Thursday, March 08, 2018

How to Connect Wireless Headphones to a Computer

Wireless headphones have increased in popularity and for obvious reasons. Being able to move naturally, without concern for cords, is far more convenient. Nearly every time I wear wired headphones I eventually forget being tethered and suffer from headphones being yanked off my head because I tried to move too far from my computer. I have even had the cable catch door knobs while walking past them. Either way is extremely jarring, and as a result, listening to music or taking an online course has become much more convenient with wireless headphones.

Keep in mind, if your the device's network card does not support Bluetooth, there is still a way to connect wireless headphones to the device.

How to Connect Wireless Headphones to a Computer

Devices with Bluetooth support built-in

If you are not sure if a Mac device has built-in support for Bluetooth, open "Settings" and look for Bluetooth. For a Windows device, open Computer Management by right-clicking on Computer and selecting Manage from the pop-up menu. From this window, click "Device Manager" in the left pane. If supported, Bluetooth will be listed in the middle pane. 

Connecting wireless headphones to a device with Bluetooth support built-in can be accomplished in the following ways:

On a Mac
  • Open the "Settings" menu.
  • Click "Bluetooth" to open the settings.
  • Make sure your wireless headphones are in pairing mode. NOTE: Typically turning them on will put them into pairing mode as long as they are not already paired with other nearby devices. However, each brand of headphones operates slightly differently.
  • If Bluetooth is turned off, click the "Turn Bluetooth on" button.
  • Once Bluetooth is on, the device will enter discoverable mode and will search for nearby Bluetooth devices.

  • When your headphones appear in the box under Devices, click the "Connect" button.

  • Once the headphones have been paired, they will be listed as connected under Devices and sound will be played through the wireless headphones.

On Windows
  • From the Control Panel, open "Devices and Printers".
  • Click the button to "Add a Device".

  • Make sure the wireless headphones are in pairing mode.
  • Once the headphones appear in the list of devices, click them to select and click "Next".

  • This will install any necessary software and pair the device with the headphones.

  • Once the headphones are connected, all sounds will play through them.

Devices without Bluetooth support built-in
Devices with network cards that do not support Bluetooth can still support wireless headphones, but requires purchasing a Bluetooth adapter. The easiest way to accomplish adding Bluetooth support to a device is by purchasing an inexpensive mini Bluetooth USB adapter. Once purchased, follow the instructions for installing the software and pairing with wireless headphones. 

Here is an example of software that came with a mini Bluetooth USB adapter.

NOTE: It is important to share that results vary based on the operating system. While trying to get a Bluetooth adapter to work with a computer running Windows 7, the connection varied and was unpredictable at best.

Ultimately, using wireless headphones is far more convenient than wired headphones, providing greater freedom. Connecting to a device with built-in Bluetooth support is quick and can be done within minutes. The pairing process between devices only needs to be completed once. After the initial pairing, wireless headphones will connect automatically to those devices. To connect wireless headphones to devices that do not support Bluetooth, purchase a micro Bluetooth USB adapter.

As always, knowing what is supported, how to get two things talking to each other and how restrictions can be worked around, is invaluable to increasing satisfaction and usability!

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