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How to Fix AirPods that Won’t Connect to any Apple Device

If you own an Apple Mac, iPad or iPhone, Apple AirPods are a flawless way to bring wireless audio to your devices.

Aside from great sound, a superior feature of the earbuds is seamless automatic pairing with Apple devices. But similar to any other electronic equipment, sometimes things don’t go the way you plan.

Therefore, if you’re wondering why won’t my AirPods connect, this guide is here to assist you with lots of troubleshooting steps. 

Let’s dive in!

Why Won’t my AirPods Connect? 

If your AirPods won’t connect, try the following fixes:

  1. Restart Bluetooth connection.
  2. Put both AirPods in the charging case and close the lid. Then take them out and try connecting again. 
  3. Make sure they are charging because insufficient charging can lead to connection problems.

If your AirPods still won’t connect, restart your iPhone. 

AirPods (2nd Gen)
AirPods (2nd Gen)

AirPods Won’t Connect: Common Causes

It’s not uncommon to hear of connection issues with AirPods. Well, let’s look at the most common reasons why your AirPods are unable to connect to Bluetooth devices.:

  • Malfunctioning Bluetooth, or it’s turned off.
  • Low battery charge.
  • Hardware damage to the charging case or the earbuds. 
  • Unclean charging case or earbuds.
  • Earbuds are stuck in pairing mode.
  • The Apple device requires a reset.
  • The Apple device requires a software update. 

It can be difficult to blindly troubleshoot your AirPods, so running some preliminary checks is a wise idea. 

Also Read: AirPods Keep Pausing? Why it happens and how to fix

Reasons Why Airpods Won’t Connect

In order to answer the “why won’t my AirPods connect question, this section will explain all plausible reasons and then we’ll move on to effective solutions.

Therefore, read these causes carefully before thinking about solving the issue at hand. 

AirPods Engraving

Poor Battery

If the earbuds are running on a low battery, it can interfere with the ability to connect with your devices. The best method of charging your earbuds is by putting them in the charging case, then connecting the case to a wall outlet or USB port with the Lightning cable. 

See the below information to understand the charge status better. 

  • Green light: It depicts full charge.
  • Amber light: It refers to insufficient charge.
  • Amber with an empty case: It means that the case also needs to be charged. 

Now you’ll know how to deal with your AirPods based on the LED indicator. 

Problems with Bluetooth

AirPods require a proper Bluetooth connection in order to work. And if Bluetooth is unavailable or malfunctioning, it won’t allow your AirPods to connect as they normally do. Luckily, activating Bluetooth is simple on many Apple devices. 

In order to make sure that the Apple device’s Bluetooth is working properly, test it by trying to pair it with another Bluetooth device.. If pairing is unsuccessful, the problem is with the Apple device rather than the AirPods. 

Unclean charging case or earbuds

If you have attempted to connect the earbuds but don’t see a flashing light on the charging case, it can be due to the fact that the earbuds aren’t forming a proper connection with the metal pins at the bottom of the case. 

You can resolve the issue by cleaning the earbuds and the bottom of the charging case with a lint-free, damp cloth. 

Pending software updates

If none of the above causes seem plausible in your case, the problem can be with the device settings. So, ensure that the Apple device is running on the newest firmware. 

The software requirements for Apple hardware and earbuds are:

  • iPod touch, iPad, and iPhone — iOS 10.2 or later
  • Mac — macOS Sierra or later
  • Apple Watch — watchOS 3 or later 

These were some common reasons why your AirPods are struggling to connect to your device. Now that you’re aware of the culprits, it’s time to learn how to solve each case separately. 

This brings us to the next section. 

How to Fix AirPods that Won’t Connect

If your AirPods aren’t connecting to your iPad or iPhone, this section has some tried and tested methods for you to try. 

Connecting the AirPods to various Apple devices is straightforward and usually seamless. However, the automatic pairing function isn’t bulletproof. 

It can be annoying if everything was previously operating smoothly, leaving you with no idea of what’s changed. And when your AirPods don’t connect to other Apple products, it’s natural to want to switch to a different brand.

Luckily, we know the best tricks to connect your AirPods to Apple devices. Keep reading to know these practical and effective methods. 

AirPods seamless connection with other Apple devices
AirPods seamless connection with other Apple devices

Restart your Airpods 

Before doing anything else, your first troubleshooting step should be restarting the earbuds. The instructions to restart AirPods and AirPods Max are as follows:

AirPods: Place the earbuds inside the case and close the lid for at least 10 seconds. Now try again.

AirPods Max: Take out the headphones. Press and hold down the noise control button and Digital Crown simultaneously until the light beside the charging port flashes amber. This will require 10 seconds. 

Now, let go of the two buttons at the same time. If you hold them down any longer, the AirPods Max will revert to factory settings. Reconnect the headphones to the device again.

Clean the AirPods

With time, dirt from the ears can gather on the earbuds and cause poor functioning. Dirty earbuds store moisture and bacteria that can block the proximity sensors, cause electric damage, and prevent proper connection. 

You can avoid all this by cleaning the AirPods regularly. But if you’re unsure of how to do this correctly, you’ll do more harm than good. For instance, you could accidentally use a corrosive detergent or end up pushing dirt into the wrong spots. 

To clean the earbuds safely, you require the following:

  • An old toothbrush
  • 70% isopropyl alcohol
  • A toothpick
  • Cotton swabs 

The quick run-through to clean the earbuds is:

  1. Dampen the cotton buds and toothbrush with alcohol. Use them to brush through the AirPods crevices and edges and do this for the charging case too.
  2. Use the toothpick to pick out the remaining dirt or debris stuck on the AirPods case and edges.
  3. Rub the earbuds with isopropyl alcohol to kill bacteria.

It’s recommended to clean your earbuds every 72 hours of listening time to prevent the buildup of bacteria. 

Check the Bluetooth connection

If Bluetooth is disabled, the earbuds won’t work. To check whether your Bluetooth is working, navigate to the Settings menu. 

From there, go to Bluetooth on your iPod touch, iPad, or iPhone. If the Bluetooth connection is turned off, tap the button. It will switch from gray to green.

Apple iPhone Bluetooth Settings
Apple iPhone Bluetooth Settings

Check battery levels

If your AirPods still don’t connect, hopefully, this solution will fix everything. 

If your earbuds have insufficient charge, they won’t be able to connect with your device. But worry not, here’s what you can do. 

In the following sections, we’ve covered everything you have to check out regarding battery level and charging.

Check the charge on the AirPods case

To ensure that your earbuds have sufficient juice, place them in the case. Now, open the lid — if you see an amber light, it means levels are low. 

But if the green light is on, it refers to a full charge.

Check the charge on the AirPods via iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch 

Ensure Bluetooth is turned on on your Apple device by navigating to Control Center > Bluetooth. Put the earbuds in the case. Hold it near the device and open the lid. Wait for a pop-up on your screen. 

AirPods Charge Status on Homescreen
AirPods Charge Status on Homescreen

By properly following all these steps, you should disclose the charge status of the earbuds.

Check the charge on the AirPods via the battery widget 

This procedure is only practical if you’re wearing earbuds. 

First, swipe right on your home screen to navigate to the widgets on your Apple device. Next, scroll down and tap Edit. Now, press the Plus Icon at the top left corner of the screen to add another widget. 

Click on Batteries from the widget list and select the widget size. Lastly, put the widget where you want. Tap on Done

AirPods are designed to offer five hours of listening time on a full charge. 

Check for firmware updates

If your earbuds are running on the newest update, it will ensure optimum performance. Plus, the newest firmware will fix the bugs that Apple is currently aware of. 

Your earbuds are managed by firmware, enabling proper functioning. But similar to software, bugs can arise from firmware due to incompatibility or coding errors. These bugs can be the culprit behind the connection issues. 

To check out what firmware your earbuds are running on, you should do the following:

  1. Open the Settings menu.
  2. Go to General > About
  3. Choose the AirPods and see what version of firmware they’re on. 
  4. Check the newest version of firmware on the official Apple website. 

If it doesn’t match, you’ll have to update the firmware. As for now, it’s not possible to manually update the firmware without the iPhone. 

But the update occurs when a stable internet connection is available to the iPhone. So, ensure that the iPhone is securely connected to the internet. 

Check for software update 

Missed updates can lead to malfunctions. Therefore, ensure that your Apple device is updated to the latest version of iOS. 

To check for updates, back up your Apple device. Then, connect the device to WiFi and navigate to Settings > General > Software Update

If you view an update, tap on Install Now. But if you see Download and Install, press it to download the update. Next, type your passcode and press Install Now. After the update is successfully done on the device, check whether the earbuds are working. If not, keep on reading.

Remember to enable Automatic Updates on the Software Update menu to ensure you get the newest updates. It’s also a good idea to enable iCloud Backup by going to Settings > Apple ID > iCloud Backup

Check the connection

If the earbuds suddenly stop working, one reason can be that they are paired with another device. To troubleshoot in this case:

  • If you’re attempting to connect with one device while sitting beside others, disable Bluetooth on nearby devices.
  • Place the earbuds in the charging case. After waiting for a moment, take them out and reconnect.
  • Guarantee that the earbuds are chosen as your audio device. 

To do this, see the following steps. 

How to Ensure that the Earbuds Are Chosen As the Audio Device 

  • Launch Control Center. Based on your model and device, this can be accomplished by swiping down from the upper right corner of the screen. 
  • Touch and hold down the Now Playing group of controls in the upper right corner.
  • Tap the  AirPlay icon. 

In the visible list, choose your AirPods to connect them to the device. 

Reset your Airpods

This is a basic and practical solution for you to try. It will resolve any firmware or software issues that may be troubling the connection by resetting the AirPods to factory default settings.

Resetting eliminates any saved information and data from the earbuds. Moreover, it disconnects previously paired devices. In short, your AirPods are given a fresh start. 

You can reset AirPods with these steps:

  • Put the earbuds in the case and then wait for 30 seconds.
  • On your Apple device, navigate to Settings, then Bluetooth. Click on the More Info button beside the AirPods. 
  • Tap Forget this device. Confirm it. 
  • Open the case. Now, press and hold the setup button on the back of the charging case for 15 seconds. Press it until the charging status flashes amber, then white.
  • With the case open, place the earbuds beside the Apple device. 

Follow the instructions to reconnect them. For anyone who’s still confused about how to reset their earbuds, this YouTube tutorial video will be helpful: 

Also Read: AirPods Microphone Not Working? 10 fixes to try

Disable other apps

Still wondering, “Why won’t my AirPods connect”? This fix might help you out. 

Sometimes, apps running in the background might be interfering with the Bluetooth connection. This prevents the Apple device from connecting with earbuds. Turning off their Bluetooth permission will eliminate the signal.

Lots of apps ask for Bluetooth permission every time you use them. Users accept them unknowingly. If this is the culprit, you can disable Bluetooth for these apps. The easiest way is through the privacy settings. 

Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Navigate to Settings and choose Privacy
  2. Select Bluetooth.
  3. Now you’ll be able to see all the apps that you’ve given permission to use the on-device Bluetooth.
  4. You can either turn it off for particular apps or all of them.

For a specific app that is constantly using Bluetooth, you can directly turn it off by:

  1. Navigate to Settings
  2. Scroll down to search for that app. The apps are listed in alphabetical order.
  3. When you find the app, turn off the Bluetooth permission. 

Hopefully, this will solve your issue. If not, skip to the next step.

AirPods sense detection
AirPods sense detection

Alternative Solutions You Should Try

iPhones and AirPods are made to have the best pairing to the point where two pairs of AirPods can be connected to one iPhone. 

But if the pairing is unsuccessful, it can be difficult to know what’s wrong. If you’ve done all the preliminary troubleshooting steps and the problem remains the same, there are other effective solutions. 

Restart the audio source

If you’ve already reset the earbuds, but the problem is still there, the audio source may be the issue. In this case, a quick restart of the iOS device is ideal to offer a fresh start without performance issues or bugs. 

To restart the iPhone, you should:

  1. Press the power button and any volume key simultaneously and wait until the power-off slider appears.
  2. Now drag the slider and wait until you turn it off.
  3. Press and hold the side button until you see the Apple logo. 

The same instructions are applicable for the iPad, except that you’ll have to press the top button and the volume button until the power-off slider is visible. 

Try a single AirPod only

You may not know this, but each AirPod can work independently. Therefore, to confirm whether the issue is restricted to a single AirPod, remove the AirPods one at a time from the charging case and observe if it connects to the device. 

If only one AirPod connects to the device and the other doesn’t, you’ll know who the culprit is. 

Contact Apple Support

If trying all the above-mentioned troubleshooting steps did not, unfortunately, help you out, there is nothing else you can do except contact Apple.

Most AirPods have a 1-year, limited warranty from the date of purchase. So, if your earbuds are within that time frame, the manufacturer can resolve your issue without any cost. But if your earbuds are older than that, things get expensive.

There are many ways to reach out to the manufacturer. But the simplest way is via the  Apple Support App, available on your iPad or iPhone. It mentions warranty coverage, a list of your Apple devices, and more. This app offers a great way to communicate with Apple. 

Conclusion

That’s all, folks! Here ends our detailed guide on the “Why won’t my AirPods connect” topic. We hope you’re equipped with the knowledge to fix this frustrating problem, so you can enjoy your music again! 

Have you already tried any of the steps we listed? Which one of our methods helped you out? Feel free to mention it in the comments!

About Melissa

Hey! I'm Mel, I write the occasional article for Spacehop, amongst other things. I love meeting new people and chatting, so if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

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