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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 :: 768 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

Bluetooth phone can not detect other phones

From farhad on February 14, 2014 :: 12:34 pm

hi dear
Bluetooth phone is turned on and discover is checked but can not detect other phones
and other phone can not detect this phone
please help me - thanks


my Xperia z1 won't detect other blutooth

From Ahmed on March 30, 2014 :: 9:47 pm

How can I set my Xperia z1 to detect other blutooth nearby


Hey did you ever get

From Brandy Crisp Bates on December 07, 2019 :: 7:57 am

Hey did you ever get your phone to pair? I have the same phone and haven’t had any trouble until today. I can’t get it to pair for nothing.


Samsung Galaxy Core won't play when connected to Bose Soundlink

From Lito V on March 06, 2014 :: 12:42 am

Samsung Galaxy Core won’t play when connected to Bose Soundlink mini, Phone states: “Connected” but the player stays at 00:00 seconds and don’t play at all. any advice? Do I need to DL new drivers?


If it's connected, it's not

From Suzanne Kantra on March 06, 2014 :: 11:33 am

If it’s connected, it’s not a Bluetooth profile problem. Is the Soundlink connected to any other device? If so, make sure it’s disconnected. If not, I’d “forget” the Soundlink on your Core and then repair with the SoundLink.


yes It's Connected...

From Lito V on March 06, 2014 :: 9:07 pm

yes it’s connected says the Core but the player wont move forward it’s as if its on PAUSE, I tried to connect to my Onkyo receiver with bluetooth its just the same thing. I turned off every other bluetooth around, as you see my iphone, sony ericsson and the galaxy tab and samsung dous worked well with both Onkyo Receiver and the Bose speaker. It could only be the Core’s problem, I tried googlin around and I found out that core has vers.4 bluetooth while the others has Vers.3 could this be the answer to all of these?


Bluetooth 4 vs. Bluetooth 3

From Suzanne Kantra on March 07, 2014 :: 10:50 am

Bluetooth 4 vs. Bluetooth 3 isn’t the issue. What app are you using to play audio and is it the same app you’re using on your other Bluetooth devices?

The app im using is

From Lito V on March 07, 2014 :: 10:54 pm

The app im using is winamp and PowerAmp so as the built in players, it all work fine with the other phones and tabs only the core wont play

connecting 2 headsets

From Dave Price on March 11, 2014 :: 5:05 am

My wife and I each have bluetooth headsets in our motorcycle helmets and want to connect to a Samsung tablet to listen to music as well as for use as an intercom. The instructions say only one can connect at a time. Is there any way around this?


I know that there are

From Suzanne Kantra on April 10, 2014 :: 1:45 pm

I know that there are speakers that can simultaneously pair to a device. That type of support, though, is something that the speaker manufacturer implements. So in your case, the helmet manufacturer would have to implement it. If you haven’t asked the helmet manufacturer already, that would be my first step.


phone contacts not paired with vehicle bluetooth

From Gary A on March 17, 2014 :: 1:44 pm

I have a 2008 BMW X5 and a Samsung Galaxy S3 cell phone.  I can pair the audio from the phone but I am not able to pair the cell phone’s contact list.  A popup screen comes up on the phone asking if I want to pair the contacts.  I tap OK, the screen goes away and momentarily comes back with the same popup screen asking if I want to pair the contacts.  I am not able to get my contacts to pair with my vehicle’s bluetooth,


sporadic service

From Robert Mandell on February 12, 2016 :: 3:10 pm

Bluetooth and phone sporadically connect in car. When it connects I can hear person calling. However they cannot hear me.


Only some contact paired

From Peter on March 17, 2014 :: 4:37 pm

Having made many attempts to pair phone and car( both new) only 17 of the 49 contacts have been paired. Even the garage and shop cannot understand why


Razr M with Sony BT Mex 3100

From Elliot on March 22, 2014 :: 3:14 am

I recently bought a Razr M phone and it won’t sync with my Sony BT Mex 3100 car stereo.  Have you heard of any problems between the two syncing?



From kandyce on February 02, 2017 :: 3:45 pm

How would you know if it would work? have u tryed it yet?


Bluetooth headset for Samsung Galaxy S3 and Windows 7

From Ajith Silva on March 28, 2014 :: 8:07 am

Can anyone help find a Bluetooth Headset that support for a Samsung Galaxy S3 and Windows 7?


Plantronics Voyager Legend

From Josh Kirschner on March 28, 2014 :: 8:38 am

Our top pick, the Plantronics Voyager Legend, should work fine with both a GS3 and Windows 7. You can read our review here:


Bluetooth headset for Samsung Galaxy S3 and Windows 7

From Ajith Silva on March 28, 2014 :: 8:47 am

Hi Josh,

Thanks for your quick reply. This is for one of my friends. I will let him know and come back to you if it works for him.


car bluetooth phone hangs

From ishan on April 10, 2014 :: 12:14 pm

Hi. I am using sony xav70bt 2din player in my car. The problem with this is while using as a BT phone, to make voice calls, after disconnecting call it hangs. It shows incoming call / with held messages on screen and a call dial animation though call is already disconnected in phone. Any solution for this. Device works properly with my non android mobile. Also, if call disconnects without answering there is no issues.


Pairing with handsfree

From Gaby on April 16, 2014 :: 6:28 am

I have a new 809T smartphone.
It identifies the car handsfree (comf_comp VT05a)but when trying to pair with it, I get the following message, even without being prompted to enter a PIN:
“Couldn’t pair with comf_comp VT05a because of an incorrect PIN or passkey.”
When tapping the handsfree tag on the phone in order to enter the handsfree menu, there is no menu.
The smartphone connects correctly to my laptop and when tapping the laptop tag I get a menu from which I can can cancel the connection.

I there any fix to this problem?


How do I reset my bluetooth?

From marita romine on April 17, 2014 :: 2:28 am

My old phone ino linger operational. It will not even turn on.  I got a new phone but I cannot pair it to my Bluetooth because it is still paired to my old phone. Is there a way to clear or rest my Bluetooth without being able to even turn my old phone on. Help!


Use the reset button

From Josh Kirschner on April 24, 2014 :: 7:28 am

All bluetooth devices have some sort of reset button that will “unpair” them. Check your user manual to find out where it is for your device. If you don’t still have the user manual, you can probably find it online with a Google search.


iphone contact numbers aligned to bluetooth in my car

From jeremy on April 24, 2014 :: 6:05 am

I have aligned my recently purchased iphone to my BMW bluetooth. However all the numbers on the BMW screen have the word “mobile” in brackets and the voice instruction does not recognise my voice command - in fact answers in German when it is programmed to be English. Help!!


Try the BMW "genius" line

From Josh Kirschner on April 24, 2014 :: 7:37 am

Every device is unique when it comes to Bluetooth, so it is difficult to provide help for individual products/circumstances. I would call the BMW Genius line to see if they can sssist:


Finding bluetooth

From Rockynrobyn on April 27, 2014 :: 4:18 pm

I have a new smartphone Linux LG and a new Ford escape SE 2014. The bluetooth is turned on but when trying to pair the two it says “no phone found”. I have tried everything possible that I know of. Any suggestions?


Bluetooth audio issues during phone calls

From Evelio Hoyo on May 10, 2014 :: 4:11 pm

I have a GPS DVD in dash unit on my car that has Bluetooth function. I have a Galaxy S4 and when I pair it with my car unit the Bluetooth connection is fine.
When I receive or make a phone call using this way, I can listen to the person that is speaking with me very well, but that person can’t hear me at all.
I want to know what it is really happening and how to fix this issue, if somebody can help me I would appreciate a lot.
The unit in my car has a built-in microphone.
I know that my phone is good because I do the same Bluetooth at another car that has similar unit and there is no problem.


Skill candy headphone

From Greg Payne on March 10, 2017 :: 6:21 pm

My skillcandy headphones theyll be working then after like 5 min they shut off when im listening to music. Then i have to repair them again


Keyboards not pairing

From Mark Hanna on June 20, 2014 :: 6:23 pm

I have had a Logitech K810 Bluetooth keyboard for awhile and it worked fine. Lately I have been unable to pair it with my laptop (Dell Vostro running Win7 64 bit). Sometimes it recognizes it and gives m a pairing code. It says it is connected but the icon is gray and cannot type. When I retried (several times) I don’t get a paring code, just failure message.

I bought a Microsoft Wedge and same problem. Initially it worked and now, nothing. No pairing code, just a failure message. Any thoughts?



Here are a couple ideas.

From Josh Kirschner on June 21, 2014 :: 11:09 am

First, see if there is an updated BT driver from Dell that you can download and install. If not, try reinstalling your current BT driver, some people have said that helped fix their issue. You may need to shut down the BT processes (bttray and btstackserver)first.

If neither of those work, some Dell owners have had success installing an alternate BT driver from Dell (i.e., for another model). Hope that helps you out!


Bluetooth dongle

From Tycho on January 15, 2017 :: 12:32 pm

Maybe try putting in a little usb dongle (from an bluetooth mouse?) the computer should install the drivers by himself.


Connecting to vehicle

From Michelle on July 24, 2014 :: 7:16 am

I have a Samsung Trend and have had it connected via bluetooth in my car for over a month with no problems.  For no apparent reason, the vehicle couldn’t find the phone.  I removed the phone from paired devices in the vehicle and tried to pair them.  The Vehicle then detected the phone and I was given the option code to input to the phone but the phone keeps giving me the error message that it cannĂ³t pair with the vehicle.  I have tried pairing the phone to my husbands car and it worked fine.  Any suggestions?? Someone suggested that I may have erroneously instructed the phone to forget the vehicle pairing but I can’t find a remedy for this either.


can't play to my component

From felix, jr. espinosa on October 06, 2014 :: 2:41 pm

for the past months i always play my favorite songs to my sony component trough my laptop via bluetooth and having no problem with it, but now it play anymore even if it already paired, but my other gadgets like cellphones can still play, only my laptop now is not able.. please give me some advise to adress my problem.. thank you and God bless..


Nissan car and mobile phone

From skris88 on August 01, 2014 :: 3:30 am

I have tried multiple mobile phones and all pair with my Nissan CONNECT car system for handsfree calls and Contact list access.  These include Apple iPhone and Andriod phones from Lenovo, LG and even some China- and India-made no-name branded ones.  But my two Samsungs do not.  One is a Galaxy Y (witb a QWERTY keyboard - just like a Blackberry!), and the other a Galaxy Tab. Both are Android.

Nissan, of course, say it’s not their ICE unit issue (and I tend to agree with them).

Anyone from Samsung reading this blog who might have a solution?

Or is the solution “Don’t ever buy Samsung mobile phones”!



Korean Japanese swap

From skris88 on October 12, 2014 :: 1:34 am

Nissan still had no response to my problem, so I decided to think “Inside” The Box, Japanese car, Japanese phone?  Got myself a Sony 6” Xperia T2 Ultra Dual SIM.  Worked from first go, not a single hiccup since.  Been 5 weeks now. Contact lists when added on my PC via Google Contacts appear on the car display with no drama. 

All good now!


smart, but a shame

From Josh Kirschner on October 13, 2014 :: 9:39 am

That was a clever idea, but shame you should have to resort to that to get things working.



From skris88 on October 18, 2014 :: 2:16 am

Well it’s documented here and it means Samsung and Nissan both will pay a price in sales, I’m sure! grin

I cannot believe in 2014 Bluetooth still has problems.  It’s just utter lack of customer care, that’s all.  Once they’ve got your money, etc etc…

lg tone pro 800 zte phone pairing problem

From james jenkins on July 05, 2016 :: 8:36 pm

my zte phone can find/pair/connect with lg tone pro 760 headphones, but can not even find my lg tone pro 800’s. lg and zte have no solution. any help? my moto e phone connects with both, no problems. zte phone finds every other bt around, but not lg 800’s.


A more expanded version of this online at

From Adan on August 25, 2014 :: 9:15 pm

The tips in this article are useful for general pairing problems, although I found something more comprehensive over at This is worth a look if you have connection problems, it helped me.


Pairing two bluetooth devices without an interface

From Tim Williams on October 02, 2014 :: 7:28 am


I have two devices that I would like to communicate together but neither device has an interface to pair to the other.  Is there anyway of pairing two devices without physically selecting the other device on one of the devices screens or interfaces?



Pairing Motorola Gleam+ with Land Rover Discovery 4

From Janet Berry on October 02, 2014 :: 10:09 am

I had an older Motorola Gleam which paired and worked fine but this one looks like it’s paired but it doesnt connect to the car.  I’ve tried unpairing and starting again but it still doesn’t work - any ideas how I can fix the issue?


my new htc mini 2

From ron harvey on October 10, 2014 :: 10:53 am

my new htc mini 2 pairs with my car but does not show names along side tel.nos


problem connecting to a healthy bracelet

From George Howell JR on October 12, 2014 :: 6:24 pm

I have a ZTE valet phone. when I try to connect by Bluetooth I get a incorrect pin or passkey. I tried about everything I can to get it to pair with it


The most common Bluetooth passkeys

From Suzanne Kantra on November 03, 2014 :: 4:28 pm

The most common Bluetooth passkeys are 0000 and 1234. If neither of these work, you’ll need to consult the manual of the device you’re trying to pair with your ZTE Valet phone. Hope this works!


Will not pair

From Kia on July 01, 2015 :: 11:53 am

Cannot get my Everlast EV 6816 model Wireless HeadPhones to pair up with my Metro PCS ZTE Zmax 970 cellphone :0( Help PlZ!


Where do I put in the PIN/passkey?

From stephanie on September 16, 2016 :: 4:56 pm

Where do I put in the PIN/passkey? Mine doesnt appear to give me an option to do this. I have an HTC One I am trying to pair with a set of polaroid earbuds


rest samsung tablet, now it wont find my bt speaker!

From Lisa Athens on October 24, 2014 :: 5:44 pm

i factory reset my tablet and now it wont find my bluetooth speaker to pair! Ugh! It found it briefly but when i went to pair it it said wrong password?? So when i turned it back off it wont even find it now! Ans im pretty computer illiterate so i will need like a step by step please! Like to tell me to just re pair it will do me absolutely no good. I have no idea how to do that. Thanks everybody for any help you can give.


Did you try resetting your

From Suzanne Kantra on November 03, 2014 :: 4:06 pm

Did you try resetting your bluetooth speaker and then trying to pair? What model speaker is it?


reset tablet amd now it Wont find my speaker

From Lisa Athens on November 14, 2014 :: 9:08 am

it is a JBL speaker. Samsung galaxy tablet. I got it to find it a couple times but when i went to pair it it said incorrect pin or password! I dont know how to reset te speaker. Can you tell me how to do that


Each speaker is different

From Josh Kirschner on November 14, 2014 :: 9:20 am

It’s hard to give instructions for resetting your specific speaker, as each model is different. Often there is a small reset button on the device. If you can’t find it, JBL ‘s technical support number: 1-800-336-4525.

helpppppp me

From Ria Thakur on August 16, 2015 :: 2:06 am

helpppppp me


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