Apple in December 2020 debuted AirPods Max, a pair of wireless over-ear headphones that share many of the features of AirPods Pro, but in a more premium package.

airpods max in blue
If you've just received a pair of Apple's new headphones, you'll be raring to use them to listen to music, take phone calls, use Siri, and more. Keep reading to learn how to set up and connect them to your devices.

Update Your Software

If you're setting up your ‌AirPods Max‌ for the first time, make sure that the device that you want to pair is up to date.

On iOS Devices

If you want to use your new ‌AirPods‌ Max with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, make sure you're running iOS 14.3 or later.

software update ios14 3
To check that your device's software is up to date, launch the Settings app and then select General -> Software Update, and download any available updates if necessary.

On Mac

To use your new ‌AirPods‌ Max with your Mac, it needs to be running macOS 11.1 or later. To check that your machine is up to date with the latest software, select System Preferences... from the Apple () menu in the top-left corner of the screen, and then click Software Update in the preferences window.

macOS
If your Mac finds an update is available, click the Update Now button to download the software and allow the software to install when prompted.

On Apple TV

To use your new ‌AirPods‌ Max with your Apple TV , it needs to be running tvOS 14.3 or later. To you check that your ‌Apple TV‌ is up-to-date with the latest software, go to Settings -> System -> Software Updates and select Update Software.

tvOS

Set Up New AirPods Max on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

Before you can begin using your new ‌AirPods‌ with your iOS devices, there are a few quick steps you need to perform.

  1. Unlock your ‌‌iPhone‌‌, ‌‌iPad‌‌, or ‌iPod touch‌. If your device is already unlocked, navigate to the Home screen.
  2. Take your ‌AirPods‌ Max out of their Smart Case and bring them close to your device.
  3. Wait for the setup animation to appear on your device's screen. If you don't see the animation, pair your ‌AirPods Max‌ with your iOS device manually by going to Settings -> Bluetooth. If you don't see the status light flashing white on ‌AirPods Max‌, try resetting the headphones and repeat the above steps.
    setup ipods max

  4. Tap Connect to pair your ‌AirPods Max‌ with your device, or to set up features such as Hey ‌Siri‌ if you haven't yet set it up.
  5. If you want to experience spatial audio before enabling it for supported media, tap See & Hear How It Works.
  6. Tap Done.

If you're signed in to iCloud, your ‌AirPods Max‌ will set up automatically with any of your other devices that are signed in to ‌iCloud‌ with the same Apple ID.

Set Up New AirPods Max on Mac

If you've set up your ‌AirPods‌ Max with your ‌‌iPhone‌‌, ‌‌iPad‌‌, or ‌iPod touch‌ and your Mac is signed in to ‌‌iCloud‌‌ with the same ‌‌Apple ID‌‌, then your ‌AirPods‌ Max should be ready to use with your Mac. If ‌AirPods Max‌ are nearby, your Mac will detect them and display a notification asking if you want to connect with them.

macOS
If they don't connect, place your ‌AirPods Max‌ over your ears and click either the Bluetooth option in the menu bar or the volume control in the menu bar on your Mac, then choose ‌AirPods Max‌ from the list. If you still don't see your ‌AirPods Max‌, pair them with your Mac manually by following these steps.

  1. Select System Preferences from the Apple menu, then click Bluetooth.
    sys-prefs

  2. Make sure Bluetooth is On, then press and hold the noise control button on your ‌AirPods Max‌ until the status light flashes white.
  3. Select your ‌AirPods Max‌ in the Devices list, then click Connect.bluetooth

If sound still plays from your Mac speakers, click the volume control icon in the menu bar and make sure that your ‌AirPods Max‌ are selected as the output device.

Connect New AirPods Max to Android Devices

You can use ‌AirPods‌ Max with Android smartphones and other Bluetooth-supporting devices. You won't be able to use "Hey ‌‌Siri‌‌" but you can use them to listen, talk, and you'll still be able to use the noise canceling and transparency modes.

To set up your ‌AirPods Max‌ with an Android phone or other non-Apple device, make sure Bluetooth is on and follow these steps:

  1. On an Android device, go to Settings -> Connections -> Bluetooth.
  2. Press and hold the noise control button on ‌AirPods Max‌ until the status light flashes white.
  3. Select your ‌AirPods Max‌ when they appear in the list of Bluetooth devices.

You can change how the physical controls work on ‌AirPods Max‌, including reversing the Digital Crown volume nob, and customizing the noise control button.

Related Roundup: AirPods Max
Buyer's Guide: AirPods Max (Caution)
Related Forum: AirPods

Popular Stories

iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

iOS 18 Will Add These New Features to Your iPhone

Friday April 12, 2024 11:11 am PDT by
iOS 18 is expected to be the "biggest" update in the iPhone's history. Below, we recap rumored features and changes for the iPhone. iOS 18 is rumored to include new generative AI features for Siri and many apps, and Apple plans to add RCS support to the Messages app for an improved texting experience between iPhones and Android devices. The update is also expected to introduce a more...
iGBA Feature

Game Boy Emulator for iPhone Now Available in App Store Following Rule Change [Removed]

Sunday April 14, 2024 8:06 am PDT by
A week after Apple updated its App Review Guidelines to permit retro game console emulators, a Game Boy emulator for the iPhone called iGBA has appeared in the App Store worldwide. The emulator is already one of the top free apps on the App Store charts. It was not entirely clear if Apple would allow emulators to work with all and any games, but iGBA is able to load any Game Boy ROMs that...
top stories 13apr2024

Top Stories: M4 Mac Roadmap Leaked, New iPads in Second Week of May, and More

Saturday April 13, 2024 6:00 am PDT by
Apple's hardware roadmap was in the news this week, with things hopefully firming up for a launch of updated iPad Pro and iPad Air models next month while we look ahead to the other iPad models and a full lineup of M4-based Macs arriving starting later this year. We also heard some fresh rumors about iOS 18, due to be unveiled at WWDC in a couple of months, while we took a look at how things ...
new best buy blue

Best Buy Opens Up Sitewide Sale With Record Low Prices on M3 MacBook Air, iPad, and Much More

Saturday April 13, 2024 7:41 am PDT by
Best Buy this weekend has a big sale on Apple MacBooks and iPads, including new all-time low prices on the M3 MacBook Air, alongside the best prices we've ever seen on MacBook Pro, iPad, and more. Some of these deals require a My Best Buy Plus or My Best Buy Total membership, which start at $49.99/year. In addition to exclusive access to select discounts, you'll get free 2-day shipping, an...
iGBA Feature

Apple Removes Game Boy Emulator iGBA From App Store Due to Spam and Copyright Violations

Sunday April 14, 2024 9:22 pm PDT by
Apple today said it removed Game Boy emulator iGBA from the App Store for violating the company's App Review Guidelines related to spam (section 4.3) and copyright (section 5.2), but it did not provide any specific details. iGBA was a copycat version of developer Riley Testut's open-source GBA4iOS app. The emulator rose to the top of the App Store charts following its release this weekend,...
iOS 18 Siri Integrated Feature

Apple's First AI Features in iOS 18 Reportedly Won't Use Cloud Servers

Sunday April 14, 2024 9:52 am PDT by
Apple's first set of new AI features planned for iOS 18 will not rely on cloud servers at all, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. "As the world awaits Apple's big AI unveiling on June 10, it looks like the initial wave of features will work entirely on device," said Gurman, in the Q&A section of his Power On newsletter today. "That means there's no cloud processing component to the...