Once you pair your AirPods or ‌AirPods‌ 2 to an iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch or Apple TV, the wireless earphones will attempt to connect to that device again the next time you use them.

airpods apple watch duo
Some Bluetooth headphones are capable of switching automatically between multiple paired devices depending on which one is playing audio. However, ‌AirPods‌ will only perform this function between your ‌iPhone‌ and Apple Watch. In all other cases, ‌AirPods‌ will simply attempt to link up to the last-connected device.

If you want your ‌AirPods‌ to connect to another Apple device they've paired up with in the past, you have to do it manually. Keep reading to learn how.

Before you begin, make sure you've paired your ‌AirPods‌ to at least one of the devices you want to switch between. ‌AirPods‌ sync pairing information through your iCloud account, enabling them to be connected to your other Apple devices without the need for any additional pairing.

If you aren't already wearing your ‌AirPods‌, make sure to at least flip the lid open on the charging case before continuing.

How to Switch AirPods Output to an iOS Device

To connect your ‌AirPods‌ to an iOS device, launch the Control Center: On ‌iPad‌, swipe down from the right corner of the screen; on ‌iPhone‌ 8 or earlier, swipe up from the bottom of the screen; or on ‌iPhone‌ X or later, swipe down from the upper right "ear".

connect airpods to iphone
Next, tap the small AirPlay icon in the upper right corner of the playback controls panel, and in the next screen, select your ‌AirPods‌ from the devices list.

How to Switch AirPods Output to a Mac

To connect your ‌AirPods‌ to your Mac, click the Volume icon or the Bluetooth icon in your Mac's menu bar, select your ‌AirPods‌ in the dropdown list, and click Connect.

how to pair airpods with your mac
Note: If you don't see the volume or Bluetooth icon in your Mac's menu bar, launch System Preferences and click the Sound or Bluetooth pane, then tick the checkbox next to Show volume in menu bar or Show Bluetooth in menu bar.

How to Switch AirPods Output to Apple TV

To connect your ‌AirPods‌ to ‌Apple TV‌, navigate to the ‌Apple TV‌ Home screen, hold the Play/Pause button on your ‌Apple TV‌ Remote, and then select your ‌AirPods‌ from the panel list that appears.

airpodsappletv

How to Switch AirPods Output to Apple Watch

As mentioned above, ‌AirPods‌ connected to your ‌iPhone‌ will automatically switch to your Apple Watch if you play audio directly from the smartwatch. However, you can also manually connect to Apple Watch at any time using the following method.

  1. On your Apple Watch, swipe up from the bottom of the screen to bring up the Control Center. (If you're in an app, touch and hold the bottom edge of the screen, then drag up the Control Center pane with your finger.)
    apple watch airpods connect

  2. Tap the ‌AirPlay‌ icon (the small triangle with concentric circles on top).
  3. Select your ‌AirPods‌ from the list of devices.
Related Roundup: AirPods
Buyer's Guide: AirPods (Don't Buy)
Related Forum: AirPods

Top Stories

apple california streaming event

Apple Event Announced: 'California Streaming' on September 14 With iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7 Expected

Tuesday September 7, 2021 9:03 am PDT by
Apple today announced that it will be holding a special event on Tuesday, September 14 at 10:00 a.m. The event will take place at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with WWDC and last year's fall events, this new event will be held digitally with no members of the media invited to attend in person. Apple will likely provide pre-taped segments for...
Apple Prefer Lightning Over USB C Feature

iPhone Sticking With Lightning Port Over USB-C for 'Foreseeable Future'

Tuesday March 2, 2021 9:32 am PST by
Apple will retain the Lightning connector on the iPhone for the "foreseeable future," with no intention of switching to USB-C, according to reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In spite of much of the industry moving toward USB-C, Apple will not be using it to replace the Lightning connector on the iPhone 13, or indeed on any iPhone model for the time being. In a note seen by MacRumors yesterday,...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
original iphone

Phil Schiller Says iPhone Was 'Earth-Shattering' Ten Years Ago and Remains 'Unmatched' Today

Monday January 9, 2017 7:15 am PST by
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the iPhone, Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller sat down with tech journalist Steven Levy for a wide-ranging interview about the smartphone's past, present, and future. The report first reflects upon the iPhone's lack of support for third-party apps in its first year. The argument inside Apple was split between whether the iPhone should be a closed...
iOS 15 icon on phone

Apple Seeds Sixth Betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to Developers

Tuesday August 17, 2021 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the sixth betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming one week after Apple released the fifth betas. Registered developers can download the profile for the iOS and iPadOS betas from the Apple Developer Center, and once the profile is installed, beta updates will be available over the air. iOS 15 is a major update that...
maroon5memories

Apple Collaborates With Maroon 5 to Add 'Memories' Song to Photos App

Wednesday September 25, 2019 12:02 pm PDT by
Apple has teamed up with Maroon 5 to add the group's new song "Memories" to the Memories feature in the Photos app, allowing it to be used for photo slide show creations, reports Billboard. "Memories" will be available as a soundtrack option for a limited time and it is available to iPhone and iPad users running the latest iOS 13 and iPadOS software. Memories in the Photos app are created ...
it home ecommerce app iphone 13

iPhone 13 to Launch on September 17, AirPods 3 on September 30, Claims Report

Wednesday August 25, 2021 2:42 am PDT by
Apple may be planning to launch the iPhone 13 on Friday, September 17 and third-generation AirPods on Thursday, September 30, according to an image of an e-commerce app discovered by Chinese language site IT Home. The screenshot, originally posted by Weibo account @PandaIsBald, suggests all four iPhone 13 models will go on sale on September 17, followed by the AirPods 3 on September 30....
MacBook Pro Coating

Apple Launches Quality Program for MacBook Pro Anti-Reflective Coating Issues

Saturday October 17, 2015 7:58 am PDT by
Apple has issued an internal notice about a new Quality Program that addresses anti-reflective coating issues on MacBook and MacBook Pro models with Retina displays, as confirmed by multiple sources. These issues include the anti-reflective coating on displays wearing off or delaminating under certain circumstances. Apple will replace Retina displays on affected MacBook or MacBook Pro models ...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Full iPhone 13 Feature Breakdown: Everything Rumors Say We Can Expect

Tuesday August 31, 2021 7:50 am PDT by
With the launch of Apple's iPhone 13 lineup believed to be just a few weeks away, we have compiled all of the coherent rumors from our coverage over the past year to build a full picture of the features and upgrades coming to the company's new smartphones. For clarity, only explicit improvements, upgrades, and new features compared to the iPhone 12 lineup are listed. It is worth noting that...
iphone 12 colors 2021

iPhone 12 Colors: Deciding on The Right Color

Thursday November 5, 2020 8:35 am PST by
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro arrived in October 2020 in a range of color options, with entirely new hues available on both devices, as well as some popular classics. The 12 and 12 Pro have different color choices, so if you have your heart set on a particular shade, you might not be able to get your preferred model in that color. iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone...