How to Connect AirPods to Apple Watch

It's easy to pair the Apple Watch with AirPods

What to Know

  • Ensure AirPods are set up on your iPhone. On Watch, go to Control Center > Audio Output > AirPods.
  • If AirPods aren't connecting to the Watch, ensure the devices are signed into iCloud and aren't in AirPlane mode.
  • To unpair AirPods and Apple Watch, go to Settings > Bluetooth. Tap the i > Forget Device.

This article explains how to connect AirPods to Apple Watch and how to troubleshoot and disconnect them. Information covers all versions of AirPods, including AirPods Pro and devices running iOS 12 and later.

How to Pair AirPods to Apple Watch

To use AirPods to listen to audio loaded onto your Apple Watch, follow these steps:

  1. Start by ensuring your AirPods are set up on your iPhone.

    This is the most important step of the process. When you do this, your AirPods will be automatically set up for all devices that use the same iCloud account as your iPhone, including your Watch. You won't need to do any setup on the Watch.

  2. On your Apple Watch, open the Apple Watch Control Center from a watch face by swiping up from the bottom of the screen.

  3. Tap the Audio Output icon (this is the AirPlay icon, a set of circles with a triangle pushing into the bottom on it).

  4. Tap AirPods to set the Apple Watch's audio to output to the AirPods.

     Apple Watch with Control Center open and AirPlay and AirPods highlighted

    If you haven't set up your AirPods with your iPhone, you can still connect them directly to your Watch. To do that, press the button on the AirPods case to put them in pairing mode. Then, on the Watch, go to Settings > Bluetooth > AirPods.

What to Do if You Can't Connect AirPods to Apple Watch

Trying to connect your AirPods to Apple Watch and running into problems? Try these fixes:

  1. If you haven't set up AirPods with iPhone, do that first.

  2. If AirPods are set up with an iPhone but aren't showing up on your Watch, ensure your iPhone and Watch are signed into iCloud. On iPhone, go to Settings > [your name]. If you're not signed into iCloud, do so.

  3. Make sure Airplane Mode isn't enabled on your Watch. If you see an airplane icon at the top of the watch face, open Control Center and unselect the airplane icon.

  4. Ensure that both your Apple Watch and AirPods are properly charged and turned on. If not, charge your AirPods and turn on your devices.

  5. Unpair your AirPods from your Apple Watch, and then pair the devices again using the steps mentioned above.

Sync Your Music to Apple Watch

The best thing about connecting AirPods and Apple Watch is that you can play music on your Apple Watch and leave your iPhone behind while you're out and about. This is even better if you have a Watch with cellular connectivity. You can listen to podcasts on your Apple Watch and use Spotify on your Apple Watch.

How to Disconnect AirPods From Apple Watch

If you've paired AirPods to Apple Watch directly, you can unpair them by following these steps:

  1. On your Apple Watch, tap Settings.

  2. Tap Bluetooth.

    Apple Watch with Settings and Bluetooth highlighted
  3. Tap the i next to your AirPods.

  4. Tap Forget Device.

    Apple Watch with AirPods "i" and Forget Device highlighted

If the audio on your Apple Watch is playing on your AirPods, but you want it to play through the Watch's speaker instead, you don't have to unpair the devices. Instead, open Control Center, tap the audio output icon, and then tap Apple Watch.

Was this page helpful?