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How to Fix Bluetooth Pairing Problems

by on December 30, 2022
in Phones and Mobile, Computers and Software, Phone Accessories, Tips & How-Tos :: 841 comments

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Updated on 12/30/2022 with USB-C conflict information and additional multipoint pairing information.

Bluetooth is a popular method of wirelessly transferring data between two devices, such as your phone and your headphones, your media player and a speaker, or your iPad and a keyboard. It’s one of the most widely used wireless technology in the world, according to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. More than 4.6 billion Bluetooth products are expected to ship this year alone, and that number will likely increase to more than 6 billion per year by 2024.

Bluetooth is all great when it works. But if you’re someone who likes to play around with these kinds of connected gadgets, you know it can be frustrating when there’s a hang-up pairing the two. Here are some common causes of pairing problems, as well as advice on what you can do about them.

Why Bluetooth pairings fail

Bluetooth logo - white logo on blue backgroundBluetooth depends on both hardware and software to work properly. So if your devices can't speak a common Bluetooth language, they won’t be able to connect.

In general, Bluetooth is backward compatible: Bluetooth devices supporting Bluetooth 5 or higher should still be able to pair with devices using, say, the ancient Bluetooth 2.1, launched back in 2007.

Devices also come with specific Bluetooth profiles. If Bluetooth is the common language connecting devices, you can think of a profile as a dialect associated with a certain use. For example, you probably aren't going to be able to connect a mouse and your car because your car doesn’t support the Human Interface Device Profile. But a phone and a wireless headset should both support the Hands-Free Profile, you should be able to pair them.

Usually, Bluetooth devices connect with one device at a time. However, some headphones support multipoint pairing – a feature that lets one pair of headphones connect to two devices simultaneously.

I take you through the steps you can take to get your devices to happily communicate with each other. And if you have a multipoint Bluetooth device, check out my tips on solving problems with Bluetooth multipoint pairing.

What you can do about Bluetooth pairing failures

Smarphone and Bluetooth earbuds on a table

1. Make sure Bluetooth is turned on

You should see the little Bluetooth symbol at the top right of the screen if you have an Android device. For iOS and iPadOS, you'll need to go into the settings to enable and disable Bluetooth. Windows users will find Bluetooth in Settings > Devices > Bluetooth (or you may have a shortcut on your taskbar). Mac users will find a Bluetooth status icon on the menu bar.

2. Determine which pairing process your device employs

The process for pairing devices can vary. Sometimes, it involves tapping a code into your phone or computer. Other times, you can physically touch your phone to the device you want to pair it with (you'll see this option with phones and devices that have NFC, or Near Field Communications, as a feature. It's commonly found on Android phones).

If you’re not sure how to pair a device, refer to its user guide; you can usually find one by searching online.

3. Turn on discoverable mode

Let’s say you want to pair your phone with your car’s infotainment system to enjoy hands-free calling, texting, and navigation. First, go into your phone’s settings and tap on Bluetooth; doing so makes the phone visible to the car. Then depress the buttons on your car's infotainment system, usually on the steering wheel or center stack, to get it looking for the device.

Once it finds your phone, the car may ask for a numeric code that you'll need to confirm or input on your phone. After you do so, the devices should be paired. Remember that your phone or car may only stay in discoverable mode for a few minutes; if you take too long, you’ll need to start over.

If your device is new, it will often be in pairing mode when you first turn it on. A good indicator that a device is in pair mode is if it blinks.

You'll need to turn on pairing mode if the device has been paired with another device. To find instructions search for: put [product name] into pairing mode. We have guides for Jabra, JBL, JLab Audio, Onn, Mpow, and Sony.

4. Make sure the two devices are in close enough proximity to one another

While you wouldn’t think someone might try to pair an iPad with a keyboard if the two weren’t sitting right next to each other, it’s probably worth noting that you should make sure any devices you're trying to pair are within five feet of one another.

5. Power Bluetooth off and back on

A soft reset of Bluetooth can sometimes resolve an issue. With phones, an easy way to do this is by going into and out of airplane mode. For other devices, turn off the power and restart them.

6. Remove old Bluetooth connections

If you're having trouble pairing your phone with the speaker, it could be because the speaker is trying to connect with another device. While your laptop, tablet, or phone may be the obvious choices, there are other possibilities. For instance, you may have paired your speaker to your TV or streaming media player.

Some older speakers and headphones are very simple; they just try to connect with the last thing they are paired with. If your headphones or speaker were previously paired with another phone, laptop, or tablet, turn off that other device or turn off the device's Bluetooth. And if you are no longer planning on using your headphones or speaker with that device, unpair it to prevent future issues. In iOS settings, you can remove a device by tapping on its name and then Forget this Device. In Android settings, tap on a device’s name, then Unpair. After removing a device, start at step 1 on this list.

Some speakers and headphones can store pairing for multiple devices (this is different from multipoint when they connect simultaneously to devices). However, there is a limit to the number of devices' pairing information that they can store. If you're having trouble pairing headphones or a speaker that have been paired to many devices in the past, you may need to reset your headphones or speakers to clear out all of the pairings so you can start fresh. For instructions from the manufacturer on your specific model, search: reset [device name].

7. Charge up both devices you're trying to pair

Some devices have smart power management that may turn off Bluetooth if the battery level is too low. If your phone or tablet isn't pairing, make sure it and the device you're trying to pair with have enough juice.

8. Delete a device from a phone and rediscover it

If your phone sees a device but isn’t receiving data from it, sometimes it helps to start from scratch. In iOS settings, you can remove a device by tapping on its name and then Forget this Device. In Android settings, tap on a device’s name, then Unpair.

If you're deleting the device from your car, you may need to turn off your car after deleting the device, open and close the car door, and wait a couple of minutes before trying to pair the device again.

After removing a device, start at step 1 on this list.

9. Move away from the WiFi router

Another potential obstacle to successful pairing is interference from devices that use the same spectrum, such as your WiFi router. WiFi has been designed to cope with this, but it might not be a good idea to have your devices next to your router.

10. Move away from your smart home devices

Some smart home devices use a wireless technology called Zigbee. You find Zigbee in smart home hubs, including Amazon's Echo Show and Echo Plus, as well as a wide range of smart door locks, light bulbs, in-wall switches, open/close sensors, plugs, and more. Like WiFi, Zigbee devices use the same spectrum as Bluetooth devices and can interfere with pairing. Move away from your Zigbee devices when attempting to pair.

11. Move away from a USB 3.0 or USB-C port

Interference between Bluetooth and USB 3.0 Type A or USB-C is also possible. Newer laptops often have higher-speed USB-C and USB 3.0 Type A ports, so if the connection isn't happening, try pairing your Bluetooth gadgets away from the computer.

12. Make sure the devices you want to pair are designed to connect with each other

Whether it’s a headset, speaker, mouse, keyboard, or something else, your device has a specific profile that spells out what it can connect with. If you’re not sure, check the user manual.

13. Download a driver

If you’re having problems pairing something with your computer, you might be lacking the correct driver. The simplest way to figure this out is to do an online search for: [product name] driver.

14. Update the hardware’s firmware

Some automotive audio systems have been known to not pair with phones because the Bluetooth drivers in these systems didn’t work with later versions of Bluetooth. If you’re not sure how to get the latest firmware for your hardware, check with the device manufacturer.

15. Limit data shared between devices

Android and Windows devices let you choose the information you share between devices. So, for instance, you can choose to share phone audio, media audio, contacts, and text messages with your car. If you don't need to share all of the data, deselecting one or more of the types of information may enable the devices to pair.

For Android 10 devices, go to Settings > Connected devices and select the device. If there are options to select, they will appear. For Windows, go to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers > right-click on the Bluetooth device in question and select Properties. Then select the Services tab to choose which types of information to share.

16. Clear the Bluetooth cache

Sometimes apps will interfere with Bluetooth operation, and clearing the cache can solve the problem. For Android phones, go to Settings > Apps > and tap the sort icon (the triple bars to the right of "Your apps."). Toggle on "Show system apps" and then select "Bluetooth" from the list. Select "Storage" and then "Clear cache." For iOS and iPadOS devices, you'll have to unpair all of your devices (go to Setting > Bluetooth, select the info icon and choose "Forget This Device" for each device), then restart your phone or tablet.

Solving problems with Bluetooth multipoint pairing

Multipoint is a Bluetooth technology that enables a Bluetooth device to be actively paired with more than one device at a time. That means your headphones could be simultaneously paired with a phone and laptop, or two phones could be paired to a hands-free car kit.

Even though multipoint has been part of the Bluetooth standard for years, there aren’t many products on the market that support multipoint. So if you’re having issues with setting up a multipoint connection, the first thing to do is double-check that your device supports multipoint by searching for “[product name] multipoint Bluetooth” or consulting your product’s manual. Once you’ve confirmed that your device supports multipoint, try these steps.

Trouble adding multipoint devices

If you’re having trouble adding a second device to your multipoint product, follow these steps to ensure you’re adding it correctly.

1. Pair with the first device the way you would with a single-point Bluetooth device. (If you’re having trouble pairing your first device, consult the list of tips above.)

2. Turn off the first paired device and pair the second one.

3. Once you have successfully paired with the second device, turn on the first device. For some products (like the Lenovo Smart Wireless Earbuds and JLab GO Work and PlayPro headphones), that’s all there is to it. Other products (like the Sony WH-1000SM4 headphones, Bose QuietComfort II Earbuds, and Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds) require installing an app and turning on the ability to connect two devices.

If you can’t connect to a previously paired multipoint device

Multipoint Bluetooth devices can connect to two devices simultaneously but can be paired with many devices. If your multipoint Bluetooth product isn’t automatically connecting to your usual two devices, it may be paired with a third device.

If you use an app to select multipoint devices, go into the app and toggle on the two devices you want to be simultaneously connected.

If you don’t use an app to select your multipoint devices, you will need to re-pair the device that has lost its connection. Follow these two simple steps.

1. Use your multipoint device with the Bluetooth device that is still actively paired with multipoint.

2. Re-pair the device that has lost the connection.

Not all wireless devices use Bluetooth

Keep in mind that not all wireless devices use Bluetooth. Alternatives include the Wireless Gigabit specification, Wireless HD, ANT+, ZigBee, NFC, and Wi-Fi Direct. These other technologies typically won’t work with your phone, tablet, or computer without some kind of additional hardware.

I hope this guide has helped you with your Bluetooth pairing problems. If you know of any tips I've missed, share them in the comments below!

[Image credits: Bluetooth headphones with phone via BigStockPhoto]

For the past 20+ years, Techlicious founder Suzanne Kantra has been exploring and writing about the world’s most exciting and important science and technology issues. Prior to Techlicious, Suzanne was the Technology Editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and the Senior Technology Editor for Popular Science. Suzanne has been featured on CNN, CBS, and NBC.

Discussion loading

Adding contacts onto bluetooth

From Ray on September 13, 2013 :: 10:26 am

Need to know how to download all my contacts onto my vehicle device - Bluetooth.


At your service

From k on June 18, 2015 :: 12:47 pm

We’ll get right on that



From Mike on March 11, 2016 :: 12:31 am

Funniest thing I read all day! smile)


Now I know

From Procrastinating on October 18, 2016 :: 3:25 pm

why I browse the internet reply posts. PMSL

Ensuring Customer Service

From DFender on June 20, 2017 :: 5:19 am

K, please remember to close the service request with closure code and resolution . We don’t want a repeat of last time..



From BBB on October 18, 2022 :: 5:22 am

is there anyone who could help me out if mini speaker bluetooth is not discoverable.

I can’t connect

From Potato pal on January 31, 2021 :: 7:02 pm

Hai! When I got on Bluetooth I dose not give me the option to connect to eny device it’s just says loading



From Sam Douglas on January 10, 2022 :: 11:52 am

Same nothing showing up in my Bluetooth

Kenwood car stereo

From Jack on May 28, 2021 :: 9:46 pm

Just bought a new truck today it has a Kenwood deck in it Bluetooth will hook up to phone option but will not play music what am I doing wrong


New or used? OEM?

From Josh Kirschner on June 01, 2021 :: 6:52 pm

What make and model truck did you buy? Is the Kenwood deck OEM or an aftermarket product?

Useless advice

From I don't know on June 30, 2017 :: 10:11 pm

Instructions for no one


my own bluetooth dont on

From vincent on January 12, 2020 :: 9:46 am

my own bluetooth dont on even when i try oning it even i have factory set my phone yet he didnt work


My Bluetooth turning on

From Mohammed Tennison on April 08, 2020 :: 8:48 pm

Even if I try to turn on my Bluetooth,it will not turn on

Kind of strange one time

From SirDiamond Williams on July 14, 2021 :: 10:35 pm

Kind of strange one time I’ll be having my Bluetooth working fine throughout the month all of a sudden today every time I try to pair it won’t let me fear what am I doing or not doing why I can’t get this to work what am I doing or not doing why when I ask for your assistance to just turn it on it doesn’t work need help please

My Bluetooth

From SirDiamond Williams on July 14, 2021 :: 10:36 pm

My Bluetooth connection why can’t I have the company of someone I can just say please connect my Bluetooth I’m having a problem why can’t they connect it Samsung Tab e will help me but now they don’t seem to answer back so what am I doing or not doing why I can’t get that help

Go to Bluetooth setup &

From Pitney Bowes finucane on July 18, 2017 :: 3:42 pm

Go to Bluetooth setup & add a new device; make sure the phone shows car multimedia (might be different for the other vehicles) make sure the passcode on the phone & the stereo blues is the same & your phone would ask for something as to messages; but your phone should be paired as to contacts & music;if you’re already paired go back to Bluetooth setup but go to paired list & if your phone is on it make sure your phone is connected to the Bluetooth.


Repair bluetooth, system of phone of Samsung

From Alex on May 11, 2022 :: 2:26 pm

Thank you. Check the ear bud thank you. Needed repair to stop service avg -alias thank thank you



From Simon on June 10, 2018 :: 4:46 pm

I bought wireless Sony headphones about two weeks ago and have been frustrated that they just wouldn’t pair with my MacBook Pro.  Searched the internet to find a solution.  Nothing.  Until I found this site.  Tip # 10, moving it away from the USB port did the trick!!!!  Thank you so much for this!!!


Do it work when i downloading something?

From AJ on September 19, 2018 :: 2:43 pm

I download ing something and it not working its was work 5hours ago in the same place


From joe on February 25, 2021 :: 12:43 pm



From Mithlesh kumar on May 26, 2021 :: 7:06 am



Other Bluetooth Devices

From Lynda Wolfertz on September 13, 2013 :: 10:46 am

I have an HP wireless printer/scanner/fax that stopped working.  The troubleshooter says that the wireless radio is not working.  The printer works just fine when it is plugged into my computer via USB cord. Is it possible that is became unpaired with my computer??  How do I check? Any other suggestions?? It seems so wasteful to have to replace an otherwise perfect printer…it’s only 3 years old!!


Could be a number of things

From Suzanne Kantra on September 16, 2013 :: 9:59 am

That sounds like a WiFi issue, rather than Bluetooth, and I would really need to know more about why it’s not working. Can you not turn on the printer’s WiFi? Does it turn but not see your WiFi network? Does it connect to your WiFi network but your computer can’t see it?

If it is similar to my HP printer, there is a “Wireless Setup Wizard” in the Network setup menu that may help you get reconnected if it’s only an issue with your network settings.



From carmenza Anton on February 07, 2014 :: 5:29 am

Thank you so much I just bought a iPhone and the people in the store tried for a long time to pair it with my BlueAntST3 that I adored They couldn’t I followed your instructions and I did it I was ready to retune the phone. A prayer helps as well
Thank you so much.!!



From Jim the Card on November 14, 2014 :: 3:28 am

Had trouble getting my replacement iPhone5s (camera packed up!) to re-connect with my Avantalk handsfree. Your tip to ‘forget device’ and then re-find it worked!
A great help, thank you!

A prayer helps?

From Tamaresque on February 24, 2017 :: 8:28 pm

You think a god would care about bluetoothing a phone?  Wow!  Your god sounds more like a servant.

HP Wireless Printer

From chrisG on June 21, 2014 :: 12:47 am

Your computer is not on Wi-Fi. I have 2 different printers so here’s some ideas:
1st: Make sure your printer is “ready” or “online”. If not, keep reading… lol
2nd: Do another set-up for Wi-Fi, enter your password right off the printer screen (if it has one, my all-in-one does) & you’ll need to enter your router’s password. You should be good after that. If not, keep reading….
3rd: Does your printer have a Push Set-Up (small hole-like a reset button-to use with a pen or paper clip end to push-printer may need to be near your router during this time).
4th: Do you have a PIN Set-Up where the PIN# is on a label/sticker on your printer (check back or bottom) or the manual it came with.
5th: Go to HP’s website for a “manual” to download and use the instructions. This manual should be a PDF..SAVE IT! For future reference.

If NONE of those work, restart your router (and modem, if you have one). Unplug it, EVERYTHING-Just like you are setting up your router for the FIRST time. Once you’ve done that then follow the steps above.

My Brother Laser Printer is awesome & you have LIFETIME support. They emailed me the instructions to connect to my Wi-Fi, with & w/o USB port; I can disconnect from USB port once it’s connected to my router. He likes to disconnect from my Wi-Fi (router) if he’s unplugged for too long (moving, etc), if I changed my router password, using a different/new router, or if he’s wanting to be stubborn. He (printer) has done this 5 times out of the TEN or ELEVEN years (one time b/c he was stubborn, valid reasons for the others-examples I mentioned above). It isn’t that bad considering I have the instructions plus the LIFETIME support. Yes, I’m a Brother fan for that reason alone…. I don’t have the all-in-one b/c I was in a hurry and didn’t have a big selection.

My Cannon All-in-One Printer is awesome and quicker to connect because I can do a Set-Up on the printer’s screen where I enter the router’s password.  Otherwise, I have to use #3 & #4 to connect. Never had to, though.

I hope I didn’t ramble too much and made sense on the suggestions….


Blutooth problem

From Bernard Robinson on September 03, 2019 :: 7:26 pm

Remote speaker connected to laptop. All works but each time I switch on the unit is paired but does not connect I have to remove the device from laptop
bluetooth list and then look for it again. It pairs and connects.
Please Help
Bernie Robinson
PichidanguWay down south in Chile


Trying to understand issue

From Josh Kirschner on September 04, 2019 :: 1:52 pm

Not sure I fully understand what you are describing, but it sounds like the speaker is paired but no sound comes out unless you disconnect and re-pair to the laptop? If so, the first thing I would do is open your sound setting on your laptop to see what your “output device” is. If it is using your laptop speakers, can you change it to the Bluetooth speaker after it is paired?

Beyond that, not sure what advice to offer.

Lynda Wolfertz

From Blatantone on January 31, 2017 :: 5:20 pm

If you haven’t already done it, try uninstalling and reinstalling the printer.


Lynda is awesome

From I love lynda on June 14, 2019 :: 9:13 pm

Thank you lynda



From Marin Johnston on March 27, 2022 :: 1:24 pm

Unplug from wall then plug back in if you see green wifi light. It should reconnect.



From gaurav singh on December 07, 2013 :: 12:06 am

i have normal phone in which i can.t take files from others phone using bluetooth but i can send files



From linda on September 04, 2015 :: 1:36 am

and won’t let me get on to my speaker



From Damien on November 04, 2020 :: 6:05 am

I want to fix my Bluetooth


pairing problem with trellie

From Kenny Hynes on December 25, 2013 :: 10:21 am

I followed instructions correctlyfrom the manual and video instructions and still doesnt pair with my samsung galazy 3


my Samsung would not pair

From ron harvey on October 10, 2014 :: 10:49 am

my Samsung would not pair with my jaguar told these cars will not accept samsung


bluetooth pairing not show up

From mohammed n on August 05, 2016 :: 10:04 pm

HI,sir,i am so sorry .i do not set up my bluetooth always loading


"Forget this device" stuck

From Phyllis Polston on June 27, 2017 :: 4:13 am

The device removed keeps trying to connect another words circle goes round & round but activity tracker is gone-sent back. Can Bluetooth be reset?  iPhone has been turned off & on.  Can’t use the Bluetooth all day to get messages because it runs the battery down. New wristband is set up & works ok under same app HBand. Help.


Bluetooth Pairing Problem

From Md Abu Mottakinm Mondal on October 21, 2017 :: 5:25 pm

My bluetooth Headphone can’t pairing…...


Repair bluetooth, system of phone of Samsung

From Alex on May 11, 2022 :: 2:24 pm

Stop avg -alias system on Samsung,  The with MetroPCS thank both tmobile thank you. Fix both ear needed fix the ,system of phone itself you needed means

Bluetooth pairing not an option

From Potato pal on January 31, 2021 :: 7:04 pm

Idk y it will not let me pair



From Danni Tate on January 01, 2014 :: 6:05 am

I have recently bought a bluetooth hifi system. At the same timeI purchased a bluetooth dongle. I go through the set up and all works well. The next time I use Iit I have to go through the whole process of forgetting the device and reconfiguring it again to use it. What am I doing wrong


Pairing iPhone5s with Pioneer Car Stereo

From Carla Akkari on January 07, 2014 :: 5:12 pm

I’ve recently purchase a Pioneer Car Stereo DEH-X4650BT and I was able to pair the Bluetooth with my iPhone4 easily and use the handsfree but am unable to pair it using my iPhone 5s. Any suggestions? Have tried doing it with and without the USB cable. The phone recognises the stereo but it is unable to pair.



From Bubba Boyd on January 31, 2014 :: 6:32 pm

I recently got a brand new next book tablet and it doesn’t show that it has Bluetooth on it anywhere what do I do to get it


Not easy

From Josh Kirschner on January 31, 2014 :: 6:55 pm

If your tablet doesn’t come with built-in Bluetooth (and it looks like most, if not all, of the Nextbook tablets do not), there’s no way to add it. Someone may have an external bluetooth USB adapter for Android (does your tablet have a USB port?), but I’m having trouble finding one. If you do find one, buy it from someplece you can return it, because I’m guessing there’s a good chance it won’t work consistently or at all.


My blurtooth in my Nissan

From Leonard Mostello on March 26, 2016 :: 12:56 pm

My blurtooth in my Nissan Altima, 2015, was working for the last yr. & all of a sudden it quit working.  I went to use it the other day & it came on saying searching for phone; it came back on saying “no search found”; HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Help on Bluetooth in Nissan

From Danielle on July 07, 2016 :: 11:50 am

Were you able to get help?  After 4 yrs of working perfectly and 1 yr with my current phone, it suddenly doesn’t recognize any phone.


Ecko unltd blast

From Avion on November 26, 2016 :: 4:15 am

At want come on my phone.

Bluetooth Conversion Options Available

From SM Griffith on July 02, 2016 :: 4:26 pm

Hi Bubba,

Bluetooth adapters are available for 3.5mm headset audio ports on mobile devices. I got one for my husband’s old iPod nano which was not bluetooth enabled so that he could workout using bluetooth headsets rather than have all the hanging cords.

They have come way down in price and there may be even more options available now. They simply plug into the headphone jack and voila, connect your bluetooth speaker/headset and go.

I hope this helps. Good luck!



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