You can automagically connect AirPods to your Apple TV in tvOS 11

Being able to use your AirPods to switch from iPhone to iPad to Mac to listen to audio without having to do any special pairing is a wonderful thing. When you want to listen to music or watch a movie, all you have to do is take your AirPods out of their case and place them in your ears. On Apple TV, however, pairing your Airpods is more of a standard procedure instead of an automagic one.

As first discovered by 9to5Mac, in tvOS 11, AirPods have iCloud support, which means they will automatically pair with your Apple TV without you needing to manually enable them.

In tvOS 11, AirPods are in the speaker configuration section. When you're signed in to your Apple TV with your iCloud account, they will automatically connect to it, as well. No need to manually pair them!

As far as I know, you still have to click through a lot of Settings steps to switch from external audio to AirPods. That's one of the main reasons I don't use AirPods with Apple TV very often (or any Bluetooth headphones, for that matter). Too many steps to get through.

I'd love to see an audio shortcut that sends you directly to the AirPods connect setting. How about you?

Lory Gil

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

  • Not sure if I’m missing something, but in the tvOS beta the AirPods seem to be accessible from the Audio pull down menu without having to go to Settings.
  • This is something I like. Now, I wish Apple would improve the rest of tvOS.
  • Ok the new pull down from the audio sounds better. I don't get the auto pairing because my airpods connect to the last device they were paired to automatically and to switch I need to go into control centre and switch the audio to airpods on the device I want to use it on or go to the menu bar on my mac book and delay them in the Bluetooth settings. Likewise I would need to select them in the audio option on my Apple Watch. The pull down from the audio on Apple TV sounds better as it's less steps than at present.
  • Anyone confirm the BeatsX will work the same way with Apple TV (11). They do offer the same cross device connection magic that the airpods do.
  • Yes, I see both my AirPods and Jaybird X3s listed as speakers.