How to find better sound between a Mac and AirPods?
The Mac is less well served than iOS devices when it comes to transporting sound. With AirPods Max or AirPods Pro (or any Bluetooth headphones or earphones), the difference is obvious: with Apple Music1 on macOS it’s all flat, the bass is shriveled, we have the impression that the soundstage has been reduced to a jar. There are many testimonials on Apple’s support forum and on Twitter of the significant difference in quality between iOS and macOS (here, there, again here).
This is a problem that dates back several years and does not affect the Mac for that matter. One of the solutions is to change the audio input: by default, it is set on the microphone of the AirPods. It must be modified by that of the Mac in Settings> Sound> Input, or click on the Sound menulet (in the menu bar) or the Sound category of the control center, while holding the option key. At the bottom of the window, you can change the audio input.
This manipulation makes it possible to find an audio quality close to that of an iPhone. Unfortunately, it’s a cautery on a wooden leg: you may need the mic in AirPods, especially on Macs that don’t have one like the Mac mini. Already in 2017, a disgruntled user had contacted Apple on this subject, the manufacturer having indicated to be aware of the problem … But nothing has changed since.
The crux of the matter is Bluetooth and the bandwidth needed to transport sound and voice. For one reason or another, the Mac usually relies on the SCO codec, which is very light but has a much lower audio performance than AAC. The Bluetooth LE Audio announced at CES 2020 by the Bluetooth SIG could fix things, it remains to be implemented (read: Bluetooth LE Audio will improve sound and democratize audio sharing).
How to use your Airpods with your MAC?
You may have already fallen for Airpods, these Apple headphones that offer real comfort of use via the “wireless” experience. Very practical, Airpods are easily installed on Ipad or Iphone but you will certainly also want to use your Airpods with your Mac.
So how do you configure your Airpods on your Mac?
Setting up AirPods to work with a Mac is pretty straightforward, especially if the AirPods are already set up to work with a Mac, but you can also manually connect the two. If you’ve already set up your AirPods with your Mac (or MacBook), and you’re using the same Apple ID and the same iCloud account on this device as on your Mac, the setup process will be fairly straightforward since the Aipods are already registered:
When wearing the AirPods, pull down the Sound / Volume menu on the Mac and choose “AirPods” from the list of audio output devices.
How to Manually Connect AirPods to Mac?
If you haven’t set up AirPods with a Mac using the same Apple ID as the Mac, or if you don’t have an iOS device, you can also set up and connect AirPods to Mac through Bluetooth settings:
- Make sure the AirPods are charged, then place the AirPods in the AirPods charging case and close the cover.
- On the Mac, go to the “Apple” menu and choose “System Preferences”. Select the “Bluetooth” preference panel and make sure Bluetooth is turned on.
- Open the AirPods charging case cover
- Press and hold the button on the back of the case until the LED flashes white
- Wait a moment for the AirPods to appear in the list of Bluetooth devices, then click “Connect” to sync the AirPods with the Mac
How to connect and set up your AirPods 2 on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac
The new AirPods came out in March and you fell in love? Don’t know how to make full use of these wireless headphones? You can connect them very quickly to your iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad and Mac.
The connection of AirPods 2 is similar to that of AirPods 1. To take full advantage of all these features you will need at least:
- an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 12.2;
- an Apple Watch running watchOS 5.2;
- an Apple TV with tvOS 12.2;
- a Mac running macOS Mojave 10.14.4.
Of course, if your Apple devices do not have these latest updates, connecting with your AirPods 2 can be done just as easily. If you have a device Android, also note that pairing is possible.
For the correct functioning of the next manipulations, check some conditions:
- there is a minimum load on your headphones and its case;
- the 2 headphones are in their case closed ;
- Bluetooth is enabled on iPhone, iPad, or Mac.
Step 1: How to connect your AirPods 2
After the first connection, your headphones will automatically be connected to all your devices with the same iCloud account.
Method 1: Connect your AirPods 2 to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad
During a first connection, if your AirPods are new, or if they have been reset, a small step is necessary:
1.1.1. Go to the lock screen or an application page of your iPhone;
1.1.2. Open the AirPods case;
1.1.3. (optional) If nothing is displayed on your iPhone, check that the headphones are close, if necessary unlock your phone;
1.1.4. Press on Unlock to connect if your iPhone is unlocked if not, touch Log in.
Your AirPods are now connected to all your devices with the same iCloud account. Thanks to this pairing, you can locate your AirPods with Find my iPhone.
If your headphones have already been paired with a device under another iCloud account, the procedure is the same except that the iPhone will ask you to press the button on the box for a few seconds. You can release the button as soon as the connection is in progress.
If you’ve used your AirPods 2 on another device, to connect them to your iPhone or iPad, handling is just as fast:
1.1.5. Go to Settings > Bluetooth ;
1.1.6. Select your device and wait for the indication to change from “No” to “Yes”.
Your AirPods are ready to use.
Method 2: Connect your AirPods 2 to your Apple Watch
You can start by pairing your headphones to your iPhone as in method 1 (from step 1.1.1. To 1.1.4.). Then all you need to do is:
1.2.1. To open your control center by sliding from the bottom to the top on the dial;
1.2.2. De presser le logo AirPlay ;
1.2.3. Select your headphones.
You can also tap this logo in the app Music.
Method 3: Connect your AirPods 2 to your Mac
For a first connection to an Apple device with this Apple ID, you will have to go through Bluetooth;
1.3.1. Open System Preferences > Bluetooth ;
Good to know : for faster access, you can check, at the bottom, Show Bluetooth in the menu bar.
1.3.2. Open the case;
1.3.3. Double click on the new AirPods;
1.3.4. A message appears, confirm your request by clicking on Connect.
The connection is made. If you are using your AirPods 2 on other devices, to connect them again on the Mac, you can go through either the sound settings or the Bluetooth settings.
1.3.5. Go to System Preferences > Son > Exit (or the sound icon in the menu bar);
1.3.6. Select your headphones.
1.3.7. Open System Preferences > Bluetooth or directly the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar;
1.3.8. Select your headphones.
You can start using your AirPods with your Mac.
Method 4: Connect your AirPods 2 to your Apple TV
Various Bluetooth headsets can be connected to Apple TV. Of course, AirPods are one of them.
1.4.1. Come on Settings > Remote controls and devices > Bluetooth ;
1.4.2. Select your headphones;
1.4.3. Choose Connect the device.
Step 2: How to set up your AirPods 2
Even if your headphones are not a gaming mouse with a lot of configuration possibilities, you can still customize them a bit.
Indeed, in addition to the name of the AirPods, when you tap your headphones twice, a feature kicks in. It may be different between the left earpiece and the right one. You can choose between:
2.0.1 Siri ;
2.0.2. Play / Pause ;
2.0.3. Next track ;
2.0.4. Previous track ;
2.0.5. Or just Deactivated to prevent any action.
You can also define the location of the microphone:
2.0.6. Automatic change, which changes depending on which earpiece is in your ear.
2.0.7. Still the left AirPod ;
2.0.8. Always the right AirPod.
Method 1: Set up your AirPods 2 with your iPhone
The iPhone is what offers the most configuration. Indeed, it is only on the iPhone that you can define a name for your headphones.
2.1.1. Go to Settings > Bluetooth ;
2.1.2. Connect your headphones (cf 1.1.5. and 1.1.6.);
2.1.3. On the row of your headphones, press the ⓘ;
2.1.4. Press Last name to rename your AirPods;
2.1.5. Press Left then Right to define the action performed during the double tap;
2.1.6. Activate or deactivate the automatic detection of the ears;
2.1.7. Micro to define on which earpiece the microphone will be.
Method 2: Set up your AirPods 2 with your Mac
As explained before, you can set up your AirPods 2 also on Mac. You will not be able to rename them.
2.2.1. Connect your headphones (cf 1.3.5. to 1.3.8.);
2.2.2. Open them Bluetooth Preferences ;
2.2.3. On your AirPods row, click Options ;
2.2.4. Define your preferences;
2.2.5. Confirm your choices by clicking on Finished.
Step 3: How to use your AirPods 2
Now that your headphones are connected and configured, all you have to do is use them. To do this, nothing could be simpler: listen! They will automatically connect to the last device used.
Some functionalized will depend on your customizations from step 2. Unlike AirPods 1, AirPods 2 detect “Hey Siri” like your HomePod, iPhone or iPad.
So far, you have been shown “classic” methods to connect AirPods. However, in each compatible app, you can choose output via AirPlay and then select your AirPods.
During a call, you can also choose the source of the audio output without going through the settings. It is the same technique as for putting on the loudspeaker. You press the button audio then select your AirPods. This has the effect of changing the audio logo.
You can imagine that these wired headphones will need to recharge at one point or another. To do this, you just need to install them in the box and close it. To charge the box, connect it with a Lightning cable. If you have opted for the wireless charging case, you can put it on a Qi charging station. Remember to watch the battery level of your AirPods and the case so you don’t end up without headphones.