Enable AirPods pairing on Arch Linux

It’s beyond easy to pair AirPods with a non-Apple device. And on Arch, it’s trivial to have the AirPods appear in the bluetooth manager (in this case, blueman-applet)–but when you try to initiate pairing, it does not succeed.

The trick here–if you don’t require pairing with Bluetooth LE devices–is to manually specify that the bluetooth controller (bluez) use BR/EDR transport rather than allow both transport modes.

Open a shell and do the following:

$ sudo vi /etc/bluetooth/main.conf

Uncomment and manually set ControllerMode to BR/EDR:

# Restricts all controllers to the specified transport. Default value
# is "dual", i.e. both BR/EDR and LE enabled (when supported by the HW).
# Possible values: "dual", "bredr", "le"
ControllerMode = bredr

Restart the bluetooth service:

$ sudo systemctl restart bluetooth

Try re-pairing!