How to Connect AirPods to a Windows 11 Computer

How to Connect AirPods to a Windows 11 Computer

By Valentina Tuta

If you’re a long-time Apple user, you’ll know that AirPods also work on non-Apple devices as long as they are Bluetooth enabled. Plus, connecting them to Windows 11 computers is just as easy as pairing the headphones with Android devices, iPhones and iPads.

Here we will show you how to connect your AirPods to Windows 11 devices, but before we continue, it should be noted that low battery may interrupt the connection process. So before you begin, make sure your AirPods (and charging case) have enough charge. Charge the battery level of your AirPods to at least 20%.

Put AirPods in Pairing Mode

To begin with, your AirPods must be in pairing mode to connect to Windows or other devices. Keep in mind that pairing mode disconnects AirPods from other devices and makes them available to connect to a new device. This section highlights the steps to make different AirPods models available for pairing, so take note.

Put AirPods (1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation) and AirPods Pro in Pairing Mode

Insert both AirPods (left and right) into the charging case and open the lid. 

Then, press the Settings button on the back of the charging case for 3 to 5 seconds and release the button when the status light on the front of the case flashes white.

Put AirPods Max in Pairing Mode

For these headphones, press and hold the noise control button on the top of the right earbud of your AirPods Max and, once again, release the button when the status light (below the right earbud) flashes white.

Note that this puts your AirPods Max in pairing mode for 30 seconds, which means you have a 30-second window to connect the headphones to your computer.

Connect AirPods to Windows 11

Okay, regarding pairing from your Windows PC, go to the Windows 11 Bluetooth settings menu to connect AirPods to your computer. There, follow these steps:

  1. First, open the Settings application by pressing Windows + I, select Bluetooth and devices in the sidebar and turn on Bluetooth on your PC. Select the Add device icon to continue.
  2. Then, select Bluetooth in the pop-up window.
  3. Next, choose your AirPods from the list of devices.

Now, if there was an error (probably because your AirPods are no longer in pairing mode), Windows will display any of the following messages:

  • We didn’t get any response from the device. Try connecting again.
  • Couldn’t connect. Try connecting again.

You can resolve the issue by closing the “Add a device” window and returning your AirPods to pairing mode. At that point, repeat steps 1 and 2. Remember to keep the case cover of your AirPods open; closing the cover may interrupt the pairing process.

  1. After that, select Done when you see the message “Your device is ready to use”. Your AirPods are now connected for voice input and sound output.

By the way, Windows does not support all AirPods features available for Apple devices. For example, you can remotely switch AirPods between noise cancellation mode and transparency mode when connected to a MacBook or iPhone. Features such as Conversation Boost, Spatial Audio and Optimized Battery Charging are also unique to Apple devices.

Also, you can only enable/disable Noise Cancellation or Transparency Mode on Windows using the physical noise control buttons on the AirPods.

On the other hand, this process of pairing AirPods with Windows only needs to be done once and subsequent connections are much easier, just follow the path: Settings > Bluetooth & Devices > Connect.

Set AirPods as the Preferred Audio Device

Well, if your AirPods do not play audio when connected to your Windows 11 PC, verify that your computer’s volume is not muted by pressing the Volume Up key on your keyboard to increase the output volume of your PC/AirPods.

The following steps are to verify that AirPods is the preferred audio device, as sometimes Windows may not correctly route audio output to your AirPods after pairing them with your computer.

  1. Start by selecting the speaker icon in the taskbar (or by pressing the Windows key + A) to open the Windows Action Center.
  2. After that, click the Select a sound output icon next to the volume slider.
  3. There, select your AirPods from the list of sound output devices. Simultaneously, go to Settings > System > Sound > Output and select your AirPods from the “Choose where to play sound” drop-down menu.
  4. To finish, scroll to the “Input” section and make your AirPods the device for talking or recording.

Disconnect or Unpair AirPods in Windows 11

AirPods automatically disconnect from your PC when placed in the charging case. AirPods Max, on the other hand, disconnects when it is immobile for 5 minutes or when placed in the Smart Case. You can also manually disconnect the headphones via the Windows settings menu

AirPods Not Connecting to Windows 11? Try These Fixes:

  1. First, follow the path: Settings > Bluetooth & Devices, and there select the three-dot menu icon on the AirPods card and select Disconnect.
  2. Then, select Remove device if you want to unpair the AirPods from your computer.
  3. Finally, select Yes in the confirmation message to continue.

At this point, if you found it impossible to connect your AirPods to Windows 11, you can try updating the firmware of your AirPods or restarting your computer to solve the problem. But for the time being, we hope you were able to accomplish your task with this guide.