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How to pair AirPods to your Quest 3 (and not annoy people next to you)

Want to enjoy entertainment on your Quest 3 without disturbing others? Here's how you connect Bluetooth earbuds with your favorite VR headset.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor
David Gewirtz/ZDNET

The sound quality on the Quest 3 is quite good. Sometimes too good. Let me explain:

The other evening, I was watching a streaming video on Meta's headset -- and the dialog, music, and background sound were all clear and resonant. Unfortunately, it was also clear and resonant for my wife, who was sitting next to me on the family room couch, trying to get work done -- in quiet. This will also help keep your seat neighbors from making weird gestures in your direction when you're on a plane or a train.

Also: The best AirPods: Expert tested and reviewed

If you want to consume content on your Quest 3, and you don't want to disturb whoever's next to you, you'll need to use Bluetooth earbuds. That way, you hear the sound from your device, but nobody else has to listen to second-hand noise.

Pairing your AirPods to Quest 3

I decided to pair my trusty AirPods Pro to the Quest 3. You can pair pretty much any compatible Bluetooth headset, but I recommend earbuds rather than earphones because of the existing bulk of the Quest 3 headset and its straps.

You can get to the pairing screen by going to the Quick Settings screen and clicking Bluetooth.

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

Alternatively, you can go into the main Settings screen, select Devices, then Bluetooth, and then Pair.

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

(From here on, no more screenshots. Why? Whenever I tried to capture an image of the Bluetooth setup process beyond the images shown above, all I got was a black square as my screenshot.  I'm guessing it's a bug. Hey, Meta folks, please consider this a bug and fix it.)


Behold my lovely screenshot of nothingness.

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

Anyway, no matter which approach you followed, you'll now see a screen that says Connected Devices.

Open the lid of your AirPods or AirPods Pro case and press the little button on the back until you get a slow white light blinking on the front of the case. That puts your AirPods in pairing mode. For other brands, do whatever the brand specifies to put the earbuds into pairing mode.

Hit the +Pair New Device button on the Connected Devices screen and look for the name of the device you want to pair. You may need to scroll down to find it.

Once you've found your device in the listing, click its name. Mine says David's AirPods Pro.

The Quest 3 will ask you if you want to pair the device. Confirm by clicking Pair. You should get a message saying the device is now active.

Also: How to take even better Meta Quest 3 screenshots and recordings

From this point on, whenever you want to pair your AirPods or other device, just look for the item in the list of Available devices and connect.

Are you using Bluetooth devices with your Quest 2 or Quest 3? How has your experience been? Let us know in the comments below.

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly update newsletter, and follow me on Twitter/X at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.

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