You bought your sleek AirPods (premium wireless headphones from Apple) and now you want them to work with your MacBook, yet there’s a question in your mind– How do I set them up together? This write-up (guide) will help answer that question. This guide will also assist you in solving any issues faced during or after connecting the AirPods. The aim is to get you up and running in no time with a trouble-free wireless headphone experience.
Knowing the entire functional capability of your AirPods can help determine if the setup was successful, or further settings are required. After all, if your AirPods are set up right, then they’ll do all the things they’re meant to do!
Here’s a list of things your AirPods should do:
- They are ready to use with your Mac, iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, Apple TV, and iPod. It’s an easy setup between Airpods and all Apple devices that meet the minimum OS system requirements for AirPods. AirPods can also work with some Android devices, but the capabilities will be pretty limited.
- They have a fast intuitive connection process, which means they follow a simple one-tap setup. They connect quickly and easily with iPhone and iPad devices.
- Once setup, they’re automatically on and always connected.
- AirPods can sense when they’re in your ears; thus, they pause when you take them out of your ears. This is possible because they have inbuilt optical sensors and motion accelerometers. Whether using both AirPods or one, Apple’s H1 headphone chip automatically routes the audio and engages the microphone.
- In the 2nd generation AirPods (AirPods 2) you can request by saying “Hey Siri” (or setup double-tap), so that through Siri support (or through double-tap) you can adjust the volume, change the song, make a call, or even get directions.
- You have the option to wear one or both AirPods.
- There is seamless switching between devices.
- With a double-tap you can play or skip-forward when listening to music or podcasts. Double-tap options include Siri, Play/Pause, Off, Next Track, and Previous Track. You can also set different gestures for the left and the right AirPod.
- You can charge your AirPods with the wireless charging case (AirPods 2)by setting the case down on a Qi-compatible charging mat and letting it charge. On the front of the case there is an LED indicator to show your AirPods charging status. When away from a charging mat, you may use the Lightning port (using the Lightening connector) for charging.
How to Setup – Connecting AirPods to a MacBook
The AirPod setup process is quite fast and quite easy when you first set them up with the iPhone or iPad. On the flip side, it’s not always such a cakewalk when it comes to connecting them with the Mac (whether an iMac, MacBook, MacBook Pro or MacBook Air).
Here’s a look at the ways of connecting AirPods with MacBooks, given different user scenarios:
(1) Pairing AirPods via iCloud
Scenario : You’ve already connected your AirPods with your iPhone, your MacBook is signed in to the same Apple ID as your iPhone – Given this scenario it could be likely that your AirPods will automatically be available for use with your Mac. No additional setup may be required. To test if this is true, pop the AirPods into your ears and select the Bluetooth icon on the menu bar of your MacBook. If AirPods appear on the list of devices, you can simple click on them to connect.
In other words, AirPods are mainly designed for use with an iPhone. If you’ve already set up your AirPods to work with an iPhone or iPad that is logged into your iCloud account then they will automatically be available for use with any MacBook (or other Mac) that is also logged in.
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(2) Pairing AirPods without iCloud
Scenario : Given above Scenario again, except the AirPods do not appear on the list of devices – If, after popping your AirPods into your ears and selecting the Bluetooth icon on the menu bar of your MacBook, the AirPods do not appear on the list of devices (you haven’t previously set up the AirPods with an iOS device), then follow these steps:
- Select the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar on your MacBook and make sure that Bluetooth is active.
- From the same drop-down menu, select Open Bluetooth Preferences.
- With your AirPods in the charging case, flip open the lid.
- Press and hold the button on the rear of the case (for about 3 seconds) until the case status light (located under the lid of the case) flashes white.
- You should see your AirPods appear on the list of Bluetooth devices on your Mac – click Connect to establish a connection.
Now, after a few seconds, your AirPods should successfully connect to your MacBook.
(3) AirPod options
When you’ve managed connecting the AirPods, what next? A new ‘Options’ button will appear. Once you click on this button, you’ll see a number of options to control the way the AirPods work. You can issue a number of commands by tapping twice on either AirPod while wearing it. For example, by using the left AirPod you can activate Siri voice commands. You can use the right one to control your music.
The ‘automatic ear detection’ option activates a motion-sensor inside the AirPods. This enables music to automatically pause when it detects that you’ve removed the AirPods from your ears. When you put them back in your ears, the playback resumes. You can, however, deactivate the sensor and control the AirPods manually if you prefer. When the automatic ear detection option is activated, AirPods can sense when they’re in your ears; thus, they pause when you take them out of your ears (by virtue of the inbuilt optical sensors and motion accelerometers technology).
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(4) iTunes audio
Once connected, the AirPods are selected as the primary audio output device for the MacBook, by default. All audio (from all apps on the MacBook) will be played through the AirPods. Subsequently, if somehow settings were changed to allow apps to play via different devices, and if you want to restore your AirPods as the preferred device for playing iTunes – click on the AirPlay icon in the iTunes menu bar, and simply select AirPods as the audio output for your iTunes music. This tells the macOS that iTunes will always play through the AirPods.
(5) Sound settings
If you want to hear audio from more than one app simultaneously, you’ll have to use more than one output device simultaneously. For instance, if you have a powerpoint presentation playing while you would like to hear your iTunes through your AirPods, then the MacBook internal speakers would be playing the powerpoint presentation.
You’ll have to first see which app is linked with which sound output device. For seeing this, switch back to System Preferences on the MacBook and take a look at the Sound control panel. You can now select the MacBook’s internal speakers as the primary sound output, so you could have a PowerPoint playing its own audio through the MacBook speakers (or a larger set of external speakers connected to the MacBook), while you carry on listening to your favorite song on iTunes through the AirPods.
It’s also possible to quickly switch between the MacBook speakers (or large external speakers connected to your MacBook) and the AirPods using the ‘Sound‘ pull-down menu in the main menu bar.
(6) Hey Siri!
Most recent Mac models can now use Siri voice commands, while previously only the iPhone and iPad could do so. As mentioned earlier, simply by tapping twice on one of the AirPod earpieces you can activate Siri.
There are microphones in the AirPods. These microphones detect your voice commands. You don’t have to be sitting right in front of the MacBook and shouting into it to talk to Siri. You can command Siri to request it to do a various search and find tasks or to run apps. For instance, you can ask Siri to give you the latest weather report, create notes or reminders for you, play a YouTube video, go to google and open blogs in your favorite categories, etc.
(7) Find my AirPods!
The sleek little pair of AirPods is no less prone to being misplaced, lost, or even stolen, than other Apple devices like iPhones. The Find My iPhone app on iOS devices than can be used to locate all of your Apple devices in case they are lost or stolen can locate your AirPods too. Find My iPhone is available as a web-based service on the iCloud.com website.
To find your missing AirPods, you can simply log in to iCloud.com using your Apple ID and a web browser on a Mac or Windows PC. Find My iPhone will show you a map with the last known location where the AirPods were in use with a Bluetooth connection.
What if your AirPods still don’t connect with your MacBook?
In all likelihood, the above steps should successfully pair and work your AirPods with your MacBook. However, if you’ve still got issues, the following final troubleshooting options should take care of things:
Update Your Mac
This sounds simple, but possibly your version of macOS is not updated. AirPods work with macOS Sierra or higher. If you are running your Mac on an OS lower than version 10.12, it’s definitely time to upgrade. To check the OS version on your Mac, or to update your Mac software, click the Apple logo in the upper left-hand corner of your screen and click About This Mac. A pop-up will appear and tell you your current macOS version. If you find you need to update your Mac, click Software Update.
Make sure your AirPods are connected to your iPhone
Even though Apple claims that AirPods have seamless switching between devices, things don’t always work that effortlessly. Airpods will sometimes refuse to connect to additional devices.
To solve this problem you need to temporarily disable Bluetooth on the iPhone. Doing this should allow the AirPods to connect to your MacBook without further hassle. Here are the
You can do this by:
- Going to Settings> Bluetooth
- Disable Bluetooth instead of using the Control Centre shortcut
Note – The Control Centre shortcut doesn’t completely disable Bluetooth. It continues to allow connections to Apple-branded devices like Apple Watch and AirPods.
You may be out of Battery
You can check if your AirPods have any charge left by flipping open the carry case and looking at the indicator LED. If the LED doesn’t light up, the battery case, the AirPods, or both are probably out of charge. You may then charge them using the Lightning cable and try again.
If your AirPods are completely unresponsive
If all else fails, it may be time to do a ‘factory reset’ of the earphones to set them up from scratch. You can do the factory reset by holding the Setup button on the AirPods case for three to five seconds until the LED indicator blinks Amber three times.
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AirPods were first introduced in 2016 and then with a more innovative version (AirPods 2) in early 2019. AirPods are revolutionary in that their appeal has led companies other than Apple to introduce their own wireless speaker earpiece versions.
To seamlessly work across Apple devices is perhaps the biggest advantage and continuous challenge that Apple has to work on. Reducing the chance of facing trouble while connecting them with the MacBook (and other Mac’s) will take AirPods a longer way further in achieving greater ultimate success. Reviews pouring in also point out that better sound quality and fit of AirPods are aspects users need to see improvements in.
Your thoughts? Tell us more!
We hope that this guide is useful in helping you set up your AirPods with your MacBook. Hopefully, you’re able to extract full benefit from your awesome new AirPod headpieces. In case, you have anything additional to add or any comments, please feel free to mention them below. Knowing about your experience with AirPods and any amazing tips you may have will greatly help other users’.
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