How to Connect Bluetooth Headphones to a PC

Pair a headset with your desktop or laptop

You may have just picked up a new pair of Bluetooth wireless headphones, but what exactly does that mean, and how can you get them connected to your computer? While you may feel intimidated by the process, know it is simple and easy to jump into the wireless world.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, 8, and 7 as well as Mac computers.

Make Sure Your Computer Has Bluetooth

First, confirm the Windows PC or Mac you want to use has Bluetooth technology built-in. Depending on which platform you are utilizing, check the appropriate instruction below to go about the simple process. If you do not end up having Bluetooth on your system, don’t fret, as we will address that minor obstacle.

Check for Bluetooth on a Windows PC

If you have a Windows PC, we need to check an application known as Device Manager to see if your computer has Bluetooth installed. You can go through this process as follows.

  1. Select Start.

  2. Type "Device Manager" into the search box.

    Screenshot of Device Manager in Start search
  3. Select Device Manager.

    Screenshot of Device Manager
  4. Expand Network Adapters.

    Screenshot of Network Adapters in Device Manager
  5. In the expanded list, look for anything containing Bluetooth. If the list shows a device with the word Bluetooth in its name, you have a Bluetooth adapter on your machine.

Check for Bluetooth on a Mac

If you have a Mac, choose System Preferences from the Apple menu and select Bluetooth. If it has Bluetooth, the preferences will include options to enable Bluetooth and make your device discoverable.

If You Have No Bluetooth Device Installed

Don’t worry too much if you don’t have a Bluetooth device already installed. While most modern computers already have the hardware, it is easy to add on by visiting your favorite technology retailer and purchasing a ‘Bluetooth Dongle;’ this is a small thumb-sized device which plugs into one of your computer’s available USB ports. Once you install it on your machine, you can then proceed.

Setting Up Your New Bluetooth Headphones in Windows

The process for setting up your Bluetooth headphones is relatively straightforward but again varies based on whether you have a Windows PC or Mac. At a step in the process, you will need to put your headphones into ‘Discovery Mode.’ Every set of headphones accomplish this differently, so you will need to reference your headphone instructions to go about the process. 

In most cases, ‘Discovery Mode’ can be activated by turning the headphones off, then holding down the power button until a pair of indicator lights begin to flash rapidly. Note some headphones may only stay in this mode for a limited time before resuming regular operation.

  1. Ensure your headphones are in Discovery Mode according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  2. Select Start and enter "Bluetooth" into the Search box to bring up Bluetooth and Other device settings.

    Screenshot of Devices and Printers in Start Search
  3. Select Printers and Scanners in Windows 10 or Devices and Printers in Windows 8 or Windows 7.

  4. Select Bluetooth and Other Devices in the left pane of the Printers and Scanners or Devices and Printers window. Choose Add Bluetooth or Other Device.

    Screenshot of Add Bluetooth or Other Device
  5. Allow the computer a moment to find your device and select it from the list.

  6. After a few moments, your Windows PC should alert you the pairing was successful.

Setting Up Bluetooth Headphones on a Mac

On a Mac computer, select System Preferences from the Apple menu, then click Bluetooth. Wait while your Mac searches for your device. Select Pair when your headphones appear in Bluetooth preferences.

Whenever you turn on your headphones and are in range, they will automatically connect to your computer. This pairing process needs to be completed only once at setup. Here's more information about connecting bluetooth headphones to a Mac.

Fixing Possible Bluetooth Problems

If you find your headphones have not paired correctly with your laptop, we recommend starting again from the beginning of the setup process. Turn your headphones off, and be sure to review the included manual so you can confirm how to put the device into discovery mode correctly.

If you have confirmed your headphones are in the proper mode and your computer still fails to detect them, attempt to restart your computer. If the problem persists, contact the headphone manufacturer for more assistance.

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