My AirPods Won’t Connect To My iPhone! Here’s The Real Fix.

Your Apple AirPods won’t work and you don’t know what to do. Your iPhone’s software, hardware, and Bluetooth all need to be set up correctly whenever you use your AirPods, so tracking down the problem can be tricky — but I’ll walk you through the process. In this article, I’ll show you why your AirPods won’t connect to your iPhone and how to fix the problem for good.

Do I Need A New Pair Of AirPods? Are My AirPods Broken?

At this point, it’s impossible to say. AirPods aren’t just another pair of Bluetooth headphones. Apple designed the AirPods with a custom W1 chip with built-in accelerometers (motion sensors) and other technology that allows your iPhone to take advantage of all the new features that Apple invented for the AirPods.

Even if your other Bluetooth headphones are working with your iPhone, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your AirPods are broken. Even if you exchange your AirPods for a new pair, you could end up having the exact same problem if there is a hardware or software issue on your iPhone. Our guide will help you determine the real source of the problem so you can connect your AirPods to your iPhone and start listening to music.

How To Connect AirPods To Your iPhone

1. Turn Your iPhone Off And Back On

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Turning your iPhone off and back on again can fix simple problems with your iPhone’s software.

Why Should I Turn My iPhone Off And Back On?

When you turn off your iPhone, the operating system shuts down all the little background programs that keep your iPhone running. When you turn your iPhone back on, all those little background programs start fresh, and sometimes that’s enough to fix a simple software glitch.

How Do I Turn My iPhone Off And Back On?

  1. Press and hold the power button until “slide to power off” appears on the screen.
  2. Use your finger to swipe the red power button across the screen from left to right.
  3. Wait for your iPhone to turn all the way off. This may take up to 30 seconds.
  4. To turn your iPhone back on, press and hold the power button until the Apple logo appears on the screen.
  5. Let go of the power button and wait for your iPhone to turn on.

Pro Tips

  • In Apple jargon, the power button is known as the Sleep / Wake button.

2. Turn On Bluetooth On Your iPhone

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Turning on Bluetooth allows you to connect your iPhone to Bluetooth devices such as AirPods, keyboards, speakers, and more.

How Do I Turn On Bluetooth On My iPhone?

There are three ways to turn on Bluetooth on your iPhone:

How To Turn On Bluetooth In The Settings App

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Bluetooth to open the Bluetooth menu.
  3. If the switch next to Bluetooth is green, then Bluetooth is already turned on.
  4. If the switch next to Bluetooth is gray, tap the switch with your finger to turn Bluetooth on.

How To Turn On Bluetooth In Control Center

  1. Use your finger to swipe up from below the screen to open Control Center.
  2. To turn on Bluetooth, tap the Bluetooth icon Bluetooth Iconwhich looks like a “B” made of triangles. If the icon is highlighted in blue, then Bluetooth is already turned on.

How To Turn On Bluetooth Using Siri

  1. Open Siri by pressing and holding the Home button until Siri appears, or say, “Hey Siri.”
  2. Say, “Turn on Bluetooth.” Siri will tell you if Bluetooth is already turned on.

Pro Tips

  • You can also see if Bluetooth is on by looking next to the battery icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen.
    • If the Bluetooth icon is black, Bluetooth is on and your iPhone is connected to a Bluetooth device.
    • If the Bluetooth icon is gray, Bluetooth is on, but your iPhone isn’t connected to any devices.
    • If you don’t see the Bluetooth icon, then Bluetooth is turned off.
  • If you are having trouble opening Control Center, you probably aren’t swiping up from low enough.

3. Update Your iPhone Software

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When you update your iPhone software, you are installing the most recent iOS update. iOS is an operating system used for mobile devices made by Apple.

Why Should I Update My iPhone Software?

Apple puts out new software updates to improve efficiency, fix bugs, and introduce new features. Updating iOS can fix problems with your iPhone’s software.

How Do I Update My iPhone Software?

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Software Update.
  4. Tap Install Now.
  5. Enter your passcode.
  6. The update will begin once it is verified.
  7. The update is complete after your iPhone restarts.

Pro Tips

  • You’ll know there’s a new software update if you see a red circle with a white “1” update available icon in it next to Software Update in Settings -> General.
  • To install the latest software update, your iPhone will either need to be plugged in or have 50% battery.

4. Set Up AirPods Using Your iPhone

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Your iPhone needs to be connected to your AirPods before you can use them. AirPods are designed to easily connect to your iPhone as soon as you open the Charging Case.

How Do I Set Up AirPods Using My iPhone?

  1. Unlock your iPhone.
  2. Open the Charging Case with your AirPods inside.
  3. Hold the Charging Case next to your iPhone.
  4. A setup animation will appear on your iPhone.
  5. Tap Connect.
  6. Tap Done.

Pro Tips

  • AirPods connect to your iPhone using Bluetooth technology.

5. Charge Your AirPods

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Charging your AirPods ensures that they will have enough battery life to function properly. AirPods are charged using the Charging Case.

How Do I Charge My AirPods?

  1. Put your AirPods in the Charging Case.
  2. When your AirPods are in the Charging Case, the Status light will indicate the amount of charge your AirPods have.
  3. The Status light will turn green when your AirPods are fully charged.

Pro Tips

  • The status light will be amber when your AirPods have less than one full charge.
  • The status light will flash white when your AirPods are ready to be connected to one of your devices.
  • In a rush? 15 minutes of charge time will give your AirPods enough charge for 3 hours of listening time or 1 hour of talk time.

6. Charge The AirPods Charging Case

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It may be a mouthful, but the Charging Case needs to be charged in order to charge your AirPods.

How Do I Charge The AirPods Charging Case?

  1. Plug a Lightning cable into the Lightning connector on your Charging Case.
  2. Plug the other end of the Lightning cable into a USB port or wall charger.
  3. It may take a few hours to fully charge your Charging Case.

Pro Tips

  • The Charging Case has a battery built in that charges your AirPods on the go.
  • You can charge your Charging Case with or without your AirPods inside.
  • Every new pair of AirPods you buy from the Apple Store comes with a Lightning cable and a Charging Case.

7. Clean Your AirPods and Charging Case

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If dirt, dust, or other debris gets into your AirPods or Charging Case, it can affect their functionality and cause hardware problems. For example, if there is debris in your Charging Case, your AirPods may not charge properly.

How Do I Clean My AirPods and Charging Case?

  1. Get a soft, lint-free cloth. Don’t use tissue or cloth that will break up inside your devices.
  2. Gently wipe your AirPods and Charging Case with the cloth.
  3. For more compact debris, you can use a new toothbrush to brush it out.

Pro Tips

  • You should clean your AirPods and Charging Case regularly to prevent damage.
  • Don’t get any moisture into the openings of your AirPods or Charging Case.
  • Don’t use aerosol sprays, solvents, or abrasives to clean your AirPods or Charging Case.

8. Make Sure Your AirPods Are In Range Of Your iPhone

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If your AirPods aren’t within range of your iPhone, the devices won’t be able to connect to each other. AirPods connect to your iPhone through Bluetooth, which only works when your devices are within a certain range of each other.

How Do I Make Sure My AirPods Are In Range Of My iPhone?

  1. Go to the Home screen.
  2. Open the Control Center by swiping up from below the bottom edge of the screen.
  3. Use your finger to swipe from right to left to open the audio interface (pictured on the left).
  4. Tap the audio output button Audio Output Icon , which looks like a triangle with three circles coming out of it.
  5. If your AirPods are not listed here as an audio output source, then your AirPods are out of range.

Pro Tips

  • Sound quality will slowly decline as your AirPods become out of range of your iPhone or other Apple device.

9. Put Your AirPods Into Bluetooth Pairing Mode

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Bluetooth pairing mode allows you to wirelessly connect your AirPods to other Bluetooth devices or Apple devices not linked to your iCloud account.

Why Should I Put My AirPods Into Bluetooth Pairing Mode?

If your iPhone isn’t logged into your iCloud account, you’ll have to put your AirPods into Bluetooth pairing mode.

How Do I Put My AirPods Into Bluetooth Pairing Mode?

  1. Put your AirPods into the Charging Case.
  2. Keep the lid of your Charging Case open.
  3. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the Charging Case.
  4. When the status light begins to flash white, your AirPods are in Bluetooth pairing mode.

10. Pair Your iPhone With A Bluetooth Accessory

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Bluetooth is a wireless technology used for exchanging data over short distances. You can use Bluetooth to wirelessly connect your iPhone to other Bluetooth devices such as AirPods, speakers, and keyboards.

Why Should I Pair My iPhone With A Bluetooth Accessory?

Your iPhone and the other Bluetooth device need to be paired before they can connect wirelessly.

How Do I Pair My iPhone With A Bluetooth Accessory?

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Bluetooth.
  3. Tap the Bluetooth device you want to pair your iPhone with when the device appears under “My Devices.”
  4. Some Bluetooth devices require you to enter a passkey or PIN.
  5. You’ll know your iPhone is connected to the Bluetooth device when it says “Connected” to next to the name of the device.

Pro Tips

  • If your Bluetooth device does not appear under My Devices, you either need to:
    • Put the device in Bluetooth pairing mode.
    • Bring the device within range of your iPhone.

11. Make Sure Your AirPods Are Connected To The Correct Device

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AirPods are designed to automatically connect to any of your devices linked to your Apple ID. It’s possible that they connected to one of your other Apple devices such as an iPad or iPod.

Why Should I Make Sure My AirPods Are Connected To The Correct Device?

If your AirPods are connected to a different device, they may be receiving audio output from the other device. AirPods are not designed to receive audio output from two devices at the same time.

How Do I Make Sure My AirPods Are Connected To The Correct Device?

  1. Go to the Home screen
  2. Using your finger, open Control Center by swiping up from below your screen.
  3. Use your finger to swipe from right to left to open the audio interface (pictured on the left).
  4. Tap the audio output button Audio Output Iconwhich looks like a small triangle with three circles coming out of it.
  5. Tap AirPods to connect your iPhone to your AirPods.
  6. If you do not see AirPods listed, they are out of range.

Pro Tips

  • If you are having trouble opening Control Center, you probably aren’t swiping up from low enough.

12. Turn Bluetooth Off And Back On Again

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Bluetooth allows you to connect your iPhone to Bluetooth devices like AirPods, speakers, keyboards, and more.

Why Should I Turn Bluetooth Off And Back On Again?

Turning Bluetooth off and back on again is sometimes enough to fix simple connectivity issues between your iPhone and Bluetooth devices.

How Do I Turn Bluetooth Off And Back On Again?

There are three ways to turn Bluetooth off and back on:

With The Settings App

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap Bluetooth.
  4. Use your finger to tap the green switch next to Bluetooth to turn it off. You’ll know Bluetooth is off when the switch is gray.
  5. Tap the switch again to turn Bluetooth back on. You’ll the Bluetooth is on when the switch turns green.

With Control Center

  1. Use your finger to swipe up from the bottom of your screen to open Control Center.
  2. Use your finger to tap the Bluetooth icon Bluetooth Icon, which looks like a “B” made of triangles. You’ll know Bluetooth is off when the icon is black with a gray background.
  3. To turn Bluetooth back on, tap the Bluetooth icon once again. You’ll know Bluetooth is on when the icon is white with a blue background.

Using Siri

  1. Open Siri by pressing and holding the Home button until Siri appears, or by saying, “Hey Siri.”
  2. To turn off Bluetooth, say, “Turn off Bluetooth.”
  3. To turn Bluetooth back on, say, “Turn on Bluetooth.”

13. Reset All Settings

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Reset All Settings doesn’t erase any of the personal information from your iPhone, but it does restore everything in the Settings app to factory defaults. You’ll have to optimize your battery settings, choose your favorite background image, and enter your Wi-Fi password again, but all of your apps, photos, and contacts will still be on your iPhone.

Why Should I Reset All Settings?

Many iPhone problems are caused when Settings isn’t set up correctly or by corruption within the Settings files themselves. Restoring the Settings app back to factory defaults doesn’t fix every iPhone software problem, but it is a go-to fix for Apple technicians because it does solve a lot of problems that would be very difficult to to track down by hand.

How Do I Reset All Settings?

  1. Go to the Home screen.
  2. Open the Settings app.
  3. Tap General.
  4. Use your finger to scroll down to Reset. It will be the last option in Settings -> General.
  5. Tap Reset All Settings.
  6. Enter your passcode.
  7. Tap Reset All Settings. You’ll be prompted twice.
  8. A progress bar appear on the screen.
  9. Your iPhone will automatically turn back on when the reset finishes.

14. DFU Restore Your iPhone

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A DFU (Device Firmware Update) restore is most in-depth reset you can do to an iPhone. A DFU restore uses your computer to erase and reload all the code that controls both the software and hardware on your iPhone.

Why Should I DFU Restore My iPhone?

A DFU restore has the potential to fix software problems by completely erasing the code which may be causing your problem. The code is rewritten as if  your iPhone is brand new, so the software problem may get solved.

Think of it like a house that has cracks in the foundation. Rather than try and fix the cracks, we are building an entirely new foundation.

How Do I DFU Restore My iPhone?

  1. Using a Lightning cable, plug your iPhone into a USB port on your computer.
  2. Open iTunes. It doesn’t matter if your iPhone is on or off.
  3. Press and hold the Power and Home Button together for 8 seconds.
  4. After 8 seconds, release the Power Button, but continue to hold the Home Button until iTunes says “iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode.”
  5. Let go of the Home Button.
  6. Your iPhone’s display will be completely black if you’ve successfully entered DFU mode. If it’s not, try again from the beginning.
  7. Restore your iPhone using iTunes.

Pro Tips

  • If you can, back up your iPhone before completing a DFU restore. Any time you do a restore, it erases everything from your iPhone. However, after the restore is completed, you restore all your backed up data back onto your iPhone.
  • Learn more about DFU restores in our article: How To Put An iPhone Into DFU Mode, The Apple Way.
  • A damaged component can prevent your iPhone from fully completing the DFU restore. If your iPhone is damaged in any way, a DFU may break your iPhone.
  • In Apple jargon, the power button is also known as the Sleep / Wake Button.

15. Repair Your AirPods

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If you’ve gotten this far and your AirPods still won’t connect to your iPhone, you may have a hardware problem with your AirPods.

How Do I Repair My AirPods?

There are a few ways to repair your AirPods:

If You’re Still Within The Return Window

  1. Bring your AirPods back to the store where you purchased them and exchange them for a new pair.

If You’re Outside The Return Window

  1. Repair them through Apple’s online support, or
  2. Make an appointment at the Genius Bar at your local Apple Store, or
  3. Set up an online mail-in repair through Apple’s online support.

Pro Tips

  • AirPods are covered by Apple’s one year warranty.
  • For more information, read our article on iPhone repair options.

Your AirPods Are Connected To Your iPhone!

Your AirPods are now connected to your iPhone and you can finally start enjoying your Bluetooth headphones! Now you know exactly how to keep your AirPods connected to your iPhone. Thanks for reading our article and we hope you share this with all the AirPods lovers you know. Feel free to leave us a comment down below if you have any further questions, or if you just want to tell us what you think about your AirPods!

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