AirPods Won't Connect to MacBook? Here's the Fix

Troubleshooting AirPods that are not working with an Apple laptop

What to Know

  • Charge AirPods. Update macOS. Turn on Bluetooth. Make sure to select AirPods as output device.
  • Turn off Bluetooth on other devices. Open charging case lid when connecting. Connect case to power source.
  • Sign in with same Apple ID on both devices. Restart MacBook. Clean case and AirPods. Reset AirPods.

This article offers more than 12 proven tips for fixing AirPods that won’t connect to a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air. The following fixes apply to both the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro line of Apple laptops, AirPods Pro, and the first and second generation AirPods.

How to Fix AirPods That Won't Connect to a MacBook

Seemingly faulty AirPods can be infuriating and frustrating but there are a number of methods for connecting them to your MacBook to get them to appear as a connected device and play music and other audio the way you want.

  1. Charge your AirPods. Your Apple AirPods may simply be out of power. Make sure to charge them and their charging case fully and try connecting them to your MacBook again. You can also check your AirPods' battery level at any time.

  2. Update macOS to the latest version. Operating system updates can add support for newer Apple devices, such as AirPods, and they can also improve your MacBook’s performance and security.

    You’ll need at least macOS Sierra for first generation AirPods, at least macOS Mojave 10.14.4 for the second generation, and macOS Catalina 10.15.1 or later for AirPods Pro.

  3. Turn on Bluetooth. Your MacBook will need to have Bluetooth enabled before it can connect to your Apple AirPods. To do this, click the Bluetooth icon in the upper-right corner of the screen. It looks like two triangles on top of one another.

  4. Select your AirPods. If you’ve already connected your AirPods yet the sound is coming out of your MacBook’s speakers, click either the Bluetooth or the volume icon and choose your AirPods as the output device.

  5. Select your AirPods while they’re in their case. Place the AirPods in their charging case, open the lid, and then select your AirPods manually from the list of Bluetooth devices. Click Connect.

  6. Turn off Bluetooth on other devices. Your AirPods may be connecting to another device instead of your MacBook. To stop this, turn off Bluetooth on any devices you’ve synced your AirPods to in the past.

  7. Open the charging case lid when connecting. Don’t forget the lid needs to be open while you’re pressing the setup button on the case during the initial pairing.

  8. Connect the charging case to a power source. If the charging case’s battery is damaged, it can still work while plugged into either a power socket or your MacBook itself.

  9. Sign in with the same Apple ID. If you’ve paired your AirPods with another Apple device such as an iPhone, signing into your MacBook with the same iCloud account will connect them automatically. You need to be using the same account though.

  10. Restart your MacBook. A basic restart can fix a variety of problems including AirPod connection glitches.

  11. Remove and then re-add your AirPods. If your AirPods are connected to your MacBook but they aren’t playing any audio, remove them from the Apple logo > System Preferences > Bluetooth list and then connect them again as if they were new.

  12. Clean the charging case. If some dust or dirt is covering the connectors, your AirPods will be unable to connect to the charging case which is used to sync them to your MacBook.

  13. Clean your AirPods. As with the charging case, dirt can also prevent AirPods from charging correctly.

  14. Reset your Apple AirPods. Resetting AirPods is an effective way of removing any bugs or glitches affecting their device connectivity. You will need to reconnect them with all of your devices after the reset is complete though.

    There are additional solutions you may want to try if your AirPods won't reset properly.

  15. Contact Apple Support. If all else fails, getting in contact with the official Apple Support service may be required. They may even be able to replace your AirPods if you bought them recently.

Why Won't My AirPods Connect to My MacBook?

AirPods not connecting or syncing with a MacBook computer can be the result of a damaged or dirty AirPod or charging case, an out-of-date operating system running on your Mac, conflicting Bluetooth connections with a smartphone or tablet, or simply just the incorrect audio or Bluetooth setting being selected.

Flat batteries in the charging case or AirPod earphones are also common causes of MacBook connection problems.

Why Do My AirPods Keep Disconnecting From My MacBook?

If your Apple AirPods keep disconnecting from your MacBook after they’ve been successfully connected and you’ve been using them, one of the following causes is likely behind it.

  • The AirPod batteries are flat. An easy way to fix this is to place them in their charging case when they’re not being used. Also, don’t forget to charge the charging case as well as it needs power to charge your AirPods.
  • You’re touching your AirPods. Apple’s AirPods can be controlled simply by touching them. Unfortunately, these controls can also be triggered by clothing and are easy to activate accidentally when physically adjusting them.
  • Another Bluetooth speaker is connecting to your MacBook. Click the sound icon to view which audio output is in use. You may want to turn off other connected speakers while using your AirPods.
  • Can I connect two AirPods to one MacBook?

    Yes. You can connect multiple Bluetooth earphones to your Mac, but only one device can be active at one time. It's not possible to use two sets of AirPods on the same Mac simultaneously, but you can use two AirPods on an iPhone and share audio.

  • Do AirPods only work with iPhones?

    No. Airpods are compatible with all devices that support Bluetooth headphones including Android phones and Windows PCs.

  • Can I pair my fake AirPods with my MacBook?

    Most likely. If you have knock-off AirPods, they should connect to any device that supports Bluetooth.

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