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AirPods Won't Connect to iPhone? 14 Tips to Fix It

AirPods connectivity on iPhone, like most wireless connections, can be problematic due to software and hardware flaws. This connectivity issue can be annoying especially when you’re trying to relax after a stressful day with cool music.

In this article, we’ll explain why your AirPods won’t connect to iPhone as well as the true solutions you can adopt to resolve the issue.

Why Won’t My AirPods Connect to My iPhone?

The following are some possible causes for your AirPods not connecting to your iPhone:

  • Your AirPods Are Old: They may be malfunctioning because they are nearing the end of their shelf life. AirPods are one of Apple's most widely used accessories, and as a result, they will wear out over time.
  • Blockage Due to Dirt: If you don't clean and maintain your AirPods, dirt and debris will accumulate in sensitive areas, interfering with how the device charges and the sound quality.
  • You're Using Fake Products: Genuine AirPods are expensive, and you may be tempted to save money by purchasing counterfeits from shady web retailers. Fake products, no matter how well they work for a while, inevitably fail.
  • Damage Caused by Water: If your AirPods are submerged in water or exposed to rain, they will lose connectivity. If this happens, you can use a dry cloth or a desiccant to dry the AirPods.

How to Fix AirPods Won’t Connect to iPhone?

1. Set Up AirPods Using Your iPhone

Before you can use your AirPods, you must first connect your iPhone to them. As soon as you open the Charging Case, AirPods will automatically connect to your iPhone.

To set up your AirPods, follow these steps:

  • Unlock your iPhone and open the Charging Case with your AirPods inside.
  • Place the Charging Case close to your iPhone, the device will display a setup animation.
  • Click “Connect” and wait for the Bluetooth pairing to take place. Then click “Done”.

set up airpods with iphone

2. Restart Your iPhone

When you turn off your iPhone, the operating system terminates all of the background processes that keep it working. When your iPhone reboot, all of those background processes start over, and this can sometimes help to fix minor software issues like AirPods won’t connect.

Follow these procedures to restart your iPhone:

  • Press and hold the Power button (for iPhones without Face ID) or the Side button and either Volume button (for iPhones with Face ID) until the screen says "slide to power off."
  • Swipe the red power icon to turn off your iPhone. It could take up to 30 seconds for this to complete.
  • To restart your iPhone, press and hold the Power button or the Side button until the Apple logo displays on the screen.

restart iphone

3. Turn Off Bluetooth and Turn It Back On

Occasionally, simply turning Bluetooth off and on will resolve minor connectivity issues between your iPhone and Bluetooth devices like AirPods.

Bluetooth can be turned off and on in three different ways:

  • In the Settings App: Go to Settings > Bluetooth, tap the switch next to Bluetooth to turn it off. To turn Bluetooth back on, tap the switch again. When the switch goes green, the Bluetooth is turned on.
  • In Control Center: Open Control Center and tap the Bluetooth icon. When the icon is black with a gray backdrop, you know Bluetooth is turned off. To reactivate Bluetooth, tap the Bluetooth symbol once again. When the icon is white with a blue backdrop, you know Bluetooth is on.
  • Making Use of Siri: Press and hold the Home button (for iPhones without Face ID) or the Side button (for iPhones with Face ID) until Siri appears, or speak "Hey Siri." Say "Turn off Bluetooth" to turn Bluetooth off. Then say "Turn on Bluetooth" to turn Bluetooth back on.

turn off bluetooth and turn on

4. Update the iOS

Most software glitches affecting the AirPods connection can be repaired by updating iOS version. Apple regularly release the basic iOS update to resolve bugs that sometimes arise. You can update your iPhone system version by following the steps below:

  • Open the Settings app and select ‘General.
  • Tap Software Update and if an update is available, tap Install Now or Download and Installbutton.
  • When you are required to enter the passcode, just do it and the update process will get started.

update ios version

5. Check AirPods’s Battery Life

After connecting the AirPods to iPhone, we should check whether the battery life of AirPods is enough to work. If the AirPods won’t pair to iPhone, fully charging it before pairing.

Put the AirPods to the charging case and the battery life of AirPods will be displayed on iPhone. After fully charging, the status indicator will become green.  

charge airpods

6. Charge the AirPods Charging Case

The Charging Case must be charged in order to charge your AirPods. Connect a Lightning cable to the lightning connector on the Charging Case. Then connect the Lightning cable's opposite end to a USB port or a power charger. It may take a few hours for your Charging Case to fully charge.

charge airpods charging case

7. Clean Your AirPods and Charging Case

AirPods may collect dirt and other particles over time, and if nothing is done, it can interfere with their performance and cause hardware issues.

You can get a lint-free and soft cloth to wipe your AirPods and Charging Case gently. Or you can clear up more compact debris with an anti-static brush or a new toothbrush.

8. Let Your AirPods In the Range of Your iPhone

AirPods pairs with iPhone via Bluetooth. That’s to say, the AirPods will not connect to iPhone if the 2 devices are not put together. Check to see whether your AirPods are within the range:

  • Open Control Center on iPhone and click on Audio Output button on the right side of the ‘song’.  
  • If your AirPods aren listed here as a source of audio output, they're in the range and vice versa..

audio output iphone

9. Connect AirPods to Correct Device

AirPods can be used for 2 iOS devices at the same time. If AirPods are paired with another device, they will get sounds from that device. So we need to ensure the AirPods being paired with the correct device.

10. Reset Network Settings

Deep software issues, particularly those involving network settings, might be difficult to locate. Rather than trying to figure out what's wrong, you can reset your iPhone's network settings and start over.

  • Open the Settings app and select “General”.
  • Tap Transfer or Reset iPhone at the bottom of the screen.
  • Tap Reset >Reset Network Settings. If asked, enter your passcode.

reset network settings iphone

11. Reset All Settings

This is not the same as resetting your network settings. You're resetting the app, as well as everything else, to its default settings. This solves a slew of issues caused by a software flaw that would be impossible to trace down any other way.

  • Open the Settings app and go to the General tab.
  • Tap Reset > Reset All Settings.
  • You'll be asked to type in your passcode. To confirm the reset, press Enter.

reset all settings iphone

A progress bar will appear on the screen. Allow a few minutes for the process to complete. When the rest is complete, the phone will immediately restart, and you will be able to pair the iPhone with your Airpods.

12. Do A DFU Restore

If all of the steps above fail, a DFU Restore is the last resort that should resolve any software issues. A DFU restore has the ability to solve software issues by wiping all of the code that may be causing the issue.

When you restore your iPhone, it erases everything on it. Before doing a DFU restore, make a backup of your iPhone if possible. Once the restore is finished, you can restore all of your previously backed-up data on your iPhone.

Follow the procedures below to complete a DFU restore on iPhone 8 or newer:

Step 1: Connect your iPhone to your PC through a USB cable and open iTunes or Finder.

Step 2: Quickly press and release the volume up button. Then quickly press and release the volume down button. Hold the side button down until the screen becomes dark.

put iphone into dfu mode

Step 3: Press and hold the volume down button alongside the side button for about 5 seconds when the screen goes dark.

Step 4: Release the side button while continuing to press the volume down button. Hold down the volume down button until Finder or iTunes identifies your iPhone.

Step 5: Use iTunes or Finder to restore your iPhone.

13. Repair iPhone without Data Loss

FoneGeek iOS System Recovery, unlike the DFU restore method, allows you to repair iOS issues on your iPhone/iPad without losing any data. The software targets a variety of iOS related problems, including iPhone stuck on Apple logo, black screen, boot loop, Bluetooth not working, AirPods won’t connect, etc


Here are the steps to fix AirPods won't connect to iPhone:

Step 1: Install and launch FoneGeek iOS System Recovery on your computer. Connect your iPhone to the PC via USB cable and select "Standard Mode."

choose repair mode

Step 2: Select the firmware version that corresponds to your device, then click "Download."

download firmware

Step 3: To begin system recovery, click "Fix Now" once the firmware package has been downloaded.

fix now

14. Check Your AirPods for Physical Damage

If your AirPods still won't connect, it's possible you're dealing with a hardware issue. This could be the result of a fall or the AirPods accidentally coming into contact with water. AirPods that have been damaged will need to be replaced. To do so, contact your local Apple Store to get your items checked out and for advice on what to do next.

FAQs You Cannot Miss about AirPods

Q1. Why won't my AirPods connect to Mac?

It's most likely the macOS compatibility problem causing AirPods connection issue. To connect AirPods (first generation) with Mac, ensure that the Mac runs macOS Sierra or later.

Q2. Can I use Siri with AirPods?

Of course we can use Siri with AirPods. Besides that, we can also access Siri quickly without saying ‘Hey Siri’ by setting up a shortcut.

Your AirPods Are Connected to iPhone!

You now have a clear understanding of how to maintain your AirPods connected to your iPhone. So, you can use your AirPods freely now without worries! Do not hesitate to try out the troubleshooting strategies above-mentioned whenever connectivity issues surface!

Edwin J. Parke

As a professional writer who is interested in technology, Edwin J. Parke has helped thousands of users by offering various tips to solve their problems.

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