Best daily deals

All products featured are independently chosen by us. However, SoundGuys may receive a commission on orders placed through its retail links. See our ethics statement.

AirPods won't connect to Mac? Here's how to fix it

Get your AirPods and MacBook back on talking terms.

Published onApril 30, 2024

AirPods seamlessly integrate into the Apple ecosystem, and while the iPhone is the center of everything, MacBooks form a crucial part of the equation. But it can be frustrating when your AirPods won’t connect to Mac, disrupting your workflow or entertainment.

We’ll explore the best solutions to help you quickly reconnect your AirPods to your Mac, whether you’re in the middle of a Zoom call, want to unwind with a game, or are using both devices together for the first time.

How to fix AirPods that won’t connect to your Mac

The AirPods (2nd generation) on top of an iPad and next to the Google Pixel 3.
The AirPods (2nd generation) works on both Android and iOS, but you don’t any special software features when paired with an Android device.

Is it your first time pairing both devices, and your AirPods won’t connect to Mac? Check that the laptop meets Apple’s operating system requirements:

If your devices meet the requirements, the problem may be with your AirPods or MacBook. To find out which, try pairing your AirPods with another device (preferably another Mac). If it works, the issue is likely with the initial Mac.

Similarly, try pairing another set of AirPods (or any brand of wireless earbuds) with your Mac. If they work, the issue is likely with your AirPods.

The Apple AirPods Pro touch settings on an iPhone.
A pop-up card informs you of the AirPods Pro battery life at a glance.

If your AirPods are not coming on at all, they are probably out of power. Place them in the charging case — the light will turn amber when they’re charging and green when full. Once fully charged, try connecting them to your Mac again.

If your AirPods turn on but won’t connect, try the other fixes on this checklist.

Unpair and re-pair AirPods

If you’ve previously paired your AirPods to your MacBook, but they won’t connect anymore, try unpairing them by following these steps:

  1. Click the Apple logo and select System Settings.
MacOS homepage with Apple logo drop-down
  • Go to the Bluetooth tab and tap the i icon next to your AirPods under My Devices.
  • My Devices list in MacOS Bluetooth settings page
  • Click Forget This Device… from the pop-up box.
  • Forgetting a Bluetooth device on MacOS
  • Select Forget Device when the confirmation alert pops up on the screen.
  • Forgetting a Bluetooth device on MacOS

    After unpairing, reconnect the AirPods to your Mac. This establishes a new connection that should solve any issues you had with the old one. While doing this, you might also want to restart your MacBook and see if that helps.

    Disconnect other devices

    Your AirPods may fail to connect to your Mac because they’re paired to another device instead. If you recently synced your AirPods to other devices, turn off Bluetooth on those devices.

    Similarly, if you connect multiple devices to your Mac, they may cause Bluetooth interference and prevent your AirPods from connecting properly. Follow these steps to disconnect them:

    1. Open System Settings on your Mac.
    MacOS homepage with Apple logo drop-down
  • Go to the Bluetooth option and click the i icon next to your Bluetooth device.
  • My Devices list in MacOS Bluetooth settings page
  • Select Forget This Device… from the drop-down.
  • Forgetting a Bluetooth device on MacOS
  • Select Forget Device to confirm.
  • Forgetting a Bluetooth device on MacOS
  • Do the same for other Bluetooth devices. You can also disconnect and reconnect the AirPods.
  • Clean AirPods and charging case

    When connecting your AirPods to a device, the case does the pairing. The AirPods connect to the charging case via the charging connectors, allowing them to pair with the third-party device. If there’s debris covering the connectors, the AirPods may not connect to the charging case.

    Try cleaning off any dust and dirt present on the AirPods and their case.

    Sign in with the same Apple ID

    If you previously paired your AirPods with another Apple device, signing into your MacBook with the same iCloud account as that device will connect them automatically.

    To check your Mac’s Apple ID, click the Apple menu and go to System Settings. Click your profile name > Sign In & Security.

    If it’s not the same, sign out and back in with the new Apple ID. Note that this will change the account — and associated data — linked with your iCloud, App Store, iMessage, iTunes, and other apps.

    Update AirPods firmware

    Outdated software may be the reason your AirPods won’t connect to Mac. Here’s how to check your AirPods’ firmware version:

    1. Connect your AirPods to an iPhone or iPad.
    2. Open the Settings app, and go to Bluetooth.
    3. Navigate to your AirPods in the device list and tap the i icon.
    4. Check the Firmware Version column under product specifications. Compare this number to the latest version available for your AirPods.

    Apple automatically updates AirPods, but you can force it if yours doesn’t have the latest software. With your AirPods in the charging case plugged to a power source, pair them to an iOS device with an active internet connection. They should update after some time.

    Update Mac software

    If your MacBook is running an outdated operating system, you may be unable to use newer AirPods models. For example, you need macOS Sierra to use first generation AirPods.

    1. In that case, you need to update your Mac. Click the Apple menu and go to System Settings.
    2. Click General > Software Update and download the available firmware.

    To see your Mac’s current firmware, click the Apple menu and select About this Mac.

    Reset Apple AirPods

    If the previous tips fail, try resetting your AirPods to clear any bugs or glitches that may affect your connectivity. Here’s how:

    1. Place your AirPods in the charging case and close the lid for about 30 seconds.
    2. Open the lid and long-press the setup button (at the back of the case) for about 15 seconds. The status light will change from amber to white.
    3. Close the lid and your AirPods should be fully reset.

    Note that You will need to pair the AirPods with all your devices again.

    Reset Mac Bluetooth module

    If your AirPods won’t connect to Mac despite resetting them, you may need to reset your MacBook’s Bluetooth module. Follow these steps on macOS Big Sur and earlier:

    • Click the Apple menu, go to System Settings > Bluetooth and tick the box next to Show Bluetooth in menu bar.
    • Press the Option + Shift keys and click the Bluetooth icon on the menu bar to open the dropdown menu.
    • Click the Reset the Bluetooth module option. On macOS Catalina and earlier, go to Debug > Reset the Bluetooth module.
    • Click OK to confirm and restart your Mac.

    Apple removed this option on macOS Monterey and later, but you can still reset your Mac’s Bluetooth module through Terminal. Note that this will remove all your connected devices.

    Contact Apple support

    If all else fails, you may need to contact Apple support. You may get a replacement if it’s a hardware issue, and your AirPods are under warranty.

    You might like