How to pair your AirPods and AirPods Pro with just about any device

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Apple’s AirPods pro. All generations of AirPods and AirPods pro share the same pairing process.

Michael Gariffo

So you have a brand new pair of AirPods (1st, 2nd or 3rd generation) or AirPods Pro. Now you need to pair them with your devices to start listening to your favorite music, movies and podcasts.

If you’re using an iPhone, Mac, or iPad, the process will likely take about five seconds in total. If you want to use your AirPods with a non-Apple device instead, the task of pairing them is almost as simple.

We’ll show you how to quickly and easily connect your new truly wireless headphones to all of the Apple devices listed above, as well as almost any non-Apple device. The process is the same for each generation of AirPods and standard AirPods Pro. We’ll walk you through the little differences you’ll need to know to successfully connect them to each type of device.

More: Apple AirPods 3 vs. AirPods Pro

Pairing with Apple devices

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The first card will appear whenever you pair AirPods that are already linked to an iCloud account other than your own. Once paired, they will earn your name, as seen in the following two cards.

Michael Gariffo

iPhone

The iPhone is probably the most common audio output companion for the AirPods. Luckily, it’s also the easiest to connect. Just follow the steps below.

  1. Unlock your iPhone, make sure you’re signed in to iCloud, and go to your home screen.

  2. With your new AirPods in their charging case, bring the case closer to your iPhone and open it.

  3. You should see a welcome animation appear within seconds. It will include a “Connect” button similar to the leftmost card above.

  4. Faucet Relate.

  5. From there, things will vary depending on your AirPods model. You may be asked if you want to enable “Hey Siri” commands and you may be offered a trial of Apple Music. All of the following cards that appear are pretty self-explanatory and you can choose any deals you want.

  6. Once you have reached the end of the process, you will see a card with a “Done” button and you will be presented with the rightmost card seen above. Your new AirPods are now ready to use.

More: Don’t buy your AirPods from Apple! These are the best deals for May 2022

A final note: Making sure you’re signed in to iCloud when the process starts makes it easy to connect your AirPods to any Mac, iPad, or other supported Apple device that’s also signed into the same iCloud account. You’ll likely be presented with a pop-up on each device when connecting or turning them on for the first time after pairing your new AirPods. Just press Relate on the pop-up window and you can use the AirPods to listen to audio from any compatible Apple device.

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That sneaky little circle I’m pointing to is the setup button that puts your AirPods into pairing mode. It’s in the same place on all AirPod models.

Michael Gariffo

Mac

As mentioned above, if your AirPods were previously paired with an iPhone signed into the same iCloud account that you use on your Mac, chances are your entire pairing process for your Mac will consist of clicking the Connect button that appears.

However, if that doesn’t happen because you don’t use iCloud, don’t have an iPhone, or your Mac is the first device you pair your AirPods to, the process is just a bit more. complicated.

In all of these cases, follow the steps below to manually pair your AirPods with your Mac.

  1. Make sure your AirPods are in their case and open its lid.

  2. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case (see above) until the status light on the front flashes white.

  3. On your Mac, click the apple menuso System Preferencesand finally Bluetooth. You can also access System Preferences via the gear icon you probably have in your dock.

  4. Your AirPods should appear in the List of devices within the Bluetooth menu. If so, just click on them and they will connect to your Mac.

  5. Once done, you’ll have a few more choices about enabling the “Hey Siri” feature and some privacy preferences.

  6. Once you’ve made your decisions for each one, your AirPods are set up and ready to go.

More: Apple AirPods (3rd generation): improvements in all the right places

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Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

iPad

As in the Mac section above, the process should be mostly automatic if you’ve previously paired your AirPods with another Apple device on the same iCloud account. However, if you need to do it manually for any of the reasons listed above, follow the steps below on any iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, or iPad Mini.

  1. Make sure your iPad’s Bluetooth is turned on.

  2. Go to your home screen. Make sure your AirPods are in their case and open the case.

  3. You should see a pop-up essentially identical to the one shown on the iPhone above. Just press Relate and follow the next prompts, and you’re done.

  4. If that doesn’t work, you can also press and hold the setup button until the status light flashes white, then search for your AirPods in your iPad’s Bluetooth menu. There you can tap them in the list of available devices and connect manually.

More: How to clean and disinfect your AirPods

Microsoft Surface Book

Non-Apple devices

Windows 10 pc

The process of connecting to a Windows PC really isn’t that different from connecting to a Mac. Just follow the steps below and you should be up and running in less than a minute.

  1. Click the magnifying glass icon in your taskbar and type “Bluetooth”.

  2. Click on the result that says Bluetooth and other device settings.

  3. At the top of the window that opens, click Add Bluetooth or another device.

  4. In the Add device window that appears, click Bluetooth at the top.

  5. The PC will begin searching for available devices to pair to. At this point, hold the setup button on your AirPods until the indicator light flashes white.

  6. Your AirPods should appear in the list of available devices within seconds. Simply click on it to start pairing.

  7. Once the PC is done, your AirPods should appear under the audio part of the Bluetooth and other devices the Windows. Once he’s there with a Paired or Connected indicator below, you are done.

More: Getting AirPods Pro? Here’s why you should also get AppleCare+

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June Wan/ZDNet

Android smartphones and tablets

The process for an Android smartphone can vary far more than any of these other processes due to the wide variety of Android versions available on thousands of Android devices from hundreds of manufacturers. However, we can still provide more general steps below.

  1. Find your device’s Bluetooth menu and look for any menu choice that mentions adding a new device, pairing a new device, or syncing with a new device.

  2. Use this option to put your device into pairing mode.

  3. Press and hold the setup button on your AirPods until the indicator light on the front flashes white.

  4. Find the AirPods to display in the list of available devices on your Android device.

  5. Tap the AirPods name or any connect button associated with them.

  6. It should do it. Don’t be surprised if you’re faced with a few more dialog boxes to complete. Just read carefully and you should be listening to the audio within seconds.

More: Apple thinks my own AirPods are stalking me

About Franklin Cheatham

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