News How to pair Bose Bluetooth headphones with any device


A new pair of Bose headphones promises to shut out the world and tune in to your favorite tunes, podcasts or audiobooks.

I can personally say that Bose makes listening easy, but the pairing and connecting process is not.

To avoid pairing failures and skip straight to sound, we’ve broken down the easiest way to pair your Bose headphones with whatever device you want.

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let’s start.

How to put Bose headphones in pairing mode

In order for your device to recognize your Bose headphones, go to your device’s settings (usually indicated by a gear icon) and make sure Bluetooth is turned on.

The key to activating Bose pairing mode is a small switch or button the same color as the hardware.

Over-ear headphones, like the QuietComfort 45s, have a switch on the earcup. Slide the switch to the “On” position until the blue light starts blinking blue.

For earbuds, such as the QuietComfort II Earbuds, the button is located on the back of the housing. Press the button for about 2 seconds. Let go of the button when you see the slow blinking blue light.

On the on-ear and on-ear models, a blue light means you’ve activated Bose’s Bluetooth feature and your headphones are ready to pair.

If the headset is already in your ear, you will also hear a voice saying “Ready to pair”.

A few seconds after pressing the button on the back of the QuietComfort II headphone charging case, the indicator light will slowly flash blue, indicating that the headphones are ready to connect to my device.

Christina Darby/ZDNET

After the light starts blinking, release the button and look at the Bluetooth device menu in your phone, tablet or computer settings or the Bose Music app. Your Bose headphones will appear as a connection option in the Bluetooth devices menu.

Tap the Bose option, then put the headphones on or in your ears.

Next, don’t be surprised like a ZDNET editor paired her Bose headphones for the first time. To signal a connection, the earbuds will make a swishing sound, followed by a robotic voice notifying you of a successful connection and updated battery level.

Luckily, the robotic voice doesn’t signal a Terminator-style takeover just yet, just a sign that your headphones are connected and ready to listen.

How to pair Bose headphones with iPhone

To make sure your iPhone’s Bluetooth setting is turned on, go to your settings (gear icon), select the Bluetooth option, and make sure the Bluetooth switch at the top is turned on (shown in green).

You can also swipe down from the top right corner of the home screen and tap the Bluetooth switch for quick access.

To quickly make sure your Bluetooth is turned on, swipe down in the upper-right corner of your iOS device’s Home screen and select Bluetooth Quick Toggle.

Christina Darby/ZDNET

Press and hold the button on the case of the Bose earbuds or slide the button on the eartips of the circumaural headphones. Wait for the blinking blue light to flash and let go of the button.

The Bose headphones will appear in the Bluetooth menu as a device connection option. Put the earbuds in your ears or put on the earmuffs and select a Bose device. You may have to wait for the phone to buffer, but a robotic voice will tell you “connected successfully” and provide a battery percentage update when pairing is complete.

The same process applies to connecting to an iPad or other iOS device.

Screenshot of the Bluetooth settings menu on an iPhone, with the red arrow pointing to the device to connect to: Bose QC Buds II

Under the “Other Devices” option in the iPhone’s Bluetooth menu, you’ll see the Bose headphones pop up. Click on the name to complete the connection process.

Screenshot via Christina Darby/ZDNET

How to pair Bose headphones with a Mac

The process of pairing your Bose headphones with your Mac is intuitive. In the Mac dock, select the System Preferences icon (gear). Here, select the Bluetooth option and make sure the Bluetooth setting is turned on so your headset can recognize your computer as a connection point.

A red circle indicates where you can find the Bluetooth icon in your Mac's System Preferences.

Screenshot via Christina Darby/ZDNET

When pairing your headphones, keep the Bluetooth setting turned on by pressing and holding the connect button on the earbuds or toggling the Bluetooth switch on the earcups until you see a blue light.

Your Mac will recognize your headphones, and your Bose device name will pop up as a device option. Put the headset on or over your ear and select the Connect button.

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After the connection is successful, you will hear a robot voice telling you that the connection is successful, and all listening is waiting.

The MacBook's Bluetooth settings menu, with red arrows pointing to the Bluetooth connection options and the Headphones connection button.

To connect your Bose headphones to your Mac, make sure Bluetooth is turned on, then press the connect button next to the device’s name.

Screenshot via Christina Darby/ZDNET

How to pair Bose headphones with an Android device

On your Android device, swipe down on the home screen and select the gear icon in the upper right corner. From there, select the “Connect” option and make sure the Bluetooth switch (the third option down) is turned on.

You can also swipe down twice on the home screen and tap Bluetooth Quick Switch.

A screenshot of the Galaxy Z Flip 4's settings menu, with the gear and Bluetooth icons outlined in red circles.

To access the full Bluetooth menu, select the gear icon in the upper right corner. If you just want to make sure Bluetooth is turned on, check out the widget in the quick settings interface.

Screenshot via Christina Darby/ZDNET

Select the Bluetooth option from the Connection menu. Then, press or slide the Bose connect button until you see the blue light start blinking. This may take a few seconds, but you’ll eventually see the name of your Bose headphone pop up under the “Available Devices” menu.

Select your headset and press the “Pair” button when prompted by your Android phone.

Put the headset on or over your ear to hear a connection tone and the headset’s battery percentage.

The Bluetooth menu of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 with a red circle around it "a pair" quickly.

To complete the connection process, select the Pair button when prompted by your Android phone.

Screenshot via Christina Darby/ZDNET

How to pair Bose headphones with your computer

Find your settings menu on your PC, usually in the dock. Make sure the Bluetooth setting is turned on so your headphones can pair easily.

Just like connecting the headset to other devices, press or turn on the connect button until it starts flashing blue.

Under the Bluetooth menu, select “Add a device” or your PC’s equivalent invitation to connect a new device. Follow the connection prompts until you hear “Connected.”

Screenshot of Bluetooth settings on a PC with red indicators indicating critical connection points.

Screenshot by Addison Murray/ZDNET

How to pair Bose headphones with the Bose Music app

The Bose Music app, available from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, is the control center for Bose devices. The app allows you to create a fun nickname for your headphones, such as “Earphoria,” adjust the EQ, and quickly pair them.

Download the app to your iOS or Android device and set up an account.

After creating an account, select the “Set up a new product” option. From there, select the “Headphones & Frames” option from the settings menu.

A screenshot of the Bose Music app, inviting users to set up new products. Red arrows point to earphone and frame options.

The Bose Music app is an easy way to connect and control your headphones. When setting up your headset, make sure to select the app’s headset and frame options.

Screenshot via Christina Darby/ZDNET

Make sure your Bose headphones are charged, in range and in pairing mode (blinking blue light), the app will recognize your product and invite you to connect.

Select the “Connect” button and wait a few seconds for the pairing process to complete.

The app interface will change from the Connect screen to a widget showing your headset make and model, battery percentage, and connected devices. Tap the widgets to further adjust the EQ or switch between modes as you listen.

From here, all that’s left to do is place the headphones in or over your ears and lock in the sound.

Image of two Bose QC II earbuds floating above black "connect" button on the Bose Music app. The red arrow points to the

Press Connect to add your headphones to the Bose Music app library.

Screenshot via Christina Darby/ZDNET

common problem

Where is the pairing button on my Bose headphones?

The Bose pairing button, hidden in the hardware, is hard to find. For around-ear headphones, the pairing button is actually a switch on the side of the earcup. For the earbuds, the button is on the back of the charging case.

What should I do if the Bose app can’t connect?

If your Bose app is not connecting, here are some quick troubleshooting suggestions:

  • Clear the Bose Connect app cache
  • Enable location permissions
  • Check for app updates
  • Manually connect via Bluetooth

Will my Bose headphones automatically connect to my device after pairing?

Unless you’ve paired the headphones with multiple devices, your phone should recognize your Bose headphones and automatically connect to them when you remove the earbuds from their case or turn them on and put them on your ears.

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