How to Connect AirPods to a Microsoft Surface

And what to do if they won't connect

What to Know

  • Open the AirPods case and press the sync button on the AirPods case until the light flashes.
  • Go to Bluetooth Settings, turn on Bluetooth, add a device, and choose your AirPods.
  • To switch sound output, select the Speaker icon on your taskbar, then select the arrow next to the volume control.

This explains how to connect your Apple AirPods to your Microsoft Surface. The instructions apply to all Microsoft Surface models running Windows 11 and Windows 10.

How to Pair Apple AirPods to a Microsoft Surface

The steps are a little different depending on which version of Windows your Microsoft Surface is running.

Windows 11

Here’s how to connect your AirPods to a Windows 11 Microsoft Surface.

  1. Right-click the Windows icon on the taskbar.

    The Windows icon highlighted on the Window 11 taskbar
  2. Select Settings.

    Settings highlighted in the Windows 11 taskbar
  3. Select Bluetooth & devices.

    Bluetooth & devices highlighted in the Windows 11 settings menu
  4. Select the Bluetooth toggle if it isn’t already on.

    The disabled Bluetooth toggle highlighted in Bluetooth & devices in Windows 11.
  5. Select + Add device.

    + Add device highlighted in Bluetooth & devices in Windows 11
  6. Place the AirPods in their case, and then open the case.

    AirPods Pro in an open case.
     Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire
  7. Press and hold the button on your AirPods case.

    The pairing button on an AirPods Pro case

     Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire

  8. When the light flashes white, release the button.

    The light may be inside your case or on the front of the case.

    The white flashing light on an AirPods Pro case

     Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire

  9. On your Windows 11 PC, select Bluetooth.

    Bluetooth highlighted in the add a device menu in Windows 11
  10. Wait for your PC to search for devices, then choose your AirPods when they appear in the list.

    Jeremy Laukkonen's AirPods Pro highlighted in the Windows 11 add a device menu
  11. Wait for the connection to be established, then select Done.

    Done highlighted in the Windows 11 add a device menu

Windows 10

Here’s how to connect your AirPods to a Windows 10 Microsoft Surface.

  1. Open the Windows 10 Action Center on your Surface.

    Windows 10 desktop on a Microsoft Surface Pro with Action Center icon highlighted

    You can do this by swiping in from the right side of the screen or by selecting its icon in the Windows 10 taskbar.

  2. Check that Bluetooth is turned on. If Bluetooth’s turned off, select its icon from the Action Center, so it’s highlighted.

    Windows 10 Action Center with Bluetooth highlighted
  3. Select All settings.

    Windows 10 Action Center on a Surface Pro with Bluetooth turned on and All Settings highlighted
  4. Select Devices.

    Windows 10 Settings with Devices highlighted
  5. Select Add Bluetooth & other device.

    Windows 10 Bluetooth device settings with "Add Bluetooth or other device" highlighted
  6. Select Bluetooth.

    Bluetooth device settings in Windows 10 with Bluetooth highlighted
  7. Open the AirPods’ case (keep the AirPods inside). Firmly press the button on the back of the AirPods’ case until the light on its front begins to flash. Doing this will make them discoverable by your Surface.

    An open Apple Airpods case with the Sync button showing with a Microsoft Surface Pro in the background..
  8. Select your AirPods from the list of Bluetooth devices.

    Apple Airpods highlighted in a list of Bluetooth devices on a Surface Pro.

    If you've previously given your AirPods a custom name, that name should appear on this list.

  9. Select Done.

    Apple Airpods paired with a Surface Pro running Windows 10 with Done highlighted

How to Switch Sound Output on a Microsoft Surface

If you want to use your AirPods to listen to music or videos, you’ll need to switch audio outputs. This may happen automatically the first time your AirPods connect, but you can also do it manually if you have an issue where audio isn't coming from the AirPods.

Windows 11

Here’s how to change the audio output on a Windows 11 Surface:

  1. Take your AirPods out of the case.

    AirPods Pro removed from their case next to an HP laptop.
    Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire
  2. Select the Speaker icon on the taskbar.

    The speaker icon highlighted on the Windows 11 taskbar
  3. Select the > icon to the right of the volume control.

    The > icon to the right of the volume control highlighted in Windows 11

    If the Bluetooth button is grayed out, it means Bluetooth has been turned off. Select the Bluetooth button to turn it on.

  4. Select Headphones (AirPods) in the list of devices.

    Headphones (AirPods Pro) highlighted in the Windows 11 audio device menu
  5. When your AirPods are selected in this menu, it means they’re connected, ready to use, and set as the default audio source on your Windows 11 PC.

Windows 10

Here’s how to change the audio output on a Windows 10 Surface:

  1. Take your AirPods out of the case.

    AirPods Pro removed from their case next to an HP laptop.
    Jeremy Laukkonen / Lifewire
  2. Select the Speaker icon on your taskbar.

    The speaker icon highlighted in the Windows 10 taskbar.
  3. Select the dropdown menu.

    Speaker / Headphone (realtek audio) highlighted in the Windows audio selection menu.
  4. Select Headphones (AirPods Stereo). You can now use your AirPods with your laptop.

    Headphones (Jeremy Laukkonen's AirPods Pro Stereo) highlighted in Windows playback device options.

Why Won't My AirPods Connect to My Surface Pro?

There are several potential reasons your Apple AirPods aren’t connecting to your Surface Pro or other Surface devices properly.

  • Bluetooth is disabled on your Surface. Turn Bluetooth back on via the Windows 10 Action Center.
  • You connected the AirPods to something else. Apple AirPods often stay connected to the first synced device they detect when activated. Remove them from the other device or turn that device’s Bluetooth off to disconnect them.
  • You connected your Surface to something else. Your Surface Pro might already be streaming audio to a speaker or pair of headphones. Disconnect that other device or turn it off. 
  • The batteries may be flat. Make sure to charge your AirPods daily, so they have plenty of battery life, and place them back in their case so they don’t accidentally turn on and use all their power when not in use.
  • Your Surface isn’t seeing your AirPods. To fix this, place your AirPods in their case, close the lid, and then open it again.
  • Windows 10 is glitching. Restart your Surface and troubleshoot Windows Bluetooth.
  • Your AirPods could be fake. The chances of this happening are slim if you bought your AirPods from an Apple Store, but if you got them from a reseller, your AirPods could be fake or damaged.
FAQ
  • How do I connect AirPods to my Surface Pro 6?

    Connecting AirPods to a Surface Pro 6 involves the same steps as connecting AirPods to all other Surface models. Open the AirPods case and hold the sync button to put it into pairing mode. Then, go to Settings, turn on Bluetooth, and select your AirPods from the list.

  • Can I connect my AirPods to a Windows tablet?

    Yes. The process is the same as connecting Bluetooth headphones to a Windows PC. Open your AirPods charging case, press and hold the pairing button, launch Bluetooth on your device, and then select your AirPods.

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