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How to pair AirPods with Apple TV

L: An AirPods Pro earbud in an ear, R: the Apple TV 4K 2021 and remote
(Image credit: Future)

I love using my AirPods with my Apple TV. Yes, while this may sound odd to some, AirPods are an easy way to wirelessly listen to what you're watching on the Apple TV 4K.

That said, the whole process of connecting your AirPods to your Apple TV is kind of confusing, especially the first time. But once you know how, you'll find that using the Apple TV and AirPods at the same time makes a lot of sense. 

Personally, I love this a lot because of the intimacy that you get with the AirPods Pro, which both create a seal in your ears and use noise canceling to block out the world around you. So, no matter if you live on a busy street or have noisy roommates (I've got both!), AirPods Pro may be perfect for your TV watching.

Oh, and these steps also support the following Beats headphones:

How to pair AirPods with Apple TV

1. Make sure your Apple TV and AirPods (well, your iPhone or iPad you pair them with) are on the same Apple ID. On the Apple TV, open the Settings app, Select Users and Accounts and select your current user. On your iPhone or iPad, open the Settings App and tap your profile at the top of the app.

2. Hold down the TV button on the remote.

The TV button on the Apple TV remote is highlighted with a green box

(Image credit: Apple)

3. Select the AirPlay button on your Apple TV.

A green box highlights the AirPlay button on the Apple TV

(Image credit: Future)

4. Open your AirPods case with the buds inside.

An AirPods Pro case open with AirPods Pro inside and green light on

(Image credit: Future)

5. Select your AirPods from the menu on your Apple TV.

A green box highlights the AirPods option on the AirPlay 2 window on the Apple TV

(Image credit: Future)

6. Your AirPods have paired with your Apple TV! You can now take them out of the case, and listen to TV through them.

The AirPlay 2 window on the Apple TV with AirPods paired

(Image credit: Future)

If by some chance your AirPods aren't showing up as an option in Step 5, hold down the button on the back of the case until the indicator light blinks white.

A green circle highlights the button on the back of the AirPods case

(Image credit: Future)

Next time you want to pair your AirPods with your Apple TV, just open your case near your TV, put your AirPods in your ears and look for the little overlay notification in the upper right corner. Now that you've connected them once, pairing them a second time should only take a click of the TV button on your Apple TV Remote.

Henry T. Casey
Henry T. Casey

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.