How to Connect AirPods to Your Windows PC the Right Way

AirPods with Windows Laptop
AirPods with Windows Laptop

We show you the most effective ways to connect your AirPods to a Windows PC or laptop.

AirPods are designed to work seamlessly with other Apple devices. However, the same cannot be said when you try connecting your AirPods to a Windows laptop or PC.

The problem is, Windows has consistently dominated Apple’s macOS, amassing almost 75% of the Global desktop OS market share from 2013-2021. Given this backdrop, does it mean 75% of global PC users will miss out on AirPods’ features?

Thankfully, not! We’re here to show you some smart workarounds on how you can connect your AirPods to a Windows PC or laptop and get these two seemingly ‘incompatible’ devices to work together. Let’s dive in!

How to Connect Your AirPods to a Windows PC

While connecting AirPods or AirPods Pro to a Windows PC requires a few additional steps (as compared to your other compatible iOS devices), it’s still fairly simple.

The good news is that, like any other true wireless earphones, AirPods use Bluetooth – meaning that they can connect to other non-Apple devices that have a Bluetooth module. This includes Android, Xbox, and PlayStation.

However, before we get to the details of how to connect AirPods to a Windows computer, it’s worth noting that not every Windows computer has Bluetooth, especially custom-built desktop PCs.

You can check if your PC has Bluetooth by right-clicking on Start > Device Manager and see if there’s an entry for Bluetooth. There, you should find a Bluetooth option listed under Network Connections. If not, it means your device doesn’t have built-in Bluetooth capabilities.

If your PC doesn’t have Bluetooth, check out our detailed guide on how to connect Bluetooth headphones to your PC.

After confirming that your PC has Bluetooth with the latest driver, here’s how you can connect your AirPods or AirPods Pro to your Windows 10 or Windows 11 PC:

  1. Check your AirPods battery life by placing them in the case. If the status light is orange or green, it means they still have some juice left.
    The status light is either at the front of the case (AirPods 3rd gen. and Pro) or inside the case in the space between the two earbuds (AirPods 1st & 2nd gen).

    Putting AirPods back on case
    Putting AirPods back on case
  2. Press and hold the setup button at the back of the case until the status light starts flashing orange and then white. This shows that they’re in pairing mode.

    Enable AirPods' pairing mode
    Enable AirPods’ pairing mode
  3. On your PC, open the Windows Start menu at the bottom left corner of the screen and go to Settings.

    Going to Windows Settings
    Going to Windows Settings
  4. Then select Devices.

    Selecting 'Devices' icon
    Selecting ‘Devices’ icon
  5. Click on the Bluetooth & other devices selection on the left sidebar and ensure that Bluetooth is on. Then click on the plus sign at the top of the tab indicating: Add Bluetooth or other devices.

    Adding Bluetooth devices
    Adding Bluetooth devices
  6. This will take you to the Add a device tab. It will reveal a list of Bluetooth devices that are within range.

    ‘Add a device’ tab
    ‘Add a device’ tab
  7. Select your AirPods from the list to pair them with your PC.

    Selecting your AirPods from the list.
    Selecting your AirPods from the list.
  8. Click Done and you will receive a message indicating that your AirPods have been connected successfully.

    Completing the connection.
    Completing the connection.
  9. Thereafter, you can remove your AirPods from their case and use them as you please.

Remember that some AirPods features might not work when you use them with a Microsoft laptop or a Windows PC. This includes features such as automatic in-ear detection, instant pairing, battery status display, gesture customization, and Siri.

Looking to get the most out of your AirPods? Check out our collection of AirPods tips and tricks to make your life easier.

How to Disconnect Your AirPods From Your Windows PC

Like any other Bluetooth device, you can easily disconnect your AirPods from other devices once you’re done using them. Here’s how you can disconnect your AirPods from a Windows PC:

  1. Go back to Settings from the Windows start menu, then click the ‘Devices’ option.
  2. Select the Bluetooth & other devices option. You will see your AirPods’ name on the right side under Audio.

    Find your AirPods under the Audio device selection
    Find your AirPods under the Audio device selection
  3. Select the AirPods and click on the Remove device button.

    Select 'Remove device' option.
    Select ‘Remove device’ option.
  4. Confirm your selection by clicking Yes to remove the device.

    Confirming device removal
    Confirming device removal

What to Do When Your AirPods Won’t Connect to PC

AirPods aren’t perfect, even when you pair them with iPhones or other Apple devices. So it’s no surprise that there will be some connection issues when you use them with a Windows PC.

But fret not, we’ve rounded up the tried-and-true methods to troubleshoot connection issues between AirPods and Windows PCs.

Disconnect AirPods from Apple devices

When you open the lid on an AirPods case, nearby Apple devices can pick up the signal and connect to them. This will prevent your Windows PC from initiating a pairing process since Bluetooth pairing works on a first-come-first-serve basis.

That said, there’s no chance the manual pairing on Windows can beat Apple’s instant pairing speed.

If you have trouble pairing your AirPods to a Windows PC, try turning off the Bluetooth on all other nearby devices – especially other Apple devices. If you need the Bluetooth on those devices to be in ‘On’ mode, try forgetting your AirPods from them or simply resetting your AirPods.

Run the Windows troubleshooter

Windows’ troubleshooter is a built-in feature that can help you detect potential causes of your Bluetooth connectivity issues. If you’re unsure what causes your AirPods not to connect to Windows, this is your best chance at identifying the problem.

Here’s how you can run the Windows troubleshooter:

  1. Open the Start menu

    Opening Windows Start Menu
    Opening Windows Start Menu
  2. Go to Settings > Update & Security (Windows 10) or Settings > System (Windows 11) and click Troubleshoot.

    Going to Windows troubleshooter
    Going to Windows troubleshooter
  3. Click on Other Troubleshooters.

    Selecting Other toubleshooters
    Selecting Other toubleshooters
  4. Select Bluetooth, and click Run the troubleshooter.

    Running the troubleshooter for Windows Bluetooth
    Running the troubleshooter for Windows Bluetooth
  5. Wait for Windows to detect the potential problem.

    Windows Troubleshooter scanning for issues
    Windows Troubleshooter scanning for issues
  6. Apply the recommended fix if necessary.

Here’s an example of a successful Bluetooth troubleshooting dialog. Yours may be different depending on the issue.

An example of a successful Bluetooth troubleshoot dialog
An example of a successful Bluetooth troubleshoot dialog

Manual troubleshooting

Windows will likely be able to find any hardware or software-related problems that cause your AirPods to not connect properly to your PC.

But in case it doesn’t, here are several manual troubleshooting measures you can try:

  • Make sure your PC’s Bluetooth is on. You can check this in Settings > Devices > Bluetooth.
  • Ensure that your AirPods have enough charge and that they’ve been updated with the latest firmware.
  • Check whether the Airplane mode is active. Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Airplane Mode to verify this.
  • Turn Bluetooth off and on again. Go to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices > switch the slider off. Wait for a few seconds, then turn it back on.
  • Update your PC’s Bluetooth driver by following this guide.
While you’re exploring any of these troubleshooting measures, make sure your AirPods are clean and free of debris and earwax build-up, so they don’t throw up glitches when you try to connect them to your Windows computer.

When all else fails, you can always narrow down the issue by testing your AirPods with other devices.

If they work, then the problem lies with your PC or laptop. But if they don’t, there might be underlying issues with your AirPods. In that case, contact Apple support to see if you’re still under warranty and viable for a replacement.

Conclusion

By now, you should be listening to your jam or having an online meeting using AirPods with your Windows PC.

Although they work best with Apple devices, AirPods can connect to most Bluetooth-enabled devices – albeit with some features disabled.

If your AirPods connect with your PC but won’t stay that way, follow our detailed guide on how to keep AirPods from disconnecting from Windows 10 or 11.

Did you find significant issues when connecting your AirPods to a Windows PC? Or is there any step you think we missed? Let us know in the comments!

6 comments

  1. My AirPod Pros used to connect to my Windows 10 laptop automatically, so long as that was the last thing it was connected to. But it recently stopped doing that (and the device name became garbled), so I removed the device from my PC, then re-added it. Now the name shows up correctly, but it still won’t auto-connect.

    Maybe it stopped working due to an iOS upgrade? I’m on iOS 15.3, the latest at the moment.

    Thanks for any help you might have.

      1. No, since I was asking about AirPod Pros connecting automatically to Windows 10, after it was originally added to that PC.

        This article states that this is not possible. I know that this worked for a time. Then no longer.

        1. AirPod Pros do have this known issue for losing the automatic connection after a while of usage. The best course of action will be to forget the device and repair the airpods.

  2. This allows connecting the airpods, but they don’t work as a headset.
    Meaning, I can listen to pc audio with the airpods, but unable to use the microphone.
    Can you please check this and find a solution?

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