How To Connect AirPods With Apple TV

Since tvOS 11, once you pair the AirPods to an Apple ID, setup should be easy.

When you pair your AirPods with an iPhone or iPad, iCloud will share the connection among other linked devices. If you’re logged in to a second device with the same Apple ID, your AirPods should automatically connect.

This is also the case for Apple TV. Connecting your AirPods to Apple TV is easy through a handy shortcut. However, this only works if you have the AirPods case open (so that they are awake) or in your ears already.

To connect AirPods to Apple TV, you will need to press and hold the PLAY menu button on your TV remote. From here, select “Devices and content” from the menu that appears. You should see a list of available wireless devices appear including your AirPods. Select them to connect and route audio via your headphones instead of speakers or receiver.

To disconnect, head back to the quick menu by holding Play on your remote. Choose “Apple TV” and this will route audio through the Apple TV.

Here’s how to pair your AirPods manually with your Apple TV, step by step.

If you haven’t yet paired your AirPods or are experiencing issues pairing, try manually.

Step 1: Put your AirPods into the case

Put your AirPods into the case
  • Start with linking your AirPods to Apple TV by putting them in their case. Then ensure they’re not already paired to any of your other devices before trying again.

Step 2: Choose “Settings” when opening the Apple TV

Settings in Apple TV
  • With your remote, find the silver gears icon on your apps screen and click it.

Step 3: In the Settings list, look for Remotes and Devices

  • In there, you’ll be able to see any AirPods already linked to the Apple TV on My Devices or Other Devices.

Step 4: Pair your AirPods to your Apple TV

Select Bluetooth from the Remotes and Devices Section
  • If you select your AirPods in that menu, it will take you to a menu where you can disconnect them from the Apple TV when done, or unpair them completely from that Apple TV.
  • In this case, you’ll still need to go through the above steps in order to re-pair.

How to connect Apple TV to previously paired AirPods

  • Those who have previously paired their AirPods with their Apple TV only need to follow Steps 1-3 before discovering their device is already in My Devices and can connect from there.

… Or use this slightly different method:

First, go to the Video and Audio menu in Settings.

  • Click to navigate Video and Audio settings.

Second: Select audio output

  • If you have other wireless speakers in your house, they should appear here under Speakers including the TV Speakers default option.
  • Above that will be the Headphones list, where you might be able to see other AirPods in range, if they’re connected through your Apple TV.

Third: Open your AirPods case

  • If you open the lid to your AirPods case, you will see that they have been assigned a name in the available devices list. Select them with your Remote and pop them into your ear for a quick connection confirmation noise.
  • When you first connect your AirPods to an Apple TV, a handy volume bar will also appear.
  • Once that’s done, head back to the home screen by hitting the remote’s “back” button. Using your remote or tablet, you can choose an app from there to enjoy with your newly synced AirPods.

Connect AirPods to Apple TV – 1st and 2nd gen

AirPods are not compatible with 1st gen Apple TV’s because they don’t have Bluetooth. 2nd gen Apple TV’s only support Bluetooth keyboards. You need to have an Apple TV HD or 4K or newer in order to use AirPods.

In a nutshell…

You can connect your AirPods to Apple TV with a handy shortcut. All you need is the remote for your TV, and then press and hold PLAY button on it until you see “Devices & Content” come up in the menu. From there, select “AirPods” from any of the options that appear. If all goes well, your AirPod should automatically sync! Let us know how this process went if you try it out yourself so we can provide feedback as needed.

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About S. Santos

I am a tech columnist and blogger by trade, but I'm also an avid tennis player. In my spare time, I enjoy reviewing gadgets and gizmos from the world of tech.

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