How to Setup AirPods with 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:

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

Connect to AirPods on iPhone to setup with device

  • 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.