How to Pair Apple AirPods to iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch

The new Apple AirPods cost more than most Bluetooth headphones or earbuds, but they’re worth the price because they’re so simple to use. They sound good, for Bluetooth headphones, and feel more comfortable than the EarPods that come with your iPhone. They also automatically work with other Apple products like an iPad or Mac once you pair them with your iPhone. Apple made pairing with an iPhone so simple.

We’ll show you how to pair your Apple AirPods with your iPhone. Then we’ll look at how to later connect them to an iPad, a Mac and an Apple Watch.

See AirPods Review: Are They Worth Buying?

Are the AirPods worth buying?

Pair Your Apple AirPods with iPhone

Before you get started, make sure the Apple AirPods have a full charge and make sure to turn on Bluetooth on the iPhone. Also, AirPods need iOS 10.2 or higher. If your iPhone runs an older version of the operating system, then you’ll need to update first.

See How Long Will the iOS 10 Update Take to Finish?

With iOS updated to version 10.2 and Bluetooth turned on, follow the steps below:

apple airpods connect and hold button dialog boxes
Open the Apple AirPods container and the left screen appears. Tap connect and the right screen appears.
  1. Open the Apple AirPods lid until the above left image shows up on the iPhone.
  2. Tap on the Connect link in the dialog box.
  3. The right image above shows up on the iPhone so press and hold the small button on the back of the AirPods box.
  4. The Apple AirPods will start connecting to the iPhone showing the lower left screen.
  5. When the AirPods finish connecting, the lower right screen appears signalling the user that the connection is established.
  6. Tap on Done.
airpods-connecting-done-dialog
After pressing the button on the back of the AirPods, the left screen appears. When finished the right screen appears.

Notice that the battery life of both the AirPods and the box shows up on the screen. This will show up each time the user opens the box to take out one or both AirPods.

Connecting AirPods to iPad

Connecting the AirPods to other Apple devices, like an iPad, Mac or Apple TV, is easy thanks to iCloud. Remember that you can only use the AirPods with one device at a time. You don’t have to turn off Bluetooth on any of the devices except in the case of connecting to Apple TV.

For the steps in this How To to work, the user must turn on iCloud syncing on the devices.

how to turn on icloud keychain on ipad

 

On iPhone, open the Settings app and tap on the user name at the top of the screen. Then tap on iCloud. Make sure Keychain is turned on. If not, tap it and then tap the ON/OFF button to turn it on. It turns green to show it’s turned on.

turn on icloud sync in settings app

On the iPad, open the Settings app. iCloud shows up in the left hand column in the fourth section down. Tap on iCloud and see if Keychain shows as On. If not, tap it and then tap on the button as you did above.

 

Now it’s time to connect. Start with the iPad. Open the Settings app again and tap on Bluetooth. You should now see your AirPods listed.

connect ipad to apple airpods

Tap on the AirPods in the list on the right and they should connect to the iPad.

Connect AirPods to Mac

macos 10 system preferences

On the Mac, open the System Preferences app from the Dock or from the Apple menu. Click to open iCloud. You can also long press on the System Preferences icon in the Dock until the menu appears.

macos 10 system prefrences icloud keychain sync settings

Click on iCloud to open it. Make sure that a checkmark shows up next to Keychain.

Now it’s time to turn on Bluetooth and make sure the Bluetooth icon shows up in the macOS 10 menu bar. Click on the back button in the upper left corner and find the Bluetooth applet in System Preferences.

open system preferences from dock icon menu
Click and hold on the System Preferences icon on the Dock to show the menu. Then click the item you want to open.

If you already closed System Preferences, open it again. You can also quickly open any System Preferences applet by clicking and holding on the System Preferences dialog box. The menu shows up, as seen above. Click on Bluetooth.

show bluetooth in menu bar macos 10

In the Bluetooth dialog box from System Preferences, make sure Bluetooth is turned on and that there’s a checkmark next to “Show Bluetooth in the menu bar”. It seems like you should be able to connect from this dialog box, but it doesn’t work. You have to use the menu bar drop down list.

connect airpods to mac from bluetooth menu bar icon

Now you can connect from the Bluetooth icon on the menu bar. Click the menu bar Bluetooth icon and a drop down box shows up. Find your AirPods on the list and click them. A Connect link flies out to the right. Click it to connect.

volume button on macos 10 menu bar showing airpods

When you click on the Volume icon in the menu bar, you should see your AirPods listed. It also shows the battery level of the AirPods.

The Sound drop down also lets you connect to AirPods that you’ve already paired with the Mac. Click on the sound link in the menu bar and then click on the AirPods in the list. As with other devices you’ll need to keep the AirPods close to the Mac so it can discover them.

Connect Apple AirPods to Apple Watch

To use Apple AirPods with an Apple Watch, the Watch must run watchOS 3. You also have to pair the AirPods with the iPhone first. If you don’t know how to listen to music on your Apple Watch, you can follow Apple’s instructions.

apple watch airplay icon

Connect to your AirPods by swiping up from the clock screen on your Apple Watch. Swipe until you see the AirPlay icon. Tap it and tap on your AirPods.

apple watch airplay airpods

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *