AirPods are much more than a trendy fashion accessory—you can’t walk the streets of any metropolis without encountering others sporting Apple’s ubiquitous white wireless in-ear speakers. Usually, these AirPods are mated to an iPhone, but you can also connect second-generation AirPods to your Mac.
Before you try, first confirm your Mac is running macOS 10.14.4, also known as Mojave, or later. And again, be sure you’re working with second-generation AirPods. If you’re unsure which model AirPods you have, you can check the model number printed on the underside of each AirPod (the text is absurdly small)—second-generation AirPods are model numbers A2031 and A2032. Another option for confirming the model number, if you’ve mated the AirPods to an iPhone, is to go to Settings, select General, and tap About on the iOS device. Scroll down to the name you gave the AirPods when you mated them to your iPhone, tap the name, and the model number will display.
If you’ve mated your AirPods to your iPhone and your Mac is logged in to the same iCloud account as the iPhone, put the AirPods in your ears and click the Bluetooth app on your Mac by clicking the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar, clicking the name you gave your AirPods, and selecting Connect (Figure A). Alternatively, you can navigate to the Applications folder using Finder, select System Preferences, click Bluetooth, right-click the AirPods from within the Devices window, and select Connect to pair the AirPods to the Mac.
AirPods will also appear within the Volume selections on a Mac. You can click the Volume icon from the Mac menu bar, or access Sound within System Preferences and access the AirPods from the Output and Input tabs. Such slick integration is but one example of how standardizing across Apple technologies (in this case iCloud, an iPhone, a Mac, and AirPods) helps leverage the simplicity baked into Apple technologies.
If the previous methods don’t work for you, such as if your iPhone and Mac don’t use the same iCloud account, there’s another option. On your Mac, open Bluetooth from the menu bar or System Preferences. With both AirPods in the charging case, open the charging case lid. Press and hold the circular setup button on the back of the charging case. When the AirPod charging case status light blinks white, highlight the AirPods within the Bluetooth devices list, and then click Connect (Figure B).
Then, access the Mac’s volume control to confirm the AirPods are set as the output device and to silence the Mac’s integrated speakers, should you wish to playback sound using only the AirPods.