Switching to Bluetooth headphones is a game-changer: It’s hard to imagine we all functioned for so long attached to bulky audio cables like leashes.
But wireless headphones aren’t merely better looking, they’re also a quick means to freedom.
You can now work up a sweat during an exercise class on your PC without driving your household insane or listen to your favorite podcast from your computer while you clean your house (true crime and folding laundry pair surprisingly well together).
You can even be extra reckless and connect to your all-hands Zoom meetings while you go about your day (just don’t forget to turn off your camera and mute yourself!).
Though the ability to move about freely while listening to anything your heart desires may seem simple, it’s hard to adequately describe how much of a day-to-day improvement forgoing wires provides. I believe it was the band Poison that so eloquently philosophized, however, that “every rose has its thorn.”
Unlike traditional wired headphones, Bluetooth headphones require two additional steps in order to function:
Charging is easy—just plug in your headphones whenever they’re not in use. You may be surprised to learn that connecting your Bluetooth headphones to a PC is also super simple, even for the technology-avoidant among us. We broke down the steps to connect your headphones to your PC as well as an overview of the basic technology involved.
What Exactly Is Bluetooth, and How Does it Work?
Symbolized by a blue oval with a white character at its center (the Viking letters H and B combined), Bluetooth is a universal standard used to connect digital devices. In other words, it’s the way that two devices communicate without the use of cables.
Rather than cords and cables, data is shared using radio frequencies broadcast to each device’s transceiver microchip. Pairing two devices is like exchanging and saving a phone number in your phone—it gives your device the passkey to communicate with the other, and it stores the information for future use.
Connecting Your Bluetooth Headphones to Your PC
Once you’ve paired your devices, your PC can remember your headphones so you don’t have to repeat the process. Simply follow this this step-by-step guide to pairing and connect your Bluetooth headphones to your PC:
- Turn on pairing mode.
- When your headphones are in pairing mode, they’re searching for a device to connect to.
- Activating pairing mode varies depending on the type of headphones you’re using. A few common examples include:
- Apple AirPods: Place both ear buds in their case, leaving the lid open. Press the small button on the back of the case until the light flashes. The blinking light indicates that your airpods are in pairing mode.
- Bose around-ear wireless headphones: Slide the power button to the topmost position (indicated by a Bluetooth symbol). You’ll hear “ready to pair” or see a blinking blue light, indicating that your Bose headphones are in pairing mode.
- Samsung Galaxy Buds: Set your headphones in their case and close the lid. After six seconds, your Samsung Galaxy headphones automatically enter pairing mode. (If they’re auto-connecting to a device other than your desired PC, place them in your ears and hold both touch pads for a few seconds to manually enter pairing mode.)
- If you’re using a different model than those mentioned above and don’t know how to activate pairing mode, try Googling “how to put X headphones in pairing mode,” and follow the instructions given.
- On your PC, click the box in the lower left-hand corner that reads, “type here to search.”
- Type “Bluetooth” into the box and click enter.
- Click “Bluetooth and other device settings,” which will likely be the first option that appears under “best match.”
- Click the plus button at the top of the screen which says “add Bluetooth or other device.”
- A new window will pop up. Select the first option of “Bluetooth: mice, keyboards, pens or audio and other kinds of Bluetooth devices.”
- Select your headphones from the list of devices available. It will be listed as your headphone model, like “Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless,” for example, or the name you gave your headphones when you initially set them up.
- Watch as your PC reads “connecting…” to “connected.” Most wireless headphones will make a noise that indicates they are connected to your PC.
If you’ve tried the above steps and your device still won’t connect, double check the following:
- Ensure your Bluetooth is turned on.
- Select settings, then devices, then Bluetooth & other devices to make sure it’s switched on.
- Ensure your headphones are charged.
- If your headphones are unresponsive when you attempt to put them in pairing mode, plug them in until they’re fully charged.
- Ensure you’re within range.
- Most headphones require you to be within at least 30 feet of your PC.
- Ensure airplane mode is turned off.
- Click settings, then network & internet, then airplane mode.
- If you’ve previously connected your headphones to your PC, remove them from your devices and re-pair.
- Click settings, then devices, then Bluetooth & other devices. Select your headphones, then remove the device, then click yes. Follow the above steps to re-pair your headphones.
- Ensure your Windows is up-to-date.
- Select settings, then update & security, then Windows update. Select “check for updates,” then update if necessary. From there, you can try more advanced troubleshooting if you’re still having connection problems.
- Run the Troubleshooter.
- In settings, select update & security, then troubleshoot. Select find and fix other problems, then select Bluetooth, then run the troubleshooter. Follow the steps given.
- Ensure you have the latest Bluetooth driver.
- In the taskbar’s search box, search for the device manager. Click device manager, select Bluetooth, then select the Bluetooth adapter name. Right-click the adapter, then select update driver, then search automatically for updated driver software and follow the steps given, then restart your computer.
In most cases, connecting your Bluetooth headphones to your PC will be a simple matter of pairing the two devices. Once they’re paired, your computer will keep your headphones on “speed-dial,” ready to connect whenever your headphones are in your ears.