How to Connect Bose Headphones to a Mac

Pair your headphones via the Mac’s Bluetooth preferences

What to Know

  • Go to System Preferences > Sound > Bluetooth > Turn Bluetooth On.
  • Long-press the power button on your Bose headphones to enter pairing mode and select Connect.
  • Power off/on Bluetooth on your Mac if your Bose headphones don’t appear from the list of available devices and try again.

This article walks through the steps for pairing Bose wireless headphones with a Mac via macOS Bluetooth preferences. These instructions apply to Macs running macOS Big Sur (11.0), macOS Catalina (10.15), and macOS Mojave (10.14).

How to Pair Bose Headphones to Macs

Use the Bluetooth preferences to set up and use any set of wireless Bose headphones with your Mac.

  1. Open System Preferences > Sound.

    System Preferences option from Apple drop-down menu on Mac

    You can also access Bluetooth settings from the menu bar. Select the Bluetooth icon and then choose Open Bluetooth Preferences.

  2. Select Bluetooth.

    Bluetooth icon from System Preferences on macOS
  3. Ensure Bluetooth is on. If it isn’t, choose Turn Bluetooth On to activate it.

    Bluetooth set to on in the macOS Bluetooth preferences dialog box
  4. Long-press the power button on your Bose headphones to enter pairing mode.

    You’ll know your headphones are in pairing mode when you see the blinking status light near the Bluetooth icon.

  5. Look for your headphones at the bottom portion of the Devices box and select Connect next to your device.

    Connect option next to an available wireless device from macOS Bluetooth preferences
  6. Find your Bose headphones listed at the top of the Devices box with the Connected message underneath the name.

    Connected message listed below a connected Bluetooth device from macOS Bluetooth preferences

    If you don't see your Bose headphones from the available devices list, turn Bluetooth off and on again on your Mac and re-enter pairing mode on your headphones.

Customize Bose Headphones Settings on Your Mac

Once you’ve connected your Bose headphones, you can customize system sounds and sound settings for your headphones.

  1. Open System Preferences > Sound.

    Sound icon highlighted from macOS System Preferences

    You can also get to this menu from the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar. Hover over the name of your Bose headphones under Devices and then choose Open Sound Preferences.

  2. From the Sound Effects tab, select the sound you’d like to receive for alerts. Highlight the name to select it and adjust the volume by moving the indicator on the Alert volume bar.

    Sound Effects options from the Sound settings on macOS

    To preview the sound, double-click the name of the sound effect.

  3. Select Output and use the toggle bars to adjust Balance and Output volume.

    Output options for connected devices from macOS Sound settings

    You can also adjust the output volume from the other two tabs in the Sound dialog box: Sound Effects and Input.

  4. From the Input tab, adjust the input volume by moving the toggle left or right.

    Input volume settings for sound devices on macOS

    Double-click the microphone icons to turn the input level up or down. Ensure you don’t have the input level turned down entirely if you want to use the built-in microphone on your headphones.

How to Disconnect Bose Headphones From a Mac

If you use multiple pairs of Bose or Bluetooth headphones, it’s easy to switch between them. Disconnect the model you’re not using while still maintaining the pairing connection.

  1. Open the Bluetooth menu and select Open Bluetooth Preferences.

    Open Bluetooth Preferences option from the Bluetooth menu icon
  2. Select and right-click the name of your connected Bose headphones and choose Disconnect. Your headphones will still appear in the top portion of the Devices list with Not Connected underneath it.

    Disconnect option from a connected Bluetooth device on macOS

    Another approach: Select the Bluetooth menu icon, click the name of your headphones, and select Disconnect.

    Disconnect option from the Bluetooth icon on a Mac's menu bar
  3. To reconnect, right-click the name and select Connect.

How to Unpair Bose Headphones from Your Mac

Whether you need to unpair due to connectivity issues or otherwise, the process is fast.

  1. Open System Preferences > Bluetooth.

  2. Select your headphones from Devices, right-click the name, and select Remove.

    Remove option to unpair a device from macOS Bluetooth preferences
  3. A dialog box appears confirming you will need to pair your headphones to use them again. Select Remove to confirm the deletion.

    Remove dialog box to confirm unpairing of a connected Bluetooth device on macOS

    You can also advance this process by highlighting the name of your headphones under Devices and selecting the x icon, which appears to the right of its name.

  • Is the Bose Connect app available for Mac?

    No. The Bose Connect app is only available for iOS and Android.

  • Why won't my Bose headphones connect to Mac?

    If you're having trouble pairing your Bose headphones, try cycling the power off and on by holding the Power button for two seconds until you hear the tones. Then, power them back on by pressing and releasing the Power button. You can also try clearing the headphones' pairing list by pressing and holding the Power button for 10 seconds until you hear "Bluetooth device list cleared."

  • How do you reset Bose headphones?

    Reset your Bose headphones by powering them off for 30 seconds. Then, plug them into a USB power supply and wait five seconds. Next, unplug the cord from the headphones and wait one minute. Then, turn them on and make sure they're working properly.

  • How do you clean Bose headphones?

    You can clean your headphones using a soft, damp cloth to gently wipe the outside surfaces. Use water and mild soap only, and don't submerge the headphones in any liquid. If dirt or debris gets into the headset earcups, you can use tweezers to carefully remove it. Don't use a vacuum on the openings or blow air into them.

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