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How to Fix Bluetooth Pairing Problems

by on July 01, 2021
in Phones and Mobile, Computers and Software, Phone Accessories, Tips & How-Tos :: 756 comments

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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 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. 

However, if a device supports Bluetooth 4.0 (in some cases), 4.2 (in most cases) or 5.0 and higher (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 and higher, 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 and Android phones running 4.3 or newer. 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

Phone screen showing it searching for Bluetooth devices to connect to

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. 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 directly on top of the 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 sensor, 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 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.”

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 Bluetooth 4.0. 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 > 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 7/1/2021

[Image credits: Bluetooth searching for networks and 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

Restoring Missing Bluetooth Peripheral Drivers

From Clifford Farley on May 11, 2020 :: 9:37 am

Hello I have Win7 64 bit Home Premium.
I noticed after clicking on Bluetooth
in Device Manager, drop down list of 3
peripheral drivers showing yellow marks.

The person who I bought the laptop (Sony Vaio)
from very kindly supplied a recovery disk that
has windows & all drivers for the hardware.

Please advise how to restore these drivers from the disk so I
can pair an iPhone with my laptop to get online.  Thanks.

Reply

I would suggest a different approach

From Josh Kirschner on May 11, 2020 :: 3:08 pm

First off, as of January, Windows 7 is no longer supported by Microsoft. There are no more security patches or other fixes, leaving your laptop at much higher risk for malware. I would strongly recommend upgrading the laptop to Windows 10.

If you do keep Windows 7, you should update your drivers from the Sony site so you have the latest versions, not from the recovery disk (which will be years old, at this point). The Sony Vaio may have a help utility to assist with that or you can look up your model on the Sony support site: https://www.sony.com/electronics/support.

It may also be that the drivers aren’t your issue. Usually device manager will provide more information about why a specific component is disabled. What does it say?

Reply

My Lenovo tablet don't wanne

From Faizel Coetzee on May 14, 2020 :: 6:37 am

My Lenovo tablet don’t wanne contact with my LG tape but to all the others how can I fix it but it’s parting

Reply

Bluetooth pairing

From Mary on May 14, 2020 :: 3:16 pm

All seems to work until screen appears on a20e to input the bluetooth code.  The screen disappears after 3 secs so I am unable to connect to my Dacia Bluetooth.
Any help would be appreciated.

Reply

Headphones

From Byarugaba Joseph on May 21, 2020 :: 4:48 am

Have been using headsets but when I plugged off the earphones,the icon remained giving me to communicate on loudspeaker kindly help

Reply

I can’t disconnect Bluetooth Jaba

From Keß Darid on June 02, 2020 :: 10:34 pm

I can’t disconnect Bluetooth Jaba now. I can’t make phone calls without it being reinstalled and paired. I’ve even went as far as getting rid of the paring of it. My phone makes the call then hangs up on my wife. Not a good story to to tell her. How do I fix this problem. Bad enough it keeps going into mute mode.

Reply

You've tried forgetting it?

From Josh Kirschner on June 03, 2020 :: 1:30 am

If you forget the Jaba (Jabra?) device in your phone’s Bluetooth settings, that should take care of it. The device should never re-pair automatically. The only other way I could conceive of this happening is if there is some Jaba app you identified to control your phone calls and it is able to repair to the device.

Reply

JBL HEADPHONES FIX

From a guy on June 12, 2020 :: 2:59 am

A lot of problems with JBL products. Especially with headphones. This may not fix every problem but you can RESTART them… hold the power buton and the + volume button for 10-15 seconds.

No one ever seems to point this out.

Reply

Thank you

From Ashish on June 15, 2020 :: 6:20 am

Thanks man its finally connected to my mobile phone. Really appreciate ur help🙏.

Reply

help with my JBL headphone

From Sam on June 19, 2020 :: 3:47 pm

I did the power on for 5 seconds, it made a sound, than hold both volume up and down for 10 seconds but still it can’t get connected to any device that normally it used to… can you please help? maybe a hard reset if possible..its headphones E-Series.

Reply

Connecting Soundgate 3 to TV Adapter

From Inacio on June 21, 2020 :: 10:14 am

I use Soungate 3 to connect to my TV Adapter.
Sometimes when I push the TV button of the Soundgate it connects immediately to the TV adapter, even at a distance of three rooms.
But mostly it takes hours to connect even if it is next to each other.
The light at the Soungate blinks and blinks and then stops until I push it again. I must repeat this several times until out-of-the blue it connects by itself.
What can be the reason?

Reply

Sounds like it could be interference

From Josh Kirschner on June 22, 2020 :: 9:37 pm

A number of common household devices can cause interference with your Bluetooth signal, such as such as power cables, microwaves, cordless phones or your WiFi router. If there are any of those types of devices nearby, you can try moving them. And if you can connect devices to your router using 5GHz instead of 2.4GHz (which is the same as Bluetooth), that might help resolve the issue.

Reply

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

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