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How to Connect AirPods to Chromebook: A Comprehensive Guide

Connecting Airpods to Chromebook
Connecting Airpods to Chromebook

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to connect AirPods to Chromebook. Plus, tips on how to work around connectivity issues.

While AirPods are designed to work with Apple devices, they work as regular Bluetooth devices when connecting to non-Apple devices like Google’s Chromebook. But though AirPods can connect to Chromebook, the process is not as straightforward.

Worse, even when you know the fundamental steps, different software and hardware issues may arise that will prevent you from actually using your AirPods with your Chromebook.

Not to worry! In this article, we’ll guide you through how to connect AirPods to your Chromebook, tackle connectivity issues, and highlight what to expect when connecting these seemingly incompatible devices. Let’s dive in!

How to Connect AirPods to Chromebook

Technically, connecting AirPods to your Chromebook via Bluetooth can be easy once you figure out the correct steps. However, not all Chromebooks have Bluetooth – older versions had no built-in Bluetooth features.

Therefore, the first thing you need to do is to check if your Chromebook is Bluetooth-enabled.

To verify this, tap the network icon next to the battery icon at the bottom right of your screen. If your Chromebook works with Bluetooth, you will see a Bluetooth icon from the menu that appears.

If your Chromebook does not have Bluetooth connectivity, you can still connect it to your AirPods using a Bluetooth adapter. The adapter does not need installation and will be automatically activated once you plug it in.

Here’s how to pair your AirPods with your Chromebook for the first time:

  1. Place both your AirPods in their charging case, then open the lid.
    Make sure you charge your AirPods and the case before pairing them with your Chromebook.

    Place both your AirPods in their charging case.
    Place both your AirPods in their charging case.

  2. Open the quick settings menu on your Chromebook by clicking on the network icon at the bottom-right corner of the screen, near the battery icon.

    Click the network icon to the bottom right of your screen. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)
    Click the network icon to the bottom right of your screen. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)

  3. Click on Bluetooth. If Bluetooth is off, click on the toggle switch to enable Bluetooth.

    Tap on the Bluetooth icon. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)
    Tap on the Bluetooth icon. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)

  4. Press and hold down the setup button on the AirPods case. Lift your finger off the button when the LED light starts flashing white.

    Press and hold the setup button on the case till the LED flashes white.
    Press and hold the setup button on the case till the LED flashes white.

  5. Wait for your AirPods’ name to appear on the list of unpaired devices on your Chromebook screen, and then click on it. Your AirPods will pair with your Chromebook in a few seconds. You will get a popup in a few seconds confirming a successful pairing.

    Click on your AirPods to initiate the pairing process. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)
    Click on your AirPods to initiate the pairing process. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)

 
Once pairing is complete, any audio on your Chromebook will play through your AirPods. And you can use your laptop’s volume keys to control your AirPods’ volume.

If you had previously synchronized your AirPods to the Chromebook, you don’t need to repeat the pairing process. Connect them as follows:

  1. Make sure the AirPods are nearby with the case open.

    AirPods in the case with the lid open.
    AirPods in the case with the lid open.

  2. Open the quick settings menu on your Chromebook by clicking on the network icon at the bottom right of your screen

    Tap the network icon next to the battery icon on the bottom right. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)
    Tap the network icon next to the battery icon on the bottom right. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)

  3. Click on Bluetooth. Your Chromebook will search for and display a list of Paired devices.

    Click on Bluetooth. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)
    Click on Bluetooth. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)

  4. Select your AirPods’ name.

    Select your AirPods from the list of paired devices. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)
    Select your AirPods from the list of paired devices. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)

  5. Follow or accept any on-screen instructions to successfully pair the AirPods to your Chromebook.

    Your AirPods are now paired to your Chromebook. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)
    Your AirPods are now paired to your Chromebook. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)

AirPods Won’t Connect to Chromebook: Here’s What to Do

“Why won’t my AirPods connect to my Chromebook?”

If you’ve found yourself asking this, despite trying to pair these two devices using the steps above, know that this could be due to various reasons. Some of those include:

  • Connectivity issues
  • Pending Chromebook OS software updates
  • The AirPods could have connected to a nearby device like an iPhone or iPad instead
  • Improper audio output settings
  • Low or empty battery

There’s no need to worry if this happens. Here are the various ways you can address these issues and get your AirPods working properly with your Chromebook. Let’s get right to it.

Retry your connection

If your Chromebook fails to detect and connect to your AirPods, it could be due to underlying Bluetooth connectivity issues. To fix this, you can simply try turning the Bluetooth off and on again, then retry connecting. Doing this can help reset Bluetooth and clear up any temporary bugs to fix slow connectivity issues.

To turn off Bluetooth on your Chromebook, follow the steps below:

  1. Open the quick settings menu by clicking on the network icon at the bottom right of your screen.

    Click on the network icon on the bottom right of the screen. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)
    Click on the network icon on the bottom right of the screen. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)

  2. Select Bluetooth.

    Select Bluetooth. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)
    Select Bluetooth. (From: Youtube/Gauging Gadgets)

  3. Then click on the toggle button to turn off Bluetooth. Turn it back on again and repeat the pairing process outlined above.

    Toggle off the Bluetooth button and then on to repair the two devices. (YouTube: Gauging Gadgets)
    Toggle off the Bluetooth button and then on to repair the two devices. (YouTube: Gauging Gadgets)

RestartIng your Chromebook before retrying the connection may also help.

Update your Chromebook OS

If your Chromebook’s OS version is outdated or has a pending or unfinished software update, it may not function properly. And this could affect other functions such as Bluetooth connectivity and audio output.

Updating the OS can help fix driver software issues and allow the Chromebook to function well. Here is how to manually check for updates:

  1. Make sure your Chromebook has a stable internet connection.
  2. Open the quick settings menu from the bottom right of the screen and select the Settings icon.

    Open quick settings on the bottom right of the screen. (YouTube: Gauging Gadgets) 
    Open quick settings on the bottom right of the screen. (YouTube: Gauging Gadgets) 

  3. Select About Chrome OS. You will see the current version you are using.
    If you are using an earlier version than the most recent one- version 104.0.5112.57 released on July 6, 2022, it may throw up issues due to outdated software.

    Select 'About Chrome OS' to see the current version of your Chromebook. (From: YouTube/Granite Park Video)
    Select ‘About Chrome OS’ to see the current version of your Chromebook. (From: YouTube/Granite Park Video)

  4. Select Check for updates. If there is an update, it will automatically download.

    Tap on 'Check for updates' to automatically download the latest version. (From: YouTube/Granite Park Video)
    Tap on ‘Check for updates’ to automatically download the latest version. (From: YouTube/Granite Park Video)

 
After downloading a software update, the Chromebook needs to restart to complete the update. You will see an “Update available” notification in the notification panel. Select “Restart to Update,” and the system will restart and install the update.

Disconnect AirPods from nearby Apple devices

The pre-existing connections between your AirPods and other iOS devices will limit their ability to connect to your Chromebook. This is because AirPods have a better and faster connection with iOS devices and may create competition with your Chromebook.

Your AirPods will automatically reconnect to any nearby paired iOS device on opening the charging case. And since AirPods can only connect to one device at a time, connecting them to your Chromebook may be hard in the presence of other paired iOS devices.

Disconnecting your AirPods from all nearby Apple devices will help eliminate the competition and improve the chances of connectivity for the Chromebook.

To disconnect your AirPods from iOS devices, turn off Bluetooth or forget the AirPods on all your Apple devices.

Here’s how to forget your AirPods (Gen 1,2,3) or AirPods Pro on iOS:

  1. Connect the AirPods to your iOS device.

    Connect the AirPods to your iOS device.
    Connect the AirPods to your iOS device.

  2. On your iOS device, go to Settings and select Bluetooth.

    Select 'Bluetooth' under Settings.
    Select ‘Bluetooth’ under Settings.

  3. Select the More info option next to your AirPods.

    Tap on the 'More info' icon to connect your AirPods.
    Tap on the ‘More info’ icon to connect your AirPods.

  4. Tap Forget This Device and tap again to confirm. Doing this will also disconnect your AirPods from all the other iOS devices using your Apple ID.

    Tap 'Forget This Device' once, and then again to disconnect your AirPods.
    Tap ‘Forget This Device’ once, and then again to disconnect your AirPods.

Once the iOS devices forget your AirPods, they will not automatically connect or recognize each other again until you pair them. Therefore, they will not interfere when you’re trying to pair your AirPods to your Chromebook.

Reset the AirPods

If your AirPods still fail to connect to your Chromebook after trying the above solutions, they need resetting.

Resetting the AirPods helps to clear their memory of all current connections. And this will ensure there are no connectivity issues that hinder you from connecting to your Chromebook. Moreover, it also helps solve audio and charging issues.

Here’s how to reset your AirPods (1st, 2nd, 3rd gen) and AirPods Pro in a few simple fuss-free steps:

  1. Put both your AirPods inside the charging case and leave the lid open.

    Place the AirPods in the case and keep the lid open.
    Place the AirPods in the case and keep the lid open.

  2. Find the Setup button on the back of the AirPods case.

    Locate the Setup button on the back of the case.
    Locate the Setup button on the back of the case.

  3. Press and hold the Setup button for 15 seconds or until the status light changes from flashing amber to white.

    Press and hold the Setup button for 15 seconds.
    Press and hold the Setup button for 15 seconds.

  4. Close charging case lid. Your AirPods are now fully reset.

    Close the lid to complete the AirPods' reset process.
    Close the lid to complete the AirPods’ reset process.

After resetting the AirPods, restart your Chromebook and follow the pairing process above to connect them.

For AirPods Max, the resetting process is slightly different. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Press and hold the Noise Control button and the Digital Crown for 15 seconds till the light flashes amber.
  2. Release the buttons once the LED turns white. Your AirPods Max are now fully reset.
If the above steps don’t work, check out our article on what to do when AirPods won’t reset.

Manage audio output

Audio output refers to the channel through which the audio on your Chromebook plays – it may be the internal speakers, connected headphones, or the external monitor.

If your AirPods connect to your Chromebook, but you can’t hear a sound, there could be a different audio output selected.

Luckily, you can quickly solve this by going to Audio Settings on your Chromebook and selecting the AirPods from the options. Here is how:

  1. Open the quick settings menu by clicking on the network icon on the bottom right of your screen. You will see a headphone symbol beside the volume slider. 

    Click on the network icon on the bottom right of the screen. (From: YouTube/Chrome Unboxed)
    Click on the network icon on the bottom right of the screen. (From: YouTube/Chrome Unboxed)

  2. Tap on the headphone symbol.

    Tap on the headphone symbol next to the volume slider. (From: YouTube/Chrome Unboxed)
    Tap on the headphone symbol next to the volume slider. (From: YouTube/Chrome Unboxed)

  3. The Audio settings menu will open and display all the available output options, such as wired headphones, Bluetooth accessories, or external monitor speakers. You can select both the Audio Output and Input device options.

    Select Audio Output and Input device. (From: YouTube/Chrome Unboxed)
    Select Audio Output and Input device. (From: YouTube/Chrome Unboxed)

  4. Select your AirPods as the audio output device. You will now be able to hear any audio playing on your Chromebook through your AirPods.

What to Expect When Pairing AirPods With Chromebook

Chromebook users have faced challenges connecting it to Bluetooth peripherals such as wireless earbuds, keyboards, and the mouse. These challenges include inconsistent audio volume control, connection difficulties, and dropped connections.

The good news is: Google is continuously working on improving Chromebook’s Bluetooth functionality. And they have fixed most of the issues after experimenting with different technologies – from BlueZ, NewBlue, and back to BlueZ.

The most recent buzz is that Google is now working behind the scenes to replace its native BlueZ stack with Android’s Floss instead.

Google is working to factor in other Android Bluetooth features into the Chromebook since they’re known to have better functionality. One of these is Fast Pair which will help you pair your headphones and other compatible accessories to your Chromebook with a one-tap action and without the usual hassle faced during the pairing process.

All of these changes are still in the development phase, and it will take a while before users can experience the same.

That said, since AirPods aren’t naturally compatible with Chromebook, some features still won’t work. Those include:

  • Spatial audio
  • Double-tap customization
  • Siri
  • Automatic switching between devices
  • Automatic ear detection
  • Fast battery checking
This list is the same as what you can expect when connecting AirPods to Android devices.

The good news is: you will still enjoy quality audio through the AirPods on your Chromebook, including Active Noise Cancellation.

Conclusion

While AirPods best fit the interests of users of the native Apple ecosystem, there are ways to work around the compatibility issues and enjoy their quality sound on your Chromebook. Just make sure your Chromebook allows Bluetooth capabilities, and you’re good to go!

Now that you know that you can connect AirPods to your Chromebook, we hope this guide will have helped you avoid the unnecessary expense of acquiring a new pair of headphones. We also hope you have a great listening experience despite some of the missing features.

Have you tried connecting your AirPods to a Chromebook? What was your experience? Tell us more!

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