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
Here’s how to reset your AirPods using the setup button:
- Put your AirPods back inside their case and close the lid for at least 30 seconds to disconnect the devices.
- Go to Settings > Bluetooth, and press the “i” icon next to your AirPods’ name.
- Press “Forget This Device” and confirm.
- With your AirPods close to your device, open the lid and hold the setup button until the indicator light flashes amber and white.
- 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.
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:
- Turn on your device’s Bluetooth.
- With the AirPods inside the case, open its lid and tap the setup button until it flashes white.
- 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.
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:
- Brush all sides and edges of the AirPods to break clumps of dirt and debris.
- Use a toothpick to pick out the remaining debris that might have gotten inside the crevices of the AirPods.
- Rub lint-free cloth damp with alcohol to finish off cleaning the externals of the AirPods.
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.
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:
- Open the Apple Support App.
- On the Products page, click AirPods.
- Press More and then press Tell us what’s happening.
- Type in “Setup button on AirPods won’t work” and press Next.
- 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.
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.