AirPods won’t connect to MacBook

In this article, we are going to see what to do when AirPods won’t connect to MacBook, This is a general problem faced by MacBook users. So, How to fix AirPods when not connecting to MacBook?. The problem arises mainly due to connectivity issues with the MacBook and is not anything serious. This issue is very common with AirPods users as it arises from time to time, as a matter of fact, it is common with any Bluetooth-based device. This problem is caused by pairing failure and affects AirPods, AirPods 2, AirPods Pro.

Follow the guide to fix the issue and if one or both of the AirPods are not connecting then do not worry and just follow the steps mentioned below.

AirPods won't connect to MacBook

NOTE: Check if the problem is resolved after every method and do not try all the methods at once without testing, this may cause an unnecessarily long time.

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Restarting the MacBook

Restarting the MacBook

This step seems obvious but we tend to skip it and try every other possible solution. Simply go to the menu and click on the restart, or press the power button to power off.

After the MacBook is powered on again, try connecting your AirPods and check if the music is playing or not. If not then try restarting MacBook again a couple of times as it has worked in many instances. But if the AirPods are still not connecting then move to the second method.

Bluetooth and charge

For this method, keep your AirPods on charging and make sure it is charging properly as sometimes a low battery can affect the connection visibility. And keep them near the MacBook for more chances of a successful connection.

Now turn off the Bluetooth on your MacBook and turn it back on after 10-15 seconds, open the lid of the AirPods so it comes in pairing mode.

Next, go to the Bluetooth devices list by going to System Preference -> Bluetooth and click on “Show Bluetooth in menu bar”. Now you must see your AirPods in the list and you can now connect by clicking on it.

 Update the MacBook

This method is not guaranteed to work but it may be one of the possible causes for the problem. If you are using a new MacBook or an old one then make sure that the macOS(MoJava) version is 10.14.4 or above if your AirPods are the second generation. And for first-generation AirPods, the macOS(Catalina) should be 10.15.1 or above.

If you are not sure about the generation or the model of the AirPods then you can go to your iPhone if they were connected earlier. Settings -> General -> About -> Your AirPods. In case they were not connected previously then check the AirPods box. Check the below model numbers to determine the generation:

  • A1523/A1722 -> First-generation AirPods
  • A1523/A1722 -> Second-generation AirPods

Now to make sure that you are using the latest version of the macOS, follow the steps given below:

For macOS(Mojave) or higher: Open your MacBook and go to System Preference(Apple menu) 

System Preference(Apple menu) to fix AirPods won't connect to MacBook

-> Software Update

Software Update

-> Check for Update

After opening the menu follow the instructions shown on the screen.

 Check for Update
How to fix AirPods when not connecting to MacBook

For macOS(Sierra) or lower: Open MacBook and then navigate to App Store -> Updates tab, click on the update button if any is available.

 Reconnect the AirPods

For this method, first, we need to remove the AirPods from the Bluetooth list. Follow the steps mentioned below to do the same:

Removing the AirPods from the Bluetooth list:

  • Click on Bluetooth and the list of connected devices will be visible.
  • Now you must see the AirPods on the list but if not then perform the re-add part of the method.
  • If the AirPods are shown in the list under “Not Connected” then click on the AirPods.
  • Now click on the delete icon after clicking on it. There must be an “X” as the delete icon.

Adding the AirPods from the Bluetooth list:

Reconnecting the AirPods again with the MacBook:

NOTE: Before starting with the steps make sure that the AirPods are charged up to 70% at least.

  • Place the AirPods back in the case (original charging case).
  • Now close the lid of the charging case and keep it close to the MacBook for better connectivity.
  • Now open the lip of the charging case.
  • Open MacBook and go to System Preference -> Bluetooth.
  • The AirPods must be visible on the MacBook, select the AirPods by clicking on it and selecting “connect”.
  • If you are not able to see the AirPods then go to the next method to solve this.

 Set up AirPods

Perform this method if you are not able to see the AirPods in the Bluetooth list. It means that you need to set up your AirPods on your MacBook again. Follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Open the MacBook and navigate to System Preference -> Bluetooth.
System Preference -> Bluetooth
  • If the Bluetooth is off then turn it on by clicking on the slider.
Bluetooth is off then turn it on
  • Now bring the charging case (with AirPods in them) near the MacBook and open the lid.
  • On the back of the case, there will be a “setup button”. Press and hold the button until the white notification light flashes on the AirPods. Release when the light flashes.
setup button
  • The AirPods must be visible now in the Bluetooth list and you can connect the AirPods like the previous method without any issue.

 Restart your AirPods

If none of the above methods are working for you then you need to reset your AirPods to resolve the connection problem. 

NOTE: Before starting with the steps make sure that the AirPods are charged up to 70% at least.

Follow the steps mentioned below to reset the AirPods:

  • Bring the charging case (with AirPods in them) near the MacBook and open the lid of the charging case.
  • Now open the MacBook’s Bluetooth menus and check if the AirPods are visible.
  • If AirPods are not visible then close the lid for 30 seconds and open it again.
  • Now press and hold the “setup button” at the back of the charging case for 15 seconds or until white light flashes and then amber light.
  • Now open MacBook and navigate to System Preference -> Bluetooth and add the AirPods.

 Restart MacBook’s Bluetooth module

If none of the methods are working for you then you can try this as the last resort, chances are the problem is with the Bluetooth module in your MacBook. You can make sure that the problem is this by seeing if AirPods are connecting to other devices like your iPhone.

  1. Go to the Bluetooth icon at the top and look for your Airpods, once you find them click on “remove”.
Restart MacBook’s Bluetooth module
  1. Go to the Bluetooth icon at the top and tap it. Select the option and click on “Reset the Bluetooth module”, now restart your MacBook and the problem should be solved.
Reset the Bluetooth module to fix AirPods won't connect to MacBook

Now the Bluetooth icon must be visible on the menu bar, but if it is not visible then select “System Preference -> Bluetooth -> Show Bluetooth”. Now follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Press and hold the Shift + Alt key together on the keyboard of your MacBook.
  • Click on the Bluetooth status icon while holding both the keys together.
  • A new menu will pop up, select “Debug” in the menu.
  • Once done, restart your MacBook and now the issue must be resolved.

FAQ

Can I connect two AirPods to one MacBook?

If you have a newer model of the mac book then YES, you can connect multiple Bluetooth devices at a single time. HOWEVER, you can not use two different AirPods on the same MacBook but you can connect another Bluetooth earphone/headphone. Alternatively, you can share audio between two AirPods with the help of an iPhone.

Do AirPods only work with iPhones?

NO, if you own an Android or Windows device then they will work normally but the device should have support for Bluetooth. Some Windows devices do not have built-in support and external Bluetooth adapters may cause connectivity issues.

Can I pair my fake AirPods with my MacBook?

Chances are that the fake AirPods will connect without problem with the MacBook but if in some cases the MacBook may no detect it. Or the MacBook denies connection due to security/trust issues, in such case you should try to connect them with an Android/Windows device.

Summary

In this article, we saw how to resolve the problem of AirPods not connecting to the MacBook. The article includes different methods such as resetting the Bluetooth module of the MacBook and others. The problem mostly arose due to connectivity issues between the AirPods and MacBook. To solve the problem faster you need to identify that if the problem is with the AirPods or the MacBook. If the AirPods are connecting with the other devices then the problem is with the MacBook. But if AirPods are not connecting to any device then the problem is with the AirPods.

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