Want a foolproof guide for connecting Airpods to your MacBook?
Below, you’ll find all the steps for connecting every AirPod model to your MacBook.
AirPods Pro and AirPods Max? Check.
1st-gen to 3rd-gen AirPods? All good.
And if you run into any problems…
I made sure to cover those too.
Read on to find out:
- 7 steps to connect your Airpods to a MacBook pro or air model.
- 5 fixes if your AirPod device doesn’t connect to your MacBook air or pro.
- 2 apps worth using for connecting seamlessly from AirPod to Mac or vice versa.
- Why your AirPods have connection problems when connecting to your MacBook.
- And so much more…
How to connect AirPods to a MacBook (pro, air)?
Connect AirPods to a MacBook by turning on your Mac’s Bluetooth. Then, open the lid of your AirPods case and press its back button. Wait for a white light to flash. After, tap “Connect” on the Bluetooth menu of your Mac. You can also connect your AirPods via the speaker icon on your Mac’s menu bar.
7 steps to connect AirPods to a MacBook (pro, air)
#1: Open the lid of your AirPods case
If your AirPods are already connected to your iPhone, steps #1 to #3 should work smoothly.
However, if you still have to set up your AirPod device, proceed to step #4.
Note: Steps #1 to #7 work for all AirPod models, specifically:
Apart from opening the lid of your AirPods case, you can also place both AirPod devices in your ear.
Now, why do this?
Because opening the lid of your case makes your AirPods recognizable.
And it works the same way by wearing both AirPod devices in your ear.
The way Bluetooth works is by searching for available/compatible devices in the area.
Put simply, a closed case lid means your AirPods can’t connect to your Mac at all.
Once you’ve opened the lid of your case, let’s head to…
#2: Tap volume control on your MacBook’s menu bar
On the top of your Mac’s screen, you should see a menu bar.
The menu bar of your MacBook is where you’ll find the following:
- Date and time.
- Control center.
- Volume control.
- Apple icon/menu.
- Notification center.
- Battery level/status.
See those icons on the top of your Mac’s screen?
That entire row is your menu bar.
The volume control is a speaker icon located next to your WiFi.
In other cases, it’s beside your Bluetooth or battery status icon.
Once you see the speaker icon, click it.
“Help! I don’t see a volume control or speaker icon…”
The location of your volume control (speaker icon) depends on your current macOS.
MacOS is the operating system every MacBook has.
Basically, without it, your laptop won’t be able to run.
“Wait – how does my Mac’s operating system relate to not finding the speaker icon?”
The menu bar might look different depending on the current version of your MacBook’s OS.
On the Catalina OS, your volume control is beside the spotlight or magnifying glass icon.
For Monterey, the speaker icon’s usually next to the WiFi and sometimes, the AirPlay icon.
Luckily, Apple has a macOS user guide to help you check those differences.
Not sure what operating system version your Mac’s using?
Don’t worry, here’s how to check it:
- Tap the Apple icon on your Mac’s menu bar.
- Click “About This Mac” from the drop-down menu.
- You’ll see your current OS system and the version it’s using.
Still don’t see your volume control?
Here’s what you can do:
Step 1: Click the Apple icon on your Mac’s menu bar.
Note: It’s located at the top-left corner of your MacBook’s screen.
Step 2: Select “System Preferences.”
You’ll find “System Preferences” under “About This Mac” after clicking the Apple icon or menu.
Step 3: Tap “Sound.”
A pop-up menu should appear.
In the “Sound” menu, there’s a checkbox at the bottom of your screen with a text saying:
“Show volume in menu bar.”
Step 4: Click the checkbox.
From here, you should see the volume control on your MacBook’s menu bar.
#3: Choose your AirPods
After tapping the speaker icon, a drop-down menu appears.
Under the “Output Device” section, choose your AirPods.
Now, in some cases, you might run into connection issues.
And if that’s what you’re going through right now, let’s try…
#4: Tap “System Preferences” on your Apple menu
Note: Apple menu is the Apple icon located at the topmost-left part of your MacBook air or pro.
After clicking on your Apple menu…
You should find “System Preferences” under “About This Mac.”
Tap “System Preferences” and proceed to…
#5: Select “Bluetooth”
You’ll find “Bluetooth” on the 3rd row in the System Preferences Menu.
It’s also between the “Network” and “Extensions” options.
If you’re using an older macOS like Big Sur, Bluetooth is between “Network” and “Sound.”
Once you’re in the Bluetooth menu, click the “Turn Bluetooth On” text.
#6: Put your AirPods in pairing mode
Make sure your case is open and both AirPod devices are inside.
Then, press and hold the back button of your charging case.
Note: This step works for all AirPod models (1st gen to Pro). For AirPods Max, you need to press the Noise Control button.
While holding your case’s back button, wait for the status light to flash white.
This should take about 15 seconds.
If you’re trying to connect your AirPods Max…
Wait for the status light below the Noise Control button to flash white.
Once you see a white flashing light, it means your AirPods are currently in pairing mode.
#7: Choose AirPods device and click “Connect”
With your Bluetooth turned on, a list of devices should appear in the white box with the title “Devices.”
Select your AirPods device and click the “Connect” button.
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Why won’t my AirPods connect to my MacBook? 5 causes & fixes
#1: Your macOS isn’t up to date
Every AirPod model has a corresponding macOS for it to connect to your MacBook.
Below is a table to give you the full guide:
|AirPods model||macOS needed|
|2nd-gen AirPods.||Mojave 10.14.4.|
|AirPods Pro.||Catalina 10.15.1.|
|AirPods Max.||Big Sur 11.1.|
Currently, the latest macOS version is Monterey 12.3.1.
Apple also provides a full list of the versions in chronological order on their support page.
How to fix it:
If your current MacBook’s OS is out of date, you should update it to fit your AirPods requirements.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Tap the Apple icon on the topmost-left part of your MacBook’s screen.
- Select “System Preferences.”
- In the System Preferences window, click “Software Update.”
- Note: It should be the first icon on the third row.
- Tap “Update Now.”
Once you update your MacBook, Apple automatically updates it to the latest version.
#2: Weak Bluetooth signal
Did you know that Apple’s ideal range for their Bluetooth is 33 feet (10 meters)?
If your AirPods were far from your Mac, you’d experience an unstable connection.
So, what’s the best solution from here?
How to fix it:
Before heading to the solution…
Check for any Bluetooth devices that are turned on.
Why? Because it might be interfering with your Mac’s connection.
For example, a JBL speaker might be trying to connect to your MacBook via Bluetooth.
In that case, turn off your speaker and move your Mac away from microwaves or baby monitors.
These all make it harder to establish a stable Bluetooth connection.
Once that’s done, you’ll have to disconnect your AirPods and pair them back to your Mac.
Is it hard?
Not at all.
Simply follow along through these steps:
- Click the Apple icon (located at the topmost-left part of your Mac’s screen).
- Choose “System Preferences.”
- In the System Preferences menu, click “Bluetooth.”
- Note: It should be in the 3rd row.
- In the Bluetooth menu, select your AirPods.
- Make sure it’s highlighted in blue.
- Click on the “X” icon to the right of your AirPods device.
After disconnecting your AirPods, try pairing them to your MacBook pro or air again.
If that doesn’t work, it’s most likely because…
#3: Your Mac’s using a different Apple ID
If you signed in to your iPhone with an Apple ID that’s different from your MacBook…
Your Mac can’t sync with your AirPods.
But it’s a good thing this issue’s easily solvable.
How to fix it:
All you have to do is sign into your Mac with the same Apple ID as your iPhone.
Step 1: Click the Apple icon on your MacBook’s menu bar.
This should be in the topmost-left part of your Mac’s screen.
Step 2: Tap “System Preferences.”
Step 3: Click “Apple ID.”
Note: It’s located next to family sharing in the top-right part of your screen.
Step 4: Tap “Overview.”
On your Apple ID menu, you should see “Overview” on the left part of your screen.
It’s also below the registered name of your Mac.
So if your Mac’s name is Gregory Allen, you should see the name “Gregory Allen” and your profile photo.
Below that should be “Overview.”
Step 5: Tap “Sign Out.”
Step 6: Go back to your System Preferences menu.
Step 7: Click “Sign In.”
Step 8: Enter your Apple ID email address and password.
Make sure it matches the same email address and password on your iPhone.
Step 9: Tap “Next.”
From here, there may be an extra on-screen instruction to turn on “Find My Mac.”
You can turn it on if you want, but it’s not necessary.
After completing this part, you should be logged into the same Apple ID as your iPhone.
Try pairing your AirPods to your MacBook pro or air.
Did it work?
Don’t worry, there are a couple more fixes to try.
Check out: AirPods Not Working On Mac: 9 Causes & Fixes
#4: AirPod connection glitch
Your AirPods might have a glitch or a bug that’s interfering with your Bluetooth connection.
And if the fixes above didn’t work, a reset should solve the problem.
How to fix it:
Performing a complete reset on your AirPod device doesn’t take long.
Note: Resetting your AirPods means you’ll have to set them up again after.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Press the back button of your AirPods case.
- Hold it for 15 seconds.
- Wait for the status light to flash amber.
- Let go of the button.
- Set up your AirPods and pair them again with your Mac.
Your AirPods case status light is typically located at the front of the case.
However, some cases (for 1st-gen and 2nd-gen AirPods) will have the status light inside the case.
And finally, here’s how to reset your AirPods Max:
- Press the Noise Control button and Digital Crown.
- Hold for 15 seconds.
- Wait for the status light to flash amber then white.
Dig deeper: AirPods Not Turning On: 5 Causes & Fixes
#5: Dirty AirPods case
Dirty AirPod cases lead to all sorts of problems.
One is charging or battery issues.
A good example is your left AirPod not charging all of a sudden.
When dirt gets stuck in your AirPods case’s charging ports, well…
Those ports are unable to recognize your AirPod device.
“Wait – what are the charging ports of my AirPods case?”
When you open your case, there’s a hole for each AirPod, right?
At the very bottom, those are your charging ports.
Now, when a charging port gets dirty, it can block the connection between an AirPod and your case.
In other words, your charging case might not even recognize that your AirPods are inside.
Without that recognition, they won’t be able to sync with your MacBook.
How to fix it:
The best solution is to clean your AirPods case and each AirPod:
- Use a microfiber towel to clean the surface of your case and AirPods.
- Grab a Q-tip for cleaning any hard-to-reach areas, like your charging port.
- Make sure to clean the bottom of your AirPods too and the earbuds.
For a full, deep cleaning guide, check out this video:
You might also like: How Many Years Do AirPods Last? 5 Vital Tips
#BONUS: Use an app to reduce connection glitches/issues
Ever wonder why your AirPods rarely have pairing connections with your iPhone?
It’s because they don’t exactly work as seamlessly with Macs compared to iPhones.
And if you’re tired of fiddling with Bluetooth menus and volume control constantly…
Use these 2 apps:
Both apps aim to provide the same iPhone-AirPod connection experience on your Mac.
In addition, any MacBook model works with these apps.