How to Fix AirPods That Won't Connect

Causes range from being out of range to Bluetooth issues

AirPods are easy to set up and usually work seamlessly. However, occasionally, AirPods have trouble connecting to a paired iPhone, iPad, or computer due to problems with Bluetooth, the charge level, and more. Luckily, getting AirPods to connect to your devices is relatively easy. We'll explore the most effective ways to fix AirPods that won't connect.

This article applies to all AirPods models and devices running iOS 12 and later, as well as macOS. It assumes that you've already set up your AirPods with an iPhone, iOS, or Mac or paired your AirPods with an Android phone.

Causes for AirPods Not Connecting to a Device

When AirPods don't connect to their paired device, they may be out of range. Bluetooth devices must be within a couple of dozen feet of each other to connect. So, if your iPhone is in the house and you're mowing the lawn 200 feet away, your AirPods won't be able to connect. Try keeping the two devices relatively close together for a better connection.

Other reasons AirPods won't connect include Bluetooth issues, an audio output error, or software issues.

How to Fix Connection Problems With AirPods

Start with the easiest fixes first before moving on to extensive troubleshooting. You'll likely have your AirPods connected and working again in no time.

  1. Move your AirPods and iPhone closer together. Since most AirPods connection issues are caused by distance, try placing your AirPods and iPhone (or other device) in close proximity. Try to connect them again.

  2. Check your AirPods battery life. Your AirPods may not be connecting to your iPhone or other device because the battery needs to be charged. Place your AirPods in their case and use the included cable to charge them. Wait about 15 minutes for the AirPods to recharge, and then try connecting them again.

  3. Ensure Bluetooth is enabled on your iPhone. AirPods connect via Bluetooth, so your iPhone, iPad, or other device must have Bluetooth turned on for your AirPods to connect. Tap the Bluetooth icon in your iPhone or iPad Control Center to turn it on.

  4. Reset Bluetooth on your iPhone. If Bluetooth is on but your AirPods still won't connect, you may need to reset Bluetooth on your device. Turn Bluetooth on and off, and then try reconnecting your AirPods.

  5. Reset your iPhone. Sometimes the only way to fix stubborn problems with your iPhone (or other device) and its accessories is to restart it. If the problem is a one-off glitch in your software, a restart may solve it. Reset your device and try pairing your AirPods again.

  6. Update your iOS version. If a restart didn't get your AirPods connected again, your iPhone's software may still be the culprit. Ensure you're running the latest version of the operating system for your device since it may include bug fixes or crucial software changes.

    If you're pairing your AirPods with an iPad or MacBook, learn how to update your iPad OS and update your MacBook's macOS.

  7. Connect your AirPods again. If none of the other troubleshooting steps have worked, try connecting your AirPods to your device again. With the AirPods inside, close the AirPod case. Wait 15 seconds. Open the lid of the case. If the status light flashes white, your AirPods are ready to connect.

  8. Hard reset your AirPods. If your AirPods still won't connect, you may need to remove them from your iPhone or other device and set them up again like they're brand new. Go to Settings > Bluetooth. Tap the i next to your AirPods and tap Forget This Device. Set them up again as if they're new.

    Learn to set up your AirPods again on a Mac if you're pairing them with your Mac computer.

  9. Contact Apple Support. If you've followed all of these steps and your AirPods still won't connect to your iPhone, Mac, or other device, contact Apple for help. You can get support from Apple online or in person at your nearest Apple Store. Make sure to make a reservation at the Apple Store before going to ensure you don't have to wait for service.

What if AirPods Are Connected, But There's No Sound?

If your AirPods are connected but you're not hearing any audio, you may be sending audio to the wrong output source (like a Bluetooth speaker or another set of headphones). To confirm that you're sending audio to the AirPods, follow these steps:

  1. Open Control Center and tap the Music controls in the top right corner.

  2. In the expanded Music controls, you'll see a list of all possible audio outputs. If AirPods aren't selected, tap them.

    iPhone Control Center with audio output and AirPods highlighted
  3. Try playing music again and see if the AirPods work now.

You may also have an iPhone stuck in headphone mode even if no headphones are plugged in. Learn how to fix an iPhone stuck in headphone mode.

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