How to Fix AirPods Connection Issues on Mac

Tips • Aug.27, 2021

airpods mac

Apple is great at releasing stable products that work and fit seamlessly in their environment. One such device is the AirPods, and they’re awesome, easy to use and deliver an experience unmatched by any other. The sound quality and noise cancellation they provide will make all your music and movie experiences unforgettable.

However, getting a new pair of AirPods only to discover that it has connectivity issues with your Mac or other devices is definitely a bummer. Users are having issues with their AirPods and can’t seem to fix the problems. Assuming, you too, are facing the same issues and are looking for fixes. Then don’t worry, as most of these problems can be fixed with relative ease, and we’ll be looking at all the fixes to help you get a seamless experience with your AirPods.

Why my AirPods won’t connect to my Mac?

There are many reasons that you might be stuck with an AirPod that isn’t connecting with your Mac. However, mostly the fixes we’ll be talking about can solve the problem. Some bugs can pop up occasionally and spoil your experience, but most of the problem lies with the connection. Here are some of the most common reasons that plague the AirPods connection to your Mac:

  • macOS is outdated and needs to update
  • AirPods not compatible with your Mac
  • Common bugs that can spoil the connection
  • Mac Bluetooth is not turned on
  • AirPods running out of battery or not paired with Mac
  • AirPods or Mac might have a hardware related problem
Check if your AirPods are compatible with your Mac

One of the most common issues with the AirPods is that they’re not compatible with all versions of macOS. You might think the connection is Bluetooth, and they should work with all the older Macs, but that’s not the case, and you should make sure that you have zero compatibility issues with your devices by checking the compatibility list below:

  • Apple AirPods (1st gen) – macOS 10.12 or later
  • Apple AirPods (2nd gen) – macOS 10.14.4 or later
  • Apple AirPods Pro – macOS 10.15.1 or later

How to fix AirPods connection issues on Mac?

Now that you’re sure that your AirPods are facing some connection issues and ruining your entire experience. Well, then you can follow these quick and easy solutions to get your AirPods out of the pit and solve all the connection issues.

1. Restart your Mac

The easiest and quickest way you can fix your AirPods connectivity is through restarting your Mac. This makes any minor bugs or errors disappear and leave you with a fresh boot with everything working fine. Here’s how you can restart your Mac if you don’t know already:

  • Click on the “Apple” icon on your Mac’s home screen, as shown above.
  • Now, select the “Restart” button and click on it to restart your Mac. It’s as simple as that.
2. Ensure your Mac is updated

The next fix that can help you solve the connectivity issues of AirPods is a little extensive and can take a fair bit of time to do so. You need to check to see if you have any updates available and update your Mac to the latest macOS version to ensure zero compatibility issues. Here’s how you can check for updates for your Mac:

  • Firstly, click on the “Apple” icon on the top left corner of your Mac’s home screen and then select the “System Preferences” option.
  • Once you’re in the “System Preferences” menu, look for the “Software Update” icon and click on it.
  • Finally, let it scan for any available updates and then click on the “Upgrade Now” button as shown above in the screenshot to update your Mac to the latest build of macOS.

[ Related: How to Upgrade to (and Downgrade from) the macOS ]

3. Make sure that Bluetooth is turned on

Turning your Mac’s Bluetooth on is a real problem that many users forget to do. We get it; Apple does indeed make everything so seamless that the process of turning on the Bluetooth option can seem counterintuitive. However, it is necessary to connect your AirPods and have them function normally. So, here’s how you can turn your Mac’s Bluetooth on:

  • Firstly, click on the “Bluetooth” icon located on the top right corner of your Mac’s menu bar.
  • Now, click on the toggle next to the “Bluetooth” text as shown above in the screenshot.
  • Finally, select your AirPods and enjoy a flawless media experience.

bluetooth on

4. Pair your AirPods with your Mac

As we have discussed earlier, Apple has a smooth and seamless experience for connecting AirPods to devices such as their iPhones or iPads. This is due to a special chip that instantly detects and connects nearby AirPods to your devices as soon as you open the lid. However, older Macs require you to pair your AirPods before they can be used. This can be a little frustrating at times, but the pairing process is quick and doesn’t require any other setup. Here’s how you can pair your AirPods to your Mac:

  • Firstly, turn on “Bluetooth” on your Mac and insert the AirPods back in the charging case.
  • Next, open the charging case lid and hold down the button on the back for a few seconds, as shown in the image above.
  • Finally, your AirPods should be in pairing mode, and your Mac must recognize it in the Bluetooth devices settings. Click on the “Connect” button, and you will be able to pair your AirPods to your Mac instantly.

Note: You can skip the process above if your Mac and AirPods are registered on the same iCloud account and your Mac is connected to the internet. Your AirPods should automatically be paired up with your Mac and should connect instantly as you open up the lid to take the earphones out.

5. Set AirPods as the output device

This fix requires you to dive into the Mac “Sound” settings and set your AirPods as the output device. There are times where your Mac will automatically default back to the inbuilt speakers and ignore the connected AirPods. We have seen this happen with a lot of people, and this issue is relatively common. So, here’s how you can fix it and set your AirPods as the primary output device:

  • Firstly, turn on the “Bluetooth” connection on your Mac and then connect your AirPods.
  • Next, you need to click on the “Apple” logo and then on the “System Preferences” option.
  • Once the “System Preferences” menu pops up, look for the “Sounds” icon and click on it to open up a settings panel identical to the above screenshot.
  • Finally, click on the “Output” tab and then select your AirPods as the output device.

sound output

6. Remove and reconnect your AirPods to your Mac

The next fix can feel a little challenging at first but is one of the most effective solutions a lot of people use to solve the connectivity issues of their AirPods. The overall process is straightforward but has a lot of steps to follow, so read them carefully:

  • Firstly, click on the “Apple” icon present on the top left corner of your Mac’s home screen and then select the “System Preferences” option.
  • Next, look for the “Bluetooth” icon on the “System Preferences” menu and click on it.
  • Now you would be greeted with a pop-up window, something similar to the screenshot above. All you need to do is click on your AirPods and then on the “Option” button.
  • Next, click on the “X” button and then your Mac will remove or forget the AirPods from the device list.
  • Finally, all you need to do now is connect your AirPods back again by pairing them up with your Mac. You can follow the steps from the “Pairing your AirPods” heading above for a quick and easy connection process.

Note: This should solve most of the connectivity issues, but if it doesn’t work for you, we recommend you check for any available updates and try to forget and pair your AirPods again.

7. Reset your AirPods

This is another relatively popular fix with users as it has helped them solve a lot of connectivity problems and bugs with the AirPods. The older AirPods firmware had some bugs that stopped them from charging and also delivered some connectivity issues with devices. So, here’s how you can reset your AirPods and then connect them to update to the latest firmware with zero connectivity issues:

  • Firstly, put your AirPods back in the charging case and disconnect them from any connected devices.
  • Next, hold down the button on the charging case as shown in the image above for around 15 seconds. This will reset your AirPods.
  • Now, all you need to do is connect them back again, and they should be automatically updated to the latest firmware, and you should have yourself a fixed pair of AirPods.
8. Use ToothFairy to fix connection issues

The following fix is something that will feel “magical” to use. Other than the awful pun, ToothFairy is an easy to use app that helps you connect all your Bluetooth devices and is especially useful for users having connection issues with their AirPods. All you need to do is run ToothFairy, and the app would work its magic. Here’s how you can have a fantastic time using ToothFairy:

ToothFairy 1

  • Firstly, download and install the ToothFairy app from the web link above.
  • Next, run the app and connect your AirPods with your Mac.
  • The app will insert a menu bar icon and some easy and quick shortcuts accessible from your keyboard, making managing all your Bluetooth devices as easy as clicking one button.
  • Finally, go to the “ToothFairy” settings to see your AirPods connected and then click on “OK” to save the settings, and you should have a fully functional set of AirPods.

Note: ToothFair has other settings such as “Launch at Login” and other advanced controls for your AirPods, so we suggest you go through the entire app ad learn all that it has to offer for a better, faster and smoother AirPods experience.

9. Make sure your AirPods are charged

A fairly common mistake that you can make is forgetting to charge your AirPods. Don’t worry as you’re not alone as we too have made this same mistake. So, before you do anything, try to charge your AirPods up to 100% and then connect them to your Mac. You can also check the battery information and what percentage of charge is left from your Mac, iPhone or iPad, and it should look something like the screenshot above.

10. Check for Bluetooth 4.0 bug

Finally, this is a very rare bug that has been plaguing users with old Macs running macOS 10.12 gen which has the older Bluetooth 4.0 hardware. So, if you think you fall in the same category of users and have connectivity issues with your AirPods, then we recommend you follow the steps below:

  • Firstly, click on the “Apple” icon on your home screen and click on the “System Preferences” option.
  • Next, select the “Sound” settings and then click on the “Input” tab.
  • Now, select your Internal Microphone as your default and primary input device and then save the settings.

Note: This should fix any connectivity issues with your Airpods, and you can read the in-depth article on the problem and solutions on the Apple Stack Exchange webpage linked here.

Get your AirPods repaired

Let’s assume that none of the fixes above is working for you, and you are sure that it’s your AirPods that has the problem. Unfortunately, this leaves you with no other option than to get it repaired. We recommend you to go to a nearby Apple store and ask them to fix your AirPods. This should fix your problems, or you may even end up with a new pair of AirPods if your old ones were in the Warranty period.


Why do my AirPods keep failing to connect to my Mac?

There can be multiple reasons that your AirPods fail to connect to your Mac, but the most common reason we have come across is Bluetooth errors. You can do a quick fix of restarting your Mac and turning on Bluetooth to see if it works but if it doesn’t, we recommend you go through the fixes above and solve your AirPods connection issue.

How do you fix AirPods that keep disconnecting from Mac?

The quickest fix to stop your AirPods disconnecting from your Mac is by removing the AirPods from your Mac’s Bluetooth list, restarting your Mac and then pairing your AirPods again. Hopefully, this will solve your issue, but you can follow the fixes above if you still are facing problems with using your AirPods.

Why do my AirPods have connectivity issues?

A Bluetooth connection has always suffered from interference and other connectivity bugs, and hence, AirPods too suffer from the problem. However, these common errors and issues are easy to fix and don’t pose much trouble for the user.

Final words

Having problems with your AirPods is sure to be frustrating, and we feel your problems. You got your AirPods with high expectations and didn’t expect to run into any issues. However, nothing is perfect, and no matter how much Apple seems to make the experience seamless and smooth, there will still be some issues in the final product. We hope that the guide above helped you fix these issues and get back to a seamless experience.

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