Apple AirPods in a case designed to look like a Nintendo Switch.
Imam Widiantoro/

Apple’s AirPods use Bluetooth to communicate with iPhones, iPads, and Macs, and you can also connect them to your Switch on the go. The ability to use wireless Bluetooth headphones with the Switch was missing from launch but has since been patched in by Nintendo.

Can You Connect AirPods to a Switch?

Provided you have installed firmware update 13.0 or later, you can connect AirPods (and other types of Bluetooth headphones) to a Switch. If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to update your Nintendo Switch to the latest available firmware under System Settings > System.

Nintendo Switch System Update pending

Hit the “System Update” button to start the process. Your Switch will apply any updates that are ready to go and check the internet for new software to download. Make sure you’re connected to Wi-Fi for this to work.

You can see your current software version using the System Update function, but it won’t be shown if you have an update ready to install. Bluetooth audio is available to owners of all Switch consoles, from the original released in 2017 right through to the Lite and OLED model.

How to Pair AirPods with a Switch

With the latest update installed and your AirPods in hand, you can set about pairing your earbuds with your Nintendo console. To do this, launch the System Settings menu and using the sidebar on the left scroll down to the “Bluetooth Audio” option.

Nintendo Switch Add Device

Take a quick look at the limitations imposed on your device before pairing. Nintendo states that only two wireless controllers can be connected when using Bluetooth audio, that microphones won’t work (you’ll need to use the Nintendo Switch Online smartphone app for voice communication) and that latency may be an issue.

Now open your AirPods case and press and hold the button on the back until the LED indicator starts rapidly flashing. Now press the “Add Device” button on the switch and wait for your console to detect your headphones.

Nintendo Switch searching for Bluetooth audio

Select your AirPods from the list and wait for the Switch to make a connection. It shouldn’t take long, after which you’ll see a warning about limitations while using Bluetooth audio.

Nintendo Switch found AirPods

Once you’ve made a successful connection you’ll be able to select your Bluetooth headphones from the Bluetooth Audio menu. While connected you’ll see a small Bluetooth icon and label appear in the Quick Menu, accessible by holding down the Home button.

There May Be Better Options

While Bluetooth audio on the Switch is convenient, it’s not particularly well implemented. While testing the AirPods Pro we noticed a slight delay in audio output. This wasn’t enough to sap all enjoyment, but your mileage may vary depending on the game you’re using.

Best Overall Switch Bluetooth Adapter

HomeSpot Pro Adapter

The HomeSpot Pro Bluetooth adapter is easily the best option for your Nintendo Switch, from its matching colors to flawless functionality.

Luckily you can get a Nintendo Switch Bluetooth adapter instead (like the HomeSpot pictured above) and vastly improve the performance of wireless audio on your console.

Profile Photo for Tim Brookes Tim Brookes
Tim Brookes is a technology writer with more than a decade of experience. He's invested in the Apple ecosystem, with experience covering Macs, iPhones, and iPads for publications like Zapier and MakeUseOf.
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