09-airpods-2nd-generation

Thanks to iCloud, connecting your AirPods to a Mac couldn’t be easier.


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Apple’s AirPods ($145 at Amazon) have quickly become a ubiquitous symbol for wireless earphones. And as the iPhone 11 ($700 at AT&T Wireless) and 11 Pro are set to launch in just a matter of days, it’s likely that more people will opt to grab a pair of the $159 headphones with their shiny new iDevices. And even if you have mastered using your AirPods on your iPhone ($1,000 at Amazon), there are still many other devices you can use them with like the iPad Pro ($800 at Walmart), the iPod Touch ($219 at Walmart) and Mac. If you have an iCloud account, Apple has made it super easy to use your AirPods to pair and setup your MacBook Air ($1,100 at Walmart) and your iPhone 11 Pro Max.

If you’ve already set up your AirPods with your iPhone and your Mac is signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID, then you should be good to go. To check, place your AirPods in your ears and check either the Bluetooth or volume drop-down menu from the menu bar on your Mac. Then choose AirPods from the list.

If you’d like to follow along or see us connect a pair of AirPods step-by-step, watch the video below: How to connect AirPods to your Mac.

To quote Guns N’ Roses, “it’s so easy.”

But if you don’t see your AirPods listed, there are a few things you need to do. 

1. Charge your AirPods. Make sure those little guys have all the power they need.

2. Open Bluetooth preferences on your Mac. You can either go to the Bluetooth drop-down menu from your menu bar and select Open Bluetooth Preferences… or go to the Apple menu, select System Preferences and click Bluetooth.

3. Double-check that Bluetooth is actually on. Because you never know — things happen!

4. Put both AirPods in their charging case and open the lid.

5. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case until the status light flashes white.

6. Go back to the Bluetooth preferences window on your Mac and select AirPods from the Devices list.

7. Finally, click Connect.

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Sometimes your AirPods might be paired to your Mac, but not actively connected. Go into the Bluetooth drop-down menu and connect your AirPods.


Patrick Holland/CNET

If sound still plays from your Mac speakers, check either the Bluetooth or volume drop-down menu in the menu bar and make sure your AirPods are selected as the output.

Now you can listen to music from your phone or from your Mac without changing headphones. And that’s how the world is meant to work.

If you still want more nuance and control while using your AirPods on your Mac there are a couple of third-party apps that can assist you. Read Better Bluetooth: 2 apps for using AirPods with a Mac.

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