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How to connect Beats earbuds and headphones to a Mac

Thankfully, Apple has kept the process pretty simple.

Published onOctober 17, 2023

Apple tends to position its Beats audio gear as being primarily for iPhones and iPads. Yet there’s no reason you can’t pair them with your Mac, and you really should if you’ve bought an expensive pair of over-the-ear headphones like the Beats Studio Pro. Here’s how to connect any set of Beats earbuds or headphones to a Mac, and how to troubleshoot if the process isn’t working.

How to pair Beats earbuds and headphones to a Mac

If you have an iPhone or iPad, and you’ve got any recent Beats model with an Apple wireless chip (meaning from the Solo 3 onwards), you should pair with that first by opening the charging case or powering your Beats on (depending on the model) while holding it a few inches away. Why? If that’s an option, your Beats will automatically be linked to your Apple ID and pair with other Apple devices using the same login. In fact that they should also switch audio sources automatically, depending on what device you currently have unlocked and active.

You can still pair directly with a Mac, of course, and the Apple ID link-up should apply. It’s just that macOS requires a few extra steps. Here’s what to do:

How to connect Beats headphones to Mac (2)
  1. Make sure your Beats are partly or fully charged.
  2. Assuming you haven’t previously paired with another Apple device, open the charging case (in the case of earbuds) or power on (in the case of headphones) while holding your Beats a few inches away from your Mac.
  3. If the lights on your case or headphones aren’t already blinking, you’ll need to hold down an appropriate button to put your Beats into pairing mode. On the Studio Pro, for example, you need to hold down the system button (not the B logo). On the Studio Buds Plus, you need to hold down the button on the charging case.
  4. Once lights are blinking, switch to your Mac and go to Apple menu > System Settings > Bluetooth.
  5. Select your Beats from the list of available Bluetooth devices.

Why won’t my Beats connect to my Mac?

A hand holds the Beats Studio Buds Plus case.

There are a variety of potential issues, usually with relatively easy solutions.

  • Your Beats are too far away from your Mac. This is unlikely, since Bluetooth has a range of at least 33 feet, but the closer your Beats are, the stronger signal strength will be.
  • Bluetooth isn’t enabled on your Mac. People sometimes disable Bluetooth to save power and forget to turn it back on.  You can re-enable it by going to Apple menu > System Settings > Bluetooth and flipping the appropriate toggle. Alternately, open Control Center and click on the Bluetooth status icon (a rune).
  • Your Beats failed to initiate a connection. With earbuds, try closing the case and reopening it, then using the button to put it into pairing mode (if lights aren’t already blinking). With headphones, try turning them off and on again and putting them into pairing mode (if lights aren’t blinking).
  • Your Mac is encountering a software glitch. Check for macOS updates. If there are any, install them. Either way, try rebooting your Mac before repeating the pairing process.
  • Your Beats need a factory reset. This is a last resort — and the instructions will differ considerably based on your earbuds or headphones — but a reset could clear up any stuck processes or device associations. Check Apple’s website for details.