Your AirPods Aren’t ‘Magically Connecting’? Here Are Some Things to Try.

A popular topic of discussion these days is how to pair your AirPods with your iPhone and whether the headphones will magically recognize your device. But let’s face it, not everyone can just rub their ears together and have them magically connect.

The new AirPods are the priciest set of wireless headphones Apple has ever sold. A single pair costs $159, and if you want to pair them with an iPhone 7 or newer, you’ll have to pay $69 for a set of wireless charging case. They’re also only compatible with Apple devices. But Apple claims its AirPods are “magically connecting” to other devices, even non-Apple ones, and offering wireless sound to them. Here’s what you need to know before using AirPods and other devices.

The Apple AirPods were introduced at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in 2015, and were featured in Apple’s official keynote presentation. This year, at the iPhone X keynote, Apple said that AirPods were fully compatible with the iPhone 8 and X, so presumably, they have been implemented into the latest operating system, iOS 10.3, and are available to all users. But, why aren’t AirPods working for some users?. Read more about airpods max and let us know what you think.

website states that AirPods can magically connect to the iPhone and seamlessly switch between the iPhone, Apple Watches, iPad and Mac. For many, the popular Bluetooth headphones work as expected. But for others, including me, AirPods have become AirProblems. Back in September, I wrote an in-depth review of the AirPods Pro, praising its excellent noise cancellation, new Spatial Audio feature, and even its ease of pairing. After this column was published, my colleagues and readers flooded my inbox with emails about various connection and transfer failures. That was the year I began to feel my own frustration. When I get a call and I put the Pros in my ears, Nic Pods connected appears on the screen, but when I take the call, I can’t hear the caller because the sound source is the phone’s speaker. Melissa Jean Clark is a web designer from Toronto who uses AirPods Pro to listen to Spotify on her MacBook Pro while she works. As Ms. Clark is viewing projects on her iPhone, the headphones are switched to that device. I’m losing my concentration. Every time I pick up the phone, they make a connection, and it happens all the time, she says. David Tyler of Norwich, Washington, was in the middle of a Zoom call when his AirPods Pro suddenly connected with his iPad. Now he closes his iPad and puts the phone down to avoid the automatic switch.

Apple’s AirPods Pro ($249) offer excellent noise cancellation in a compact package. But lately, our reviewer’s headphones no longer automatically connect when he calls.

Photo: Nicole Nguyen/The Wall Street Journal Some people I’ve talked to have permanently stashed the AirPods in a bag and opted for traditional wired headphones because they don’t think the inconvenience of wireless is worth the freedom. Apple’s latest software, including the updates released last week, admit that some issues need to be fixed. The updates – iOS 14.6 for iPhone and Big Sur 11.4 for Mac – provide fixes for issues with AirPods disconnecting, streaming audio to another device during a call, streaming audio to the wrong device, and being asked to connect too often. An Apple spokesperson said that users should install the updates on all devices for best performance and compatibility, and that the software should ensure that the bugs described above are fixed. Apple is investigating other issues I sent in on behalf of readers. These include a set of AirPods Pro that only allows one button to be connected, another that takes about a minute to pair with an iPhone, and AirPods that appear in the audio sources menu but are not automatically selected. Yet current solutions do not address the broader problem: The automatic device switching that appeared on Apple devices last fall works as expected – and it’s annoying. word-image-15006

AirPods can automatically switch to neighboring devices connected to the same iCloud account, a feature that can be confusing to unsuspecting users.

Photo: Nicole Nguyen/The Wall Street Journal This is how it should work: You’re listening to a podcast with AirPods on your iPhone. When the episode ends, grab an iPad connected to the same iCloud account and start playing the movie. The sound is changed without changing the Bluetooth settings. Macs are a little different: Macs, for example, can handle multiple audio streams. For example, a FaceTime call and a YouTube video – so you see an AirPods notification nearby on your Mac. Tap the pop-up to connect AirPods to your Mac. word-image-5470

On Macs, a pop-up window appears when audio is playing and AirPods are in Bluetooth range; tap this window to pair them.

Photo: Nicole Nguyen/The Wall Street Journal Is there a problem? This can be very frustrating if you don’t want to switch devices. Ms. Clark would keep this feature turned on if Apple could read her mind. I don’t know how Apple knows when I want to change my device. I prefer to have it under control, she said. A better solution would be a quick way to temporarily disable the switch, similar to the screen rotation lock on the iPhone. Currently, only an automatic switch and a confusing switch consisting of the words Connect to iPhone/iPad/Mac….. can be chosen. When last connected to this iPhone/iPad/Mac. (Don’t worry, I’ll explain in a minute). I have tested many wireless headsets, and the Bluetooth connection is a problem with all of them. Not surprisingly, AirPods don’t always work perfectly. But if you pay full price and have become accustomed to a certain level of Apple’s magical perfection, the disappointment is greater.


What kind of headphones do you use? Join the discussion below. I still prefer the AirPods to Jabra’s competition, Amazon, Bose and others. In most cases, you simply put the headphones in your ears to pair them. As for the other cases – maybe one in five where they don’t connect – I’ll wait for an update. In the meantime, here are some steps you can take to troubleshoot your ‘Pods:

Updating Apple devices

Make sure you have a backup on your device before you update. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings app, go to General, and then tap Software Update. On a Mac, open System Preferences and select Software Update. The latest version for iOS and iPadOS is 14.6; the latest version for macOS is 11.4. Of course, your iPhone, iPad, and Mac must be compatible with the latest operating systems to be updated. (And if your company owns the device, your IT department must agree to update the software). Their AirPods also have their own firmware. They update automatically when the AirPods are in their charging case, connected to a power source, and near a paired iOS device. You can check if your headphones have the latest firmware by going to iPhone Settings, then Bluetooth, and clicking the i next to AirPods. The latest version for the AirPods Pro and second generation AirPods is 3E751.

Disable automatic switching of devices

If you don’t want your AirPods to determine when to switch them, turn off automatic device switching on all your Apple devices. word-image-5471

To control who your AirPods are connected to, turn off automatic device switching by selecting Connect with this iPhone/iPad/Mac… in Bluetooth settings. When last connected to this iPhone/iPad/Mac.

Photo: Nicole Nguyen/The Wall Street Journal On your iPhone and iPad, with AirPods connected, open Settings, go to Bluetooth, and then tap the i next to AirPods. Select Connect with this iPhone/iPad and tap When last connected with this iPhone/iPad. Repeat the process on the Mac computer: Open System Preferences, go to Bluetooth, and click Options next to AirPods. Under Connect to this Mac, select When you last connected to this Mac. This means that your AirPods will only connect automatically if they are paired with this device in advance. If you switch from iPhone to iPad, the AirPods will connect to the iPad (if it’s nearby) the next time you open them.

Reset AirPods

If the problems with your AirPods persist, you should reset your AirPods. (Note that this also resets the connection and touch control settings). Put the earphone back in its case and close the cover, then open the cover. On your iPhone or iPad, open Settings, go to Bluetooth, and tap i next to AirPods. Select Forget this device. Do the same on your Mac computer: Open the system settings and then Bluetooth. Hover over the AirPods and select the X next to it. Then press and hold the small button on the back of the enclosure until the status light on the front panel flashes orange. This can take up to 15 seconds. Place the AirPods next to the iOS device and the connection pop-up window appears. Follow the steps on the screen.

Make sure two-factor authentication is enabled

For AirPods to switch automatically, you must be signed in to iCloud on all devices and two-factor authentication must be enabled. Open Settings, select your name, and then select Password and Security. You can activate it if it is not already activated.

Restart the device

If nothing happens even after re-pairing, turn the device off and on again. I don’t know why it works, but it works! Sign up for our weekly newsletter for more WSJ technology analysis, reviews, tips and headlines. Please email Nicole Nguyen at [email protected]. Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8When Apple released the AirPods in December, some of you experienced frustrating connectivity problems when trying to use the wireless headphones for the first time. Now, of course, we’ve all become familiar with the pairing process, and with an initial run-in with the earphones, you probably thought it would be a breeze to get connected to your wireless system. Unfortunately, using the AirPods for the first time can be difficult, and …. Read more about apple airpods pro and let us know what you think.

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