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AirPods FAQ: Everything you need to know about Apple’s wireless earbuds

Susie Ochs | Dec. 16, 2016
How to get your AirPods set up, control your music with Siri—and what happens if you lose one.

The AirPods are here! After a couple months of delays, Apple is taking orders for the US$159 AirPods. But even though they’re technically on sale, the AirPods will be scarce for a while—the Apple online store is estimating six weeks’ delivery time, but you might be able to track down a pair at an Apple retail store. Maybe call ahead first.

We’ll have our review up on Monday, but until then, here’s how to get the AirPods set up (it’s so easy!) and use them to control your music (a little less easy). For those about to rock, an AirPods guide:

How pair AirPods to an iPhone and Apple Watch

Pairing your AirPods to an iPhone or iPad for the first time is ridiculously easy. If your device is running iOS 10, all you have to do is flip open the lid of the AirPods’ charging case, and you’ll see a message on your nearby iPhone asking if you want to connect. (If your phone is locked, you have to unlock it first and then tap the Connect button. And if nothing happens at all, check your iPhone to make sure Bluetooth is turned on.) If you want to see this, check out our unboxing video at the bottom of this article.

airpods case 

That’s it, you’re done. Your AirPods will stay paired to this iPhone—and a paired Apple Watch, if you have one of those too. If you start playing a song on your iPhone, and then you start another song playing on your Apple Watch, the AirPods will switch to the Apple Watch.

How to pair AirPods with a Mac

If you’ve already paired the AirPods to your iPhone, and it’s signed into the same iCloud account as your Mac (running macOS 10.12 Sierra), you don’t have to go through the pairing process again. Just click the Bluetooth icon in your Mac’s menu bar and you’ll see the AirPods there.

Mouse down over them and click the word Connect when it comes up. Or you can Option-click the volume icon in the menu bar (System Preferences > Sound > “Show volume in menu bar” if you don’t see it already) and choose AirPods as your Mac’s output device.

How to pair AirPods to anything else

What if you want to use the AirPods with an Android phone, or a Kindle Fire tablet, or even an Apple device that isn’t running the latest and greatest OS? You can! The AirPods don’t have a pairing button on them, but the charging case does. Stick the AirPods in the charging case, and then look for a round, white, barely visible button on the back of the case.

 

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