How to Connect Apple AirPods to Apple TV

The Apple AirPods work great for listening to music or other media on your iPhone, iPad and Mac. Users can even listen to music loaded on an Apple Watch. However, you can also connect them to an Apple TV and quietly watch movies, listen to music or podcasts, and play games.

Why would anyone want to connect their AirPods to an Apple TV? Maybe you want to watch a movie or TV show late at night while your spouse or roommate is sleeping. If you own an Apple TV and use it in a busy office, it’s possible that your co-workers don’t want to hear the music or the games you’re playing. A loud room might make it hard to hear and the AirPods could ease that problem.

pari airpods with apple tv

AirPods Compatibility with Apple TV

The Apple AirPods work with all Apple devices sold in recent years including iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac. Those devices will connect to the AirPods automatically after being paired. iCloud syncs with the other devices and the AirPods will show up as an option in the Bluetooth menu or the AirPlay menu if they’re near the device. To learn more about pairing and connecting with these devices, see our helpful how to post.

Unfortunately, the Apple TV doesn’t work the same as other Apple devices. You will have to manually connect the AirPods to the Apple TV the same way you would connect any other Bluetooth device to an Apple TV. These steps work with many different accessories such as keyboards, Bluetooth headphones or speakers and the Apple AirPods.

The AirPods only work with the latest version of the Apple TV that came with the black remote (with the Siri button and touch panel at the top of the remote). Older Apple TVs won’t connect with AirPods.

Steps to Connect AirPods with Apple TV

Turn on your TV and set the input to the HDMI connection for your Apple TV. Press a button on the remote to wake up the Apple TV. On many TVs you can start by pressing a button on the Apple TV remote and it will turn on your TV and automatically switch to the right input.

You might need to turn off the Bluetooth on your iPhone, iPad or maybe even your Mac so they won’t interfere with the pairing process.

apple tv settings remotes and devices

Go into the Settings app on the Apple TV. Inside Settings choose Remotes and Devices using your Apple TV remote or the Remote app on an iPhone or iPad.

apple tv settings bluetooth

Select Bluetooth on the resulting screen. Now press the button on the back of the AirPods charging and carrying case. Your AirPods should show up in the list of Bluetooth devices available to pair.

Select your AirPods with the Apple TV Remote. You might see the word “Headphones” instead of the name of your AirPods. Either way, select them. The Apple TV will now connect to the AirPods.

How to Switch the Audio Output to AirPods

After paring the AirPods to the Apple TV, they should connect easily, but you might need to select the AirPods first. If you’re trying to keep from disturbing someone else in the room, then mute the TV so the Apple TV sound effects don’t annoy anyone.

apple tv settings select airpods

Open Settings on the Apple TV and go into Audio and Video. Go into Audio Output to choose the AirPods.

apple tv settings audio output

You will see your AirPods listed. Select them and the Apple TV will connect and start playing audio through the Apple AirPods.

apple tv settings audio output airpods

AirPods work great with the Apple TV. After you’re finished listening to something on the Apple TV, put the AirPods back in their box or connect them to another device and they will disconnect from the Apple TV. The Apple TV will start playing the audio through the TV again. You can go back into the Audio Output to select your preferred output device.