AirPods won’t connect or pair? Here’s how to fix it

Apple AirPods are among the best wireless earbuds in the world. They sound great, their portability makes them perfect for carrying with you wherever you go, and they’re easy to set up and use. Until they’re not.

Whether you’re sporting the latest 2nd-generation AirPods Pro or the 3rd-gen AirPods , there are various reasons your AirPods may not be connecting to your iPhone or any other device. Luckily, there are several steps you can take to fix this. Here is what you can do when your AirPods won’t connect or pair.

Phil Nickinson wearing the Apple AirPods Pro and Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses.

Phil Nickinson / Digital Trends

How to fix connection issues with your AirPods

To resolve this issue, we’ll look at all the possible solutions, from the easiest to the hardest, for getting your AirPods paired.

Step 1: Move closer: This sounds simple, but the first thing to try is to move closer to your device. The acceptable range between the AirPods and your supported device is around 30 feet. However, a lot depends on your surroundings. Electrical interference, walls, and other obstacles can cause connection problems that can only be resolved by placing the AirPods closer to your iPhone, iPad, or other device.

Apple Music's spatial audio collection seen on an iPhone 14, next to Apple AirPods Pro.

Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Step 2: Check your AirPods’ battery: A low battery can also be a factor. Be sure that your AirPods and device are charged. Otherwise, the connection won’t work.

There are various ways to check the battery life of your AirPods. One simple method is to hold the AirPods case (with the earbuds inside) close to your mobile device. This should trigger a pop-up window that displays the battery level of both the AirPods and the charging case. You can also use a battery widget.

You will also receive notifications on your iPhone or iPad when your AirPods battery falls to 20%, 10%, and 5%. You will also hear a low battery tone in one or both of your AirPods.

screenshots showing airpods battery levels

Bryan M. Wolfe / Digital Trends

Step 3: Reset your AirPods: We know, we know, it’s the basic “turn-it-off-and-turn-it-back-on” methodology, but it works.

If you’re running iOS 16 or later, in the Settings menu of your iOS device, you’ll see your AirPods listed just above Airplane Mode — access the connection menu this way and find Forget this device.

If you don’t see them there, go to Bluetooth, find your AirPods and select the blue “i” icon next to it. Once in there, select Forget this device.

Tap the name of your AirPods in the iPhone settings menu.

Digital Trends

Step 4: Restart your device: If you still can’t connect your AirPods, try to reboot your supported device to see if that resolves the issue.

Step 5: Update the software:You can also see whether there’s a software update for your mobile device. If there is, spend the time to update it. You should also take the necessary steps to update the AirPods themselves.

Connection problems aren’t the only issue you might experience with your AirPods. Check out our guide on resolving other common AirPods problems as needed.

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