How to Connect AirPods to iPhone: Easy Methods and Tricks to Try

February 17, 2024 • April Miller


Are you eager to learn how to connect AirPods to iPhone? Apple made it easy for users to access their wide tech selection quickly and conveniently. Discover some methods and tricks to try with your AirPods and other Apple devices.

How to Connect AirPods to Your iPhone: First, Second and Third-Gen

Connecting your AirPods to your iPhone is straightforward because Apple designed it that way. Here are the simple steps to follow.

  1. Upgrade your iPhone to the latest version of iOS. 

First, second and third-generation AirPods need at least iOS 10 to connect to your phone. iPhone users with first and second-generation AirPod Pros must run at least iOS 14 to enjoy the seamless wireless pairing.

  1. Unlock your iPhone and turn Bluetooth on. 

Open your AirPods case and keep it nearby to start pairing. AirPods have an H1 or H2 chip that allows seamless wireless connection. Opening the case should immediately trigger an onscreen prompt.

  1. Check your iPhone’s screen and follow the instructions. 

It should show an image of your AirPods and a button that says “Connect.” Tap on the button and wait for your AirPods to connect.

Apple AirPods Pro with a blue background

How to Connect AirPods Max to Your iPhone

Pairing your AirPods Max with your iPhone follows similar steps.

  1. Upgrade to the latest version of iOS.

Your iPhone should run at least iOS 10 to connect your AirPods Max.

  1. Unlock your iPhone and go to the Home Screen.

Turn Bluetooth on and take your AirPods Max out of the Smart Case. Hold your devices together within the next 60 seconds to commence pairing. Keep both devices close to one another until the setup animation appears on your iPhone’s screen.

  1. Check your iPhone and follow the instructions onscreen.

The setup animation should show a “Connect” button. Tap on the button and wait for the setup to finish.

How to Connect AirPods to Apple Watch

Using the same streamlined approach, you can also connect your AirPods to your Apple Watch. The Apple Watch is an excellent substitute for your iPhone when you don’t have it near you. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Install the latest version of watchOS on your Apple Watch.
  2. Turn on your Apple Watch and go to Settings.
  3. Turn on Bluetooth to start pairing your devices.
  4. Tap AirPods on the Bluetooth screen on your Apple Watch to connect.
Apple AirPods with a white background

What Happens if the Setup Animation Doesn’t Appear Onscreen?

The AirPods Max has a seamless pairing feature that detects nearby devices and immediately prompts them to start the connection. It’s a nifty feature, but sometimes the animation doesn’t appear onscreen. Here’s what you need to do if that happens.

  1. Unlock your iPhone and go to the Home Screen.
  2. Turn Bluetooth on and select the detected AirPods Max.
  3. Press and hold the noise control button on the right headphone of your AirPods Max for five seconds or until a white light flashes.
  4. Complete the setup.

What to Do When Your AirPods Won’t Connect to Your iPhone

Connection issues sometimes still happen with Apple products. Here are some solutions to help you connect your supported devices to your iPhone.

  1. Update to the latest version of iOS.
  2. Ensure both AirPods are inside the charging case during pairing.
  3. Turn Bluetooth on to connect your AirPods.
  4. Close the lid and wait 15 seconds before opening it if it still won’t connect.
  5. Press and hold the button on the back of the charging case for ten seconds or until you see a white light flash. The white flash means your AirPods are ready to connect.
  6. Keep your devices close to one another while pairing.
  7. Check your iPhone’s screen and see if the setup animation appears.
  8. If all other solutions fail, reset your devices or contact Apple Support.
Apple AirPods laying on a surface next to an Apple keyboard

Other Things to Do With Your AirPods

Apple designs its products with functionality and its users in mind. While traditional earphones typically only carry music listening and call functions, Apple AirPods can do much more. Here are several things you can do after setting up your AirPods.

Control Your Music

Apple’s Media Control on all AirPod models gives you full control of your music without having to access your iPhone screen. A message prompt will pop up on your phone to tell you how to play, pause, skip a track or return to a previous song on your playlist by simply tapping or pressing either one of your earphones. 

Here’s a cheat sheet for your quick reference:

  • Press either earphone once to play or pause.
  • Press either earphone twice to skip forward.
  • Press either earphone three times to skip backward.

Customize Controls

Aside from giving users an intuitive secondary option to control music, Apple also incorporated more customization options for AirPod users. You can access these features by going to Settings and tapping on your connected AirPod. Here are several available customizable options.

  • Configure left and right earbuds separately to do different commands like access Siri, play/pause, skip tracks and return to previous songs by double tapping on either earphone.
  • Choose to connect automatically when you open your charging case and remove your AirPods.
  • Name your AirPods to differentiate between connected devices.
  • Ear detection allows you to listen to your music or calls depending on which earphones are currently in use. AirPods also automatically pause and resume playback when you remove one while listening. You can turn off the Automatic Ear Detection to let the music play whether you’re wearing your AirPods or not.
  • You can also set the microphone to left, right or automatic with your AirPods. This feature lets you choose how to use the microphone based on your preference.

Eliminate Noise

AirPods Pros have a Noise Control feature that lets you choose between Noise Cancellation and Transparency modes. Noise Cancellation blocks outside noise for distraction-free listening. On the other hand, Transparency mode enables you to hear your voice better while making calls. 

Here’s how you can access both features.

Press and hold either earbuds to switch between Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode. You can turn both features off in the Control Center by tapping and holding the volume slider on your screen.

AirPods Facts You May Not Know

Apple leaves much room for users to explore with their devices. Here are some unique features you can explore with your AirPods.

  • AirPods connect automatically to all Apple devices with the same Apple ID for seamless connection. No need to connect every supported device on your Apple ecosystem manually every time.
  • Your AirPods automatically switch between connected devices like your iPhone or Apple Watch. You can switch between listening to music on your Apple Watch or iPad and taking calls on your iPhone.
  • You can manually switch between supported devices like your iPhone or iPad, Mac and Apple TV. Access the Control Center and choose which device you want to listen to.

How to Connect AirPods to iPhone: An Exercise in Ease and Convenience

Apple is undoubtedly one of the best companies to look into, whether you’re a casual user or a tech fan. The company has much to offer its loyal customers, starting from high-quality gadgets with well-designed features. Learning how to connect AirPods to iPhone is just the beginning of a feature-rich tech adventure.