How to Setup AirPods with iPhone or iPad

Dec 26, 2017 - 6 Comments

How to setup AirPods and connect them to iPhone or iPad

AirPods are the new wireless earphones from Apple, they allow for completely wireless listening to music, interacting with Siri, answering phone calls, and interacting with music or audio. AirPods are particularly popular with iPhone users, but they work with most other iOS devices and Macs as well.

If you got a new pair of AirPods you might be wondering how to set them up to work with your iPhone or iPad. It turns out to be quite simple to configure AirPods and connect them to an iPhone or iPad, as this tutorial will demonstrate. Most of the AirPod setup process is automated and works a bit like magic. And not to worry, if something doesn’t go exactly as planned when connecting to AirPods we’ll show you how to reset the process and start over again too.

Before beginning, make sure the AirPods are charged (they usually come out of the package with a battery charge), and that the device you are attempting to sync them with is compatible. You can see supported AirPod hardware below if you aren’t sure, but almost any modern Apple hardware running modern system software will work with AirPods.

How to Setup AirPods & Connect to iPhone or iPad

With new model iPhone devices, setting up AirPods is remarkably easy. You’ll need your iOS device handy, and the AirPods case with AirPods still enclosed in them. The rest is a piece of cake:

  1. Unlock the iPhone you want to pair AirPods to and go to the Home Screen (where all your app icons are visible)
  2. Open the AirPods case, keeping the AirPods inside, and hold it near the iPhone to pair with
  3. Wait a moment for iPhone to find and detect AirPods, then tap on “Connect” when AirPods are found
  4. Connect to AirPods on iPhone to setup with device

  5. Tap on “Done” after the AirPods show up on screen

That’s it, you’re AirPods will now be setup and ready to use.

Also noteworthy is that if you use the same Apple ID and iCloud account on multiple devices, the AirPods should be automatically configured to work with those devices too, assuming compatibility anyway.

AirPods Compatibility & Supported Devices

AirPods will work with an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, Apple Watch, and Apple TV, assuming they are fairly modern and running compatible system software. You must have Bluetooth as well, since that is how they connect to the device they are paired with. AirPods are compatible with the following devices and software versions:

  • iPhone, iPad, iPod touch running iOS 10.0 or later
  • Mac running macOS Sierra 10.12.3 or later
  • Apple Watch running watchOS 3 or later
  • Apple TV running tvOS 11 or later

Essentially, AirPods are compatible with all modern versions of Apple system software. If the device is brand new, it will work with AirPods, but even many older devices will work with AirPods assuming they are running a compatible modern system software release shown above.

You can also connect AirPods to an Android phone, tablet, or Windows computer, but the setup process is more like a typical Bluetooth device configuration and does not have the super easy iOS based AirPods setup like offered from Apple.

AirPods didn’t connect to iOS or setup properly? Try this

If for some reason AirPods don’t pair and sync with the iPhone after the above setup process, you may need to hold the setup button on AirPods and then try again. This is also what you’d need to do if you’re setting AirPods up with a different iPhone than what was originally configured with:

  1. Put the AirPods back into the charging case if you have not done so already
  2. Click and hold the Setup button on the back of the AirPods charging case for 18 seconds, or until you see the charging status light flicker orange and then white
  3. Repeat the initial setup process again detailed above

It’s also worth mentioning that though AirPods should ship with the latest on device firmware, it is possible they still need to be updated. You can learn how to update AirPods firmware here if need be.

That’s it, your AirPods should now be setup and ready to use with your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or other Apple device.


Using AirPods once they’re connected to a device is easy and fun too, you just double-tap the side of either AirPod to trigger Siri, answer a phone call, adjust music, or more.

You can also adjust how each AirPod will respond to a double-tap by adjusting the settings of AirPods through the iPhone or iPad, by opening Settings app > Bluetooth > AirPods, and adjusting the “Left” and “Right” options under ‘Double-Tap on AirPod’ settings section.


Stay tuned, we’ll cover more AirPods usage tips separately.


Related articles:

Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Jeff Smith says:

    Thanks for including the reset instructions. There are a number of things resetting clears up. When I received my AirPods one of them didn’t work. Apple support said I had to return it to the store. In the meantime I searched the net found how to reset the AirPods, did so and they both have been working for over a year now. The hardware was obviously fine no need for a replacement.

  2. Kathy Barley says:

    What if you wear hearing aids that do the same thing? Can you go back and forth? How select the one you want to use?

  3. MAGA says:

    These things need some bright, flashing LED’s on them to make it more noticable to the peons of the world that you are proudly in the Apple ecosystem. A brightly colored rainbow would work too.

  4. D. J. Leary says:

    There was no Airpods charging/storing equipment accompanying my new IphoneX. How and where can I obtain this equipment to use with the Airpods included in the box with my new X,

    • BearPods says:

      Great story DJ I also have an iPhone X and no where does it include the AirPods in the box, that is because AirPods are an accessory that you can buy separately for iPhone. They are usually about $160 to $200 but many are out of stock right now due to popularity, but you can find them on Amazon resellers and so forth.

      • Pablo says:

        I am hoping that Apple will start bundling the AirPods with iPhone. Especially at the high price point of iPhone X and what is sure to be higher of iPhone X Plus… right now at $1500 for a phone is a lot of money, so at that high cost it should include the nice wireless headphones in my opinion…

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