How to Connect AirPods to a Mac and Customize Controls

by

If you've set up first-generation or second-generation AirPods with your iPhone and your Mac is signed in to iCloud with the same Apple ID, then your AirPods should be ready to use with your Mac.


Ideally, all you need to do is put your ‌AirPods‌ in your ears, click the Bluetooth icon in your Mac's menu bar, select your ‌AirPods‌ from the dropdown list, and click Connect.

If you don't see your ‌AirPods‌ in the Bluetooth menu, you can pair them manually with your Mac in the following way.

How to Connect ‌AirPods‌ to Your Mac

  1. On your Mac, launch System Preferences from the Apple menu bar ( -> System Preferences...).
  2. Click the Bluetooth pane.

  3. Make sure Bluetooth is turned on.
  4. With your ‌AirPods‌ in their charging case, open the lid.
  5. Press and hold the button on the back of the charging case until the status light between the ‌AirPods‌ flashes white.

  6. Select your ‌AirPods‌ in the Bluetooth devices list and click Connect.

Next time you want to use your ‌AirPods‌ with your Mac, place them in your ears and they should automatically pair. If they don't (if they pair with your nearby iPhone instead, for example) simply click the Bluetooth icon in your Mac's menu bar, select your ‌AirPods‌ in the dropdown list, and click Connect.

How to Customize AirPod Controls

Apple ‌AirPods‌ support a number of gestural touch controls that you can customize, including the option to change tracks with a double tap.

All of these options can be accessed in the Settings app while the AirPods are connected to your iPhone or iPad. But you can also access them when your ‌AirPods‌ are connected to your Mac. Here's how:

  1. On your Mac, launch System Preferences from the Apple menu bar ( -> System Preferences...).
  2. Click the Bluetooth pane.

  3. In the Bluetooth devices list, click the Options button next to your ‌AirPods‌.

From this menu, you can enable or disable manual ear detection, choose to use the left or right AirPod microphone, and choose what happens when you double tap an AirPod.


Double-tap options include Siri, Play/Pause, Off, Next Track, and Previous Track. Note that you can also set different gestures for the left and the right AirPod.

Related Roundup: AirPods 2
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
20 months ago
“Ideally, all you need to do is put your AirPods in your ears, click the Bluetooth icon in your Mac's menu bar, select your AirPods from the dropdown list, and click connect...”

This is the biggest problem with AirPods + multiple devices. Why should the user go through 3 steps to connect? Why not give a pop-up to connect or dismiss when the Mac or iPad, or any other device detects AirPods?
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago

This is the biggest problem with AirPods + multiple devices. Why should the user go through 3 steps to connect?

I develop an app called ToothFairy ('https://c-command.com/toothfairy/') that makes this much easier. You can just press a hotkey or click an icon in the menu bar to connect to your AirPods.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
18 months ago
Selected Bluetooth: On - OK
Selected My AirPods: Connected
Selected Preferences > Sound > Output - BUT NO AIRPODS IN THE DEVICES!!!!

They connect just fine to my phone.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago

I don't have as much of an issue with the Mac connection option as the steps to reconnect on a phone. Unlock > Settings > Bluetooth > Tap ... So dumb.

You can just choose AirPods in the Now Playing widget in Control Centre (or use the device selection button in the same way in Music / Podcasts / TV / Spotify / etc).
And in case of Control Centre there is no need to unlock.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago
Sometimes my AirPods will just decide that no matter what I do, they refuse to connect to my 2013 MacBook Pro. Have to forget the device and pair it all over again. Granted it might occur one out of 30 times that I paid them, but still...
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
20 months ago

“Ideally, all you need to do is put your AirPods in your ears, click the Bluetooth icon in your Mac's menu bar, select your AirPods from the dropdown list, and click connect...”

This is the biggest problem with AirPods + multiple devices. Why should the user go through 3 steps to connect? Why not give a pop-up to connect or dismiss when the Mac or iPad, or any other device detects AirPods?

Exactly...every time I connect my Airpods to my Mac then later I go to workout and listen to some music on my iPhone I have to go through 3 steps to get them to re connect to my iPhone. Then later at night if I want to use my Airpods again on my Mac I have to do the same thing go thru the re connect process. If Bluetooth is already on (like I have) then it should just be 1 pop up that says re connect. Why make me jump thru all these menus to re connect on the same Apple products?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Warns Against Closing MacBooks With a Cover Over the Camera

Friday July 10, 2020 11:12 am PDT by
Apple this month published a support document that warns customers against closing their Mac notebooks with a cover over the camera as it can lead to display damage. Image via Reddit Apple says that the clearance between the display and the keyboard is designed to very tight tolerances, which can be problematic. Covering the camera can also cause issues with automatic brightness and True Tone....

iPhone Users Who Experienced 'Batterygate' Can Now File to Receive Around $25 Settlement From Apple

Monday July 13, 2020 6:50 am PDT by
Earlier this year, Apple agreed to settle a U.S. class action lawsuit that accused the company of "secretly throttling" older iPhone models. Now, eligible iPhone owners are beginning to be notified about their legal rights and options. Under the proposed settlement, Apple will provide a cash payment of approximately $25 to each eligible iPhone owner who submits a claim, with its total payout ...

Possible 'iPhone 12' Battery Certifications Suggest Lower Capacities Than iPhone 11 Series

Monday July 13, 2020 4:22 am PDT by
MySmartPrice has spotted certifications for three new Apple batteries that it believes could be for the upcoming iPhone 12 lineup, despite them being less capacitive than the batteries in the current iPhone 11 series. The batteries are identified with the model numbers A2471, A2431, and A2466, and appear on Safety Korea, China's 3C, and the Danish agency UL Demko. Apple is expected to...

Google to 'Dramatically' Improve Chrome Impact on Mac Battery Life

Sunday July 12, 2020 1:56 pm PDT by
Google will address long-standing battery life issues, particularly on Mac devices, reports The Wall Street Journal. Chrome will improve "tab throttling" by better prioritizing active tabs and limiting resource drain from tabs open in the background. This is said to have a "dramatic impact on battery and performance." Google has reportedly been performing early tests on Mac laptops in...

Arm-Intel-PowerPC Universal Binaries Are Possible

Saturday July 11, 2020 1:42 pm PDT by
Casual MacRumors visitors may not realize that we have a very active PowerPC forum where users discuss issues related to PowerPC Macs that have not been produced since 2006. Threads range from hardware upgrades and software options to nostalgia: Photo by AphoticD Apple's recently announced transition to Apple Silicon (Arm) based Macs raised some interesting questions about future support...

Apple Pays Samsung an Estimated $950 Million for Missing OLED Panel Purchase Targets

Monday July 13, 2020 10:03 am PDT by
Apple in the second quarter of 2020 paid Samsung approximately $950 million for not meeting OLED panel purchase goals established in agreements between the two companies, according to display analysts at Display Supply Chain Consultants. Samsung last week shared guidance on revenue and operating profit for the second quarter of 2020, which included a one-time gain related to its display...

Apple Shares Humorous 'Working-From-Home Thing' Video

Monday July 13, 2020 9:31 am PDT by
Apple today shared a funny video focused on the problems that people working from home have to deal with, including noisy children, chaotic schedules, communication issues, and more. The video focuses on showing off Apple products and their capabilities that can be useful when working from home, such as the ability to scan a document with an iPhone, mark up a PDF, Siri Reminders, and more.The...

SoftBank Considering Possible Sale of Arm Holdings as Apple Gears Up for Arm-Based Macs

Monday July 13, 2020 2:00 pm PDT by
SoftBank, the company that owns chip designer Arm Holdings, is exploring options that include a full or partial sale or a public offering, reports The Wall Street Journal. SoftBank is working with Goldman Sachs Group as an advisor, and the explorations are at an early stage. The Wall Street Journal says that it's unknown how much interest there would be in Arm from financial or industry...

Rumor Suggests New Apple App for Windows Could Be Coming Soon

Tuesday July 14, 2020 1:54 am PDT by
Apple could be working towards the release of a new app for Windows 10, according to a report this week from an Italian website. The blog Aggiornamenti Lumia suggests that an app from Apple is "coming soon" to the Microsoft Store, but stops short of providing additional details. Apple still maintains a Windows version of the iTunes app, which has been discontinued on Mac and replaced by...

Deals: Amazon Taking $400 Off 16-Inch MacBook Pro, Starting at New Low Price of $1,999.99 for 512GB

Monday July 13, 2020 5:34 am PDT by
Amazon has introduced a new low price on Apple's 16-inch MacBook Pro today, including both 512GB and 1TB models. Starting with the 512GB model (2.6GHz 6-Core, 16GB RAM), you can get this notebook for $1,999.99, down from $2,399.00. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Amazon. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running....