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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 :: 747 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 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

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. 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]

Discussion loading

Skull Candy wireless

From Aimee Lawson on February 02, 2017 :: 8:53 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?


Connecting Blue Piston speaker

From Brian on February 04, 2017 :: 10:07 am


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!



Happy Valentines day

From Apna happy on February 07, 2017 :: 3:58 am



From Carenician on February 07, 2017 :: 11:14 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?


Blue tooth issue on iPhone 6+

From Tracy on February 07, 2017 :: 11:15 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?



From Chamba on February 07, 2017 :: 12:26 pm

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 :: 3:51 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


connecting phone to stereo problem

From shawn michael on May 09, 2020 :: 1:08 pm

following are different suggestions
hopefully you have it fixed by now, since thats been 3 years when you sent out the question.

turn off the BT on the phone, and back on after a few seconds
turn off your phone and turn back on.
delete the pairing to the item you have and re pair.

those are my suggestions.


android tablet 4.4.2

From Veronica on February 22, 2017 :: 6:37 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


#8 worked

From Tamaresque on February 24, 2017 :: 8:26 pm




From ian on February 25, 2017 :: 5:22 pm

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


You need to make sure

From Suzanne Kantra on March 03, 2017 :: 12:16 pm

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.


They can't hear me

From Ceanna on March 03, 2017 :: 5:23 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.


Since you can hear callers,

From Suzanne Kantra on March 03, 2017 :: 12:24 pm

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?


They can't hear me

From CEANNA on March 03, 2017 :: 4:10 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


Here are a few things

From Suzanne Kantra on March 03, 2017 :: 5:28 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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JBL Charge fixed

From Leo on March 18, 2017 :: 2:42 pm

Thanks for tip #8: delete device fr phone and rediscover.  Had tried everything (I thought) and had now pried it apart and was about to do a reboot by disconnecting battery. Last ditch research and your tips appeared. Thx again


My Handfree bluethooth mobil not paier and not connet plece sultion plece frainds

From Anas Jan Anas Jan on March 22, 2017 :: 5:31 am

Plece fast me frainds


pairing QCY-Q29_L

From Hilary on March 27, 2017 :: 11:02 am

Keep getting an error message from my Samsung tablet :unable to communicate with QCY-Q29_L….can someone help me? This is a first time pair with the tablet.


ya but none of it is working

From saif on March 28, 2017 :: 12:50 pm

al my bluetooth drivers are uptodate as well as on my android device…...any ide


As far as driver updates,

From Suzanne Kantra on March 29, 2017 :: 5:13 pm

As far as driver updates, that’s only relevant for computers. What are you trying to pair with your android device? What version of Android are you running?


Looks like you have the

From Suzanne Kantra on March 29, 2017 :: 5:10 pm

Looks like you have the pair the right ear piece out of the case to pair and then remove the left ear piece for it to connect to the right ear piece. If you’ve done that, I’d try forgetting the QCY Q29 on your Bluetooth list and put the headphones into pair mode again for a second try.


Bunch of BS

From Bryn on April 04, 2017 :: 3:04 pm

This doesn’t do anything to fix actual connection issues.


Bluetooth connectivity issues.

From Oscar on April 04, 2017 :: 11:12 pm

I recently purchased a new car stereo that supports bluetooth but when I attempt to connect my galaxy7 phone to it and play music, it registers as conected but no audio comes out. Then when I try to connect my phone to other bluetooth devices, the problem caries over to the devices that woeked previous to the pairing with the car stereo. I thought it was my phone but I tried two different brands and the same issue. Can a car stereo ruin my bluetooth? Only after doing a factory data reset on my phone was I able to connect to the Bluetooth devices and get audio again but not the car stereo.


BT paired,connected(no phone) with av receiver

From Ashim Kr Hore on April 18, 2017 :: 9:26 am

My mobile phone was nicely paired and connected wih onkyo av receiver and was playing music in mobile and streaming the audio thorough onkyo music system.But since last five days while trying to play music in my mobile no audio was heard in my system.AV receiver shows’ connected’ but in my mobile while connected with av receiver after pairing it becomes silent as it should be but no audio streaming in music system.While checked in mobile bluetooth connection it shows"connected (no phone)”.Tried by restarting, by clearing cache files but no positive result.While tried to play by pairing and connecting av receiver with another mobile it played smoothly in music system.while connecting my mobile with another mobile it connected fine data transfer is done smoothly.But couldn’t transfer audio to av receiver.Being myself a audiophile it’s a great trouble for me.Av receiver is working fine with my tv ,desktop,usb drive or even with other mobile phone.Any guidance to fix this is welcome.


For me restarting smartphone did

From Pedro s. on April 26, 2017 :: 6:57 am

For me restarting smartphone did the trick wink


Sure way to not get ripped off by bluetooth hype.

From Grinder on April 29, 2017 :: 9:17 pm

Make the salesman pair your device as a condition of sale. The land fills are full of discarded Bluetooth stuff. Trump tweets in bluetooth.


I can connect my phone

From facebook10155630950182971 on April 30, 2017 :: 9:18 am

I can connect my phone with my onkyo AV receiver via Bluetooth and play music from my phone easily and smoothly but since last few days while trying to connect the same pair, in my phone it shows ‘connected(no phone)’ and in the av receiver it is showing’ connect’ as earlier. In the phone the music continues to play but it’s speaker goes off but speaker systems fails to play. Tried by soft resetting but failed. Any guidance to rectify the same will be cordially accepted.


Bluetooth headphones show paired to iphone, but can't hear

From Judy Beach on May 09, 2017 :: 12:43 pm

Everything indicates my bluetooth headset is connected to my Iphone 7 properly. It shows connected on my phone, and the headset says it is connected. Once I make a phone call or try to receive a call, I hear nothing. :(


Even if you have everything

From Suzanne Kantra on May 09, 2017 :: 3:08 pm

Even if you have everything connected properly, the iPhone won’t necessarily select your headset when you make/receive a call. When you make or receive a call, tap on the Audio button on the screen (after you place a call, it’s to the right of the keypad button on the top row). When you tap the Audio button, you should see a white window slide up from the bottom that lets you select from the headset, your iPhone and the speaker. Selecting the headset should let you hear and turn on the headset’s microphone. Let me know if that doesn’t work.



From Judy Beach on May 17, 2017 :: 10:42 am

Thanks Suzanne, although I had tried that too. Turns out the only thing that worked was shutting down my iphone, and restarting it. It works fine now.



From zzzzz on May 18, 2017 :: 12:12 pm

Least helpful post I have ever seen.


Bluetooth disconnects when I start the car

From Jim K on May 19, 2017 :: 8:17 am

I connect my iphone successfully with car engine off as required but when I start the engine the BT connection fails. 
The problem just started recently.  Any ideas as to what the problem is that is causing this???


G4 won't reconnect to my unpaired PLT_M165

From Cody on May 19, 2017 :: 9:40 pm

I unpaired my head set and tried to pair it again, and it doesn’t show up dieing the scanning process anymore.


Yes, I totally agreed with

From Will Smith on May 25, 2017 :: 8:26 am

Yes, I totally agreed with you. Bluetooth depends on both hardware and software to work properly. So if your devices can’t pair to another device then you should restart both devices. Also check Bluetooth version on both devices because you can’t connect with latest devices that only support Bluetooth 4.0. Click here


Bluetooth Does not Work on my ION Block Rocker

From Israel Lopez on May 26, 2017 :: 10:29 am

It’s been a while since I Bought this ION Speaker, so now I don’t have warranty on it, Bluetooth stop working without reason, everything else work’s fine, someone of you guys Know what could be or what to do to fix it



Headset paired as keyboard

From Kim on June 08, 2017 :: 10:56 pm

When I tried to pair my bluetooth headphone with my PC, it’s always paired as keyboard, i tried different way (update driver, remove and add the device again, even use a bluetooth adapter) but the headphone is still recognized by the PC as a keyboard. Are there any solutions for that?


Bluetooth issu still there

From Uktv on June 09, 2017 :: 1:22 am

My Bluetooth pairing problem is still exist. I read your article. Need to apply your article steps. Ill let you further details on my bluetooth problem



From Keelan on June 14, 2017 :: 9:25 am

My headphones were working fine earlier today, but now my phones bluetooth cant find my headphones even though both are turned on and it was working fine earlier.
I connected to a computers Bluetooth earlier to watch a video, then disconnected it, and when I tried to sync my headphones back to my phones bluetooth it couldn’t connect. I’ve turned both off and on again and restarted my phone three times but it simply can’t find my headphones bluetooth? There doesn’t seem to be any clear reason why this is happening?


Sending file via bluetooth from mobile phone to pc Windows 7

From facebook408204546239768 on June 16, 2017 :: 1:07 am

For WINDOWS 7 click Start, Devices and Printers.
Double-click your bluetooth mobile phone to open the Bluetooth Device Control.
In the lower left click on Open Bluetooth settings.
Under Discovery, check the box Allow bluetooth devices to find this computer.
Click COM Ports tab.
Click Add…
Select the Incoming (device initiates connection) radio button.
Click OK, and allow it to automatically add a com port.
Click Done.

Now when you send the file from the cell phone to the computer, a message box will appear in the system tray indicating a file is incoming. Click the message box to accept the file. The box will choose a folder for you to save the file.


bluetooth connetion problem

From jagsir singh on June 16, 2017 :: 12:52 pm

An unexpected error occurred.Pkease contact your systemb administrtor


Best Module Of All

From Larry Jones on June 26, 2017 :: 8:53 am

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. Can you help please?



From Mike on June 26, 2017 :: 12:43 pm

I have an alta hr fitbit…it paired fine with my samsung s7 edge then it stopped…i have tried to unpair it..but it unpaired the car my speaker and it wont unpair the alta hr..turned bluetooth off and on in the app…deleted fitbit and re-installed it..still wont says bluetooth is the problem….what have i not confused…


Have you tried removing the

From Suzanne Kantra on July 03, 2017 :: 12:48 pm

Have you tried removing the Alta HR from the Fitbit app and then re-pairing? If you tap on the device in the Fibit app and then scroll all the way down, you’ll see the option to “Remove This Alta HR.”


mini coopers 2011 pair with lg g6 phone

From mark on July 02, 2017 :: 6:37 pm

I can not get these two to pair, help!!  Phone says pairing, but the car will not pop up an add button to let me put in a code. it just says delete prior, pair, help and bt. When I het pair, it just shows me the info with car name which I alreadyclicked on phone. please help. How do I get car to let me ad phone-code-numbers to be seen to enter code



From Bryan on July 06, 2017 :: 5:02 pm

This seems to be all basic instructions on connecting a Bluetooth device.

None of this helps to fix the actual problem of ANDROID CONSTANTLY NOT CONNECTING TO BLUETOOTH DEVICES. Every other day, I have to RIP OUT THE BATTERY and restart my stupid Galaxy phone just to get the F^@#ING STUPID BLUETOOTH working again.

It’s obviously an OS issue and NOT a PROBLEM with my HEADPHONES - especially since it HAPPENS TO EVERY BLUETOOTH DEVICE I HAVE.


Soundpeats qy7

From facebook1930451033635419 on July 06, 2017 :: 8:55 pm

My Bluetooth rosebuds did pair and connect until my phone needed to be hard reset now it doesn’t show up


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