Although Apple loves its walled garden, the Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro work with Android devices. Why: Bluetooth connection is a standard across millions of devices, including Android smartphones. While Apple has some tricks in its iPhones and others devices, standards like Bluetooth and many of its codecs work on the likes of Android and PCs too, not just Apple gear.
AirPods may even be one of the best options for your Android device, whether it’s a Samsung, LG, Nokia, Google Pixel, or any other. Whatever it is, if it has Bluetooth and still works, it’ll connect to AirPods. If you don’t want the AirPods, we have plenty of picks for the best AirPods alternatives under $100 and even under $50.
Update, May 12, 2021: This guide was updated to include information about how to pair the AirPods with a Windows device.
How do you connect the AirPods to Android?
Open the AirPods case and make sure the AirPods are in the case, not outside. In, not out. Then, when you’re ready to get pairing:
- First, press the white button on the back of the AirPods case. The lone LED on the case will glow white. You need to continue to hold the button until the LED pulses white. Once it is, you’re ready to pair the AirPods with your Android phone.
- Open the Bluetooth menu on your Android phone. Either swipe to raise the quick settings menu, and press and hold on the Bluetooth icon, or find Bluetooth connections via Settings, then a sub-menu called something like Connections/Connected Devices/Device connectivity, and then Bluetooth.
- Make sure Bluetooth is enabled, and look for available devices. The AirPods should show as an option as long as the AirPods case is still flashing white.
- Tap “pair” and allow the phone and the AirPods to establish a connection to your phone.
That should be it. The AirPods should now be connected to your Android device, and will always reconnect automatically, so long as your phone’s Bluetooth is turned on.
What if you want to pair the AirPods to a Windows PC?
This same process applies to pairing the AirPods with a Windows PC, and you can click the Windows button on your keyboard and select
- Press the white button on the back of the AirPods case. The lone LED on the case will glow white. You need to continue to hold the button until the LED pulses white. Once it is, you’re ready to pair the AirPods with your Android phone.
- Click the Windows icon on your desktop toolbar and type in the phrase “Bluetooth and other device settings.”
- Enable the Bluetooth function and click “Add Bluetooth or another device.” The AirPods should show as an option as long as the AirPods case is still flashing white.
- Click “Bluetooth” and wait for your PC to discover the AirPods on the list of available devices.
- Click “AirPods,” and the devices should establish a connection.
What if the AirPods can’t pair to your Android phone?
The most common problem that listeners run into when they try to pair true wireless earbuds to a smartphone, in this case, the AirPods, is that the smartphone can’t find the headset. There are a few reasons a phone may have difficulty locating a wireless headset: the AirPods may already be connected to another device. Check all of your other source devices, and make sure none of them are currently connected to the Apple AirPods.
Another issue: the AirPods and case batteries are depleted. In that instance, you need to top up the case and earbuds. To do so, place the AirPods in the case and connect it to a Lightning cable, or you can place it atop a wireless charging mat if you sprung for the wireless case variant. After the headset is charged, you can try the pairing process again.
Sometimes the issue has nothing to do with the earbuds, but can be traced back to your smartphone. Toggle your smartphone’s Bluetooth function off and on. If that doesn’t work, try to restart your smartphone. Another common issue is that the smartphone may be too distanced from the AirPods. They should be within 10 meters of one another for optimal connection strength.
Toggle the Bluetooth function on the Android phone off then back on as a troubleshooting measure too. Restart the handset as the last step, too, and then try another phone if you can, to make sure it’s not your device that’s the problem.
As a last-ditch effort, factory reset your AirPods
If the AirPods act up for some unknown reason, you can always rely on a hard reset to do the trick. When you perform a factory reset, you’re decoupling the AirPods from your devices and iCloud account.
- Open the case and keep the earbuds inside.
- Go to the Bluetooth settings on your smartphone.
- Tap the cog icon next to the AirPods, and select “Forget this device.”
- Press and hold the button on the back of the AirPods case until it flashes red.
- Continue to hold the button until the case LED flashes white.
- You may now pair the factory reset AirPods to your Android smartphone.
And that’s it. As you can see, connecting Apple AirPods to an Android device isn’t difficult at all, even if it requires going through a few steps to get there.