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Connection Rejected from AirPods to Mac (How to Fix AirPods Not Connecting to Mac)

As an owner of Apple AirPods, I know how frustrating it can be when they don’t seem to connect properly with my Mac. Recently, I encountered the issue of my AirPods being rejected when attempting to connect to my Mac. After doing some research and testing, I’m here to share what I learned and the solutions I discovered to fix the issue. In this blog post, I will explain how to fix the Connection Rejected from AirPods to Mac issue.

Unfortunately, this makes it much more inconvenient when the connection is rejected from your AirPods to your Mac. And it doesn’t help that most of the time, the reason isn’t at all obvious.

Reasons for Connection RejectionSolutions
Out-of-Date macOSUpdate your macOS to the latest version compatible with your AirPods model.
Conflicting Bluetooth ConnectionCheck and disconnect AirPods from other devices before trying to connect to your Mac.
Wrong SettingsEnsure Bluetooth is on, set AirPods as the default audio output, or restart your Mac to fix major glitches.
Dirty or Firmware IssueClean AirPods connectors with a lint-free cloth/soft bristle brush or reset your AirPods.
Faulty DeviceContact Apple Support for further troubleshooting and assistance.

Why Does the Connection from AirPods to Mac Get Rejected?

There are a few reasons why this connection issue takes place, and most of them are software-related. Here are some of them:

Out-of-Date macOS

Unless you’re using 1st generation AirPods, it’s likely the system requirements for your Mac to connect to AirPods are a little more recent. This could be a problem if you’re not a fan of software updates that keep popping up every few months and would rather just ignore them.

Alas, this can cause incompatibility between the AirPods and the Mac, causing a rejected connection. 

Check this list to make sure you’re running the correct macOS version for your AirPod model:

  • If you have AirPods Pro (2nd generation), you need a Mac with macOS 13 “Ventura.”
  • If you have AirPods (3rd generation), you need a Mac with macOS 12 “Monterey” or later.
  • If you have AirPods Pro (1st generation), you need a Mac with macOS 10.15.1 “Catalina” or later.
  • If you have AirPods (2nd generation), you need a Mac with macOS 10.14.4 “Mojave” or later.
  • If you have AirPods (1st generation), you need a Mac with macOS 10.12.1 “Sierra” or later.

Conflicting Bluetooth Connection

If your AirPods are paired with another device, like an iPhone or an iPad, there’s a chance this connection is getting in the way of your Mac establishing a Bluetooth connection with the AirPods.

This tends to happen if the Mac and the other device are in the same room. The AirPods will connect automatically with the device that has a stronger Bluetooth signal, and that might not be the Mac.

Read more: Can you connect AirPods to Xbox series X?

Wrong Settings

The issue could be much simpler than all of the above. It could be a case of Bluetooth not being turned on on your Mac, the output device for audio being defaulted to another set of speakers, or just a simple hiccup in the connection between the AirPods and the Mac.

This hiccup could be the result of physical debris blocking the connectors on your AirPods if the case is dirty, or a firmware bug that prevents connection. Either way, the fixes are pretty simple.


How to Fix AirPods Not Connecting to Mac

Now that we know the reasons why the connection issue happens, let’s take a look at the fixes:

Update macOS

This is a logical first step to make sure there are no compatibility issues. Just go to System Preferences > Software Update to check for any available updates for your macOS.

This won’t only rectify the issue with the AirPods, it should also improve the performance of the device and offer higher security. Win-win!

Check Bluetooth Connections 

This step could be a little finicky, just be patient and go through with the steps in order, that way you can troubleshoot the problem better.

  1. Restart Your Mac

Some major glitches can be fixed just by restarting your Mac. It might be annoying if you have a lot of background tasks running, but it’s tremendously helpful in instances like this one.

  1. Turn On Bluetooth

Make sure you have Bluetooth turned on your Mac. It’s more common than you think to want a connection and get flustered with it when Bluetooth is completely off!

  1. Choose AirPods as Your Audio Output

Sometimes it’s a problem with the default audio output being your Mac speakers or another set of external speakers. Just go to System Preferences > Sound > Output > then select your AirPods.

  1. Remove then Re-add the AirPods

If all else fails, remove the AirPods from the list of Bluetooth devices then add it again. 

Clean and/or Reset Your AirPods

Cleaning your AirPods with a clean, lint-free cloth or a soft bristle brush can remove debris on the connectors. Resetting them removes all existing devices and makes for a clean slate to add new paired devices. Try either or both of these options.

Contact Apple Support

If all of the above fails, there could be a problem with either your AirPods or your Mac. Contact Apple Support to troubleshoot the issue and figure out whether you have a faulty device or if it’s just a simple issue that can be fixed.

Read more: Can you charge AirPods with an iPhone?


A rejected connection from AirPods to Mac can be frustrating, but there are a few things you can try to fix this issue. From system updates to resetting your AirPods, you can troubleshoot the problem step-by-step to ensure you don’t miss any possible fixes.