How to Connect Bluetooth Headphones to a PC

Pair a headset with your desktop or laptop

This guide shows you how to connect your Bluetooth headphones to your Mac or Windows PC. The instructions apply to most devices and operating system versions, although they might vary slightly as software and devices are continually updated.

Make Sure Your Computer Has Bluetooth

First, confirm your computer is equipped with Bluetooth technology. Most modern computers offer it, but if your computer is a few years old, it's worth checking before connecting your headphones.

Check for Bluetooth on a Windows PC

Use the Windows Device Manager to check for Bluetooth functionality. Here's how:

  1. Select Start.

  2. Enter Device Manager in the search box.

  3. Select Device Manager > Open.

    Device Manager search result with Open highlighted
  4. Expand Network Adapters.

    Network adapters in Windows Device Manager
  5. If the expanded list shows a device with "Bluetooth" in its name, you have a Bluetooth adapter on your computer.

    Bluetooth device in Device Manager list

Check for Bluetooth on a Mac

On a Mac, choose System Preferences > Bluetooth. If it has Bluetooth, the preferences include options to enable Bluetooth and make your device discoverable.

Bluetooth screen on a Mac

If Your Computer Doesn't Have Bluetooth

Most modern computers have Bluetooth capabilities. If yours doesn't, purchase a Bluetooth dongle—a thumb-sized device that plugs into a USB port. Once you've installed it, proceed as described here.

Setting Up Your New Bluetooth Headphones in Windows

The process for setting up Bluetooth headphones varies somewhat by platform, but will always include putting the headphones into discovery mode. For many headphones, you can do this by turning the headphones off, then holding down the power button until indicator lights flash rapidly.

Many headphones stay in this mode only for a limited time before resuming regular operation. Refer to your headphones' manual for details.

Once your headphones are in discovery mode:

  1. Select Start and enter Bluetooth in the search box to bring up Bluetooth & other devices.

  2. Choose Add Bluetooth or other device.

    Bluetooth & other devices in Windows
  3. Allow the computer a moment to find your device, and select it from the list.

  4. After a few moments, your Windows PC should alert you that the pairing was successful.

Setting Up Bluetooth Headphones on a Mac

On a Mac computer, select System Preferences > Bluetooth. Wait while your Mac searches for your device. Select Pair when the headphones appear in Bluetooth preferences.

You need to complete this pairing process only once at setup. When you turn on your headphones and are in range, they automatically connect to your computer.

Fixing Possible Bluetooth Problems

If your headphones have not paired correctly with your computer, turn the headphones off and start the process again from the beginning. Review the directions for putting them into discovery mode in their manual.

If you have confirmed your headphones are in the proper mode and your computer still fails to detect them, restart the computer.

If the problem persists, contact the headphone manufacturer for more assistance.

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