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How to connect AirPods

It's simple to connect the AirPods to an iPhone, but you can use these earbuds with other devices (often in limited ways).
By
January 18, 2022

The Apple AirPods is everywhere—or at least it feels that way. But did you know that these nearly-ubiquitous earbuds can also connect to many more devices than an iPhone or Mac? It might take some additional setup, but if you want to use your AirPods with other phones or even certain video game consoles, it’s possible. The AirPods uses Bluetooth for its wireless connectivity, but it also uses Apple’s proprietary H1 chip. To put it simply, that means devices like the iPhone and iPad support all the features found in the AirPods, and other devices are pretty limited. Still, because it’s Bluetooth, basic audio streaming is possible across a range of devices.

How to connect AirPods to an iPhone

The AirPods Pro in the open case rest next to an iPhone that displays a pairing request pop-up notification.
If you have an iPhone, all you have to do is open the case to begin the pairing process for the AirPods.

Connecting your AirPods to your iPhone is probably the simplest of possible syncing procedures, due to the H1 chip. First, make sure you’re using the latest version of iOS, after that it’s easy:

  1. Ensure your iPhone is unlocked and on the Home screen.
  2. Open the charging case with the AirPods still inside and hold it near your iPhone.
  3. A window will appear on your iPhone where you can tap “Connect.”
  4. Depending on your model of AirPods and settings on your iPhone, you may also see a guide to set up the “Hey Siri” feature.

Related: How to set up Find My AirPods

How to connect AirPods to an iPad

The process for connecting the AirPods to an iPad is pretty similar to connecting to an iPhone. Ensure that the Bluetooth feature is on in the Bluetooth menu of the Settings app, and then follow the same steps as above.

How to connect AirPods to a Mac

A hand holds an iPhone 8 Plus with the passcode lockscreen on display.
Macs and the entire Apple ecosystem work well with the AirPods.

Connecting your AirPods to your Mac is also pretty simple. In fact, if you have everything registered to the same Apple ID, it might be ready to use right away. Click either the Bluetooth or volume control buttons in the menu bar, and if you see your AirPods listed there, it’s ready to go and you just need to select it. Don’t worry if that’s not the case—it’s still pretty simple to sync them up:

  1. Select “System Preferences” from the Apple Menu, then click on “Bluetooth.”
  2. Ensure Bluetooth is on.
  3. With both AirPods in the charging case, open the lid.
  4. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case until the light flashes white.
  5. On your Mac, choose your AirPods from the “Devices” list and then click on “Connect.”

If sound doesn’t play in your earbuds right away, you may need to click on either the volume control or Bluetooth menu in the menu bar and ensure that the AirPods have been set as the output device.

How to connect AirPods to a PC/Laptop (Windows)

Things get a bit trickier once you venture beyond Apple’s computing ecosystem, so connecting your AirPods to a Windows PC might be a bit more involved. Still, it should be relatively straightforward because it’ll show up as a Bluetooth device. To sync AirPods to a PC follow these steps:

  1. Open the Bluetooth menu in the tray of the Start bar and ensure Bluetooth is active.
  2. With both AirPods in the charging case, open the lid.
  3. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case until the light flashes white.
  4. Select the AirPods in the list of available Bluetooth devices.

Keep in mind you get far fewer features on a PC when using AirPods. There is no Siri access, no automatic switching between devices, and these earbuds only support the SBC and AAC Bluetooth codecs.

How to connect AirPods to an Android phone

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

We don’t recommend using your AirPods with an Android phone for many reasons. Still, if you need to do so in a pinch or it’s the only option available, it is possible. Follow these steps to sync up the AirPods with an Android device:

  1. Ensure Bluetooth is on under Settings > Connections > Bluetooth.
  2. With both AirPods in the charging case, open the lid.
  3. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case until the light flashes white.
  4. Select the AirPods in the list of available Bluetooth devices.

How to connect AirPods to a Chromebook

Connecting your AirPods to your Chromebook is basically the same process as any non-Apple device:

  1. In the Chromebook Menu, click on “Bluetooth.”
  2. Your Chromebook will automatically search for new devices.
  3. With both AirPods in the charging case, open the lid.
  4. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case until the light flashes white.
  5. Select the AirPods in the list of available Bluetooth devices.

How to connect AirPods to a Sony PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5

The Sony Pulse 3D Wireless Headset leans against a vertical Sony PlayStation 5 console, next to a PlayStation DualSense controller.
It is probably a better idea to use dedicated gaming headsets with the PlayStation 5, because syncing up the AirPods requires an external adapter.

Connecting your AirPods to a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5 hits a snag because neither supports Bluetooth audio—that might be for the best, though. In fact, it’s probably better to use a dedicated gaming headset. Still, if you insist on using your AirPods with a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5, you aren’t completely out of options. The major caveat is you’ll have to use an external dongle or adapter. We can’t vouch for these products as we haven’t tested them, but if you’re willing to try them for yourself, you can find a guide here.

How to connect AirPods to Xbox

Connecting your AirPods to an Xbox is similarly limited. However, there is a workaround that does not require an external adapter. For best results, it involves an iOS device, but you can get it to work with Android (all of its limitations come along for the ride, too, though). Again, we cannot vouch for this procedure nor the use of any external adapters, but if you want to give it a shot, you can find a guide here. Still, it might be easier to just use a dedicated Xbox gaming headset.

How to connect AirPods to Nintendo Switch

The Nintendo Switch is an exception to the rule when it comes to using Bluetooth earbuds like the AirPods with a video game console. That’s because the Switch supports Bluetooth audio if you have the latest firmware installed, saving you from purchasing a separate Switch headset.

The steps are inverted from connecting the AirPods to a PC, but other than that it’s pretty simple:

  1. With both AirPods in the charging case, open the lid.
  2. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case until the light flashes white.
  3. Open the “System Settings” on your Nintendo Switch.
  4. Scroll down to select “Bluetooth Audio.”
  5. Tap on the Pair button.
  6. Select your AirPods from the list.

Keep in mind, however, that Bluetooth audio may have latency and other problems which could impact your gameplay.

How to connect AirPods to Samsung TV

A photo showing the sound options menu screen on a Samsung 4K Smart TV.
For Samsung TVs, the audio output menu is usually easy to find and from there you can sync up your AirPods under “Bluetooth Speaker List.”

If your Samsung TV has Bluetooth, then it is possible to connect your AirPods to it. However, the earbuds’ functionality will be limited. Different Samsung TV models will vary in the steps required to sync up Bluetooth devices, but in general, it’s pretty simple:

  1. Ensure Bluetooth is enabled on your Samsung TV.
  2. With both AirPods in the charging case, open the lid.
  3. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case until the light flashes white.
  4. Once the AirPods appear on your TV, select it to connect.

If you’re still confused, we have a full guide available that covers connecting your headphones to a TV.

How to connect AirPods to Apple TV

Back in the Apple ecosystem, connecting your AirPods to an Apple TV is also pretty straightforward. When you have your AirPods on the same Apple ID as your Apple TV, it should be ready to go, much like on a Mac. Pressing and holding the “Play” button on your Apple TV will bring up the list of available wireless devices and the AirPods should appear. If that isn’t the case for, adding it manually is also quite easy:

  1. On your Apple TV, open Settings > Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth.
  2. With both AirPods in the charging case, open the lid.
  3. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case until the light flashes white.
  4. The AirPods should appear under “Other Devices.”
  5. Select the AirPods and then choose “Connect.”

How to connect AirPods to Roku TV

Much like many video game consoles, you cannot directly connect your AirPods to a Roku TV. It does not support Bluetooth audio, but also similar to video game consoles, there is a (rather winding) workaround you can try here.

How to connect AirPods to a Peloton bike

The AirPods Pro earbuds in the wireless charging case next to an iPhone and digital camera.
The AirPods Pro will work with a Peloton bike as a basic pair of earbuds.

Your AirPods can work as a pair of basic workout earphones with a Peloton bike, but much like with many other devices it will have reduced functionality. The process is pretty similar to other devices as well:

  1. With both AirPods in the charging case, open the lid.
  2. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case until the light flashes white.
  3. On the touchscreen of your Peloton bike, open the “Available devices” list.
  4. Select your AirPods and wait until the status indicator changes to “Paired.”
  5. Return to your Peloton bike’s home screen.

While the AirPods might be designed for and best used with Apple devices, it can connect to other devices as a pair of reduced functionality Bluetooth earbuds. That could come in handy during many scenarios, but keep in mind you may not get an ideal experience.

Why won’t the AirPods connect to a device?

If the AirPods isn’t connecting to any of the above devices, it’s likely that your AirPods needs a quick reboot. You can watch the video above to learn how to factory reset your AirPods. Here’s our step-by-step guide:

  1. With the earbuds still in the case flip open the lid.
  2. Keep the earbuds in the case, and open the Bluetooth settings on your iOS device.
  3. Next to “AirPods,” click the small “i” icon.
  4. Click the text, “Forget This Device,” and then click “Confirm.”
  5. Your phone has disconnected from the AirPods. Now you need to move on to resetting the AirPods.
  6. With the case lid open, press and hold the setup button on the back of the case for about 15 seconds (or until you see the LED light flash amber).
  7. Now the AirPods have been completely reset and you can re-pair to new devices as if it was fresh out of the box.

While the AirPods is a popular for its usability, there are plenty of problems that plague it. Fortunately, we have a guide that walks you through how to solve the most common AirPods issues.