The LED status light on your AirPods Max headphones, found on the top of the right earphone, was designed to indicate the various states and modes of operation such as pairing mode, charge states and reset/restart statuses. Follow along with our helpful tutorial if you need to learn how to decipher the meaning of the various LED light states of your AirPods Max.

How to decipher AirPods Max status light

You’ll need to know which mode your headphones are currently using before interpreting the meaning of the LED status light changes on your AirPods Max. As mentioned earlier, the built-in LED can indicate pairing mode, as well as charge, reset and restart statuses and much more.

AirPods Max status light - an image showing button placement on the AirPods Max headphones

The status LED can be white or amber, depending on what it’s trying to communicate to you. It’s found at the bottom of the righthand earphone next to the Lightning charging port.

Pairing mode

Whether you’re using automatic Bluetooth pairing or a manual one, the LED status light will be flashing white to indicate that your headphones are ready to connect with the host device.

Automatic pairing

When you take the AirPods Max out of their Smart Case and hold them next to your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac, a setup animation pops up on the display of the host device while the AirPods Max status light starts flashing white to indicate the headphones are in pairing mode.

An image showing the AirPods Max pairing setup animation on an iPhone

Tap the Connect button in the popup card to finish pairing the headphones. To use the AirPods Max with your iPhone or iPod touch, you’ll need iOS 14.3 or later. On your iPad, you need the iPadOS 14.3 or late. And your Mac must be using the macOS 11.1 Big Sur software or later.

Manual pairing

Should you experience issues with automatic pairing, or would simply like to use the AirPods Max with a non-Apple device, you’ll need to pair them manually in your Bluetooth settings. You can do so in Setting → Bluetooth on iOS and iPadOS, System Preferences → Bluetooth in macOS and in your Bluetooth settings on an Android smartphone or another device.

A Mac screenshot showing Bluetooth settings with the AirPods Max ready to connect

The status light should flash white when the headphones are in Bluetooth pairing mode. If you don’t see the status light flashing white on your AirPods Max, press and hold the noise control button (located at the top of the right earphone) until the light starts flashing white.

Charge status

The status light on the right earphone also shows the charge status of your AirPods Max, whether they’re connected to power or running off their internal batteries. Simply press the noise control button on the right earphone, then check the status light for charge status (it’s deciphered differently based on whether the headphones are connected to power or not).

While connected to power

Here’s how to interpret the status light when the AirPods Max are connected to power:

  • The status light turns green: The AirPods Max have >95 percent charge remaining
  • The status light turns amber: The AirPods Max have ≤95 percent charge left

While not connected to power

Here’s how to interpret the status light when the AirPods Max are not connected to power:

  • The status light turns green: The AirPods Max have >15 percent charge remaining
  • The status light turns amber: The AirPods Max have ≤15 percent charge left

You can also check the charge status of your AirPods Max by holding the headphones near your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac, Alternatively, you can click the Bluetooth icon in your Mac’s menu bar or use the Batteries widget on your iOS device for a quick battery readout.

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Restarts and resets

The status light can tell you if your AirPods Max are rebooting or being reset to factory settings. Rebooting restarts the internal software without unpairing the headphones. When that won’t help, you can reset the AirPods Max to remove pairing and reload factory settings.

Restart state

To reboot your AirPods Max, press and hold the noise control button and the Digital Crown on the right earphone at the same time until the status light starts flashing amber, which should happen in around twelve seconds, then release the buttons immediately.

Reset state

To reset your AirPods Max to factory settings and unpair them from your iCloud account, simultaneously press and hold the noise control and Digital Crown buttons for about fifteen seconds until the status light changes from flashing amber to flashing white.

Deciphering the meaning of the various status lights on your HomePod

Keep in mind that you must immediately release the Digital Crown and the noise control button after the LED starts flashing amber (12 seconds) when trying to restart the headphones — continuing to hold the noise control button and the Digital Crown past the 12-second mark will unpair the AirPods Max and return the headphones to factory settings.