How to Connect AirPods or AirPods Pro To Your MacBook

Pairing Apple wireless earbuds to a Mac laptop

What to Know

  • Minimum Requirements: AirPods Pro (10.15.1 Catalina), 2nd Gen. (10.14.4 Mojave), 1st Gen. (10.12 Sierra).
  • Open System Preferences > Bluetooth > Turn Bluetooth On > open charging case lid > hold setup button.
  • Next, select AirPods from Bluetooth devices list > Connect.

This article explains how to connect AirPods and AirPods Pro to newer MacBook models running macOS 10.12 Sierra andnewer.

Before You Begin: What You Need

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

How to Connect AirPods to Your MacBook

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

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

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

    Bluetooth in System Preferences
  3. In the Bluetooth preferences, select 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
  6. When the AirPods appear in the Bluetooth preferences window on the Mac, select 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 the audio.

To control AirPods features, go to Bluetooth preferences window and select Options. You can 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. In upper-left corner, select Apple menu, then select System Preferences.

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

    The Sound heading in System Preferences
  3. Select 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, select it and then select 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 don'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.

  • Why are my AirPods not connecting to my MacBook?

    If your AirPods won't connect to your MacBook, make sure the AirPods are charged and check for any macOS updates. On your MacBook, turn on Bluetooth and choose the AirPods as your output device.

  • How do I connect two pairs of AirPods to my MacBook?

    Pair each set of AirPods to your MacBook first (so that they both appear as a different device). Open Audio MIDI Setup (in Applications or Utilities) > plus (+) > Create Multi-Output Device > select both sets of AirPods. Open System Preferences > Sound > select the newly-created output device.

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