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Bluetooth Headphones Won’t Work On Mac Laptop – 9 Fixes To Try

Last Updated Nov 20, 2022
A Mac laptop with different Bluetooth headphones

Bluetooth headphones are truly one of the best things to happen to audio in the last 100 years, but what happens when your Bluetooth headphones won’t connect to a MacBook?

  1. Turn headphones on
  2. Make sure headphone batteries are charged
  3. Ensure headphones are in range of the Mac
  4. Make sure Bluetooth is enabled on Mac
  5. Confirm headphones are connected to the Mac
  6. Be sure headphones are selected as output device on the Mac
  7. Test another Bluetooth device
  8. Restart Mac laptop
  9. Restart Bluetooth device

One benefit of Bluetooth headphones is their portability and lack of wires, which can also be seen as a negative because of the reliance on batteries and range.

Make Sure your Headphones are Turned On

It may sound silly, but ensuring that headphones are turned on is a common mistake many users make when using Bluetooth Headphones.

You should Google the brand and model of your Bluetooth headphones and how to turn them on. 

While you’re at it, you should also ensure that your Mac’s speakers are clean. This can cause a loss of sound quality.

Charge or Replace your Headphones’ Batteries

You should let your Bluetooth headphones charge for at least 3 hours before attempting to connect them again if you are having problems.

If you are unsure how to recharge or replace your batteries, just Google the make and model number of your Bluetooth headphones for instructions.

If you are using AirPods, there are different instructions for charging.

Check the Range of Your Headphones and Mac Laptop

People will often get so used to using wireless headphones that they forget that Bluetooth has an operational range and is powered by magic.

The range of devices using Bluetooth is no more than 30 feet (10 meters). That may seem like a lot when using a phone, but if you walk away, the signal can degrade quickly.

Bring your headphones close to your Mac laptop and test them again to see if you are having a range issue. If not, you could have an interference problem.

Possible Bluetooth Interference Problems

It can be within the 30-foot Bluetooth range and interfere with another device or material. 

Check your surroundings to see if any of these common interferences apply to your specific problem:

  • Thick concrete walls
  • Large appliances (refrigerator, washing machine, dishwasher, etc.)
  • Large pieces of metal or metal walls
  • Electronics putting out large magnetic fields (microwave, etc.)

If you have any of these common interferences near your Mac laptop, try moving your Mac laptop and connecting your headphones to see if you have an interference problem.

Enable Bluetooth on your Mac Laptop

Another fix could be that your Bluetooth service is turned off on your Mac laptop. Here is how to make sure it is enabled.

  1. Open the Apple menu on your Mac laptop
  2. Select System Settings
  3. Scroll down and Click Bluetooth
  4. Select Open Bluetooth Settings for me
  5. Click to turn the Bluetooth service on or off

If you find something wrong with the Bluetooth service on your Mac laptop, you can purchase a third-party Bluetooth USB adapter such as this one or this one.

Connect your Headphones to Your Mac Laptop

Here is a list of instructions on connecting Bluetooth headphones to a Mac laptop.

  1. Make sure your Bluetooth headphones are turned on
  2. Make sure your device is in pairing mode
  3. On your Mac laptop – Select the Apple Menu with the Apple icon
  4. Select System Settings
  5. Scroll down and Select Bluetooth on the sidebar
  6. Select the Bluetooth device you are trying to connect to your Mac laptop
  7. Click Accept or enter the pairing code associated with your device
  8. Your headphones should now be connected

You may need to search your specific make and model of Bluetooth headphones to find instructions on how to put your brand of headphones in pairing mode.

We’ve got great instructions on how to pair Sony headphones with a Mac. 

Select Your Headphones as the Output Device on Your Mac Laptop

If none of that works, it’s possible that your Mac laptop didn’t select the headphones as the output audio device. Here are instructions to enable headphones on a Mac:

  1. Select the Apple Menu with the Apple icon
  2. Select System Settings
  3. Scroll down and Select Sound (there is a small speaker icon next to this option)
  4. Scroll down to the Menu heading Output Options
  5. Under the “List of sound input devices” option – Select the Bluetooth headphones you wish to connect to your Mac Mac laptop.
  6. Your Bluetooth headphones should now be the output audio device on your Mac Mac laptop.

If none of the fixes above have solved your problem, you may have an extreme case requiring you to call Apple or go to the Apple Store for repairs.

Test with Another Bluetooth Device

You can try to connect a different Bluetooth-enabled device to your Mac laptop and see if that is the problem.

The problem connecting may be the Bluetooth device itself and not your Mac laptop.

You can also try to see if your Bluetooth headphones will connect to another device, such as your TV or Marshall Kilburn speakers.

Restart your Mac Laptop

If you still have problems, you can try rebooting your Mac laptop. There are two methods of restarting your Mac for this problem.

If your Mac is working normally (other than the Bluetooth problem):

  1. Go to the Apple menu on your Mac laptop
  2. Select Restart
  3. Try connecting your Bluetooth device once the restart is complete

If your Mac is unresponsive:

  1. Hold the power button on your Mac laptop down until the laptop shuts off
  2. Wait 5 minutes
  3. Press the power button again to restart your Mac laptop
  4. Try connecting your Bluetooth device once the restart is complete

Restarting your Mac can fix an array of problems.

Restart your Bluetooth Device

You should also try hard restarting your Bluetooth device. You can Google your specific headphones for instructions.

Most can be reset by holding the power button for 15 seconds and letting the Bluetooth device restart. You may have to re-pair the device.

Conclusion

There are a few reasons why your headphones might not be connecting to your Mac laptop, but there are a few things you can try to get back to running smoothly.

You can try charging your headphones or replacing the batteries, check the range, and ensure they are connected to your Mac laptop and selected as the default audio device.