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How to pair Apple AirPods with a Windows PC

There are those of us that are brand loyal, and those of us that prefer to mix and match. Maybe you enjoy the crisp sound of Apple AirPods, but when it comes to computers, Windows PCs are your setup of choice over MacBooks. That’s the beauty of competition among brands; there’s plenty of companies making sweet stuff, and it’s easy to pick and choose what works best for you.

What happens, though, when you want to connect those AirPods to your PC? Are they compatible with each other? What do you have to do to create a link between these opposing brands? Luckily, we’ve got all the answers.

Make sure your gear is compatible

Windows Device Manager

The short answer? Yes, you can connect Apple AirPods to a Windows PC, at least in most cases. Before moving forward with the AirPods, you will want to make sure your PC has Bluetooth capabilities. There’s some good news and bad news here. The good news is Bluetooth is a widely used technology in the modern day, and it’s fairly simple to determine if your computer has it or not. The bad news is, if the PC doesn’t, then this is the end of the line.

Anyway, to find out if your PC has Bluetooth, right-click the Windows Start button, then find the Device Manager. If there’s a Bluetooth entry in the device list, congrats! You have Bluetooth and can move forward with the rest of this process. If there isn’t, you likely don’t have Bluetooth capability.

If it turns out you don’t have Bluetooth capability built into your PC, there are a few alternatives. A Bluetooth adapter would be the most cost-effective option. However, there are other ways to bring better audio to your computer. There are a number of speakers optimized for computing that are intended to bring a bigger sound to your PC. Or, you can opt for a different set of headphones, perhaps a wired option that bypasses the need for Bluetooth.

Now, where did we set those AirPods down at?

Setting up your PC

Windows Bluetooth and other devices

To begin the connection process, right-click on that Windows Start Button once again. From there, click on Settings, followed by Devices. That will bring you to the “Bluetooth & other devices” screen.

Click on the “Add Bluetooth or other device” button, then choose the kind of device you want to add. Hint: it’s a Bluetooth device. After choosing, the PC will pull up a list of compatible devices to connect to near you.

Bluetooth Devices page for Windows

We’ve also got a far more expansive guide on turning on Bluetooth on your Windows PC, if you’re interested.

Connecting the AirPods

Now that you have your PC ready to connect, grab your AirPods. Open the lid to the pods’ charging case, but leave the pods in place. Press and hold the setup button on the back of the case until the status light on the case turns white.

From here, the AirPods should appear in the list of Bluetooth devices. Select them, connect them, and carry on listening to that Spotify playlist or YouTube video with the comfort and convenience of your Apple AirPods.

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