AirPods are great with the iPhone, but they can take audio on your Mac to the next level too.
Looking to connect AirPods to Mac? Without a doubt, Apple’s AirPods are the most popular wireless earbuds in the world. Their original stem design is also iconic.
But AirPods are so popular for more than just their design. Their ease of connecting, incredible sound, and long battery life make them the ideal wireless earbuds for the iPhone. And since their inception back in 2016, there have actually been FOUR versions released.
The original AirPods were the first generation. They contained the W1 processor and Bluetooth 4.0. In 2019, Apple introduced the second generation AirPods with the H1 processor, Bluetooth 5.0, and “Hey Siri” support.
But also in 2019, Apple introduced the AirPods Pro. These AirPods were smaller than the originals and featured the same H1 chipset from the second generation model, but they also included two big new features: active noise cancelation and swappable ear tips.
Then in 2020, Apple introduced the latest AirPods product – AirPods Max. These are over-the-ear headphones that feature the H1 chip, active noise cancelation, and sport a digital crown like the Apple Watch. You use the digital crown to play audio, adjust the volume, activate Siri and more.
But while most people will buy AirPods to use with their iPhone, you can actually use all four models of AirPods with your Mac too. Here’s how to connect AirPods to Mac.
Connect AirPods to Mac: Requirements
Before we get started, first you want to make sure you have all the necessary stuff to make sure you can connect your AirPods to the Mac. So here’s what you’ll need:
- AirPods first-generation, AirPods second generation, AirPods Pro, or AirPods Max.
- For AirPods first-generation: a Mac with Bluetooth 4.0 or later running macOS Sierra or later.
- For AirPods second-generation: a Mac with Bluetooth 4.0 or later running macOS Mojave or later.
- For AirPods Pro: a Mac with Bluetooth 4.0 or later running macOS Catalina or later.
- For AirPods Max: a Mac with Bluetooth 5.0 or later running macOS Big Sur or later.
Got the right stuff? Good. Now let’s move on to connecting your AirPods to your Mac.
Connect AirPods to Mac: If They Are Already Paired With Your iPhone
Connecting your AirPods to your Mac is easy if your AirPods are already paired with your iPhone. You spill need to make sure you’re signed into the same Apple ID on your Mac and iPhone and, if your AirPods are already paired with your iPhone, just do this:
- Open the AirPods case near your Mac.
- Up in the macOS menu bar, click the Volume icon.
- In the dropdown menu that appears, click on your AirPods from the list.
And that’s it! Your AirPods will now connect to your Mac.
Connect AirPods to Mac: If They Are NOT Already Paired With Your iPhone
But if your AirPods are not already paired with another Appel device – like your iPhone – that is signed into the same Apple ID as your Mac, you’ll need to pair your AirPods to your Mac directly. Here’s how:
- Make sure your AirPods are in their case then open the AirPods case near your Mac.
- Press and hold the button on the back of the AirPods case.
- Open the System Preferences app on your Mac by going to > System Preferences.
- In the System Preferences app, click Bluetooth.
- In the devices list, click on the AirPods you want to pair with your Mac.
Now your selected AirPods will be paired with your Mac. In the future, you can quickly pair your Mac with them if your Mac doesn’t automatically pick them up by going to the macOS menu bar and clicking the Volume button then selecting the AirPods from the dropdown list.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do AirPods work with Mac?
Yes. Apple’s AirPods work with the Mac. They connect with the Mac over Bluetooth and you can use all the the features of the AirPods on the Mac that you find with the iPhone.
Q: Do I need an iPhone to use AirPods?
No. AirPods will also work with iPads, iPod touches, and Macs. They’ll actually also work with Android devices too. However, if you are using AirPods with Android phones, you won’t have some of the same features available – like “Hey Siri” support.
Q: Which AirPods are best for the Mac?
That depends on what type of work you do on your Mac. If you do a lot of Zoom calling, the AirPods Pro are a great choice due to their tiny size and active noise cancelation. If you are working with audio apps, AirPods Max might be your better option.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.