While Apple created the AirPods with its own devices in mind, that doesn’t mean you can’t use your AirPod earbuds with devices like a Chromebook. Thanks to Bluetooth support, pairing and connecting AirPods to a Chromebook is no problem! Here’s exactly how to set it up.
Important note about compatibility: AirPods do support compatible Bluetooth devices, and this is true for the AirPods line through AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max. However, they won’t have the same compatibility that they do on iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Certain features will be missing – Siri, for example, can’t listen through your AirPods unless you’re on an Apple device, and Siri features like monitoring your battery life won’t be available. AirPods also won’t support Spatial Audio features on anything that’s not an Apple device. You can still use them for any standard listening, though.
First, grab your Chromebook, and let’s make sure the Bluetooth on your Chrome OS is ready.
Step 1: Turn on your Chromebook and log into the home screen.
Step 2: Look at the bottom-right of your home screen, where you’ll see the clock and several other icons. This is the Quick Settings part of Chrome OS. Select any of the icons in this section to open up Quick Settings.
Step 3: Find the Bluetooth icon in Quick Settings. It should be front and center in the top portion of the Settings window. There should be a small notification underneath saying whether Bluetooth is on or off. If it’s turned off for any reason, select the notification to turn it on.
Make sure your AirPods are in the case and the case is charged up before you begin this part.
Step 2: With Bluetooth on, select the blue Bluetooth icon in Quick Settings. This should take you to a new window where Bluetooth will show paired devices and automatically search for new devices to pair with.
Step 3: Sometimes your Chromebook’s Bluetooth will pick up your AirPods without you needing to do anything else, but often you’ll have to manually make your AirPods discoverable. While Bluetooth is searching, flip your AirPods case over and locate the small, round button on the back (as pictured above).
It’s a little difficult to see, but this is Apple’s Setup button, and it's important for pairing your AirPods. Press the Setup button once, and your Chromebook’s Bluetooth should pick up your AirPods and pair with them. You’ll see them appear on the paired list, under the name you chose for your AirPods.
Select your AirPods from Chromebook’s Bluetooth list of paired devices. Your AirPods should now connect. You should get a pop-up notification about this, and the status of your AirPods will change in Bluetooth to reflect a successful connection. You’re now ready to start using them.
Note that all this works with the AirPods Max too, except the Setup button is located on an earcup instead of on a case.
When using AirPods with a newly-connected device, it’s always a good idea to start at low volumes and work your way up to avoid hurting your ears (and swearing loudly). As we mentioned above, you can’t use Siri to control volume if you aren’t on an Apple device. But you can use the volume keys on your Chromebook or the in-app controls for whatever app you may be using.
If you have a Chromebook but just got a pair of AirPods, there’s something you may want to do first. If you have any Apple device, pair your AirPods with this device first. Apple will run you through setup instructions, explain some of the features, and let you name your AirPods. It’s a great first step if you’ve never used the AirPods before. Afterward, you can pair them to your Chromebook without worrying about Apple’s setup.
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