, the Mac may also connect to the AirPods on its own. In that case, select the AirPods from the Bluetooth or Volume Control menus in the top-right corner to play audio to them.

The Output Device setting

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