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How to connect your AirPods to a Mac computer, whether or not you have a paired iPhone

  • You can connect AirPods to a Mac using the Bluetooth menu on the computer.
  • If you've connected your AirPods to your iPhone already, connecting them to your Mac is even easier — just select them in the Volume menu.
  • If that doesn't work, make sure that "Handoff" is enabled on your Mac, and that it's logged into the same iCloud account as your iPhone.
  • Visit Business Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

There's no reason to keep your AirPods locked to your iPhone; like any Bluetooth earbuds, you can connect them to many other devices, including your Mac. 

There are two ways to connect AirPods to your Mac, depending upon how you're already using the AirPods.

How to connect your AirPods to your Mac if you already use them on your iPhone

Your AirPods are designed to connect to your Mac automatically if the Mac is using the same Apple ID as your iPhone. 

If this is the case:

1. Open your AirPods case, just like you do to connect them to your iPhone.

2. On your Mac, click the Volume icon in the menu bar at the top of your screen. It looks like a speaker.

3. In the "Output Device" section of this menu, select your AirPods.  

If this doesn't work, there are a couple of settings you need to ensure are enabled. Open System Preferences by clicking the Apple icon in the menu bar, and then clicking "System Preferences."

  • Make sure your Mac is logged into the same Apple ID as your iPhone. In the System Preferences window click "Apple ID" to make sure you're signed in and using the same ID as your iPhone.  
  • Make sure Handoff is turned on. In the System Preferences window, click "General," and make sure there is a check mark next to "Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices."
  • If you don't see the volume icon in the menu bar, you need to turn it on. In the System preferences window, click "Sound" and then click the checkbox next to "Show volume in menu bar."

How to connect your AirPods to a Mac if you don't use them on an iPhone

If your AirPods aren't already connected to your iPhone, you can connect them directly to your Mac anyway. 

1. With the AirPods in their charging case, open the lid but don't remove the AirPods. 

2. Press and hold the button on the back of the case until the status light starts to flash. 

3. On your Mac, click the Apple menu and then click "System Preferences…"

4. In the System Preferences window, click "Bluetooth."

5. In the list of devices, find the AirPods you want to pair with the Mac and then click "Connect."

6. After the connection is complete, the AirPods will appear in the top of the Devices list, ready to be used. 

If you have trouble connecting your AirPods, there are a few things you can try to resolve the problem:

First of all, make sure your Mac is up to date. You need macOS Sierra or later to install the first-generation AirPods, and macOS 10.14.4 or later for second-generation AirPods. 

If the AirPods are in your list of Bluetooth devices but won't connect, remove them from the list and pair them with the Mac again. To do that, find the AirPods in the Bluetooth list and click the "x" to its right. Then repeat the pairing process. 

If nothing else works, reset your AirPods and try again. To reset your AirPods, press and hold the button on the back of the AirPods case for at least 15 seconds. Let go of the button when the status light starts to flash amber. 

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

  • How to turn on Apple's 'Live Listen' feature to use your AirPods as a baby monitor or make them hearing-aid-friendly

  • How to make your AirPods louder if they aren't loud enough, or fix any other volume-related issue

  • 'Why won't my AirPods connect?': What to do if your AirPods aren't connecting to your iOS device or Mac

  • How to customize all of your AirPods' features using an iPhone or iPad

  • How to update your AirPods with the latest firmware, and check which version is installed

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