How To Connect Bluetooth Headphones to a Mac In 5 Steps

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Connecting Bluetooth headphones to a Mac might be important if you’re attending a virtual work meeting or if you want to listen to audio from your computer. Bluetooth headsets offer the advantage of being wireless and can be a good tool for minimizing background noise. If you use a Mac at work, it might be helpful to learn more about connecting your wireless headphones.

In this article, we explain how to connect Bluetooth headphones to a Mac in five easy steps, describe how to disconnect your headphones and provide helpful troubleshooting tips for common issues.

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How to connect Bluetooth headphones to a Mac

You can follow these steps to connect your Bluetooth headphones to your Mac computer:

1. Turn on your devices

Power on your Bluetooth headphones and Mac computer to start the pairing process. Make sure that your devices have enough charge to power on and manage the connection between them adequately. Consider fully charging your devices before pairing for the first time to minimize any problems while trying to connect them.

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2. Place them within range of each other

Each device can have its own Bluetooth connectivity range that dictates how far away devices can be from each other to maintain the connection. When setting up the initial pairing for your devices, it may be best to have the two devices right next to each other to ensure that they are in range. Having these devices together in front of you also allows you to reach them easily so you can troubleshoot any issues that may occur during the pairing process.

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3. Turn on their Bluetooth functions

On your Bluetooth headphones, search for a button or sensor with the Bluetooth symbol to turn on the Bluetooth pairing. You may refer to the product instruction manual or other online resources to help you identify how to turn on the Bluetooth function on your device. On your Mac computer, you can open your system settings or control center and click on Bluetooth to turn on your computer's Bluetooth. Then, open your Bluetooth preferences to find a list of discoverable and previously connected Bluetooth devices.

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4. Check to see if both devices are discoverable

Your Bluetooth headphones may have an indicator that shows you when it's discoverable to other devices. Review the product manual to see if your headphones have different light indicators or a particular audio sound for when it's ready to pair. Your computer's Bluetooth menu typically states if your Bluetooth is on and whether your computer's Bluetooth connection is discoverable by other devices.

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5. Pair the devices

In your Mac computer's Bluetooth preferences, click "connect" next to the Bluetooth headphone device you want to pair it to. Your computer may prompt you to allow the device access to your computer's audio and microphone settings and you can click "accept" to pair them. Some Bluetooth headphones may require an access passcode to verify that you're connecting to the correct device and you can typically find this passcode in your device's product instruction manual.

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How to disconnect Bluetooth headphones from Mac

You can use these steps to disconnect your Bluetooth headphones from your Mac:

  1. Find the Bluetooth icon on the top of your screen and click on it. Alternatively, you can go to the System Preferences window and open the Bluetooth page.

  2. In the Bluetooth menu, look for the name of your headphones and click “Disconnect.

  3. If you don’t see “Disconnect,” click on the “x” next to the headphones and then click “Remove” on the pop-up menu.

  4. Alternatively, you can simply turn your headphones off.

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 How to fix common Bluetooth connectivity issues

Here are some common connectivity issues and how you can fix them:

Bluetooth headphones are undiscoverable

If your devices are on and you've enabled their Bluetooth settings but your headphones aren't showing up on your Mac computer's discovered devices list, you can try these methods to fix it:

  1. Disconnect other Bluetooth devices: You can disconnect all other Bluetooth devices from your computer to make sure that it's available to pair with your headphones. If your computer has previously paired with other devices, it may attempt to pair with the most recent device rather than the headphones you want to use.

  2. Turn Bluetooth functions on and off: Your Bluetooth connectivity on one device may have finished searching for devices before the connectivity on the other device could fully begin. You can turn the Bluetooth functions of both devices on and off until the devices recognize each other.

  3. Turn devices on and off: Turning your computer and headphones on and off can help clear background processes that slow down your computer and prevent it from discovering new devices or restarting your headphones’ Bluetooth connections. You can shut down your computer and power off your headphones and turn them back on to retry their connection.

Lagging or low connectivity

The connection between your Bluetooth headphones and Mac computer may show that it's intermittently connected and disconnected. You might attempt these solutions to resolve this issue:

  1. Charge your devices: You may experience lagging or lapses in connectivity when your devices don't have enough power to support their Bluetooth functionality. Try pairing your devices again once you have sufficiently charged them or while they are charging.

  2. Check your device's Bluetooth range: Your device's range may contribute to low connectivity issues. Make sure that your devices are close enough to each other so they can completely connect.

  3. Update your computer systems and device drivers: Your computer system might need an update to fix bugs or errors that occur during the Bluetooth connectivity process. Some Bluetooth headphones can also require specific device drivers for them to function properly with your computer.

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Devices connected but no audio

If your Bluetooth headphones have successfully connected to your Mac computer, but the headphones aren't playing any audio, consider the following methods to troubleshoot the problem:

  1. Check your audio volume settings: Bluetooth devices may ask for permission to access your sound settings, which can change your volume. Check your audio volume settings to see if your Bluetooth device muted the volume during the pairing process.

  2. Reset sound preferences on your computer: You can reset the sound preferences on your computer by accessing your folder search bar and the "Go to folder" command and type ~/Library/Preferences. Through those search results, find and to delete them and reset your sound preferences.

  3. Reset the Bluetooth module: You can access your Bluetooth module by pressing shift as you click on the Bluetooth button on your computer screen. From there, you can reset your Bluetooth module.

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