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How to connect AirPods to Windows 11

connect AirPods to Windows 11

The AirPods have completely revolutionized the way to listen to music not only on Apple devices but also on those with Windows and Android operating systems. Unlike many other Apple products, AirPods are truly compatible with Windows and Android and allow you to listen to music in total freedom, without wires, and constraints.

All this, being able to enjoy some fantastic features that you could hardly access using normal wireless headphones!

Unfortunately, however, after the recent release of Windows 11, users have begun to have strong doubts about the real and effective connectivity of Airpods with the new operating system. If you too have been experiencing some problems since moving to Windows 11, then you should read our guide. 

In the following paragraphs, we explain how to connect AirPods to Windows 11 and solve all your problems.

Are Airpods Compatible with Windows?

Let’s start by wondering if Apple’s wireless headphones are compatible with the Windows operating system. Well, the real answer to this question is “no” but, in any case, we still manage to make them work on a Windows device.

How? Essentially through Bluetooth: by activating this type of connection, Windows can recognize (and accept) the AirPods immediately. In short, you can use them as a normal wireless headset while having to give up other interesting features such as, for example, controlling music playback or activating Cortana.

How to connect AirPods to Windows 11

Let’s get to the heart of this guide and find out together how to connect Apple wireless headphones to Windows 11. Once you have paired it, we recommend that you continue reading the following paragraphs to fully customize your experience based on the type of use you want to do with your AirPods.

Pair Airpods to Windows

First, press the Windows + I keys on the keyboard at the same time to access the Settings, then click on “Bluetooth and devices”. Now open the case of the AirPods, wait for the light to flash green or orange, and then press and hold the configuration button on the back of the headphones for a few seconds. When the light starts blinking white, the AirPods have entered pairing mode.

At this point, click on “Add device”, then on “Bluetooth” and wait a few seconds: once the AirPods are displayed in the list, click on the relative icon. Windows will now automatically pair with the wireless headphones: click on “Done” once the process is complete. Here: you have paired your AirPods to Windows!

AirPods connected to Windows 11: here’s how to get the best possible audio quality

Now that we’ve paired the wireless headphones to Windows 11, it’s time to try and make the most of the power of the AirPods. In particular, we recommend that you buy a good Bluetooth adapter if you intend to use both high-resolution audio quality and the microphone. Let’s see how to do it in both cases.

How to enjoy high-quality audio (without microphone)

Once the AirPods are paired with your PC, wear them for some time so they are visible and connected in Settings. Now access the Start menu and open the “Control Panel”: once here, click on the drop-down menu next to “View by” (you can find it at the top right) and choose the “Large Icons” option. Now click on “Devices and Printers”, then select “AirPods” from your devices and press Alt + Enter on the keyboard.

At this point, click on the upper part of the screen and access the “Services” tab, then uncheck the “Hands-free telephony” box and click “Ok” to save the changes.

Done! After making these changes, you should already experience a distinct change in the audio and the system should start using stereo audio. This way, you will be able to enjoy high-quality audio while using your AirPods.

How to take advantage of the microphone and audio (with poor sound)

It is not very difficult to get the microphone and audio to work in Windows: it is, in fact, a default feature that, if not disabled, should go on automatically. If not, we’ll tell you how!

First, access the Start menu and then the Control Panel: click on the drop-down menu next to “View by” (you can find it at the top right) and choose the “Large Icons” option, then click on “Audio “. So, click on the “Registration” option, then on “AirPods”, select “Set default” at the bottom of the window and click on “Ok” to save the changes.

That’s it – from this point on, your wireless headphones should be able to work with the audio out and microphone!

How to take advantage of both high-resolution stereo audio and microphone

If you want to enjoy both features, then you will necessarily have to buy a good Bluetooth 4.0 or 5.0 adapter and then implement a series of changes that will allow you to listen to high-resolution audio and, at the same time, to use the microphone.

Buy a Bluetooth adapter

To take advantage of the high-resolution stereo audio and microphone of Apple wireless headphones, let’s start with the use of Bluetooth adapters. We are talking, in particular, of external devices which, once connected to the PC, can provide a high-resolution Bluetooth connectivity that otherwise you would not be able to achieve using the integrated adapters.

Additionally, these devices support high-bandwidth connections that can provide high-resolution audio output. At the same time, they are equipped with a bandwidth capable of making the microphone work as well.

This is why it is vital to invest in a good Bluetooth adapter: only in this way, the AirPods will be able to work in the best possible way in combination with the adapter of your choice.

Disable the Bluetooth service and the Wireless iAP feature

And here’s another useful solution to make the most of your AirPods on Windows 11. Disabling these two services will give some Bluetooth adapters enough bandwidth to allow you to get high-resolution audio output and make the microphone on your AirPods. Below, we explain how to do it.

First, go to the Start menu, then to “Network Connections”: now right-click on Bluetooth Network Connection and select the “Disable” option. Now close the network connections window and access the control panel.

At this point, click on the drop-down menu next to “View by” (found at the top right) and choose the “Large Icons” option. Now click on “Devices and Printers”, select “AirPods” and press Alt + Enter on your keyboard. Click on the “Services” tab at the top of the window, disable the “Wireless iAP” service and then click on “Ok”.

Done! Now put on your AirPods and head audio and microphone – if you’ve followed all the steps, you should be able to enable both the Hi-Res output and the microphone.

How to reconnect the Airpods

You’ve surely noticed: your AirPods can quickly connect to Windows 11 every time you open the case. Unfortunately, this fast connectivity is lacking when you go to connect the Airpods to another device. So, how to do it?

Well, simply enter pairing mode on your Airpods and press “Connect” in Settings. In particular, open the lid and hold down the “Configuration” button on the back until you see a white light flashing. This is the signal that you have entered pairing mode and you can choose the “Connect” option on your PC.

As you may have guessed, you don’t have to remove and then re-pair the AirPods on your PC every time, but simply enter pairing mode to reconnect the wireless headphones to your PC. Of course, if you never connect your AirPods to another device, you will always be able to use an automatic connection whenever you open the lid of the wireless headphones. Of course, if you’ve activated Bluetooth on your PC!

How to improve the user experience of AirPods

If you want to fully enjoy the experience of using your wireless headphones, you could also try using a third-party OEM equalizer or specific apps that can increase both the volume and the dynamic space of the audio signal.

Probably, if you own a laptop purchased in the last 3 years, then you also have at your disposal a built-in audio app that can control your audio experience. For example: If you own an Asus device, you can probably use the Sonic Studio 3 audio suite. Well, to get the most out of your AirPods, you could configure it by implementing the changes you find on the following screen:

user experience of AirPods

How to view the battery status of the AirPods

To check the battery status of Apple-branded wireless headphones, you could try using a third-party app. One of the best is Magicpods: it is indeed a paid application but the features it offers are complete. Magicpods allows you not only to check the battery status but also to use, for example, the useful automatic ear detection function.

Before choosing the premium version, we recommend that you take advantage of the trial version of Magicpods to check if the app is right for you.

Can I control music playback in Windows 11 with AirPods?

Well, the answer to this question is (thankfully) yes! You can certainly control the playback of your audio and music with Windows 11. We at Outofbit have tested this function “in the field” by trying to control the playback in Spotify: everything is perfect!

The only negative note: at present, you cannot customize the behavior of the pressure sensor within Windows. What you can do is try to customize your wireless headphones on an iOS or Mac device and the applied settings should be able to work on Windows 11 as well.

How to get the best possible audio quality

Do you want to be able to enjoy the best audio quality when using your AirPods? Then you should disable several services such for example, the microphone. By giving up something, you will be able to achieve a very high level of audio quality. Do you want to try but don’t know where to start? Follow all the instructions in this paragraph!

First, access the Start menu and then the “Control Panel”: now click on the drop-down menu at the top right and choose the “Large icons” option, then click on “Devices and Printers”.

At this point, select your AirPods from the list and then press Alt + Enter on your keyboard. Now switch to the “Services” tab located at the top of the screen and uncheck the following services to disable them entirely:

  • Hands-free telephony;
  • Wireless iAP

Now click OK to save all changes and restart your pc: once rebooted, enjoy 44Khz – 48KHz audio on your PC!

Can’t connect Airpods to Windows? Try resetting your wireless headphones first!

We know: resetting your AirPods means having to pair them again with all the devices in your possession! Sure, it’s a solution you’d like to avoid but it’s the only one you can try whenever you can’t connect your headphones to Windows.

This is a very simple procedure. All you have to do is insert your wireless headphones into the case, close the lid and wait a few minutes. Now simply open the lid and hold down – for about 15 seconds – the Setup button on the back of the Airpods. The case should flash amber and then white. At this point, close the lid, enter pairing mode and try to connect the AirPods to your Windows 11 PC as a new device.

If you have followed all the directions correctly, the connection problem between the wireless headphones and the Windows 11 device should be solved!

How to use AirPods in video conferencing apps

If you are wondering if you can use your wireless headphones while on a video conference, know that the answer depends on the version of the BT driver and whether you are using Windows 11 or Windows 10.

In particular, if you use Windows 10, the operating system will display the Airpods as two different devices, one called “Hands-free Airpods” and the other “Stereo Airpods”. If you are using Windows 11 instead, the operating system will show the wireless headphones as a single device with smart switching already enabled. And if you have an older BT adapter (or older BT drivers), the system will display them as two devices.

Specifically, if you have two devices, you need to select the “Airpods Hands-Free Calling” option every time you want to use the AirPods in video conferencing apps. If, on the other hand, you only have one device, you simply have to re-enable the telephony service, if it is disabled. Again, to get the audio quality that can be handled by your operating system, you need to turn up the microphone volume level.

You can’t control the volume in some apps – what’s the reason?

Some applications take exclusive control of audio output devices, which is why you cannot control and adjust the volume while using them. This is a very common problem, especially if you are using the web version of some video conferencing apps.

If you have this kind of problem, you should close the app in question, set the volume to the desired level, and then restart it on the PC. Alternatively, you could use the desktop app instead of the web app to control the volume.