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How to pair AirPods to your iPhone, iPad, MacBook and any other Apple device

It only takes 3 seconds to connect your AirPods to all your devices and you only have to do it once.


The AirPods Pro with third-party eartips.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

Congratulations on your new pair of AirPods! They will forever change the way you see wired earbuds. Since Apple first unveiled their AirPods in 2016, they've garnered quite a bit of popularity. We've also seen a few upgrades to Apple's wireless earbuds over the years, and now we're expecting a new iteration of AirPods this fall during the tech giant's next event. The rumored AirPods 3 could share features with the AirPods Pro, including spatial audio support, interchangeable tips, a smaller charging case and more. 

Read more: 3 AirPods upgrades I want Apple to make in 2021

Pairing your AirPods with all your Apple devices takes, maybe, three seconds. Seriously. It doesn't matter if you have the regular AirPods, AirPods Pro or the AirPods Max. They all use the same pairing process. Then you add in solid battery life, impressive range and features like audio sharing and it's clear why so many people have AirPods. 

Here's how to connect your AirPods to all of your Apple devices

After unboxing the AirPods, unlock your iPhone then open the AirPods charging case next to your iPhone (you can also do this on your iPad). Don't do anything else. After a second or two, there will be a pop-up on your iPhone asking if you want to connect the AirPods to it. Tap Connect. A few seconds later, the popup will display the current battery level of your AirPods and the charging case.

Yea, it's just that easy. 

Jason Cipriani/CNET

That's it! Apple will automagically pair your AirPods with any Mac, Apple TV, Apple Watch or iPad linked to your Apple ID. 

If you have an iPad nearby, open Control Center by swiping down from the top-right corner of the screen and tap on the AirPlay button. You should see your AirPods listed as an option. On your Mac, you can open Control Center (assuming you have Big Sur installed) and do the same thing. 

Too easy. 

Now that your AirPods are connected, you'll want to make sure you know all their tricks. We have guides for standard AirPods, AirPods Pro and the AirPods Max.