You have AirPods (or maybe even AirPods Pro). You have a MacBook. Now you can work together: but you're not sure how to set it up.

The good news is that AirPods have a pretty intuitive connection process, but you still need to know where to go and which buttons to press. Our guide will help you connect your AirPods in just a few minutes.

For AirPods paired with your iPhone

Are you trying to pair AirPods with your Mac that has already been paired with your iPhone? It is possible: in fact, it's much easier than plugging in a new pair of AirPods. The key is that your iPhone must be linked to the same Apple account as your Mac with the same Apple ID. For most people this is not a problem. However, if there is more than one person using your iPhone or you need a different account for your Mac work, this option may not be possible.

Step 1: Turn on your AirPods, put them in your ears, and turn on your Mac.

step 2: When your Mac loads and you can access MacOS, you can see all active connections and settings for your Mac in the menu bar at the top right of the screen. One of these is the Bluetooth setting, which is denoted by a small Bluetooth icon (usually found through the WiFi signal). Either click on it or on the volume icon.

step 3: Find the name of your AirPods in the drop-down list. It's usually the AirPods (your name). If you see it, it means your Mac has already recognized your AirPods. Select them and try to play something. You should hear a loud and clear chime when the AirPods connect, followed by macOS sounds of your choice. No other setup required!

For brand new AirPods

If your AirPods haven't been connected to an Apple device before, the MacBook setup process is a bit more involved, but still straightforward.

Step 1: Open the System Preferences on your Mac by either clicking the app icon in the Dock or the Apple logo in the upper left corner and then clicking System Preferences. Click on Bluetooth. In this menu, make sure that Bluetooth is activated.

Connect Bluetooth AirPods on Mac

step 2: Put your AirPods in the charging case and open the lid.

Airpods case

step 3: Take your AirPod case and turn it over so you can see the back of the case. There is a button in the lower center of the case that is used for setup.

This will turn on the bluetooth so it can be discovered by nearby devices – in this case, your Mac. Press and hold this setup button until the status indicator next to it flashes white.

Step 4: Now look back to the bluetooth section on your Mac. You should see your AirPods in the list of devices. Next to them is a blue button that says Connect. Click it. Now you should be able to test your AirPods and make sure they are working.

Can't your AirPods connect?

When trying to connect to your AirPods, you may encounter connectivity issues or issues with iCloud. You may see the error message "Could not connect to the device". or you may not be able to find your AirPods in the list of detected devices nearby.

Here are some solutions that usually help:

  1. Go to your Bluetooth icon in the top right and select Turn off Bluetooth. Wait a minute, then turn bluetooth back on and try again. Sometimes that's all it takes.
  2. Turn off your AirPods and Mac. First turn your Mac back on, then turn on the AirPods. This step can fix your connection problem and help your Mac recognize your AirPods.
  3. Do you have an iPhone / iPad connected to your account? On your iOS device, go to the Bluetooth section in Settings and see if your AirPods are connected here. If so, select it and choose Forget This Device. Now try to connect them to your Mac and connect to your iPhone if necessary if this method succeeds.

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