Apple’s AirPods work seamlessly with iPhones but they’re also standard Bluetooth headphones, which means they will work with any device that supports Bluetooth audio, including a PC, Windows laptop and even Android phones. The pairing process isn’t as automatic as pairing with an iPhone, but they’ll pair pretty much the same way other bluetooth earphones do and if you’re using a Mac or iPad, the pairing process is even easier.
How to Pair Your AirPods With a Windows PC, Android Phone, Apple TV and other Bluetooth-enabled devices
To pair your AirPods with any other device—or an older Mac, you just need to use the pairing button on the AirPods charging case.
Look on the back of your AirPods case. See that silver circle near the bottom, just above the Lightning port? That’s the “button” you need to pair your AirPods with other devices where the W1 chip can’t pair it automatically.
To place your AirPods in pairing mode:
- Place both your AirPods in the charging case.
- Open the lid on the case. You’ll see the light come on, indicating the charging status.
- Press and hold the circular button on the back of your AirPods case. The light inside the case will begin to blink white. This indicates that your AirPods are now in pairing mode.
While the white light is flashing, your AirPods are now “discoverable” and they’ll appear as a peripheral you can pair from your Bluetooth settings, just like any other Bluetooth headphones or speakers.
- Android: Go to Settings and tap the “Bluetooth” option under Wireless & networks. Ensure Bluetooth is enabled and you’ll see the AirPods as an available device to pair with.
- Apple TV: Go to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Bluetooth. Select your AirPods from the list.
- Mac: Click the Apple menu and go to System Preferences > Bluetooth. Select your AirPods from the list and click “Pair”
- Windows 7: Go to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers > Add a device. Select your AirPods from the list
- Windows 10: Go to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices > Add Bluetooth or other device > Bluetooth. Select your AirPods from the list.
- Other Bluetooth Devices: Go to the Bluetooth settings section of your device – where you can view and connect Bluetooth devices. Your AirPods will appear as an option here like any other Bluetooth headphones would.
Once they’re connected, your AirPods will function as normal Bluetooth headphones with whatever device they’re paired to.
Reconnecting Your AirPods to Your iPhone or iPad
Unfortunately, your AirPods will be disconnected from your iPhone after you pair them with another non-iOS device and you will need to reconnect them to your iPhone when you want to use them again.
To do this, first place your AirPods back in their case, go to your iPhone’s home screen, open the AirPods case, and hold it near your iPhone. The same process works on an iPad.
You’ll see a “Not Your AirPods” message appear on your screen. Tap “Connect.” You’ll then be prompted to press and hold the circular button on the back of the case. Release the button when “Connecting” appears on your screen and they’ll be automatically reconnected to your iPhone.
How to Pair Your AirPods With a Mac or iPad
If you’ve already paired your AirPods with your iPhone, this pairing status will sync between your iPhone and any iPads and Macs you have on your account thanks to iCloud. For this to work, you have to be signed into the iPad or Mac with the same Apple ID you use on your iPhone. For Macs, you must have Handoff enabled.
Older Macs that don’t support Handoff can’t take advantage of this easy pairing process, and you’ll have to manually pair it with them using Bluetooth, as described above. This pairing status also doesn’t sync to Apple TVs, so you’ll have to use Bluetooth to pair AirPods with an Apple TV as well.
If everything is set up properly, you can simply select your AirPods like any other audio device from your iPad or Mac. First, ensure either your AirPods case is open, the AirPods are out of the case, or that they’re in your ears.
On an iPad, open the Control Center, tap the audio wave icon at the top right corner of the music controls or long-press the music controls and tap the device switcher icon, and select your AirPods in the list of audio devices.