Apple's AirPods are great – they're compact, sound great and offer hours of battery life, making them the perfect companion for music, video calls and just about anything else you do on your laptop or PC. The question is, how can you pair AirPods to a Windows 10 device? It doesn’t offer the seamless connectivity on offer from Apple devices, after all.
The good news is that it’s a fairly straightforward process once you know how. We cover all you need to know about connecting AirPods to a Windows 10 laptop or PC and help troubleshoot common issues.
- Go to the Bluetooth settings on your PC
- Open your AirPods case
- Put the AirPods into Pairing Mode by holding the rear button
- Pair with your AirPods
How to connect AirPods to a laptop or PC
Connecting your AirPods to your Windows 10 laptop or PC is an easy process – you connect to it like any other Bluetooth device – but you’ll have to manually put the AirPods into pairing mode first.
The AirPods may be compatible with any Bluetooth device, but Apple’s seamless pairing process is unique to the company's own devices.
- In the Windows 10 Search bar, search for Bluetooth and Select Bluetooth and other device settings from the search results. You should be taken to the Bluetooth & other devices menu in the Windows Settings app.
- Open your AirPods lid, but don’t take out your AirPods just yet.
- Press and hold the button on the rear of the AirPods case until the led flashes white to enter pairing mode.
- On your laptop or PC, click Add Bluetooth or other device.
- Select Bluetooth from the Add a device window.
- Select your AirPods from the list of available devices.
- If all has gone well, you’ll get a confirmation message. Click Done to close the window and begin using your AirPods.
Why can’t I hear anything through my AirPods?
When you connect your AirPods to your PC, your audio output should be switched to the wireless buds automatically, but it doesn’t always happen. If you find your computer audio is still being funnelled through your speakers, there’s a quick fix:
- Right-click the Sound icon in the toolbar on the bottom-right corner of your display and click Open Sound settings.
- In the Sound settings menu, select the dropdown under Output and select your AirPods.
If your audio still doesn’t switch, try closing and reopening the app producing the audio. Some Windows app outputs aren’t updated until restarted – this applies to some games, music apps and even browsers. It's a Windows 10 inconvenience, but at least there’s an easy fix.
Why do my AirPods keep disconnecting?
Bluetooth connectivity is incredibly convenient, but it isn’t perfect, and that means your AirPods might disconnect every now and again.
A quick way to re-sync your AirPods is to put them back into the case and closing the lid for a few seconds. When you take them back out, they should resync with each other and your PC automatically, but you might have to manually reconnect via the Bluetooth devices menu if that doesn’t happen.
If you find your AirPods are disconnecting consistently, it could be down to the amount of Bluetooth devices connected to your PC or laptop. If you’ve got several Bluetooth devices connected at once, say a Bluetooth mouse, keyboard and your AirPods, it’s likely that the Bluetooth module is overwhelmed and can’t offer a stable connection to multiple devices at once.
A simple fix would be to disconnect any Bluetooth devices not currently in use and switching to wired (or 2.4GHz-enabled wireless) peripherals.
Do AirPods Pro and AirPods Max work on PC?
Yes – just like regular AirPods, AirPods Pro and AirPods Max also work on Windows 10 laptops, complete with support for transparency and ANC modes.
The process of pairing AirPods Pro is near-identical to the standard AirPods, but when it comes to the over-ear AirPods Max, you'll have to hold the noise control button to activate pairing mode.
Are AirPods good for PC gaming?
While the idea of using Apple's in-ear buds for PC gaming is tempting, the reality is that there's too much of an audio delay. It means gunshots and other sounds will be out of sync with what's happening on-screen, and that'll make all the difference to the overall gaming experience.
You'll instead need the EPOS GTW 270 Hybrid wireless buds, offering a low-latency USB-C dongle specifically for wireless gaming.