May 18, 2024

IntecStudio

Buzz The Music

How to Pair Wireless Earbuds: Step-by-Step Instructions

Wireless earbuds are a godsend for music-loving runners. You can finally wave goodbye to tangled wires and buds being tugged from your ears every time you turn your head.

However, pairing your earbuds to your phone—or music-compatible running watch—can sometimes be confusing. Because, well, Bluetooth can be a fiddly and fickle beast. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Here’s everything you need to know to pair, connect, and unleash the performance-boosting power of music on your run.

Bluetooth Pairing vs. Connecting

The terms pairing and connecting are often used interchangeably to describe hooking up your earbuds to a device. But there is a difference.

A bit like the formal introduction, pairing is what happens the first time your device meets your wireless earbuds. Your phone, watch, and earbuds make a note of each other’s names and store that info for next time.

Connecting is like the second or third meeting. Your two devices are already acquainted. They remember each other from that past encounter and can connect faster—often automatically—or at least with a little less tapping. Ideally you pair once, but connect often.

RWD

Jabra’s smartphone app provides helpful cues during your earbuds’ initial pairing process.

jabra connect

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Once paired, Jabra earbuds like the Elite 7 Active connect immediately when in range. 

How to Pair Wireless Earbuds With iOS

  1. Put your earbuds into pairing mode by doing one of the following:
    – Remove the buds from the charging case.
    – Open the charging case but leave the buds inside.
    – Press and hold the power button on the buds.
    – Press a specific pairing button on the charging case.
    – Press a specific pairing button on the earbuds.
  2. Head to Settings, tap Bluetooth, and make sure Bluetooth is toggled on. Below this you’ll see a list of devices that you’ve previously paired with and those you’re currently connected to.
  3. Scroll to the bottom and you’ll find an additional section called Other Devices. Here’s where you’ll automatically see any earbuds that are in pairing mode and in range.
  4. Find your earbuds (they’ll often appear with the model name, e.g. Jaybird Vista 2) and tap them to pair. Once paired successfully, the earbuds’ name will move to the top of the connected list and should say ‘Connected’ next to the name.
iphone how to settings bluetooth

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iphone other devices settings

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Now that you’re paired, even if you switch the earbuds off, the name should appear in this list, though it’ll say ‘Not Connected.’ Should you ever want your iPhone to forget your earbuds (a.k.a. remove the pairing), you can also tap the ‘i’ in the blue circle to reveal that option. This can be useful sometimes if you have trouble reconnecting your earbuds.

How to Pair Wireless Earbuds With Android

  1. Put your earbuds into pairing mode by doing one of the following:
    – Remove the buds from the charging case.
    – Open the charging case but leave the buds inside.
    – Press and hold the power button on the buds.
    – Press a specific pairing button on the charging case.
    – Press a specific pairing button on the earbuds.
  2. Head to Settings and select Bluetooth.
  3. Make sure Bluetooth is toggled on and then tap Pair a New Device. This takes you to a list of devices in pairing mode nearby. Your earbuds should appear here.
  4. Select your earbuds and once ‘Connected’ is displayed in the Bluetooth device name, you’re good to go.
graphical user interface, application

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graphical user interface

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It’s common for the case and/or the earbuds to have a flashing LED light that indicates they’re in pairing mode. The earbuds may also play an audio message or sound to let you know it’s activated, but you’ll need to be wearing them to hear these alerts.

How to Pair Earbuds With a Running Watch

Garmin

Many of the latest Garmin watches now offer music storage on the watch and offline playback. This means you can connect your running earbuds to your watch directly and listen to music as you plod without carrying your phone. Not sure if your Garmin watch supports music? Check out this full list of Garmin watches with music capabilities.

Here’s how to pair your Bluetooth earbuds with a Garmin watch:

  1. With your earbuds in pairing mode, press and hold the Up button on your Garmin (the middle of the three on the left).
  2. Scroll down to Music and select that option using the Start/Stop button.
  3. Next, scroll and select Earbuds and then Add New.
  4. Garmin will scan for nearby earbuds and you can select your earbuds once they appear on the list.

Note: After the initial pairing, on subsequent runs, you’ll need to navigate to the music settings and reconnect your earbuds each time. There’s no auto-connect.

garmin forerunner music

Trevor Raab

Gear editor Amanda Furrer uses Garmin’s Forerunner 245 Music, which can store about 500 songs.

Coros

The Apex 2, Apex 2 Pro, Vertix 2, and Pace 3 currently offer music storage with room for 32GB of your favorite tracks. If you’re wondering how to download music to your Coros watch, this video explainer offers a great blow-by-blow guide.

Here’s how to pair your Bluetooth earbuds with the Coros Vertix 2 model:

  1. Press and hold the Back button (bottom right).
  2. Navigate to the Music icon in the toolbox.
  3. Next, press the digital dial to begin searching for earbuds nearby.
  4. Choose your earbuds to connect.

Apple Watch

  1. Head to Settings and select Bluetooth.
  2. On this screen you’ll see devices you’re already paired with, along with a button to toggle Bluetooth on and off. Make sure it’s on.
  3. Check that your earbuds are in pairing mode, and then select your earbuds from the list.

Note: With the Apple Watch, your earbuds should automatically reconnect each time you pop them in to go for a run.

apple watch workout

Jeff Dengate

Runner-in-Chief Jeff Dengate streams music while using the Workout app on the Apple Watch Ultra 2.

How to Switch Between Devices

Okay, so you’re back from your run just in time to jump onto that Zoom call. But you need to switch quickly from having your earbuds paired to your phone or watch, to your laptop. Should be easy right? Not always.

Apple Devices

If you’re a fully paid-up member of the Apple ecosystem with an Apple iPhone, Macbook, and Airpods, this is pretty seamless. Other earbuds can sometimes be more fiddly.

  1. Navigate to the menu bar on your Macbook.
  2. Click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar.
  3. Select your Airpods.

Other Devices

Earbuds don’t tend to support being connected to two devices at once. So depending on the earbuds, the running watch, and the laptop you’re using, you may need to disconnect your earbuds from one device before they will connect to the other. Here’s how you’ll do it.

  1. Navigate to Settings
  2. Select Bluetooth
  3. Choose to disconnect
  4. Return to Settings and select Bluetooth
  5. Choose your earbuds from the list of previously paired devices.

Troubleshooting

Once you’ve paired your running earbuds initially to your phone, they should automatically connect when you take them out of the case or switch them on. (The good ones do anyway.) That’s not necessarily the case with your running watch.

As we mentioned earlier, Bluetooth can also be temperamental. If you’re having trouble connecting, here are a few things to try:

  • Check that your buds have juice and are switched on.
  • Turn your earbuds off and back on again.
  • Switch the Bluetooth on your phone or watch off and back on again.
  • Return your earbuds to the charging case and remove them.
  • Make sure the earbuds aren’t currently connected to another device.

Still no joy? You might need to force your smartphone or watch to forget the pairing and go through that initial set-up process again. Sorry.

Headshot of Kieran Alger

Forty-three-time marathon finisher and cofounder of The Run Testers, a YouTube running gear reviews channel, Kieran Alger has been testing the latest running gear for more than a decade. A minor running tech obsessive, he is also “experienced” (okay, old) enough to remember life before Strava, Spotify, and smartphones.