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How to connect Apple AirPods to an iPhone

It's time to connect your earbuds and get the music bumping!

Published onApril 17, 2021

Apple’s AirPods are the perfect companion for any new iPhone, right down to the signature Apple style. They bring Siri right into your ears and offer a comfortable listening experience. If this is your first pair of AirPods, you might not be sure how to connect them to your iPhone. Luckily for you, we’ve had some practice, and we’re here to help.

See also: How to connect Apple AirPods to an Android phone

No matter which pair of AirPods you picked up, we’ll do our best to help. The process is relatively straightforward, so you should be up and listening in no time. Ready to start?

Connect AirPods to iPhone

Apple new AirPods 2 outside of the case resting on a book.

The AirPods work seamlessly with other Apple products, and a considerable part of that is thanks to the custom H1 chip. It powers most of the earbuds’ features, and most importantly, the speedy pairing process. Here’s what you’ll have to do:

  1. Make sure that you have Bluetooth switched to On in your settings menu.
  2. Hold your AirPods a few inches from your iPhone or other iOS device.
  3. Open the lid of the AirPods charging case.
  4. Press the round button on the AirPods case and wait for the prompt to appear.
  5. Follow the onscreen prompts to complete the setup process. You’ll just have to press the Connect button.

Once your AirPods are connected to your iPhone, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to repeat this process too often. The AirPods automatically bond to your iCloud account and pair to any other device that shares your login.

See also: Apple AirPods (2019) review

Connect AirPods Pro to iPhone

A picture of the Apple AirPods Pro earbuds in a man's open hand with an iPhone in the background.

Apple’s AirPods Pro are a more premium version of the truly wireless earbuds, complete with soft silicone ear tips. They bring a few extra features into the mix, and you’ll want to connect them as soon as possible. The best news is that the process is just as simple as the one above. Just follow these steps:

  1. Make sure you have Bluetooth toggled to On in your settings.
  2. Open the lid of your AirPods Pro case but leave the earbuds inside.
  3. Press the button on the back of your charging case and wait for a prompt to appear.
  4. Tap the Connect button and proceed through the screens of AirPod instructions.

Once your AirPods are connected to your iPhone, you can work on setting up the rest of your features. You’ll have to press the Use Siri button to program your voice assistant, and you can choose to have Siri read your text messages aloud.

We’ve already mentioned Apple’s new silicone ear tips, but what if the preloaded pair doesn’t fit quite right? Apple includes a few different sets of tips in the box so that you can give the Ear Tip Fit Test a try.

First, head to your Bluetooth menu and find your pair of AirPods Pro. Tap the blue Information icon to open the settings. Your AirPods Pro will play a series of tones and use software to determine whether or not you have a good seal. If you don’t get a good seal the first time around, swap the ear tips for a new size and repeat the process.

See also: AirPods Pro vs Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro: Which Pro is best for you?

Connect AirPods Max to iPhone

The Apple AirPods Max in white against a slatted wood surface.
Adam Molina / Android Authority

The $549 Apple AirPods Max launched in late 2020 as a high-end set of over-ear headphones. The Cupertino company kept its signature style and cranked all of the specs to 11, so let’s help you get them set up. Once again, the process doesn’t change much, so it should only take you a few seconds.

  1. Check that your Bluetooth is toggled to On.
  2. Remove your AirPods Max from the Smart Case and move them near your device.
  3. Wait for the prompt to appear on your display and press the Connect button.
  4. If you don’t see the prompt, head to your Bluetooth menu and find the AirPods Max under available devices.
  5. Once paired, you can test the spatial audio feature with the See & Hear How it Works button.

Your AirPods Max will share your iCloud login with the rest of your iOS devices, so you shouldn’t have to repeat this process more than once or twice.

See also: Apple AirPods Max vs Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700: Who wears the crown?

What are the requirements to use AirPods?

Apple MacBook Air M1 closed with iphone on top
Gary Sims / Android Authority

No matter what device you rely on as a daily driver, you should know that AirPods are an option. They’re not an iPhone exclusive; they just tend to work best with Apple’s hardware. Here are the software versions you’ll need on various platforms:

  • An Apple Watch powered by watchOS 3 or higher
  • A Mac or MacBook running macOS 10.12 (Sierra) or higher
  • An AppleTV with tvOS 10.2 or higher
  • Any other device that supports Bluetooth audio
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