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Connect Bluetooth Headphones to Laptop in 6 Quick Steps

Last updated: 4 weeks ago
7 min read

If you have issues connecting your Bluetooth headphones or earbuds to your laptop, this article will solve all your problems.

Learn how to successfully enable pairing mode on your headphones and how to pair them to a Windows PC or MacOS laptop.

Connect headphones to laptop
Quick Overview

    Step 1: Activate Pairing Mode on your Bluetooth Headphones & Earbuds

    To ensure your Bluetooth headphones are ready to connect to your laptop, you must first set them to pairing mode.

    Setting the pairing mode on Bluetooth headphones is slightly different from setting the pairing mode on Bluetooth earbuds. Let’s cover both types of headphones.

    To learn how to pair headphones from specific brands to all kinds of devices, feel free to consult our detailed guides for how to:

    Steps to activate pairing mode on Bluetooth earbuds

    Here’s how to automatically and manually activate pairing mode on wireless earbuds.

    Automatic pairing mode

    When taking true wireless earbuds out of their charging case, they automatically turn ON and start searching for other devices to connect. If they don’t find any device, they will automatically jump into pairing mode. That means all you need to do is to:

    1. Take the true wireless earbuds out of their charging case.
    2. Ensure they don’t connect to any previously paired device.
    3. Earbuds should automatically jump into pairing mode.
    TOZO T10 (Upgraded 2024) out of case

    Manual pairing mode

    If earbuds refuse to go into pairing mode automatically (or you want to ensure they immediately go into pairing mode), you can also pair them manually. Here’s what you need to do:

    1. Open the lid of the charging case without taking the earbuds out.
    2. Locate the physical button on the charging case (between the earbuds out someplace on the outer side of the case. Press and hold it for a few seconds.
    3. Observe the LED(s) on the charging case or earbuds until they start blinking or flashing. You might also hear a chime or a “pairing” voice from the earbuds.
    Bose Sport Earbuds pairing button

    Alternatively, if your charging case doesn’t have any buttons, here’s what to do:

    1. Take the earbuds out of the charging case and hold their physical button or a touch-sensitive surface. They should shut off after a few seconds.
    2. Re-press and hold the controls. You should hear them turning back ON. If you continue holding the controls, you should also hear a “pairing” prompt or see LEDs on the buds start blinking.
    Jabra Elite 7 Pro pairing

    Steps to activate pairing mode on Bluetooth headphones

    Like earbuds, headphones also use different methods to activate their pairing mode. Here are the most common methods.

    Automatic pairing mode

    Upon turning ON your headphones, they should start looking for the default playback device that they have previously connected to. They will automatically go into pairing mode if they don’t find any.

    That means you need to:

    1. Turn ON your headphones and ensure they don’t connect to any previously connected devices.
    2. After a few seconds, you should hear a prompt saying “Pairing” or see the LED under one of the ear cups to start blinking.

    Manual pairing mode

    The surest way to put your headphones into pairing mode is to use a dedicated Bluetooth button or turn them OFF and back ON. Here’s what you need to do:

    1. If your headphones have a dedicated Bluetooth pairing button, press it once they are tuned ON (or press and hold it – it depends on the model).
    Sony WH-1000XM5 pairing
    1. If your headphones lack such a button, ensure they’re turned OFF.
    2. Press and hold the Power button until they turn ON. Hold the button until you hear “Pairing” from the speakers or the LED starts blinking.

    If none of these instructions worked (these should work for 90% of models), consult the user manual that came with your headphones.

    Step 2: Connect Your Bluetooth Headphones to Windows PC

    To pair your Bluetooth headphones (or earbuds) to your Windows PC laptop, they must be in pairing mode. If they aren’t yet, consult step 1 above.

    If you want to connect them to your stationary PC, you’ll need to buy a USB Bluetooth adapter. You can buy a Bluetooth dongle in all tech related stores.

    Once you got that out of the way, here are the quick steps that you need to follow:

    1. Enable Bluetooth in Windows’ Bluetooth settings.
    2. Search for your Bluetooth headset by clicking on “Add device“.
    3. Once found, click on your headphones’ name.

    Detailed way to connect headphones to a Windows PC

    Let’s start with how to do that on Windows 11, as it is the latest and most widely used operating system.

    Windows 11

    1. In your taskbar below (or by clicking the Windows button on your keyboard and selecting the “search” option above), type “Settings“. Click on “Settings” with “System” written below.
    Windows 11 search settings
    1. In Settings, click “Bluetooth and devices” and enable Bluetooth.
    2. Click on one of the “Add device” buttons.
    Windows 11 JBL Bluetooth settings
    1. Select “Bluetooth” in the new window. Ensure that your headphones are in pairing mode. Wait for Windows to find your headphones (it may take 5 to 20 seconds, so be patient).
    Windows 11 choosing what to search
    1. When you see your headphones’ name, click on it to connect. If the name doesn’t appear after a minute, repeat the process from the start.
    Windows 11 Galaxy Buds found

    Lastly, when connecting headphones to a PC, ensure they you’re using the correct sound output (your headphones and not built-in speakers).

    Windows 10

    Now, this is how you connect your headphones to a Windows 10 laptop:

    1. Click on the Windows icon in the bottom left corner (or press the Windows key on the keyboard). Then click on “Settings“.
    Windows 10 access settings
    1. In settings, select “Devices” with the “Bluetooth, printers, mouse” option below it.
    Windows 10 settings
    1. In the “Bluetooth & other devices” window, enable Bluetooth and click on “Add Bluetooth or other device“.
    Windows 10 add Bluetooth device
    1. Select the first option, which says “Bluetooth“. Ensure your headphones are in pairing mode.
    Windows 10 Bluetooth add new device
    1. Wait for your headphones’ name to appear in the window. Once it does, click on it to connect. Be patient, as Windows takes a long time to find your headphones.
    Windows 10 JBL found

    Step 2: Connect Your Bluetooth Headphones to a Mac (MacOS)

    Like with Windows PC, your headphones must be in pairing mode to connect to MacOS devices. See the instructions above (step 1) on how to do that.

    Here’s a quick rundown:

    1. Go to System Preferences and select Bluetooth.
    2. Enable Bluetooth and ensure your headphones are in pairing mode.
    3. Headphones should soon appear under “Nearby Devices“. Click “Connect” next to their name.

    Detailed instructions to pair headphones to a MacOS device

    Pairing headphones to a MacOS device is much easier than on Windows PCs. Here’s how you do it:

    1. On your home screen, find the Apple logo (upper left corner) and click on it to open the Apple menu.
    2. Select “System Preferencesā€¦” (it might also say “System Settingsā€¦”).
      • ALTERNATELY, look for the magnifying glass icon (or search icon) in the upper right corner of the screen, click it, and type in “Bluetooth“.
    Mac system preferences
    Source: AppleInsider
    1. In a new window, find the “Bluetooth” icon and click on it.
    Mac find Bluetooth
    Source: AppleInsider
    1. Enable Bluetooth by clicking a toggle and ensure your headphones are in pairing mode.
    2. Wait for your headphones’ name to appear under “Nearby Devices“. When it does, select “Connect” next to their name.
    MacOS latest Bluetooth new device
    Source: HardReset.info
    1. When successfully connected, they’ll appear under “My Devices“.

    Fix Connection Issues on Bluetooth Headphones and Laptop

    Electronic devices encounter hiccups, especially when trying to establish and maintain a wireless connection.

    If you have problems. Don’t worry; connection issues are common. Here are the possible reasons and solutions.

    Bluetooth bug or glitch

    Bluetooth glitches occur when there’s an error in code execution, which results in an unstable connection or an outright connection drop. Fortunately, minor glitches are easily fixable with a quick restart.

    Glitches can occur on a laptop and headphones, so be sure to restart the Bluetooth feature on both.

    On a laptop

    1. Go into Bluetooth settings (follow the steps above), turn OFF, and back ON the Bluetooth.
      • Alternatively, restart the operating system entirely for a more “fresh restart” of all features.

    On headphones

    1. Turn them OFF and back ON (put the earbuds back into the charging case, close the lid, and wait a few seconds before reopening it).
    2. Initiate pairing mode.

    Inadequate battery charge

    During the pairing process, headphones broadcast at a higher energy that they are here and want to connect. Naturally, this consumes more energy than normal operation.

    TOZO Golden X1 LED battery
    Always check the battery charge of your headphones/earbuds and the charging case before initiating pairing.

    Consequently, you might encounter some problems during the pairing process if the battery on your headphones is low.

    Therefore, before connecting them to your laptop, ensure they’re at least 30% charged (or you don’t see any LED blinking red to indicate low charge).

    Firmware or driver issues

    By firmware issue, we mean the software that runs your Bluetooth headphones. It may contain some faulty code that prevents Bluetooth from working normally.

    If that’s the case, check whether your headphones can be updated via cable. Or, if you’ve already paired them to your phone, check their mobile app for any new updates.

    Bose Updater web app
    Bose offers to update firmware via cable if you can’t connect your headphones to a mobile app.

    Driver issues on your laptop

    Sometimes, new driver updates mess up how features run on your laptop (in this case, “drivers” aren’t transducers in your headphones but software necessary for your computer to know what a specific hardware component is and how it works).

    Errors typically occur during automatic updates when a new update doesn’t completely overwrite the old software. Here’s how you can fix this issue on a Windows PC:

    1. Click the search bar below the screen (or click a Windows key on a keyboard) and type in “Computer Management.” You need administrator rights to proceed.
    Windows 11 find computer management
    1. In a new window, click on “Device Manager” and find the “Bluetooth“. Click the arrow next to it to expand.
    2. Right-click on a device and select “Uninstall device“.
    Windows 11 find delete Bluetooth drivers
    1. Once removed, restart your laptop.

    When your laptop restarts, Windows should automatically detect Bluetooth hardware in your laptop and try to find suitable drivers for it. Check the Windows “Device Manager” to see if the Bluetooth drivers have been reinstalled.

    Reset your headphones

    If connection issues persist, you should do a factory reset of your headphones. This will return them to their default settings when all of their features still worked.

    A basic way to reset your headphones is to:

    • Headphones: Turn them OFF and back ON while holding the Power button for 10 to 15 seconds.
    • Earbuds: Place them in a charging case and hold the case’s button for 10 to 15 seconds.
    You reset TOZO Golden X1 by holding the case’s button.

    That said, resetting steps are different between brands and headphone models, so check the manual to see precisely how to do it.

    If your headphones are from a brand mentioned below, you can check our separate articles on how to reset your headphones or earbuds:

    Note that on rare occasions, a laptop completely refuses to connect to headphones or earbuds. We encountered this problem when pairing our HP Windows 11 laptop with SoundPEATS Air4 Pro.

    FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

    Why won’t my Bluetooth headphones connect to my laptop?

    Your headphones might refuse to connect to your laptop because they aren’t in pairing mode or have connected to a previously paired device. Also, Windows laptops tend to take longer to find and connect to your headphones. The last possibility is connection glitches that require resetting your devices.

    Does my laptop have Bluetooth for headphones?

    Unless your laptop is old, it SHOULD have Bluetooth support for connecting headphones and other Bluetooth devices.

    Why won’t my laptop recognize my headphones?

    It takes a little longer for Windows laptops to find Bluetooth headphones, so be patient. Repeat the pairing process a few times, and try resetting your headphones and restarting your computer. There’s also a small chance your laptop simply refuses to pair with a specific headphone model.

    Conclusion

    Hopefully, this article helped you successfully connect your Bluetooth wireless headphones and earbuds to your laptop.

    If you wish to pair your headphones to devices other than laptops, feel free to check our extensive pairing guides that describe how to pair various brands to multiple devices:

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