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How to Fix Bluetooth Pairing Problems

by on October 29, 2020
in Phones and Mobile, Computers and Software, Phone Accessories, Tips & How-Tos :: 724 comments

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How to Fix Bluetooth Pairing Problems

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 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 the Bluetooth 5 standard should still be able to pair with devices using, say, the ancient Bluetooth 2.1, launched back in 2007.

The exceptions are gadgets that use a low-energy version called Bluetooth Smart, which works on a different protocol than older, or "Classic" Bluetooth devices. Bluetooth Smart devices are not backward compatible and won't recognize (or pair with) older devices that support Classic Bluetooth. (For example, an old Sony Ericsson phone sporting Bluetooth 3.0 won't be able to connect to a Bluetooth Smart device.)

However, if a device supports Bluetooth 4.0 (in some cases), 4.2 (in most cases) or 5.0 (in most cases), it should recognize both Bluetooth Smart and Classic. Bluetooth 4.0 devices will be officially labeled Bluetooth Smart Ready. In the case of Bluetooth 4.2 and 5, it's expected.

Gadgets that commonly use Bluetooth Smart include personal health gadgets such as fitness bands or heart-rate monitors. These gadgets will only pair with a smartphone or tablet that also uses Bluetooth Smart – or are Bluetooth Smart Ready.

Most smartphones are Bluetooth Smart compatible. That includes iPhones running iOS 7 and newer, Android phones running 4.3 or newer, Windows Phone 8.1 devices, and all BlackBerry 10 devices. Ensure your phone is running the latest version of its operating system – but if your device isn't new enough to run relatively current software, you may not be able to pair it with that fitness band.

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 a camera because a camera doesn’t support the Human Interface Device Profile. But if both a mobile phone and a wireless headset support the Hands-Free Profile, you should be able to pair them.

However, if the pairing failure is a matter of user error, there are steps you can take to get your devices happily communicating with each other.

What you can do about Bluetooth pairing failures

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, for example, it involves tapping a code into your phone or computer. Other times, you can just 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 so you can 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. Keep in mind your phone or your 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. If the device has been paired with another device, you'll need to turn on pairing mode. 

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 other.

5. Power the devices off and back on

A soft reset sometimes can resolve an issue. With phones, an easy way to do this is by going into and out of airplane mode.

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 phone, laptop or tablet. Some older speakers and headphones are very simple; they just try to connect with the last thing they paired with. If your headphones or speaker were previously paired with another phone, laptop or tablet, turn off that other device or 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. 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. Search "reset" and your device name for instructions from the manufacturer on your specific model.

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. Get away from the WiFi router

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

10. Move away from a USB 3.0 port

Interference from USB 3.0 is also possible. Newer laptops, for example, often have the higher-speed USB 3.0 port, so if the connection isn't happening, try pairing your Bluetooth gadgets away from the computer.

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

Whether it’s a headset, speaker, mouse, keyboard, camera 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.

12. Download a driver

If you’re having problems pairing something with your PC, you might be lacking the correct driver. The simplest way to figure this out is to do an online search for the name of the device you’re trying to pair along with the word “driver.”

13. 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 Bluetooth 4.0. If you’re not sure how to get the latest firmware for your hardware, check with the device manufacturer.

14. 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.

15. 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 > System > Advanced> Reset Options > Reset Wi-fi, mobile & Bluetooth. For iOS and iPadOS device, you'll have to unpair all of your devices (go to Setting > Bluetooth, select the info icon and and choose Forget This Device for each device) then restart your phone or tablet.

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 as well as Wi-Fi Direct. These other technologies typically won’t work with your phone, tablet or PC without some kind of additional hardware.

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

Updated on 10/29/2020

[Image credits: Bluetooth searching for networks and Bluetooth headphones with phone via BigStockPhoto, Bluetooth devices with phone via Shutterstock]



Discussion loading

Bluetooth connection drops when I make or take a call

From Traci on June 22, 2020 :: 10:30 am

My lg Stylo 4 connects to my car without problems, but as soon as I make or answer a call, it immediately drops the Bluetooth. I believe it is something with the phone, because my husband’s Samsung stays connected with no problems. I never had this problem until about a year ago; could it be a software update to my phone or my car?

Reply

Bluetooth problem

From Sarju on June 28, 2020 :: 3:56 am

I have remax rbs20 Bluetooth incoming calls gets disconnected everytime in any mobile need help how to do factory reset or reboot

Reply

Mifo 07

From Angel on July 03, 2020 :: 10:19 pm

I have a pair of mifo 07’s. I lost the right earbud. Why cant i use the left ear bud now?

Reply

Problems with my earbuds connecting to my television

From Sydell Lamb on July 07, 2020 :: 2:24 pm

I have a fire stick and when I try to connect my earbuds it says I’m connected but it’s not the sound still comes through the television.
I would like some advice if you have some thanks

Reply

Bluetooth Problem

From Becki Giddy on July 10, 2020 :: 7:45 am

Hi,
For some reason I cannot connect my Huawei phone to my 2008 Mitsubishi Triton. It connected before but all of a sudden it will not. When you press the Bluetooth button, it just clicks all the time. Have been trying everything but am completely at a stand still now.

Many thanks
Becki

Reply

Don’t last long

From Tracy on July 15, 2020 :: 10:48 am

Ok, sorry this made be a silly question but here goes.  I can connect but after only 20 minutes usually one will say power off.  This morning they both said power off after only 5 minutes.  I charged them yesterday. After fully charging, I turn the power off every time I am not using them and turn it on when in use.  The power on blue light only stays on for about a minute while I am using them.  I am sure it is an easy fix but I simply cannot figure it out.  Thanks for your help!

Reply

Brilliant

From David Mann on July 17, 2020 :: 5:16 am

This is a really useful article. Incredibly thorough with a wide range of possible solutions. I think I got my earphones working with tip number 4.

Reply

Thank you so much!

From JoseG on July 20, 2020 :: 7:47 pm

My Android phone kept telling me couldn’t pair with Jabra evolve 75 because of an incorrect PIN or passkey. Tried everything except a phone reset which i was not about to do. It had paired a long time ago and worked fine but I stopped using it on my phone. Removed all Bluetooth devices and reset all services on my Android phone but no good. Paired with my daughters phone fine and I paired another BT headset fine on mine. Read your reset device (6) bit and googled Jabra 75 reset and there it was. I reset it to factory default and was now able to pair the headset again with my phone. Had to install Jabra Direct to pair the usb device on the PC.
Thank you so much!!!

Reply

Trying to connect 2

From Mike Eckensweiler on July 31, 2020 :: 2:50 pm

okay I have a samsung galaxy s10e android phone and 2 W-King 50 amp blutooth speakers can have both connected but only sound (spotify music) from 1 speaker and when connect 1 the other one pauses

Reply

Title isn't reflective of article

From Deb on August 02, 2020 :: 12:15 pm

I was looking how to REPAIR a bluetooth issue, not use bluetooth!!  This article should be title, THE BASICS OF BLUETOOTH.

Reply

Bluetooth airdots connection problem

From Harsha on August 04, 2020 :: 12:17 am

I bought airdots two months ago yesterday one airdot is playing song another one is not playing and i unpair both airdots and put it in charging case and i take it from charge case and try to pair with my phone by mistakely i give cancel but now airdots are not showing in available devices

Reply

Please help me my phone

From Md Emon on August 05, 2020 :: 12:19 pm

Please help me my phone Bluetooth cannot on what happened I don’t know

Reply

How can I make my bluetooth headphones connect to my galaxy S10e

From Mary Carnen HR on August 12, 2020 :: 8:22 pm

I have tried the steps but now it ask me for a pin. I have tried the basics but none work. Can u tell me anoche that will work please?

Reply

Need help connecting my true

From Josie on August 19, 2020 :: 1:25 am

Need help connecting my true stereo wireless earbuds

Reply

Dea500 radio

From Mike on September 02, 2020 :: 8:45 pm

My radio pairs up great. I can hear the person I called but they cant hear me??

Reply

I have an LG

From Sydney S. on September 20, 2020 :: 1:28 am

So I have an LG Aristo 2 and I’m trying to pair my Skullcandy bluetooth headphones to it. It worked for months on end but now it suddenly stopped. Any ideas on how I could possibly fix this?

Reply

Skullcandy Bluetooth troubleshooting help

From Josh Kirschner on September 21, 2020 :: 10:19 pm

We have an article on how to fix Skullcandy Bluetooth pairing problems.

Reply

hi

From John D. Barry on September 21, 2020 :: 6:46 pm

hi

Reply

Thanks!

From Robot on September 22, 2020 :: 1:43 pm

This article saved my life, i thought my headphones were broken but it was simple as turn off/on airpla e mode, thank you very much!

Reply

Will my Bluetooth sound hub

From Starlene Hancock on September 23, 2020 :: 10:48 pm

Will my Bluetooth sound hub tone wireless rar buds connect with a black web portable dvd player

Reply

Does the DVD player have Bluetooth?

From Josh Kirschner on September 24, 2020 :: 1:49 am

Any pair of Bluetooth earbuds “should” connect with pretty much any Bluetooth audio device. Does the Blackweb DVD player have Bluetooth audio? I didn’t think many portable DVD players offered that, but it would be model dependent.

Reply

Thanks

From Stevo Delesi on September 30, 2020 :: 5:55 am

Hi. Thanks the on and off aeroplane mode on my phone did it for me.
Thanks a lot.

Reply

Thanks

From Stevo Delesi on September 30, 2020 :: 6:02 am

Hi. Thanks the on and off aeroplane mode on my phone did it for me.
Thanks a lot.

Reply

JBL T500 BT e Bluetooth Receiver

From Tiago Ferreira on October 01, 2020 :: 3:07 pm

Tenho uns headphones JBL t500bt e um recetor/transmissor Bluetooth e não consigo emparelha-los de forma nenhum. Ficam os dois com as luzes a piscar mas não se “encontram”. Alguém me pode ajudar?

Reply

Unable to pair my JVC HA-FX9BT headphones with my BTDG-40S USB 5.0 Bluetooth dongle on my laptop, Wi

From Konstantinos Kostalas on October 05, 2020 :: 4:39 am

Unable to pair my JVC HA-FX9BT headphones with my BTDG-40S USB 5.0 Bluetooth dongle on my laptop, Windows 10. PLEASE HELP.

Reply

galaxy s10e and 2015 chrysler 200c paired by bluetooth, but wont read, nor play audio?

From Dan on October 05, 2020 :: 6:55 am

hi, i really dont know how to explain whats going on, but my phone and car, which have been paired through bluetooth since i got my phone, suddenly is not working this morning. yesterday it worked fine. i have reset my phone, turned bluetooth on and off, unpaired them and paired them again, etc…. both car and phone say they are paired up, but doesnt even register on car that either my pandora is playing or that google play is playing. please help???

Reply

Try reset and software updates

From Josh Kirschner on October 05, 2020 :: 10:21 am

These issues can be tricky to pinpoint remotely, since they are so device specific. But I would try resetting your Chrysler’s audio/Bluetooth system and see if that resolves things. If not, check for a Chrysler Uconnect software update for your car: https://www.driveuconnect.com/support/software-update.html.

Reply

Top Mobile Tech

From Maria Beaza on October 06, 2020 :: 1:56 am

I applied this methods to solve my Bluetooth connection problem in laptop and it’s workable for me. Thanks for sharing this great stuff!

Reply

Air pods not connected displaying that incorrect passkey

From Ponduru sarathkumar on October 08, 2020 :: 4:12 am

I am having Gionee A1 plus mobile recently my friend give me his air pods but they are not connected and showing that incorrect passkey I have no idea please solve this problem.

Reply

Bluetooth Wireless headphones: can a device be connected to 2 different devices at the same time. I

From Mark Hatfield on October 11, 2020 :: 2:14 pm

I am backed up cloud storage is good but the earbuds won’t connect to my device. I even reset the settings. Both devices are fully charged and they are in proximity to each other. Also my earbuds got the forgot this device how do I reset them back to my Bluetooth

Reply

Retrieve forgot devices?

From Mark Hatfield on October 11, 2020 :: 2:39 pm

My wireless earbuds accidentally got the forgot this device by accident now is it possible to reset or retrieve the device so that I can use them again.

Reply

trouble with the sound

From Desiree Edwards on October 22, 2020 :: 11:07 am

hello, I have had an issue with my phone and pairing speakers, with my Alexa I can play a song through Alexa and it sounds fine, but when I connect my phone and play the same song it sounds like the speaker is blown out? what should I do?

Reply

Pairing problem

From Mudasir subzar on October 26, 2020 :: 7:21 am

When i try to turn on my wireless headphones they dont,instead they show blue light for a while and then turn off which was supposed to dipper after turning on.They work well when connected with aux cable but don’t work wirelessly. What should i do?

Reply

Sounds like you need to pair/re-pair

From Josh Kirschner on October 26, 2020 :: 11:25 am

It sounds like your headphones aren’t paired to your device and are turning off automatically to save power. Try pairing or re-pairing to your device (usually by holding down the power button when turning on until it flashes for pairing mode.

Reply

CcBand smart watch

From Mary on November 04, 2020 :: 4:59 am

I have a CC smartwatch , however I cannot pair it with my Samsung 7 Edge phone. It keeps telling me that I have to have pass key or pin, but no explanation on how to achieve either of these. I have taken off the bluetooth, turned it back on, and to no avail.
Have you any advice please?

Reply

My Samsung J7 prime doesn't display pair devices

From Judy Blake on November 09, 2020 :: 2:36 am

My Samsung J7 prime doesn’t display pair devices in my Bluetooth settings

Reply

Plzzzz help me

From Arsh on November 09, 2020 :: 9:05 am

I’m using and android device so i’m trying to connect my bluetooth earphones so when i’m connecting the volume is not coming so i checked your website it helped a bit so my problem is when i’m trying to enable the media volume it is not enabling can you please help me.

Reply

How the volumen work on

From Miguel Chaname on November 11, 2020 :: 5:11 pm

How the volumen work on firestick smart tv?

Reply

Thank you for the clear and well presented advice.

From Mary M on November 11, 2020 :: 6:21 pm

Fixed my Jorno Keyboard pairing / connecting problem with my Microsoft Surface hub.

Thank you.

Reply

Helpful Post

From Tina on November 12, 2020 :: 7:53 am

The “Clear the Bluetooth cache”. Worked for me. Thank you so much.

Reply

How do I get my

From Michelle Barker on November 19, 2020 :: 6:41 am

How do I get my Bluetooth to work

Reply

Temporarily Disconnect Speakers from Headphone Jack

From Evan Rosenthal on November 25, 2020 :: 11:17 pm

I’ve discovered that my Bluetooth earbuds don’t get picked-up by my desktop due to having my desktop speakers plugged in to the headphone jack.  As as I temporarily unplugged the speakers cord from the headphone jack - voilà - the bluetooth earbuds were picked-up by the computer and I was able to adjust the sound to use them instead.  I hope this feedback helps you!

Reply

iPhone and car stopped connecting

From Wayne Palmer on December 06, 2020 :: 10:45 am

My hands free dailing suddenly stopped working with my 2015 BMW. Now occasionally it will function but mostly not.

Reply

My fix

From Ana on December 11, 2020 :: 10:54 am

Hi everyone.  I thought I’d post this in case anyone was looking still.  This is really silly but I’ve been looking for a solution for weeks.  My phone wouldn’t connect to my headphones but everything else connected fine.  Turns out last update put it on mute?  I started a call and only then turned up the volume.  Tada, fixed.  It’s really silly but hoping it works for someone else.  Turning the volume up before the call didn’t work.  Hope it helps at least one person smile

Reply

i m facing problem in

From Syed Kamran Ali on December 17, 2020 :: 11:35 am

i m facing problem in my blue tooth sbh 05. i m listening a recording in it. betery menolium.
kindly give me any solution

Reply

Trying to connect Bluetooth boombox and Bluetooth soundbar

From Carrie F Rinehart-Bekker on December 24, 2020 :: 12:51 pm

I’ve been trying to connect my Bluetooth boombox to my Bluetooth soundbar to boost the sound.  However, I cannot hook them up with cords because the soundbar doesn’t have a headphone jack.  They are both Bluetooth enabled, but there’s no LED indicator on either device to complete the pairing and connect them to each other.  In other words, I get get them both into pairing mode, but there’s no way to execute the pairing because neither the boombox nor the soundbar has a readout (like you have on a phone) to click to complete the pairing.

Thoughts?

Reply

Probably not possible

From Josh Kirschner on December 28, 2020 :: 2:39 pm

Simple audio devices, like boomboxes and speakers, are generally designed for one-way audio in, not for sending audio out, so there is likely no way to connect the two in the way that you want.

Reply

Samsung sound box buethoot won't show

From Nanakwame Lawrence on January 12, 2021 :: 3:31 am

I always connect and play music from my Samsung phone through my sumsung music box until recently a friend borrowed the box. Upon returning it, I could no longer find my bluethoot device name on my phone eventhough it says by the box that Bluetooth is ready to pair. Please help me out. Thank you

Reply

You probably just need to reset the box

From Josh Kirschner on January 12, 2021 :: 3:02 pm

You likely just need to reset it to pair it to a new device (your phone). I’m not sure what a “Samsung music box” is, but most speakers can be reset by holding down the pairing button for 5-10 seconds. You should look at the instructions for your specific device on how to do that.

Reply

My Kindle (tablet) can't connect to my headphones anymore

From Justin on January 12, 2021 :: 10:55 pm

I’ve now had some headphones for just about a month now. I have tried your tips on the main page, but it doesnt seem to help very much, I tried everything. They are very expensive headphones. When I first got the headphones the connected to my kindle just fine, but after a few days they stopped connecting, it looks like it might be the headphones problem but I’m not quit sure what to do. It you could give me a few tips, that would be great, thanks.

Reply

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