How to Connect AirPods to a MacBook Air

Pair AirPods and MacBook when packing light

What to Know

  • Connect AirPods to MacBook Air: Turn on Bluetooth, press button on AirPods case > click AirPods in the Bluetooth menu > Connect.
  • To connect multiple pairs of AirPods to a MacBook Air, follow the steps to connect both pairs > open the Audio MIDI Setup app > Create a Multi-Output Device with both sets of AirPods > in the Sounds preferences, select the new Multi-Output Device.
  • If your AirPods won't connect, make sure they're charged, Bluetooth is enabled on MacBook Air, and then try our troubleshooting steps.

This article explains how to connect AirPods to a MacBook Air, to create a light, portable pair for mobile work and listening to audio.

Before You Begin: What You Need

To connect AirPods to a MacBook Air, here's what you need:

  • Any recent MacBook Air model.
  • For AirPods Pro or AirPods Max, the MacBook Air needs macOS X 10.15.1 (Catalina) or higher.
  • For second-generation AirPods, the MacBook Air needs macOS X 10.14.4 (Mojave) or higher.
  • For first-generation AirPods, the MacBook Air needs macOS X 10.12 (Sierra) or higher.

How Do I Connect My Apple AirPods to My MacBook Air?

Connecting AirPods to a MacBook Air is pretty simple. Just a few clicks and button presses and you'll be listening to wireless audio. Here's what to do:

If you've already connected these AirPods to an iPhone, and the iPhone and MacBook Air are signed into the same iCloud account, you should be able to skip these steps. The AirPods should already be set up on the Mac. Just put the AirPods in your ears, click the Bluetooth menu, click the name of the AirPods, and then click Connect.

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top left corner, then click System Preferences.

    The System Preferences menu under the Apple menu
  2. Click Bluetooth.

    The Bluetooth option in System Preferences
  3. Click Turn Bluetooth On. Keep this window open for the next few steps.

    The "Turn Bluetooth On" button in the Bluetooth preferences
  4. With both AirPods in the charging case, open the lid. Press the button on the AirPods case until the status light starts to blink.

    The setup button on the AirPods case
  5. In a moment, the AirPods will appear in the Bluetooth preferences window. Click Connect.

    The "Connect" button in the Bluetooth preferences window
  6. In a moment, the AirPods will be connected to your MacBook Air and you'll be ready to listen to audio.

    To use the AirPods with your MacBook Air in the future, you won't need all of these steps. Just put the AirPods in your ears, click the Bluetooth menu in the top right corner of the screen, click the name of the AirPods, and then click Connect.

Can You Connect Two Pairs of AirPods to One MacBook Air?

Got a friend who wants to hear whatever you're listening to? You can connect two pairs of AirPods to one MacBook Air. To do so, follow the steps from the last section to connect both sets of AirPods to the MacBook Air.

Now, things get a little more complicated. Because the macOS doesn't support audio output to two pairs of AirPods, you need a workaround. Here's what to do:

  1. Go to the Finder > Utilities > and launch Audio MIDI Setup.

    Screenshot of the Finder showing the Audio MIDI Setup app
  2. Click the + and click Create Multi-Output Device.

    Screenshot of the Audio MIDI Setup app
  3. Check the box next to the two sets of AirPods. In the Master Device drop down, choose your AirPods. Check the Drift Correction box next to your friend's AirPods.

    Screenshot of creating the multi-output device in the Audio MIDI Setup app
  4. Go to the Apple menu > System Preferences > Sound > Multi-Output Device. With that done, the MacBook Air's audio is sent to both sets of AirPods.

    Screenshot of the Sound settings using the dual output option

Why Won't My AirPods Connect to My MacBook Air?

If you've followed the steps from this article and your AirPods won't connect to your MacBook Air, or you're not hearing audio from them, try these steps to fix it:

  • Turn Bluetooth on and off. Click the Bluetooth menu in the top right corner > click Turn Off Bluetooth > then click Turn on Bluetooth.
  • Remove AirPods and set them up again. Click the Apple menu > System Preferences > Bluetooth > hover over the AirPods > click the X > set up the AirPods again.
  • Charge AirPods. Put the AirPods into their case and plug the AirPods into a computer or power adapter to recharge the AirPods.
  • Check out our other AirPods troubleshooting tips: Why Won't My AirPods Connect? and How to Fix AirPods When They're Not Working.
FAQ
  • How do I connect AirPods to a MacBook Air running OS X El Capitan?

    Apple recommends that your Mac should be running macOS Sierra for successful AirPods pairing. If you've tried Bluetooth pairing without much luck, check for macOS Sierra support on your Mac model. Follow this guide for tips on smoothly upgrading to macOS Sierra from El Capitan or an older operating system.

  • How do I connect my AirPods to my MacBook Air and iPhone?

    Use the above steps to pair your AirPods with your MacBook Air. Then connect your AirPods to your iPhone by activating Bluetooth with your AirPods nearby and pressing and holding the setup button. If you're running iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur, your AirPods may automatically switch between devices—but you can turn off AirPods auto-switching if you want.

Was this page helpful?