How To Connect Bluetooth Headphones To Mac

Updated On February 13, 2021
By Harry Singleton

In Guides

From only till a couple of years ago, everyone had a pair of wired headphones and didn’t see any other way of listening to music on the move. An easy piece of technology simply, plug them in, put them in your ears, and off you go, but with the advancement of Bluetooth headphones and the disappearance of jack outputs on smart devices, wired headphones seem to be a thing of the past.

Thankfully, wireless devices are now lightweight and reliable, and also really versatile being able to connect to iPhone, Mac, and your car. Charge them overnight just as you would your phone and they will last all day, sometimes even longer.

Proper configuration is needed when connecting Bluetooth headphones to Mac and sometimes can be a difficult task, with interruptions and disconnections happening. Below we shall show you how to connect most wireless devices you will come across with Mac and have full control over them at the same time.

Why Bluetooth Headphones Will Not Connect To Mac

When it comes to connection there are a few common problems people face:

  1. Bluetooth headphones need some configuration so won’t connect straight out of the box.
  2. Pairing Bluetooth headphones is different from connecting to your iPhone or car’s audio system.
  3. Special settings will answer questions such as ‘how to connect two Bluetooth headphones to one Mac, and how to use various audio outputs.

In our feature, we are going to use the AirPods as our example but other Bluetooth models can connect using similar processes.

How to pair wireless headphones to Mac

First-time Bluetooth headphone connections to mac are done by following these steps

  1. Click the Apple menu on your Mac, and launch System Preferences
  2. Open the Bluetooth menu and turn Bluetooth On. All available Bluetooth devices around you should be visible
  3. Make sure your headphones are charged and in discoverable mode. Click Connect to establish a new connection
  4. Your Bluetooth headphones should now be on the list. Click Connect and establish a new connection.
  5. If it is an existing device you are reconnecting, right-click on it, and choose Connect.

After the first time of connecting your headphones to Mac, they should stay connected and automatically stay connected and reconnect when you return within the Bluetooth range. In the Sound menu in the System Preferences, you can also calibrate your headphones and alter things such as the stereo balance between the left and right.

The above process is the ideal scenario for connecting AirPods to Mac, but often, as is life, it doesn’t always go to plan so here are a few widespread issues regarding Bluetooth headphones.

How to connect AirPods to Mac

For people who own AirPods specifically, there is good news. Its really easy to set up connections if you use multiple Apple products, plus there is third-party software available to help out.

Here’s how you connect new AirPods to Mac:

  1. Open System Preferences on your Mac and select Bluetooth.
  2. Guarantee Bluetooth is turned on.
  3. On the AirPods, press and hold the round button at the bottom of the case, until the white light begins to flash.
  4. Your AirPods should now appear in the list.

If you have already connected your AirPods to your iPhone with the same iCloud account or Apple ID, your Mac will recognize them automatically

There are apps such as ToothFairy that will help make the process even easier and connect your Bluetooth devices with one simple click.

How to fix Bluetooth headphone issues

Your headphones may not connect successfully going through these steps, or connecting can abruptly disconnect. This can be really annoying but can be solved by either resetting the headphones or cleaning your preference settings on your Mac. Here’s how to fix all known issues:

Restart your Bluetooth headphones

In the case your headphones won’t connect to any device not just your Mac there may be a glitch in its settings, so a simple reset should sort out the problem.

For reset guidance, check your device’s manual. Here’s how to reset AirPods:

  1. Place the earpieces into the case with the lid open
  2. Press and hold the setup button until the light turns from amber to white which is around 10 seconds

Now everything should work as normal if you follow the steps above, but if the problem persists it may be an issue with your Mac’s preferences.

Reset sounds preferences on Mac

First of all, update your Mac if it hasn’t been already and make sure you are running OS Sierra or higher.

Next, if nothing worked, try resetting the sound preferences in your Mac by:

  1. From the menu bar select Go > Go to Folder… and type ~/Library/Preferences
  2. In the long list of preference files, find and delete the following: and

When you delete any preferences in your library your Mac is forced to recreate them again making them new and avoiding any bugs or improper algorithms that could have been causing the problems before. If this doesn’t work you can try and relaunch the audio process:

  1. Launch Activity Monitor from the Applications folder
  2. In the CPU tab, find the process called coreaudiod
  3. Quit the process and close Activity Monitor

The above would make not only the preferences for your audio to reset but also the audio process for your entire Mac to relaunch.

No audio from a paired and connected Bluetooth headset

Sometimes when you are successful in connecting your headphones to your Mac you may still not hear any sound coming through. Here are a few things you can do to sort this out.

Make sure that your headphones are the chosen audio output for your Mac:

  1. Go System Preferences > Sound
  2. In the Output tab, locate your headphones and double-click to make them active

If that doesn’t work:

  1. Reset your headphones as per the directions above
  2. Go System Preferences > Bluetooth
  3. Right-click on your headphones, click remove and confirm

Now repeat the process and connect your Bluetooth headphones in the same way.

Can’t connect two Bluetooth headphones Mac recognizes

A lot of Mac users believe that you can only connect one device at time through the Bluetooth connection but this is a common misunderstanding. The great thing about Mac’s Bluetooth menu is that it allows you to connect multiple devices such as keyboards, headphones, and mouse. This sometimes has some problems and will not allow you to add multiple headphones at the same time.

To solve this problem basically repeat the steps from the previous section:

  1. Reset each pair of headphones
  2. Remove them from Mac’s Bluetooth menu
  3. Reconnect your headphones once more

If you are looking to use multiple audio outputs at the same time, here is the magic tricks required to do so.

Use master audio software for all needs

In most cases it is;t the audio on your Mac that is going to be the problem. The most frustrating thing is the way current settings are spattered all over macOS. Lots of fixes that have been described may feel confusing at times and a little much to get your head around at the beginning. An app that solves all of these connection problems would be the best thing, making it easy for you to control all of your audio needs in a single place, and there is.

ToothFairy is an app that brings all of these complex settings into one place, making it simple and easy to find any assistance you may need when connecting your Bluetooth device to your Mac. In true OneCLick fashion, the ToothFairy app allows you to configure and connect multiple different Bluetooth-enabled devices, configure hotkeys, and switch easily between them all.

To set up a brand new device in the ToothFairy app all you need to do is:

  1. Open the app
  2. Click the plus icon
  3. Locate your device in the list and click Connect

It is as simple as that, and similarly, it is just as easy to assign custom icons to all of your frequently used devices and have them displayed on the menu bar. This will allow you to instantly know which devices are connected to you Mac and what their battery lives are. It also lets you quickly turn them on and off with a simple click.

In addition, the ToothFairy app offers a unique option for improving the sound quality of your BlueTooth headphones by channeling the sound through a better level audio codec.

By the end of it all, it seems that wireless headphones and other devices are here to stay whether we like them or not, so it is best to have the knowhow when any problems occur. A master program that is going to help you control them with ease is going to save you a lot of time and effort in the long run with Macs settings being scattered all across the system.

The tips above will help you configure and easily connect your Bluetooth headphones and AirPods to you Mac then uses the ToothFairy app to take full advantage of the simplicity that can be had, and also to be in the know-how of what your Bluetooth devices are actually doing.