7 solutions for when AirPods won’t connect to Mac

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Connecting a pair of AirPods to an iPhone or Mac is often very easy. Apple deserves a lot of credit for making the process so smooth. As with everything, however, there are times when you will have trouble getting your AirPods to work properly.

A while ago we covered how to deal with AirPod connectivity issues with iPhone. This time, let’s turn our attention to the Mac. If your AirPods can’t connect to your Mac, there are several troubleshooting tips that can help you fix it.

1. Check compatibility

If you’re having trouble setting up your AirPods with a Mac for the first time, it’s worth checking out for compatibility issues. Depending on the AirPods model, a Mac must have the following versions of macOS installed to establish a connection.

AirPods Pro – macOS 10.15.1 or later

AirPods (2nd generation) – macOS 10.14.4 or later

AirPods (1st generation) – macOS Sierra 10.12 or later

If you’re not sure which version of macOS is running on your Mac, open the Apple menu and select About This Mac. You should see the relevant information listed on the Default Layout tab in the window that appears.

If your Mac isn’t above the required compatibility threshold, go to Apple menu> System Preferences> Software Update to update macOS. If you’re using macOS High Sierra or earlier, open the App Store and click the Updates tab.

2. Activate Bluetooth

We often overlook the most mundane things. In this case, check if Bluetooth is enabled on your Mac. To do this, start by clicking on the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar.

NOTE: on macOS Big Sur, you might want to open Control Center to check the Bluetooth status.

If Bluetooth appears to be turned off, click Turn Bluetooth On. You can also turn on the switch next to Bluetooth. Your AirPods should then connect automatically. You can also connect manually by pointing at your AirPods and selecting the Connect option.

3. Charge the AirPods

If you’ve kept your AirPods out of the charging case for a few hours, they might stop charging. Try to put them in the case for at least 15 minutes. You should also charge the charging case itself if the status indicator does not light up.

4. Restart the MAC

Restarting your Mac can also help resolve AirPod connectivity issues. Before you do that, however, place both AirPods in the charging case.

After your Mac restarts, remove the AirPods again. If they don’t connect automatically, open the Bluetooth menu and try to connect manually.

5. Forget and reconnect

Removing AirPods from the list of connected Bluetooth devices on the Mac and trying to reconnect them again can also help.

  • Insert the AirPods into the charging case.
  • Open the Bluetooth menu and select Open Bluetooth preferences.
  • Click the “X” icon on the right side of AirPods and click Forget Device.
  • Open the charging case. Once your AirPods appear in the Bluetooth Preferences pane, click Connect.

Did it help you? Otherwise, read on.

6. Reset AirPods

If the above solutions don’t work, try resetting the AirPods. The process is quite similar to removing and reconnecting a pair of AirPods, except for a few additions.

  • Start by placing the AirPods in the charging case. Wait 30 seconds and open the lid.
  • Select Open Bluetooth Preferences from the Bluetooth menu to display the Bluetooth Preferences panel.
  • Click the “X” icon next to AirPods and click Forget Device to remove them from your Mac.
  • With the cover open, press and hold the setup button on the back of the charging case for about 15 seconds. Release it when the lit status light begins to flash amber.
  • Close the lid and reopen it. Click Connect once the AirPods appear in Bluetooth preferences.

Your Mac probably shouldn’t have any problems connecting to your AirPods afterwards.

7. Disable automatic switching

Do you have an iphone? If so, your AirPods will disconnect from your Mac and automatically switch to your iPhone if you start playing music on it.

To prevent this from happening, open the Settings app on your iPhone and select Bluetooth. Connect to your AirPods (if they aren’t already) and tap the i icon next to it. Then select the option Connect to this iPhone. On the next screen, select Last connected to this iPhone.

This is also true for any iPad that launches iPadOS 14. If you have one lying around, you might want to repeat what you just did to prevent AirPods from automatically switching to your iPad.

You finally solved it

Hope you ended up connecting your AirPods to your Mac. If the above fixes don’t work (and you can’t connect them to your iPhone as well), you may be dealing with a broken AirPod set. If so, it’s better make an appointment at the local Genius Bar.

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