AirPods not connecting to iPhone? 8 Fixes

AirPods not connecting to iPhone

AirPods are a global bestseller. You can find them on people’s ears everywhere—Airports, Eateries, Cars, and everything in between. They’re the most sold wireless earphones since launch. 

However, you might face some problems every now and again—like your AirPods not connecting to your iPhone.

Most of the AirPods connection issues are very easily fixed, and work on AirPods Pro as well. So if you’re stuck saying “my AirPods won’t connect to my iPhone”, here’s what to do.

  1. Make sure iPhone’s Bluetooth is on
  2. Fix pairing issue
  3. Turn Bluetooth off completely
  4. Restart your iPhone
  5. Use the setup button to connect
  6. Update latest version of iOS
  7. Make sure you have the latest AirPods firmware
  8. Reset your AirPods

Before you read, please make sure your AirPods and Charging Case have enough battery to work.

1. Make sure iPhone’s Bluetooth is on

The first solution is pretty straightforward. If you find that your AirPods 1st Gen, AirPods 2nd Gen, or AirPods Pro are not connecting to your iPhone, just take a quick look at the Bluetooth settings on your iPhone.

Go to Settings ⟶ Bluetooth and make sure that it’s turned on. (or open Control Center and make sure the Bluetooth logo is colored blue.)

Tap on Bluetooth in iPhone Settings

2. Fix pairing issue

AirPods don’t have a physical button to turn them off, they just nest inside the case and sleep. Many times if you’re facing connection issues between your iPhone and AirPods, just put both AirPods inside the charging case and close the lid. 

Now, wait for 15 seconds and lift the case lid. Connect again. This may fix the problem you’re facing.

3. Turn Bluetooth off completely

If the above two solutions didn’t work for you, head over to Settings ⟶ Bluetooth and tap the Bluetooth toggle to turn it entirely off. (Do not use Control Center.)

Tap on Bluetooth Toggle to turn off in Settings on iPhone

After a few seconds, turn Bluetooth on and try to pair your AirPods again. (Open the AirPods charging case lid. You will see your AirPods under MY DEVICES. Tap your AirPods.)

4. Restart your iPhone

As we’ve mentioned many times before on iGeeksBlog, restarting your device can fix a myriad of issues. Let’s see if this old trick can get the job done.

But before you do, head over to Settings and completely turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Now, turn off your phone, and after 45 seconds, turn it back on. Now switch on Bluetooth, open your AirPods’ case lid, and connect the AirPods. It should work; if not, head to the next solution.

5. Use the setup button to connect

None of the above solutions fix the problem? Well, we’ll step things up a bit now.

  1. Make sure your iPhone’s Bluetooth is on. Put both AirPods in the case and close the lid.
  2. Now bring your AirPods very close to your iPhone. Open the lid. It will say Connect. Now press and hold the setup button, which is on the back of the case. After a few seconds, you’ll see an animation of AirPods  connecting. Don’t release the set-up button just yet. Once you see the battery level of your AirPods and case, release the button you were holding.

    Connect and Press Hold setup button to pair AirPods with iPhone
  3. Tap Done.

6. Update latest version of iOS

Software updates aren’t only to add new features; they also remove bugs and polish existing features. Being on the latest version ensures that you’re getting the best Apple has to offer at any given time. To make sure you’re on the latest version:

Launch Settings on your iPhone ⟶ Tap General ⟶ Software Update. If you see a pending update, tap Download and Install.


7. Make sure you have the latest AirPods firmware

I used the words ‘make sure’ in the header and not ‘update your AirPods to latest firmware’ because you cannot. Apple does this automatically in the background, and you get no pop-up saying, ‘Hey, your AirPods are now running the latest version.’ The current firmware for AirPods 1st Gen is 6.8.8, 2nd Gen is 4A400.

8. Reset your AirPods

If none of the above solutions worked for you, there’s a high chance that you need to reset your AirPods and make them like new. Resetting will delete all the tap/touch customizations you’ve made. After reset it will be as if you’re setting up the AirPods for the first time.

Also, if you face issues related to the connection between AirPods and Mac, try closing the case lid and reconnecting again. Or if this fails:

On your Mac: Click the Bluetooth icon on the status bar ⟶ Open Bluetooth Preferences ⟶ Right-click on your AirPods name ⟶ Disconnect. Now hold the setup button on your AirPods case and pair it again.


Q. Why do my AirPods not automatically connect?

First things first, make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your iPhone.

The first solution I recommend trying is resetting your AirPods. Refer to solution 2  for the proper procedure. Then, try rebooting your iPhone if that doesn’t work (refer to solution 4).

These methods ought to fix things up, but if they don’t, you may need to pair your AirPods to your iPhone again. Check solution 5.

Q. Why are my AirPods not connecting? 

Your iPhone’s Bluetooth setting needs to be enabled. Check to make sure this is the case with your iPhone under Settings Bluetooth

Make sure your AirPods have enough charge to work. Hold your opened charging case with the AirPods inside up to your iPhone. Check the battery level. Sufficient charge but your iPhone still isn’t recognizing your AirPods? You may need to pair the AirPods to your iPhone. Check solution 5.

Lastly, make sure you’re running the latest version of iOS. This method is outlined in solution 6.

That’s all, folks!

Wrapping up…

Did any of these solutions work for you? Let us know in the comments below. Have any other Apple related questions? Ask away and we’ll do our best to answer!

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Marcus is a freelance tech writer/editor with a focus on succinctly explaining consumer devices and their software. His previous work has been published on MakeUseOf where he covered everything from iOS to Git and UI design.

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