How to Use AirPods With Your Apple TV

Watch your favorite shows and movies in peace with AirPods

Apple’s wireless AirPods may not make your ears smarter, but they certainly put a computer in your ear. Introduced in 2016, AirPods use a range of proprietary Apple technologies to provide an excellent listening experience.

You know you can use AirPods with your iPhone or iPad, but did you know you can use them with your Apple TV, too? We'll explain how to do just that.

What Are AirPods?

Apple AirPods use an Apple-developed wireless chip to provide high-quality sound. They're easy to set up and provide useful controls for your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Once you've paired them with your device, you can listen to audio, access Siri, and answer phone calls.

But AirPods are capable of so much more.

For example, AirPods have dual optical sensors and accelerometers to detect when they're actually in your ear. So, they play only when you're ready to listen and stop automatically when you take them out (although this feature works only with iPhone).

In addition, when you're signed in to your iCloud account and you pair your AirPods with your iPhone, they automatically work with any Mac, iPad, or Apple Watch that’s signed in to the same iCloud account. If your Apple TV runs an operating system version earlier than tvOS 11, AirPods will pair with your Apple TV, as well. If not, you must pair your AirPods with your Apple TV manually.

When you've paired your AirPods to your Apple TV:

  • You can listen to audio from Apple TV.
  • You can double-tap an AirPod to play or pause content on Apple TV.
  • The automatic ear detection system in AirPods pause audio or video when you remove them from your ears.

You can't use Siri on Apple TV through AirPods. Siri support on AirPods used with Apple TV is not yet available.

Pair Your AirPods With Your Apple TV

To pair your AirPods with your Apple TV, perform the following steps on your AirPods:

  1. Place your AirPods in their Charging Case with the lid open.

    Apple AirPods in the charging case
    Apple Inc.
  2. Press and hold the pairing button on the back of the Charging Case until the status LED flashes white.

    An AirPods case with the pairing button highlighted

Complete the following steps on your Apple TV:

  1. Select Settings.

    Apple TV Home Page – Settings Selected
  2. Using your Apple Siri Remote (or any other remote control you have set up for use with your Apple TV), select Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth.

    A screenshot of Apple TV's Remotes and Devices settings screen with the Bluetooth option highlighted
  3. From the list of available devices, select your AirPods.

You can use this process to pair your AirPods with an Android phone, Windows device, or any other device with Bluetooth support.

Unpair Your AirPods and Apple TV

Perform the following steps on your Apple TV to unpair your AirPods from your Apple TV:

  1. Select Settings.

  2. Select Remote and Devices > Bluetooth.

    A screenshot of Apple TV's Remotes and Devices settings screen with the Bluetooth option highlighted
  3. From the list of paired devices, select your AirPods.

  4. Select Forget Device.

  5. When prompted, select Forget Device again to authorize the process.

When you've paired your AirPods with your Apple TV, the headphones will automatically reconnect and play audio from that device.

If after you've paired your AirPods with your Apple TV you use them with another device, you may need to pair them with your Apple TV all over again (unless your Apple TV runs tvOS 11 or later).