Why Won’t My AirPods Connect to My Mac

Can You Mix and Match AirPods?

AirPods are the relatively new Apple Earpods that allows you to wirelessly connect to other devices, so you can listen to music.

Your Apple AirPods is made as a device in iCloud and it’s linked to your Apple ID. This means that you can sync your AirPods with all your other iCloud devices.

So, you can sync your AirPods with your iPhone, iPad, iPad, and Mac. Sometimes your AirPods connection can fail when it comes to connecting to other iCloud devices such as your Mac computer.

AirPods Connection Failed MacBook

AirPods Connection Failed MacBook yellow triangle

When your try and connect your AirPods to your MacBook in the Bluetooth section of your device, then you can notice an error connection failed with a yellow triangle.

When there’s a yellow triangle under your AirPods name, it means that the connection has failed between both devices. With the AirPods Pro and your MacBook pro, the connection between them can also fail – to know this, you’ll see the yellow triangle under the AirPods.

Why Won’t My AirPods Connect to My Mac?

Issue With The Connection

There are two reasons why your AirPods won’t connect to your mac. The main reason why your AirPods won’t connect to your Mac is that there’s an issue with the Bluetooth technology that allows you to make the wireless connection.

If there’s an issue with Bluetooth, the connection between both devices is going to fail as neither devices recognize the other.

Bug On Your Mac

The next main reason why your AirPods connection failed with your MacBook is that there’s a bug on your Mac. When there’s a bug on your Mac, it may stop your Mac from connecting to your AirPods.

A bug is a failure in the operating system that causes an unexpected result. A bug is relatively easy to fix on your Mac and I’m going to show you how to do this down below.

The AirPod Batteries Are Flat

If your AirPods battery is flat out, then it means that it won’t be able to connect to your Mac. A charge to your AirPods themselves is needed in order for a Bluetooth connection to be carried out between your AirPods and your Mac.

To check if your AirPods are charged, you need to lift up the case and see the battery percentage pop up on your Mac screen. The same can also be seen on your iPhone.

You’re Touching Your AirPods

Your AirPods can be controlled by physical touch so they’re in your pocket and you’re trying to get them to connect to your Mac, then this can cause interference with the connection to your Mac. To stop this from happening, take your AirPods out of your pocket and leave them on a desk nearby.

Another Bluetooth Device Is Connected

If another Bluetooth device is connected to your Mac, then you’re going to be unable to connect to your Mac.

There can only be one Bluetooth device connected to your Mac at all times so if you have speakers connected for example, then this can cause your AirPods not to connect.

You’ll need to disconnect the Bluetooth device that outputs audio so that your AirPods have a chance to connect.

AirPods Not Compatible With Your Mac

Another strong reason why your AirPods won’t be able to connect to your Mac is that they’re not compatible with your Mac.

You might that just because your AirPods have Bluetooth capabilities they should be able to connect to any Mac because they have Bluetooth capabilities but that’s just not the case.

If you have an older Mac, then chances are that you’re going to be unable to connect them to your AirPods. AirPods have to be compatible with your Mac generation and you can check if that’s the case 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

AirPods Have A Hardware Problem

If your AirPods have a hardware problem, then this could stop them from connecting to your Mac. In order for the Bluetooth connection to work, the hardware that allows the

Bluetooth to work actually has to be intact for you to be able to get them to connect to your Mac. If that part of your AirPods is damaged, then you’ll need to get them checked out by Apple and possibly replaced.

Software Issue

Another reason why your AirPod or AirPod Pro is not connecting to your Mac is because of a software issue. There could be a bug that’s causing a failure in the Bluetooth system which is preventing the AirPods from connecting.

To remove this bug, a hard reset to both your AirPods and your Mac will need to be carried out so that the system can be refreshed and the software problem can be removed

AirPods Taking So Long To Connect To Mac?

If your AirPods are taking forever to connect to your MacBook, it’s because your Mac is struggling to establish a connection with your AirPods. This might lead to you seeing the Connection Failed error on your AirPods in the Bluetooth section.

If it’s taking a long time for your AirPods to connect, then it’s just as bad as your AirPods not connecting to your Mac. Both signal that there’s a connectivity problem and it needs to be fixed.

How To Fix AirPods Won’t Connect To Mac

Force Restart Your Mac

The first way you can try and fix the failed AirPods connection to your macbook is to force restart your Mac computer. When you force restart your Mac computer, it’s likely that it will get rid of the bug or glitch that your system is experiencing.

Force restarting is going to fix any software issues that are causing the AirPods not to connect to your Mac.

To force restart your Mac:

  1. Shutdown the Mac
  2. Unplug the plug from the socket

After you’ve done this, you need to turn your Mac computer back on. Once you turn your Mac back on, you can try and connect your mac back to your AirPods using Bluetooth. If this didn’t work for you, you need to try the next step.

Update Your Mac

The next thing you need to do is to update your Mac computer. If you’re running on an old OS system, you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re experiencing problems with Bluetooth connectivity. You’ll need to update your OS so you can avoid any connectivity problems.

Bugs are very frequent in old systems because the longer you use the software, the more likely that there’s going to be a failure in the operating system. Updates are made mainly to get rid of a bug in the old system and if you look at the features of most updates, you’ll see the term ‘bug fixes’.

To check if you have an update:

  1. Click on the Apple logo at the top
  2. Click on About This Mac
  3. You’ll see a pop up telling you which OS you’re on
  4. Click on Software Update

Once you’ve done this, you need to try and connect your Mac to AirPods and see if the connection worked. If you managed to fix the issue with this step, there was a bug on your Mac computer.

Reset Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

If your mac still can’t recognize your AirPods and connect to it, then you could try to reset both the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios on your Mac. Auto Unlock needs both these radios to be enabled and working properly.

Simply turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi on your Mac, wait for 15 seconds, and then enable them again. Once you’ve done this, you need to check if the error is gone.

Manually Connect Your AirPods To Your Mac

AirPods are meant to manually connect to your Mac computer rather than you having to do this manually.

In this case, you need to try and connect your Mac manually with your AirPods to see if it connects. Your AirPods may be having issues connecting manually which is why you’ll need to do this manually.

To manually connect your Mac to your AirPods:

  1. Turn on Bluetooth on your Mac
  2. Open your charging case
  3. Open System Preferences
  4. Click on Bluetooth
  5. Under your devices, double-click on your AirPods

After you done this, you can check if your AirPods are connected to your Mac. Doing this should have allowed the connection between both devices. If this step didn’t work, go to the next step.

Update Your AirPods Firmware

Firmware is the software that is placed in your AirPods and you can update it to get rid of problems such as your AirPods not connecting to your Mac. Having old firmware can cause connection problems so it’s best to keep things up to date.

Your AirPods firmware should be up to date and this should be done automatically, but if it’s not, then you can do it manually using a very straightforward process.

Before you can update the firmware to try and fix the connection problem, you need to make sure your Airpods are connected to your iPhone. You can check this in Bluetooth in Settings.

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Scroll down to General
  3. Click on About
  4. Scroll down and look for your AirPods
  5. Look at the current firmware version

If you want to update them, make sure they’re first connected to the device then you want to plug the charger into the case and close it.

Once this is done you need to leave the AirPods overnight and wait for them to update. Unfortunately, there’s no other manual step that you can carry out to update them so you’ll just have to wait.

Make Sure Your AirPods Are Charged

One reason, why the connection between your AirPods and your MacBook is failing is because your AirPods aren’t charged. In order for your AirPods to connect to devices such as your MacBook or MacBook Pro, it needs to be charged.

If it has no charge, your MacBook won’t be able to establish a connection, which is why you’ll get the Connection Failed error with the yellow triangle.

To charge your AirPods, you need to make sure that you plug in the case, and put your AirPods in. If you put your dead AirPods in without your case being charged, this means your AirPods won’t be able to charge. Once you’ve charged your AirPods, it should be able to connect to your Mac without it saying Connection Failed.

Forget Your AirPods as a Device from your Mac

The next thing you need to do is to forget your AirPods as a device on your Mac computer. When you forgot a Bluetooth device, this removes the relationship between both devices. So, your Mac is going to see this as a new device when you try to make the connection again.

Since there may be a bug that’s not allowing the connection, forgetting the devices may fix any glitches that are causing this to happen.

To forget your AirPods as a Bluetooth device:

  1. Open System Preferences
  2. Click on Bluetooth.
  3. In the Bluetooth menu, click on your AirPods under Devices
  4. Click the ‘X’ button when you scroll over your AirPods
  5. Click Forget Device when the alert appears

Once you’ve done this, try to reconnect your AirPods to your Mac. If this didn’t work, go to the next step.

Reboot AirPods and Mac

As always, the first thing that you should try is to reboot both your Mac and your AirPods. With your AirPods, you simply want to put them back in the case and close them shut for a few seconds.  Doing this will allow you to reboot them and disconnect them to anything that they could be connected to.

To reboot your Mac, click on the Apple logo in the top Menu bar and select Restart. That’s about it. Once the Mac reboots, you need to go and check if you’re able to connect them to your AirPods.

Reset Your AirPods

The last troubleshooting step is to reset your AirPods. Restarting your AirPods is going to reset the device to factory mode which means that any bugs that weren’t allowing it to connect are going to get wiped. This is basically going to give the AirPods a fresh start and fix common issues you have such as a Bluetooth connection problem.

To reset your AirPods:

  1. Press and hold the setup button on the back of your case
  2. Let go of the button when the status light flashes amber, then flashes white

After you’ve done this, you need to try and make the connection between both devices again. If you do this and it works, it looks like there was a problem with your AirPods. If this didn’t work, you need to repair your AirPods.

Select Your AirPods While They’re In Their Case

Another reason why your AirPods could be failing to connect is if you’re trying to connect them to your Mac whilst they’re out of their case.

If they’re out of their case, then you might experience problems when trying to get them to connect. To stop this from happening, you need to put them back in their case and check if they’re able to connect to your Mac.

Turn Off Bluetooth on Other Devices

If you have other Bluetooth devices around that could potentially connect with your Mac or Are connected to your Mac, then it’s best to turn them off.

Having other Bluetooth devices around that are ready to pair can cause your Mac to focus on those devices so having them turned off will your Mac to focus on just your AirPods which might resolve the connection issue that you’re having between both devices.

Open The Charging Case Lid When Connecting

Another thing that you can try when trying to get your AirPods to connect to your Mac is to leave the case open when trying to pair them. If your AirPods case is shut, then trying to get them to connect is going to be impossible.

They either need to be out of the case entirely, or they need to be in the case with the lid open. Having them closed is like having them turned off and I’m sure you’re aware that you can’t connect a device with another device if one of them is turned off.

Sign in With The Same Apple ID

If you’ve paired your AirPods with another Apple device such as your iPhone, if you sign into the same iCloud account with your MacBook that your iPhone is signed into will connect them automatically.

To check the iCloud account that your iPhone is using, you need to go to Settings and Select General. From here, you’ll see the same email account associated with the iCloud account. From here, sign into the iCloud account using your Mac and watch your AirPods connect.

Boot The AirPods Into The Bluetooth Pairing Mode

Bluetooth Pairing Mode is a Mac feature that allows you to connect your AirPods with your Mac even if you’re not using the same iCloud account.

To put your AirPods in Bluetooth pairing mode, you need to put your AirPods in the case and leave the lid open. On the back of your AirPods, you need to locate the button on the back. This is the button that’ll allow you to boot your AirPods into pairing mode.  Press and hold the setup button. Do not release the setup button, until the light turns white. This usually takes 15 seconds.

Check That Your AirPods Are Listed As A Devices In Your Bluetooth Connections

If your AirPods are connected to Mac Bluetooth, then you should see them in the list of Bluetooth devices under System Preferences > Bluetooth or, alternatively, in the Bluetooth dropdown from your Mac Apple Menu.

If you can see your AirPods on this list, you need to make sure that they’re highlighted as an active Bluetooth connection. This will let you know that it’s ready to connect.

Clean the Cases Charging Port

The next thing that you can do in this situation is to clean your AirPods charging port. Charging ports are notorious for getting lint and dirt stuck in them, especially if you always keep the case in your Jeans – jeans always have lint at the bottom of the pockets.

Before you know how to clean the case, make sure you don’t use anything wet or metal because this can cause a short circuit, and this can break your AirPods case for good.

To clean the charging port:

  1. Get a static brush or toothpick
  2. Scrape the dirt out
  3. Connect your lightning cable to the case and it should charge

After you’ve cleaned the charging port, you’ll be able to charge your AirPods since they require a charge to connect to other Apple devices. If your AirPods can’t charge, then you won’t be able to connect them to your Mac.

Select AirPods as Your Audio Device

If your Mac is connected to another output device, it may seem as if the connection has failed from your AirPods to your Mac. When instead the audio is just being routed to another device that isn’t your AirPods. In this case, you want to make sure that the sound is going through your AirPods.

1. Make sure Bluetooth is turned On in your Mac.
2. Open System Preferences.
3. Click Sound.
4. Click on the Output tab.
5. Select your AirPods.

Contact Apple Support

If you have tried all the steps and the case is still failing to connect to your Mac, then it looks like there’s a deeper issue that can’t be resolved with troubleshooting steps. In this case, you’ll need to contact Apple support to get this fixed.

This is likely to happen after many years of having your AirPods so don’t be taken back by the unfortunate situation. After about 3 years of having AirPods, whether that’s the Pro or the first-gen, problems start to occur.

You’ll also want to check if the problem is with your Mac’s Bluetooth connection system. If you’re noticing this problem with only your AirPods, then that’s probably the problem.

Most Airpods have a full-year warranty so if you have to take them to the Apple store, you will most likely get them replaced for free. On the website when it comes to selecting the problem that you have with your AirPods, just make sure that you select the case and any qualifications relating to the charging process.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.


  1. My AirPods connect to my MacBook and it says connected but the sound still comes out of the laptop and not my AirPods I have tried all of these things what can I do

  2. my airpods connect to my other devices but not my mac. it says connecting… but never connects. I’ve tried all these steps that you’ve suggested as well.


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