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How To Connect Bluetooth Headphones to a Mac

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If you’re the proud owner of a Mac, then we’re sure you’ll already be aware that you’re able to connect all types of Bluetooth devices, including keyboards, trackpads, mice, and, of course, headphones! 

There’s plenty of reasons why you might want to swap out your wired headphones for a Bluetooth pair. Maybe you want to feel less restricted while surfing the web, or perhaps you simply want a more organized workspace that’s free from wires. 

Whatever the reason, before you can even think about using your Bluetooth headphones, the first thing you’re going to need to do is successfully connect them to your Mac – and the process is a lot easier than you might think. 

In this article, we’re going to be talking you through how to successfully connect your Bluetooth headphones to your Mac quickly and easily, as well as some steps you can take if you find that pairing fails. Read on! 

How Do I Turn On Bluetooth?

Before we jump into talking you through how to connect your Bluetooth headphones, first we’ll talk you through how to locate Bluetooth on your Mac.

If you’re struggling to find Bluetooth on your Mac desktop, all you have to do is head over to System Preferences and open it up. Once there, you can then check a box that will allow you to ensure that the Bluetooth pairing option is always visible on your home screen. Follows these steps to make sure that you do it correctly:

  • Load up your Mac as you normally would, clicking on the Apple logo that is located at the top of your home screen.
  • Once you have done this, the Apple logo will provide you with a drop-down menu, in which you will be able to go ahead and select System Preferences.
  • In the System Preferences section, there should be a Bluetooth button
  • Click on the Bluetooth button.

Alternatively, another way that you can switch the Bluetooth on your Mac is by clicking on the Apple logo, pressing About this Mac, press System Report, and then click Bluetooth. This will bring up on your screen all of the Bluetooth settings that you need to effectively switch Bluetooth on and place it in pairing mode. 

How Do I Connect My Bluetooth Headphones to My Mac Device?

After you have successfully turned on Bluetooth on your Mac, now it will be time to connect your Bluetooth headphones. Regardless of whether you’re trying to connect Apple Bluetooth headphones or non-Apple Bluetooth headphones, the pairing process is simple and quick, although different methods are required, depending on what type of Bluetooth headphones you have. 

How to connect non-Apple Bluetooth headphones:

The first method that we’re going to be talking you through is how to connect Bluetooth headphones that haven’t been made by Apple. Follow the steps below to make sure that you pair both devices correctly:

  1. Make sure that your Bluetooth headphones have been turned on and successfully placed into pairing mode. Side note: the steps required to do this will vary depending on what type of Bluetooth headphones you have, so we recommend reading through the manufacturer’s manual that they would have come with upon purchasing. 
  2. Once you have successfully turned your headphones on and made them discoverable, the next step is to click on the Apple logo on your Mac.
  3. After you have pressed on it, a drop-down menu will appear. Press on System Preferences. 
  4. Once in System Preferences, click on Bluetooth.
  5. In the Bluetooth area, there should be a Devices section. 
  6. At this point, your Bluetooth headphones should appear in the list of discoverable devices.
  7. As soon as you see the name of your Bluetooth headphones appear, simply double-click and then press Connect.

How to connect Apple Bluetooth Headphones that came with the Mac:

If the Bluetooth headphones that you are wanting to connect came with the Mac upon purchase, then they should already be paired to the Mac. This means that all you will need to do is switch them on to connect. Depending on how new or old the Apple Bluetooth headphones are, the headphones will either feature an LED light that will blink to indicate that it is pairing to your Mac (older-generation headphones) or there will be a slider button located on the side or base of the headphones that will turn green when it is turned on and in pairing mode (newer-generation headphones).

How to connect Apple Bluetooth Headphones purchased separately:

However, if you are trying to connect Apple Bluetooth headphones that you bought separately, you will need to connect it via the Lightning cable that would have come in the box upon purchase. Follow the instructions below to connect:

  1. Turn your Apple Bluetooth headphones on.
  2. Connect the headphones to your Mac by using the Lightning to USB cable that would have come in the box when you purchased it.
  3. Double-check that you have successfully turned the Apple Bluetooth Headphones on. Older-generation Apple Bluetooth headphones may feature an LED light that flashes, while newer-generation Apple Bluetooth headphones will usually feature a slider that will turn green when switched on.
  4. On your home screen, click on the Apple logo, which will bring up a drop-down menu on your screen. 
  5. Head down to System Preferences, and then click on Bluetooth.
  6. After you have clicked on Bluetooth, press on Devices.
  7. Once you have clicked on Devices, a devices list will appear on your screen.
  8. If the pairing process has been successful up until this point, the Apple Bluetooth headphones that you wish to connect should appear in this list. 
  9. Once you see the Apple Bluetooth headphones appear on the list, it means that both devices have discovered each other, so now all you have to do is simply click on their name in the list of devices, and both devices will successfully connect to each other. 

Why Isn’t My Bluetooth Connecting? Here’s How to Fix Any Issues:

If you have followed the instructions above and have had issues successfully pairing your Bluetooth headphones to your Mac, don’t stress. There are a number of reasons as to why the pairing might have failed, and the good news is that there’s usually a quick fix that can remedy the problem in just a few moments. 

If you’re having trouble connecting your Bluetooth headphones to your Mac laptop or PC, here are some of the standard ways you can troubleshoot the issue: 

  • Double-Check that both devices are in close distance of each other: More often than not, one of the most common reasons as to why Bluetooth pairing has failed is because the devices aren’t within range of each other, so they aren’t able to successfully pick up on each other, so the pairing process cannot begin. Try putting them close together, and try following the steps above again. 
  • Make sure that both of your devices have been put into pairing mode – Sometimes, one of the reasons a pairing can fail is because one or both devices haven’t been properly switched to pairing mode. Before you try to pair both devices, make sure that you have made both discoverable by placing them into pairing mode (usually, this can be achieved by simply enabling Bluetooth), and then try following the steps above again. 
  • Get the timing right – If you make one device discoverable and switch it into pairing mode, but then wait a minute or so before switching the next device into pairing mode, then there is a chance that the first device could ‘time out’ causing it to automatically switch itself out of pairing mode due to the time delay. Make sure that you place both devices into pairing mode at the same time, to ensure that both devices successfully pair.
  • Check if your devices are already synced to other devices – If you’ve discovered that the pairing process has failed, then one reason why this could be is one or both of the devices already being synced to a different Bluetooth device. If this is the case, all you will need to do is disconnect the synced device and then place it into pairing mode, at which point you can follow the steps above to link your Mac to your Bluetooth headphones. 
  • Reset – If all else fails, the next thing you can do is try resetting and restarting. First off, we recommend resetting the connections on both of your devices and then trying to pair them both again by following the steps above. Additionally, you could also try to reset both of your devices by turning both of them on and off again, as this might help to resolve any pairing issues by re-booting both systems. 


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