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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

İtem 8 solved mt bt problem. Thanks

From Peter on January 07, 2018 :: 9:53 am

İten 8 solvedd myy bluetooth issue. Tanks a lott.


headphones wont connect

From ava rose goodwalt on January 07, 2018 :: 11:59 pm

i got my vivitar headphones 2 weeks ago and they were working fine untill they stopped pairing to my chrome book. Help!


Sx 991 Bluetooth

From Adam Rogers on January 15, 2018 :: 4:17 pm

Bluetooth pairs but the mic does not work to receive phone calls or use Google assist.


Bluetooth connected but with error "NO PHONE"

From Karthikeyan on January 16, 2018 :: 5:20 am

Hey!  Thanks for the article I was looking for a problem that I faced in Jabra Talk on Lenovo K3 Note. Though the headset was paired and in use, sometimes it get connected with message “NO PHONE” and stops working. i.e. the Phone shows blue tooth headset in connected mode but not able to speak/listen to calls in the headset. The problem got solved by unpairing the headset and restarting the phone and pairing it again. Hope it is helpful to others who face similar problem. Thanks..


Bluetooth key board and galaxy tab A

From Blair on January 17, 2018 :: 6:27 pm

I was using it yesterday and now when I go to use it it says it’s “Unable to connect to Bluetooth input device while being used as a Bluetooth input device” what does that mean? I’ve went into settings turned each of them off, and its not working. I’m very confused


Sounds like your Tab A

From Suzanne Kantra on January 17, 2018 :: 6:54 pm

Sounds like your Tab A thinks the keyboard is being used by another device. Did you only pair the keyboard with the tablet? And what else is your tablet paired with that would be nearby?


can't unpair from broken device

From amanda whybrow on January 18, 2018 :: 2:47 pm

My smartphone screen is broken & so I can’t use settings. How can I unpair my SoundPeats Q7 earphones in order to pair to new phone? They don’t want to pair to a 2nd device. Thanks


Bluetooth headset

From Sridhar on January 24, 2018 :: 11:17 pm

The Bluetooth headset is not connected in my mobile.
Bluetooth headset name not showing in display
How to connecting the Bluetooth headset


Trouble connecting android to bluetooth speaker

From LaTasha on January 26, 2018 :: 1:35 pm

I had trouble connecting my smartphone to my polaroid bluetooth speaker, but after reading your article and applying the methods you explained I was able to connect thank you for this article.


Glad it helped!

From Josh Kirschner on January 26, 2018 :: 2:11 pm

Always happy to hear when we’re able to help people out. Thank you for letting us know.


its fine I guess

From CARLEY on May 04, 2021 :: 3:24 pm

can you help me connect my Bluetooth?


BT and windows 10 phones.

From Michael Nutting on January 30, 2018 :: 3:18 pm

I read with interest the number of articles about issues with win 10 phones and BT connections failing or not re connecting on subsequent connections with the same device.

It can be seen that some smart phones like Samsung S8, S8+ and I phones re connect to the paired devices automatically once in range however with windows this is not the case especially found with win 10 phones and connection via BT and a car, here it is required to always connect the phone with the car to do this on the win 10 phone when in the car open BT settings on the phone and select the paired device needing connection hit connect and away you go it works all the time, just remember always go to BT settings on the win 10 phone and hit connect.


Which device

From Kirstie on February 02, 2018 :: 1:54 pm

I have Bluetooth headphones which I think are connected to another device, I want to connect them to my iPod touch and although when I listen to them they say connected it isn’t to my iPod, how can I clear the memory of devices on my headphones ( they are standard vol up and vol down button and main button in middleJ


Solved my issue

From Andrew Ravenwood on February 03, 2018 :: 8:15 am

Thanks for number 6. I had a phone blocking the connection.
Was driving me bonkers. Thanks


Won't connect

From Tammy on February 06, 2018 :: 3:00 pm

If all else fails…ALL ..u have to do is keep trying it in your spare may take a few days ..meaning 1-2 or up to 4 days…just keep trying will eventually connect..



From Ratul on February 08, 2018 :: 12:33 pm

Bluetooth I cannot Find my bluetooth headset device… you have any answer


Can' pair ever!

From Sonnycanuck on September 15, 2021 :: 3:48 pm

an’t pair for past month.  Used to pair earlier but no device on right side



From Lyn on February 08, 2018 :: 5:45 pm

I keep deleting a phone from my car radio. The phone that keeps adding itself is not a phone I own. How is that even possible.


Thanks for the help I

From Austin on February 14, 2018 :: 8:25 am

Thanks for the help I really needed the help


bluetooth audio connection problem

From Shay on February 14, 2018 :: 8:41 am

All of a sudden the bluetooth audio in my car won’t connect to my phone. They only pair with call audio but will not connect with media audio. Please help?


miniso mini speaker vs lenovo ideapad100s win10

From e3 on February 23, 2018 :: 2:50 pm

Hi & thanks for your post,

Went through your tips but unsuccessful yet trying to pair my Miniso Minispeaker with my Win10 Lenovo Ideapad 100s. On first attempt, the BT detected the speaker name but failed showing a Try connecting again yellow caption. Tried again million times. Now BT doesn’t even find the device. They’re both charged. Speakers work on every other device I connect them to.

THanks again!


Still doesn't work

From Psswrd Confusion1? on February 27, 2018 :: 12:57 pm

My. bluetooth worked just fine in my car for 3 plus years with my IPhone 6. Last week
I Had a new battery put in my car and it hasn’t worked since. Any suggestions?


Did you try deleting your phone from the car?

From Josh Kirschner on February 27, 2018 :: 3:10 pm

Did you try deleting your phone from the car and re-pairing it? Also, deleting the car from your phone before re-pairing?


Earpiece not pairing with GS7

From Kendall Maine on March 01, 2018 :: 9:35 pm

I have a GS7 and a brand new Plantronics PLT. I have had the earpiece for a couple days and it worked fine. I had to do a hard reset on the phone and now the earpiece won’t pair. I have tried all the normal advice. i.e., wiping the cache, powering off the devices then powering them back on, even another factory reset. Nothing is working. Is there anything else I can do?


Bluetooth speaker

From Nithish on March 18, 2018 :: 12:45 pm

I have a srs btv 5 Sony Bluetooth speaker. It’s pairing but no sound.


Bluetooth speaker

From Nithish on March 18, 2018 :: 12:49 pm

I hv A Sony srv bts 5 bluetooth speaker


Device not showing up

From Birb on March 24, 2018 :: 9:57 am

So I have had wireless headphones for about 3 months now and they connected just fine to my phone. Today however when I turned on bluetooth on my phone and turned on the headphones the headphones didn’t even show up on my phone so I could not connect them.
Anyone know what could be the issue and how I could fix it?


Did you follow steps above?

From Josh Kirschner on March 26, 2018 :: 9:58 am

Try the steps above and let us know if they worked.


1sheeld and bluetooth

From Jennifer Flynn on March 25, 2018 :: 8:25 pm

I am doing a group project with 1sheeld+ android studio and arudino. I am having terrible issues connecting 1sheeld+ to my phone app. If I turn on bluetooth before I run the app it asks for a pin, which should be either 0000 or 1234. It does not accept either. It asks if 1sheeld is ready for pairing. Does anyone know anything about this? I am searching everywhere online for info on this. please advise if someone knows.


JHV blue Tooth Ear buds

From Alan MacDonald on April 13, 2019 :: 1:27 am

first of all it didn’t pair with my phone and the instruction manual was hard to read as well



From Eddie on March 31, 2018 :: 1:42 am

How do I pair a Samsung tab A(2016) with an iPhone X, having problems pairing them.


It fixed it

From Prosperken on April 01, 2018 :: 4:40 pm

Thanks, this fixed it. I also installed an android app to facilitate it


My phone cannot find my headphones

From Kaitlyn on April 02, 2018 :: 6:43 pm

I recently got a new phone and I’m trying to pair my wireless headphones to it and my phone cannot find my headphones. I’ve tried everything I can think of trying to get these things to pair and both are new so I don’t understand the problem. Headphones worked just fine with my old device and I don’t understand why it won’t work.


thank you!

From jackie on April 13, 2018 :: 11:56 am

beautiful, had the trekz titanium that wasn’t pairing with my iPhone.  did the soft shut down (going to airplane mode then back) and it paired right up.  THANK YOU!


Thank you for this article!

From Amber Towle on April 19, 2018 :: 5:59 pm

Thank you for this article! It turns out my power saving mode kept disconnecting my bluetooth keyboard.



From kobs on April 21, 2018 :: 4:08 pm

I have these skull candy BT buds and all of a sudden they couldn’t be paired. Ipod saw it but that device said it wasn’t on. Told the ipod to forget that JIB device and rediscovered it it works… Thanks wink


need help

From cj on April 23, 2018 :: 1:50 pm

my computer is a peice of &*&^%^%^&*^%



From DH on April 23, 2018 :: 9:30 pm

My Woodulisten speaker will not pair with my SanDisk Clip Sport MP3 player, but easily pairs with my other Bluetooth devices.  Any suggestions?



From kobs on April 23, 2018 :: 10:37 pm

Try what I did, remove the speakers from your player (somewhere it must give the name of your speakers in the list of pairing devices in your player) and let it find it again. I had the same problem with my earbuds and it worked.


left side earbud is not working

From Dhaval Vora on April 27, 2018 :: 12:16 am

i have sync by 50 in-ear bt (wireless device)
and problem is left side earbud is canecting time is working and play the song but after 5 mints left side is not working and right is working
so help me and how to solw this problem


Sync brand headphones had issues

From Josh Kirschner on April 30, 2018 :: 10:48 am

The SYNC by 50 Wireless In-Ear Sport headphones received poor user reviews on Amazon. While the product is no longer available, looking at the cached information, they had 2.7 out of 5 stars, with many users complaining of Bluetooth connection issues.

If you’re looking for something better, we just put out our guide on The Best Wire-free In-ear Headphones. Or, if you’re not looking to spend as much, see our Guide to Bluetooth Headphones Under $50


Me too! HELP!!!

From Ryah Majestic Ritthaler on April 30, 2018 :: 9:53 am

I am having the exact same issue! I don’t see a reply for you. Have you figured out a solution?



From kobs on April 30, 2018 :: 10:22 am

So what you’re saying is your earbuds work but after 5 mins. the left side goes off right? It might be your earbuds cause it seems that when they have time to “heat up” per se, one of them disconnect. If you can borrow someone else’s earbuds you would have your answer, i doubt that another pair would do the same thing but if it does you still have your answer, it’s your phone/device. When BT connects it’s connected or it’s not, it will not play from one side to the other it will just cut and come back if you’re too far from the source .
Good luck


having truble with turning on otium sport earphones

From Jessi Rodriguez on May 05, 2018 :: 10:00 pm

my earphones dont want to turn on and its fully charged, but when i plug them in to a charger ta blue light turns on but the earphone wont turn on, one i pres the turn on button all i hear is a bip and thats it, theni umplugg them and turn off inmediatly what do i do


To Jessi

From kobs on May 14, 2018 :: 5:05 pm

Have you tried deleting your earphones from your device in the BT devices and let it find it again?
Example: my Ipod in settings has bluetooth, first check if it’s ON and if it is check if your earphones are there in the devices recognised, if it is delete it and turn on your earphones after Your device (music player) will find it again.


incorrect pin or passkey

From Kirsty Lyall on May 06, 2018 :: 8:04 pm

This developed for me after the latest software update on my S7 (or so it seemed). It was the case with all my fleet vehicles at work then my own car stereo and my stereo amp. The only thing that was exempt was my BT earbuds and my fitness watch, and my BT speaker.  I tried everything in the forums except to start in in safe mode. Big mistake. That sorted it straight away.  Worked like a charm. I just deleted all the recent apps that I had downloaded. I’m not sure which one was interfering with the passkey popup but none of them were essential. I could have done each individually and checked for BT connection but I was in a rush.  Anyway am happy now!


disconnect unknown device

From JJ Smth on May 21, 2018 :: 1:32 pm

Everything today is bluetooth; therefore, a device could be connected to any number of other devices. Specifically, a speaker connected to any of 8 phones/tablets. Is there any way to disconnect and reconnect that speaker to a given device without having to track through 7 other devices to find what it’s paired to in order to unpair?


Should work if you put the speaker into pairing mode

From Josh Kirschner on May 21, 2018 :: 2:34 pm

If you put the speaker into pairing mode, it should enable the device you want to pair it to to connect, and it will drop the connection to the other device. Is that not what’s happening for you?


Pairing mode

From JJ Smth on June 22, 2018 :: 1:38 pm

I guess that’s the problem. I checked my speakers and only one has what I guess could be called a dedicated pairing function, and one has a reset hole to insert a paper clip. The other three, when they’re turned it on, they automatically go into pairing mode and default connect to the last device paired. Problem is, that could be any of 5 phones and 3 tablets; trying to find which one to unpair is a nuisance, especially when one might be upstairs, the other downstairs. It would seem they would all have a dedicated pairing function. Without it, I guess I’ll just have to dedicate a speaker per device, and when buying speakers in future, look for a dedicated pairing function. Thank you.


Bluetooth in a dorm

From Patrick Wingert on May 28, 2018 :: 7:35 am

Here is another issue not addressed. I am in a dorm and there are like 50 different devices that are popping up on my screen. 4 or 5 of them should be mine but I can’t tell which ones. With device identifiers such as ARBAx6bX1Sk I am not sure what devices are mine.


The easiest fix is to

From Suzanne Kantra on May 28, 2018 :: 1:10 pm

The easiest fix is to take your phone and the device somewhere there aren’t a lot of other devices. Once paired, your phone and the device will automatically pair again when turned on.

If you can’t remove your devices to another location, try this:
1. Take the device you want to pair out of paring mode.
2. Put your phone in pairing mode and look at the list of Bluetooth devices. Once the list is complete (the ring will stop spinning and/or the list will remain fairly static)
3. Put the device you want to connect into pairing mode. It should device pop up as a new device on the list. Select and you should be good to go.


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