One of the best things about Bluetooth headphones is that they allow for an incredible degree of freedom and connectivity.
Quick show of hands: who likes having to deal with a ton of tangled wires and connectivity issues? Yeah, I thought so. Nobody likes that, which is why Bluetooth headphones with wireless connectivity capabilities are a must for serious music lovers and audiophiles of all kinds.
Of course, that raises the question of the device to which you are connecting and — let’s be honest — we live in the Age of Apple so you’re probably going to be listening to music on an Apple device. Macs cost a lot of money and the best Bluetooth headphones can as well, so you definitely don’t want to drop hundreds of dollars on either (or both!) only to find them incompatible.
So let’s take a closer look at how to connect Bluetooth headphones to Mac along with other tips to get the most out of them.
Why You Might Have Issues
Is there anything more frustrating than trying to get different kinds of technology to “get along” with each other? Sure, there are bigger problems in the world but for those frustrated with connectivity problems, this can seem like the be-all, end-all of frustration.
However, you don’t have to “be all” frustrated at all. Most frustration comes from a few basic causes, not the least of which is that they need a bit of configuration right out of the box.
Bluetooth headphones may be used in conjunction with Macs a lot but they are still (for some reason) not produced in such a way as to make them ready to use in that way right away.
Maybe you’re frustrated because you could connect your headphones just fine to your iPhone or to your car’s speaker system. Unfortunately, just because you can connect your Bluetooth headphones to some devices doesn’t mean that you can do that with everything, let alone to Macs.
Then there’s the fact that Apple products are notorious for their gatekeeping technology to make sure that only devices Apple wants to be able to connect with their products are able to do so. Finally, you may need to look into special settings to get the two types of technology to agree.
How to Connect
Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of actually connecting Bluetooth headphones to your Mac. First things first; you need to make sure that your headphones are actually discoverable by your system. Make sure that they are charged and are switched to discoverable mode.
On your Mac, you’ll want to open the Apple menu and then the System Preference section. Once you have done that, you should be able to see a menu that will give you an option to navigate your different Bluetooth settings.
From there, you should be able to simply click on the “Turn Bluetooth On” setting to enable all of the accessible Bluetooth devices in the immediate area, including the headphones in question.
Your Bluetooth headphones should now appear in the menu. If they do not, then you have a broader problem. Assuming that they have appeared, however, simply click “Connect” and you should be able to establish a connection. Once you have done this, your Bluetooth headphones should reconnect automatically when you next come into range.
In addition, you can calibrate your headphones by checking the Sound menu in your System preferences. For instance, you can check the Output table and the “Show Volume in Menu Bar” setting to change settings such as the stereo balance and the balance between your left and right ear cup.
Now, you’ll hopefully have been able to do all of that and get your Bluetooth headphones connected. Unfortunately, as we all know, sometimes it’s not that easy and technology makes things harder on us. If you’re still having problems connecting, you’ll want to consider a few additional steps.
For example, you may have to go through the different setup steps all over again, one by one, to figure out what the problem is. I get it — that’s tedious and frustrating as anything but when you have a problem connecting, a methodical approach is the best way to fix it.
One of the most common fixes for Bluetooth/Mac connection problems is to reset the former. As with computers, sometimes simply “turning it off and turning it back on again” is the best way forward. It gives you a clean slate to work with and it’s definitely the easiest fix. Take a cue from that age-old dating excuse “it’s not you, it’s me.” Something is wrong with your headphones’ settings and just as starting over can be the best thing for you relationship-wise, the same is true with your headset settings.
If the problem continues to persist even after this reset, then chances are there’s something wrong with your Mac’s sound preferences. Check to make sure that you are running macOS Sierra (or newer). If you aren’t, you’ll need to upgrade your settings by going to System Preferences and then Software Update, or else by visiting the App Store if the issue is with a specific app.
Are other items getting in the way of your connectivity? Make sure that metal objects aren’t causing interference or that other wireless devices aren’t complicating your connection.
Finally, it’s worth noting that wireless connectivity can take a lot of power. If either your Bluetooth or Mac are low on power, it could impact their ability to connect properly. Check both your Bluetooth as well as your Mac, see if they are low on power; if so, try charging them for a bit before trying again.
If none of those things work, you may have to wade through layers of tech support from Apple but hopefully, you can avoid all of that. The advice above should help most Bluetooth headphones connect to most Macs under most circumstances, giving you the best chance to avoid the hassle of tech support and listen to the tunes you want how you want to that much faster.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.