What Does the Button on the AirPods Case Do? Here’s How It Works

Apple AirPods Setup Button
Apple AirPods Setup Button
ZMF Top banner ads

We give you a quick guide on what the button on the AirPods case does. Plus, some tips on what to do if it starts malfunctioning.

As new AirPods users, it’s easy to get intimidated by their design and functionality. After all, they have a lot of unique features that can seem unfamiliar – and one of those is the button on the AirPods case, a.k.a. the setup button.

The problem is, there is no label indicating what it does and, without knowing, you won’t get to enjoy the convenience this button offers. Worse, if you don’t use it right, you can end up having a confusing and unpleasant experience.

Relax! The AirPods’ setup button is not the enemy. They’re there to assist you, and we’re here to show you how to utilize them to the fullest.

Two Ways to Use the AirPods’ Setup Button

The setup button has two primary functions. First, this allows you to reset your AirPods to create a new, and possibly better, connection with your audio source.

Second, this button can also activate manual pairing, which is very useful when you’re trying to connect to a non-iOS device.

Learning how and when to use these functions is crucial to a smoother experience down the line. As an AirPods owner for years now, I can’t tell you how many times these functions saved me from various AirPods issues.

1. Resetting your AirPods

A reset deletes all your data and gives your AirPods a fresh start. This clears any bugs and improper settings that can cause various issues such as sudden disconnections or audio stutters.

For a seamless reset, ensure that your phone and your AirPods have at least 50% of battery.

Here’s how to reset your AirPods using the setup button:

  1. Put your AirPods back inside their case and close the lid for at least 30 seconds to disconnect the devices.

    AirPods inside the charging case
    AirPods inside the charging case

  2. Go to Settings > Bluetooth, and press the “i” icon next to your AirPods’ name.

    iOS Bluetooth settings for AirPods
    iOS Bluetooth settings for AirPods

  3. Press “Forget This Device” and confirm.

    Forgetting Apple AirPods on iOS
    Forgetting Apple AirPods on iOS

  4. With your AirPods close to your device, open the lid and hold the setup button until the indicator light flashes amber and white.

    Using the AirPods reset button
    Using the AirPods reset button

  5. Close the lid and wait for at least 15 seconds. Then, reconnect the AirPods by opening the lid again and bringing them close to the device you’re pairing with.

    Reconnecting the AirPods on iOS
    Reconnecting the AirPods on iOS

Check out our article on how to reset AirPods, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max for everything you need to know about this function.

2. Manually connecting your AirPods

Because of their quick pairing feature, your AirPods should automatically pair with your device just by opening the case’s lid.

However, this feature is not available on non-Apple devices, so you have to find another way to connect your AirPods with them.

There are also times when the AirPods might struggle to connect when you’re trying to switch from one device to another.

This is where the setup button comes in. With this, you can start the pairing mode manually so you can connect the devices on your own.

Here’s how to manually connect your AirPods using the setup button:

  1. Turn on your device’s Bluetooth.
    Apple products, Android devices, PCs, and gaming consoles have different layouts but turning on the Bluetooth usually entails going to Settings > Bluetooth.

    Turning on Bluetooth on Android
    Turning on Bluetooth on Android

  2. With the AirPods inside the case, open its lid and tap the setup button until it flashes white.

    Manual pairing on Android for AirPods
    Manual pairing on Android for AirPods

  3. Allow your audio source to scan for Bluetooth devices. Then, wait for a few seconds until the AirPods appear in the nearby devices for you to click and connect with.

    Connecting AirPods to Android device
    Connecting AirPods to Android device

What to Do When the AirPods’ Setup Button Isn’t Working

The setup button accomplishes several important tasks — so what if it suddenly won’t work?

Problems with this button can result from hardware or even hygiene issues. If you focus your solutions on these two things, you should get the setup button working again.

Below are things you can try out for starters.

Clean the AirPods case thoroughly

Without regular cleaning, dirt and debris can accumulate inside and outside your AirPods. If this happens, several parts of the AirPods, such as your setup button, can be clogged and blocked, causing all sorts of problems.

If you’re experiencing issues with the setup button, dirt can be the culprit and a proper cleanup job could do the trick.

Here are the things you’ll need:

  • 70% isopropyl alcohol
  • Cotton swabs
  • A toothpick
  • A toothbrush.

To clean your AirPods’ case, follow these steps:

  1. Brush all sides and edges of the AirPods to break clumps of dirt and debris.

    Brushing your AirPods
    Brushing your AirPods

  2. Use a toothpick to pick out the remaining debris that might have gotten inside the crevices of the AirPods.

    Picking dirt out of your AirPods
    Picking dirt out of your AirPods

  3. Rub lint-free cloth damp with alcohol to finish off cleaning the externals of the AirPods.

    Wiping AirPods off with a cloth
    Wiping AirPods off with a cloth

Contact Apple Support

Your setup button problem can result from an underlying hardware issue. If so, you’ll need to call in the experts for help — in this case, Apple Support.

Apple Support is an online database of troubleshooting guides for all Apple products.

While Apple Support has a website, we recommend using the mobile app instead. This app lets you conveniently talk to the right people or access solutions in the palm of your hands. Also, the app automatically logs into your Apple account and detects your location for better service.

Unfortunately, solutions to the setup button problem are not readily available on the Apple Support database. This means you need to forward your concern to someone from Apple Support, and here’s how you can do that:

  1. Open the Apple Support App.

    Apple Support App on iOS
    Apple Support App on iOS

  2. On the Products page, click AirPods.

    Apple Support App Products Page
    Apple Support App Products Page

  3. Press More and then press Tell us what’s happening.

    More Options on Apple Support App
    More Options on Apple Support App

  4. Type in “Setup button on AirPods won’t work” and press Next.

    Type in your concern on the Apple Support App
    Type in your concern on the Apple Support App

  5. Follow the solutions provided by Apple or contact Apple support via Chat or Call to have someone from Apple Support help you instead.
    One of the suggestions that Apple will give you is to have the AirPods case replaced. Check if your warranty is eligible for this before accepting this offer to avoid issues down the line.

    Solution options on the Apple Support App
    Solution options on the Apple Support App

Conclusion

You’ve now reached a new level of AirPods mastery — now you know what the button on your AirPods case does and how powerful it is. So, the next time you need to troubleshoot your AirPods or pair it manually with any device, iOS or not, you’ll know what to do.

If used right, the AirPods are one of the most helpful devices you can have in your pocket.

Which among the functions of the setup button do you find the most helpful? Have you found another use for the setup button? Leave a comment below to share it with us.

1 comment

  1. My left airpod drains out completely after about 20 minutes even after it’s been fully charged. I put it back in the case for a few minutes and it will recharge and last for another 20 minutes. The right pod works the entire time but the volume in that pod is lower. Any suggestions on how I can even the airpod playtime equally?

Leave a Reply