Connecting Apple AirPods to Apple TV

Apple AirPods work great for listening to music or other media on your iPhone, iPad and Mac. Users can even listen to music uploaded to an Apple Watch. But you can connect them to an Apple TV and silently watch movies, listen to music or podcasts, and play games.

Why would anyone want to connect their AirPods to an Apple TV? Maybe you want to watch a movie or TV show late at night while your spouse or roommate is asleep. If you have an Apple TV and use it in a busy office, your coworkers may not want to hear the music or the games you play. A noisy room can make it difficult to hear, and AirPods can alleviate this problem.

AirPods Compatibility with Apple TV

Works with all Apple devices sold in recent years, including Apple AirPods, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac. Once these devices are paired, they will automatically connect to the AirPods. iCloud syncs with other devices and AirPods appear as an option in the Bluetooth menu or AirPlay menu if the device is near. To learn more about pairing and connecting with these devices, see our how-to post.

Unfortunately, Apple TV does not work like other Apple devices. You will have to manually connect the AirPods to the Apple TV the same way you would connect any other Bluetooth device to an Apple TV. These steps work with many different accessories such as keyboards, Bluetooth headphones or speakers, and Apple AirPods.

AirPods only work with the latest version of Apple TV, which comes with a black remote (Siri button and touchpad at the top of the remote). Older Apple TVs will not connect to AirPods.

Steps to Connect AirPods to Apple TV

Turn on your TV and set the input to HDMI connection for your Apple TV. Press a button on the remote to wake the Apple TV. On many TVs you can start by pressing a button on the Apple TV remote and it will turn on your TV and automatically switch to the correct input.

You may need to turn off Bluetooth on your iPhone, iPad or even Mac so they don’t interfere with the pairing process.

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apple tv settings remotes and devices

Go to the app on Apple TV. Within Settings, choose to use your Apple TV remote or Remote app on an iPhone or iPad.

apple tv settings bluetooth

Select on the screen that appears. Now press the button on the back of the AirPods charging and carrying case. Your AirPods should appear in the list of Bluetooth devices that can be paired.

Select your AirPods with the Apple TV Remote. You may see the word “Headphones” instead of the name of your AirPods. Either way, choose them. Apple TV will now connect to AirPods.

Switching Audio Output to AirPods

Once you pair the AirPods with the Apple TV, they should connect easily, but you may need to select the AirPods first. If you’re trying not to disturb anyone else in the room, mute the TV so that Apple TV sound effects don’t disturb anyone.

apple tv settings select airpods

On Apple TV, open Settings and . Go to select AirPods.

apple tv settings sound output

You will see your AirPods listed. Select them and Apple TV will connect and start playing audio through Apple AirPods.

apple tv settings audio output airpods

AirPods work great with Apple TV. After you finish listening to something on Apple TV, put the AirPods back in their case or connect them to another device and it will disconnect from the Apple TV. Apple TV will start playing the audio through the TV again. You can switch back to Audio Output to choose your preferred output device.

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