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How to Fix Bluetooth Pairing Problems

by on December 23, 2017
in Phones and Mobile, Computers and Software, Phone Accessories, Tips & How-Tos :: 462 comments

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 3 billion Bluetooth products that were expected to ship last year alone, and that number will likely almost double within the next three years.

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, announced last year, 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 pairing failures

1.  Make sure Bluetooth is turned on. You should see the little Bluetooth symbol at the top of your phone’s screen. If you don’t, go into the settings to enable it.

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. Other times, you can just physically touch your phone to the device you want to pair it with. Or in the case of the Bose SoundLink, you only have to hold down a button on the speaker to pair it with a phone.

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 you 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.

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. Power down likely interferers. Say that faithful Bluetooth speaker usually connects to your partner's smartphone instead of yours. If you're having trouble pairing your phone with the speaker, it could be because the speaker is trying to activate its usual connection. Some older devices are very simple. They just try to connect with the last thing they paired with. If a Bluetooth device was previously paired with something else, turn off that other gadget.

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

9. Get away from the Wi-Fi 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,” Powell says.

10. Move away from a USB 3.0 port. “Interference from USB 3.0 is also possible,” Powell says. 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 devices, go to Settings > Bluetooth 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 and right click on the Bluetooth device in question. Then select the Services tab to choose which types of information to share.

15. Clear the Blutooth cache (Android only). Sometimes apps will interfere with Bluetooth operation and clearing the cache can solve the problem. Go Settings > Backup and restart > Reset network settings. 

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 12/23/2017

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



Discussion loading

just do this method

From Durai Sami on October 19, 2016 :: 11:39 pm

Just do simple method connect your bluetooth headset with usb charging and push power on button now the headset pair will reset (note: the red light will blink red blue red blue red) and disconnect usb charger now turn on headset and easily pair with your phone

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Bluetooth of Huawei Y6 Pro

From Hewyear on November 05, 2016 :: 12:34 am

I have same problem with y mobile Huawei Y6 pro where i can not connect my wireless bluetooth device and i am unable to connect it.Screen shots of this error are given at http://hnewyear.com/interesting-and-cool-new-year-status-2017-quotes-for-friends/

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HALP PLZ

From Spojen on November 16, 2016 :: 10:02 am

So i have a MX Anywhere 2 mouse that dont show up on my computer after i “forgot” it. Is it a way to make it appear again? I`m using Windows 10 btw.

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about blue tooth

From Muhammad Usama Akram on November 19, 2016 :: 5:00 am

Hello! I use blue tooth adapter and when I use Bluetooth thearting to PC so my connection is on .after some moment automatic threatening off why

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ear buds

From David on November 22, 2016 :: 11:39 am

I have Plantronics Backbeat Go 2 ear buds that worked on my old Nokia phone but my new Samsung J36V doesn’t recognize it.  It recognizes my fitbit watch.

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Paired to car unit but audio not connected.

From PohLin Ho on November 26, 2016 :: 8:05 am

I recently bought a Huawei Mate 9. I paired it with my new VW Passat Variant. The phone works. I can make and receive calls from the car unit. However the media cannot work. It says"Device not connected”. The sound does not come out of my phone when played and neither does it come from the car unit.
HELP!!!
Poh Lin

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my note 2 pairs with

From erique on November 28, 2016 :: 6:11 am

my note 2 pairs with my Lg cm 9530 but streams delayed broken sound,it pair and plays clear on other Hoofers what can be the problem?

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There's Bluetooth, and there's not

From Phlurim on December 04, 2016 :: 8:01 pm

The only thing I’ve learned here is that Bluetooth, like many other technological consumer products, is a buyers’ maze full of costly stumbling blocks. Vendor hype never seems to distinguish ALL the h/w and s/w that will and will not work with their Bluetooth products until AFTER the buyer has already researched and bought. As an electrical engineer, I feel I’m an above average tech person, but even I’ve gotten stung more than once by the vendors’ maze. It seems that new generations of a product are being sold without even minimal legacy compatibility. Buyers who would like the features of their product to continue to be usable for at least 4-5 years from purchase date, say, are simply SOL. I remember the fun I used to have devising work-arounds to use legacy versions of h/w or s/w. But products seem to have been “dumbed down” so much that buying new every couple years is becoming the only option. That generates a LOT of macro-economic waste!

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Bluetooth h/phone won't play in both earcups and vise versa when using cable too.

From Amadu Rufayi on December 09, 2016 :: 3:10 am

I have a creative Bluetooth headphone wp380 hitz. The problem is it won’t play on one side of the earcup when connected to Bluetooth and vice versa when I connect it with cable also.Can anyone relate to this problem and pls give me a solution to this. Thank you.

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http://picki.ir/

From پیکی on December 09, 2016 :: 5:18 pm

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Bluetooth Sound broken problem

From KAJARUBAN on March 10, 2018 :: 11:30 pm

my Panasonic SC-VKX95 Hifi Setup when is Bluetooth Connecting not any issued but not clear and broken sound, but some other Place some device is clearly worked. what can be the problem please give me the any option

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New Year Wallpapers For Laptop

From New Year Wallpapers For Laptop on December 10, 2016 :: 3:02 am

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Blutooth trouble

From Kim lay on December 11, 2016 :: 3:22 pm

Why want my jabra bluetooth headset pair up with my lg g3 cell phone… It doesn’t give me option to pair headphones.. When unjust had a pair set up a week ago… What’s wrong

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Fixed! Thanks!

From Darren Colton on December 11, 2016 :: 3:40 pm

My ipod & Bluetooth Headphones have worked great together for the past couple of months as the headphones are new but the ipod is like 5 years old! But all of a sudden they wouldn’t work & pair up together! (?!) No matter what I seemed to do nothing worked until now!! This suggestion here to get away from any wifi did the trick!!! So I took my ipod & Bluetooth headphones outside & far away from my wifi. Turned them both off & on & they instantly paired up again! Thanks!! smile

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Bluetooth

From Mahesh on December 13, 2016 :: 5:49 am

Its really working. Thanks for help

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Bluetooth Headset wont connect

From Dárius Rus on December 16, 2016 :: 10:26 am

Hi. So I own a Qilive Q2103 wireless, bluetooth headset. Worked fine with my Samsung Note4 till today when It suddenly stopped the connection and wont connect even after I took a few tries. I removed the device from praied devices and now it doesnt find it…can some1 tip me with smth to fix it? I need music on the road :‘C

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Wishes Quotes Cards

From Happy New Year 2017 on December 17, 2016 :: 5:24 pm

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My Whatsapp Status

From Jiya Mustehsan on December 18, 2016 :: 2:51 pm

Nice Post about how to repair Bluetooth.Keep it up.have Fun</div>

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Thanks for your nice post,

From dilruba hasan on December 21, 2016 :: 5:33 am

Thanks for your nice post, it’s so much very informative post. Currently, Bluetooth headphone technology is very popular. Today we are not comfort using a wire or cable. That’s why Bluetooth headphones are used by millions of people every day for work and play.  Bluetooth phone comes in the market besides Bluetooth headphone which works as like Bluetooth headphone.
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Headphone problems

From Lucas on January 04, 2017 :: 11:20 pm

I removed a pair of Bluetooth headphones from my laptop, now it’s not showing up on my list of discoverable devices.

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BT makes butt itch

From IDtenT Error on January 15, 2017 :: 2:59 pm

When I turn my BT on, my bottom get numb.

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I founnd this helpful --Thanks!

From Stewart Vriesinga on January 21, 2017 :: 8:05 pm

I was almost at the point of returning my JLAB Eclipse Supra Fit as defective because it couldn’t see Bluetooth devices. It wouldn’t list them, much less pair with them and repeatedly told my there were no Bluetooth device to connect to. I was frustrated and, in part because the store I bought it from was about to close, I looked on line. I found the manual and was following all the instructions correctly, and other devices—my laptop, my phone, my hearing aids,my tablet—were all connecting without problems. Or at least they WERE connecting, albeit not always to the device I wanted.

After reading your tips I moved away from the router and laptop, and made sure all devices other than the speaker I wanted to connect to were turned off, and it found the speaker and I was able to pair/connect it! Thanks!

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Glad it worked!

From Josh Kirschner on January 22, 2017 :: 4:45 pm

These connection issues can be very frustrating so glad you got things working!

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htc one s with a sony wireless MDR-RF811R STEREO HEADPHONES

From nambasi emmanuel on November 22, 2017 :: 9:46 am

I am quite confused with these headphones I just bought from my friend who also does not know how to connect them. The power button is a left to right switch which cannot be held to light blue like other divices I have been familiar with. Pliz help me with my excitement. Emah.

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Car Bluetooth

From Marie on January 07, 2018 :: 10:04 pm

Hi

All of a sudden my husbands handsfree in the car is giving an interference sound on outgoing calls. Hard for google voice to hear his phone request but once connected it is normal connection. It’s a Samsung S5 and has just starting doing it in the last week or so. Have unpaired etc but doesn’t fix the noice. Can you think of what it could be plllleeeasse

Cheers Marie

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Is this common or a setting issue

From Zero-Effect on January 23, 2017 :: 5:26 am

I just went out and got a Sentry B400 B.T. headset, and paired it with my laptop running Win 10 Pro.  The issue I am having come from when I have to recharge the blue tooth headset or laptop.  I power them off and charge them up then when I power them back on the headset automatically goes into pairing mode even though according to the laptop it states they are connected.  I cant get anything out of the headset, unless I delete the pairing and re-pair the headset back to the laptop every time I need to power down either the headset, the laptop or both…Any thoughts?

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Try Airplane Mode

From Chris on January 23, 2017 :: 7:05 pm

I’ve been having trouble pairing since I came back from a trip. I forgot the device and then did all of the troubleshooting. None of it worked. I took a trip recently and had to use airplane mode, so I tried turning on airplane mode, and it worked! I then turned airplane mode off, and I’m still connected. I don’t know why, but this worked for me, and it might work for someone else.

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Cannot get my Galaxy Luna to even find my Uproar Wireless Headphones

From Tracey Hagemo on January 27, 2017 :: 8:30 am

Seriously making me mad!  What the heck am I doing wrong?  Cannot even find them to pair.

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JBL headphones to iPhone

From Ryan Jones on January 27, 2017 :: 4:08 pm

So I bought pretty decent wireless headphones that work great when the phone or headset isnt in motion. (which is what I didnt check when buying them) as soon as i move they cut out and in. Its constant like every time i move my head or the phone. Isnt the point to be so you can move??? I havnt updated my iphone 6 in over a year which Im seeing could possibly be the problem but probably not. Any ideas?

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HiI have this problem with

From John Julius Casio on January 30, 2017 :: 3:51 pm

Hi
I have this problem with my ueboom2.
For some reason when I try to connect to my device when pairing it only says that error pin number or pass key. So i try my sister’s phone it work. What is my problem with my phone (im using 5.1 andoid).And I notice in the pairing the logo of my speaker is not a headset. What do I fix this

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Having issue my speaker

From Meohmyoh on October 29, 2017 :: 5:45 pm

Ok when I told my bluetooth to forget speaker other night I thought when I do the search I could

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From crictime on February 02, 2017 :: 4:49 am

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Cast not woking on W10

From Samantha on February 02, 2017 :: 6:27 pm

I can pair my HP laptop running Windows 10 with my Motorola android phone, but when I try to cast music in Windows media player it shows the available device as my neighbour’s unpaired TV instead of my paired phone, any ideas how to fix it? I have tried all combinations of restarting and repairing and am really fed up with it. Thanks

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Skull Candy wireless

From Aimee Lawson on February 02, 2017 :: 7:53 pm

I have a pair of wireless skullcandy headphones and i also got a memorex boom box that has bt, however i cannot get these two to pair up, i have tried everything, what do i do?

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Connecting Blue Piston speaker

From Brian on February 04, 2017 :: 9:07 am

Hello,

Have to thank you! I couldn’t connect my Blue Piston speaker to my Mac. But it worked great on my iPhone so as I read through your article you said to make sure you were away from the WIFI source. So I tried turning off my WIFI on my Mac and boom the speaker appeared!

Thanks,
Brian

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Happy Valentines day

From Apna happy on February 07, 2017 :: 2:58 am

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Carenician

From Carenician on February 07, 2017 :: 10:14 am

my note 2 pairs with my Lg cm 9530 but streams delayed broken sound,it pair and plays clear on other Hoofers what can be the problem?

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Blue tooth issue on iPhone 6+

From Tracy on February 07, 2017 :: 10:15 am

My iPhone will pair up with my Apple Watch and my car through Bluetooth but I cannot get it to pair with speakers or Bluetooth headphones .  The little Bluetooth thing just keeps spinning I’ve tried shutting the phone completely off I’ve turn the Bluetooth on and off and he suggestIons?

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Samsung

From Chamba on February 07, 2017 :: 11:26 am

My mobile samsung glaxay j7 prime bluetooth is not connect any device plz tell me how to fix the problem any idea

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Connecting my A5 with my 2016 Escape

From Megan Regnier on February 21, 2017 :: 2:51 am

I recently purchased a 2016 Ford Escape and while my Escape recognizes my phone, my phone won’t allow my Escape to connect via bluetooth. I’d love to fix that because I’m on call a lot for work and need to be able to respond to calls

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android tablet 4.4.2

From Veronica on February 22, 2017 :: 5:37 am

HI I have tried to pair my generic bluetooh to the android tablet 4.4.2 and butbit continues to give me the message no nearby device found can someone please help me the bluetooh is 4.1 generic brand thanks

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#8 worked

From Tamaresque on February 24, 2017 :: 7:26 pm

Yay!

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bluetooth

From ian on February 25, 2017 :: 4:22 pm

My phone and laptop are paired but won’t connect saying pan server fault?

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You need to make sure

From Suzanne Kantra on March 03, 2017 :: 11:16 am

You need to make sure that Bluetooth tethering is turned on. You should find this on your phone under Settings > Wireless & Networks > More > Tetherng & portable hotspot. Then select Bluetooth tethering to turn it on. Once tethering is on, you should be able to connect to the Internet with your laptop.

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They can't hear me

From Ceanna on March 03, 2017 :: 4:23 am

When I connect my phone to my jvc car Bluetooth I can play music just find but if I receive or make calls they can’t hear me but I Can hear them and I have to switch phone to speaker or headset. I have paired 3 different phones and its always the same, plays music but if I make a call the person on the other end can’t hear me but I hear them .Can you please help me its driving me crazy.

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Since you can hear callers,

From Suzanne Kantra on March 03, 2017 :: 11:24 am

Since you can hear callers, it sounds like the microphone on the receiver could be physically blocked or malfunctioning.

Which model of JVC in-dash receiver is it? And what type of phones have you paired?

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They can't hear me

From CEANNA on March 03, 2017 :: 3:10 pm

I have a JVC Arsenal KW-V200BTand I have tried connecting a HTC phone,BLU phone,and rite now I have an Alcatel phone. While connected to car Bluetooth it recognizes the dial of numbers like call my voicemail and add password people just can’t hear me

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Here are a few things

From Suzanne Kantra on March 03, 2017 :: 4:28 pm

Here are a few things to try:

Locate the microphone and make sure it isn’t being physically blocked. (It’s also possible the mic became unplugged or was never plugged into the back during installation.)

Test the mic to see if your receiver hears your voice commands.

When you’re taking a call, have you tried boosting the microphone level on the display? I see in the manual that there is a volume level adjustment for the microphone in the lower right—which is only available when you’re in a call.

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