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How to Solve Bluetooth Pairing Problems

by on December 22, 2014
in Phone Accessories, Phones and Mobile, Tips & How-Tos :: 32 comments

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Back in the mid-90s when Bluetooth launched, few us would have considered someday using our portable phones to play music through a miniature speaker on the other side of a room. Nowadays, laptops, smartphones and tablets use this wireless technology to connect to a vast range of devices -- from speakers, keyboards and headsets to in-car entertainment systems, smart-home devices and personal fitness gadgets.

Or at least they're meant to connect. The last time I tried to pair my iPhone 5S to a Beacon portable speaker, my phone simply did not “discover” the speaker. On the other hand, a friend's Samsung Galaxy S4 instantly paired, pushing out sweet, sweet music in short order.

While the most recent updates to Bluetooth technology have added better pairing, increased range and lowest-ever power usage, you may still encounter the odd obstacle when getting set up.

Troubleshoot your Bluetooth connection with these tips and let us know how they work for you in the comments.

Make sure you're in pairing mode

Many simpler devices such as headsets or portable speakers have one button for multiple functions. For example, my portable speaker has one button that you short-press to turn on it on or off, and long-press to activate its Bluetooth discovery mode.

Make sure you've correctly put your device in its pairing mode by reading its manual, suggests Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), which oversees the development of the Bluetooth standard.

Charge up both the devices you're trying to pair

“Some devices have smart power management that may turn off Bluetooth if the battery level is too low,” Powell says. If your phone isn't pairing with that Bluetooth light bulb, make sure it's got enough juice.

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,” Powell says. If a Bluetooth device was previously paired with something else, turn off that other gadget.

Restart the connection

The old standby for problematic Macs and PCs works with reluctant Bluetooth connections, too. Sometimes the quickest solution is simply to turn Bluetooth off for both devices, then turn it on again for the devices to re-discover each other.

Place the devices right next to each other

“Pairing works best when the devices are next to each other,” Powell says. Once you've got the connection, Bluetooth is robust enough to transmit between devices that may be more than 30 feet apart, but the initial pairing can sometimes use a nudge.

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.

And 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.

Download a driver

In the computer world, a driver is a piece of software that lets two pieces of hardware communicate. If your PC or Mac refuses to pair with your new wireless keyboard (or other device), you may be missing the necessary driver. Head to the manufacturer's website and find its Support section. There's usually an area called “Downloads” or “Drivers” that should list the latest software updates, including drivers. Alternately, do a Google search for “driver” after your device's model name.

Use the latest version of Bluetooth

Wireless speakers and headphones that support the latest Bluetooth 4.1 standard, which launched last December, are better at pairing, Powell says. Many currently available devices support Bluetooth 3.0, which launched in 2010, and you can still buy speakers that use 2007's Bluetooth 2.1 standard. Though Bluetooth's backward compatibility means that these devices should still be able to connect to smartphones, for example, newer versions of Bluetooth have steadily increased abilities such as longer-range connections and quicker pairing.

If you're in the market for a new Bluetooth gadget, look for a sticker that says it supports Bluetooth 4.0 or newer. And if you can wait a bit, Bluetooth 4.2 was announced this December, so devices that support the update – with features including more secure connections and better pairing -- should be available soon.

If pairing a fitness gadget, check that your phone is Bluetooth Smart Ready

In general, Bluetooth is backwards compatible: Bluetooth devices supporting the just-announced Bluetooth 4.2 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, it can potentially recognize both Bluetooth Smart and Classic. If it does, it's officially labelled Bluetooth Smart Ready.

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.

iPhones running iOS 7 and newer should be Bluetooth Smart Ready as should 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.

[woman with bluetooth earpiece and smartphone via Shutterstock]

Discussion loading

Hello Natasha, i was scratching

From lokesh on March 19, 2015 :: 5:54 am

Hello Natasha, i was scratching my head all the day to fugure out where the problem is. After restarting the connection for few times my problem
was solved smile

thanks for the helpful post


Cordless keyboards and Windows Phone 8.1

From Alex T on May 06, 2015 :: 4:32 pm

Recently dared to try Windows Phone for the first time, loving it, but I have not been able to make it work with a bluetooth keyboard so far, or even a micro usb one (!). Something about the HID protocol and whatnot. Since you literally wrote an article about it, do you happen to know about this? It pairs, even says connected, but only for a few seconds, and when you tipe, nothing happens :(


Frustrating! What Windows Phone are

From Natasha Stokes on May 06, 2015 :: 6:18 pm

What Windows Phone are you using? Is it on OS 8.1 Update 2? Bluetooth keyboards aren’t supported on Windows Phones not running this update, but the update isn’t actually available on many phones yet!


What I ended up doing

From Alex T on May 12, 2015 :: 8:05 pm

What I ended up doing was downloading Windows Insider, registering, and downloading the first of 4 updated to alpha test windows 10. My 635 had 8.1 update (1). The first “experimental” update was Update 2, which has the HID procotols. Then I disabled the auto updated and everything seems to be working wonders. Update 2 seems pretty stable so far in this phone. Nut for some reason its not deemed “ready” for widespread OTA release, or something like that. Thanks for answering and I hope to have contributed a little to your article.


i want know if two

From doncobby1 on September 01, 2015 :: 12:12 am

i want know if two people can play each other using blue-tooth with android phone and ios phone



From Fraron Balsara on October 09, 2015 :: 2:48 am

Thnxs the article really helped… I never knew that one button had multiple functions after reading this article i referred back to the manual and found the error…


problém pairring Bluetooth ear buds

From simona on December 25, 2015 :: 5:13 pm

I’m having problem pairing tzumi Bluetooth ear buds with my Samsung Galaxy core prime phone..please help



From Lucian on January 22, 2016 :: 4:05 pm

thanks for the helpful post!


Thank You

From Neil on February 20, 2016 :: 9:21 am

Thank you because I can now use my new bluetooth headphones.


regards unpairing

From prasad on September 23, 2016 :: 1:22 am

I am unable to pairing in certain areas… But other places es it’s easily get paired .. what may cause of this…


Bluetooth Headache !

From Alison Keyes on October 07, 2016 :: 11:28 am

I have a Polo 14 plate with a touch phone Bluetooth kit and it continually restarts when connected to my new Motorola g4 play phone . It would appear that my smartphone is too modern to work with VW’s old version of Bluetooth , you would think that Motorola would have a fix you could download but apparently not , so I’m stuck with a Bluetooth device that I can’t use , or does anyone know better ?


bluetooth not working

From deepak on November 05, 2016 :: 6:26 am

I charge my bluetooth but now blue light is no blinking help me


Blue led

From Ochan on December 04, 2016 :: 2:21 am

bluetooth   on the wireless bluetooth is persistent while on charge!! even when I plug off,  it doesn’t power on..


Bluetooth is just one big aggravation on Windows

From Chri C. on December 06, 2016 :: 5:23 pm

Good article that gives pretty good advice for the common stuff that pretty much always goes wrong with bluetooth.

One thing you may want to add is to make sure Windows DOESN’T power manage the bluetooth subsystem… It’s a setting in control panel for the bluetooth subsystem.

As for myself, I am LUCKY if bluetooth works even 50% of the time even with all these measures. I have found that the only way it will truly work is if I unpair the headset (removing it from the paired devices), stop the bluetooth service, stop the network and shut down the computer completely (make sure it stays OFF for a few seconds).

After a fresh cold boot, turn the bluetooth service on, turn the network on, pair it afresh and ONLY THEN will it connect again… For this one session if you’re lucky! Put the computer to sleep and you’re back to square one wink

On the other hand, it connects pretty much every single time on my Android Smartphone and Tablet and when it causes issues such as stuttering clearing the android cache usually fixes it.

Getting Bluetooth to work on PCs has got to be most aggravating thing, printers being a close second (fail less often but much more aggravating when they do).


Thank You

From katrina on December 18, 2016 :: 12:47 am

It worked for me.  My speaker was remembering a different device.  I turned the bluetooth off for that and like magic it was paired with my phone.


Phone with BT4.1 not connecting smartband with BT4.0

From amjad on January 06, 2017 :: 9:07 am

i heard BT 4.1 has backward compatibility with BT4.0 but my smartphone BT4.1 is not connecting with smartband BT4.0….what to do now???


Old Bluetooth

From facebook1152027048256930 on April 24, 2017 :: 8:13 pm


I installed an older Bluetooth Doggle on my desktop. When I went to use a newer Bluetooth compatible speaker, it wouldn’t pair up. I got error messages that there was a conflict. I believe that the older driver installed for Bluetooth 1.0 wasn’t removed.

How do I remove the old driver in my computer so that I may use a newer Bluetooth Doggle instead?

I can’t do a system restore any longer prior to that date.  Thanks!


Bluetooth speaker compatability

From Randy Stewart on August 19, 2017 :: 3:22 pm

I bought a Vios 2.1 channel sound bar.What additional bluetooth speaker(s),are compatable with it.It does have a sub woofer,which is wireless-via bluetooth.


Hope you can review our super high Quality Bluetooth Headphones

From Amy on September 12, 2017 :: 2:25 am

Hello techlicious, I have checked out your site and see quality reviews of many products. I am a seller and make Bluetooth wireless headphones branded as HBUDS. The headphones are great quality headphones with excellent sound quality. I truly believe that the headphones I produce are superior and would like to send you a pair so that you can check and review for yourself. I tried looking through your site for a registration form to send you a pair but couldn’t find the link. If you can guide me to the registration form I’ll gladly send you a pair of Hbuds H1 Bluetooth wireless headphones.
If you need to reach us our email : .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
Thanks in advance,
Amy- HBUDS representative
Shenzhen Huaste Technology co.,Ltd
Add:  futian district , shenzhen City,
      guangzhou Province, China

Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Will This Bluetooth Transmitter Work With My Hearing Aids

From Jerry Kandel on October 06, 2017 :: 2:05 pm

Looking at the TaoTronics Bluetooth Transmitter and Receiver.

I have a new type of hearing Aid from Siemens that will stream music as well as stream TV sound if its hooked up to a bluetooth transmitter. Siemens has a gadget that will allow a transmitter hooked up to a non-bluetooth TV to stream music and sound to what they call a “Signia Easy Trek” - it’s fairly expensive. I read what this device can do and was wondering if it could be paired to my hearing aid through the Easy Trek.



computers bluethoothies

From spock pak on January 17, 2018 :: 4:45 pm

computers are still musiam pieses at the moment/take agesxto download// bluetooths sit tooth add ons always need fideling to work // can drive you crazy with problems// processors given fancy name but still dumb asses ie cant think no ai/artifical intelligence// we have been made a dumb ass long enough //if only i coukd steal a real computer from the alians


Bluetooth Version 4.1

From Kevin Burrow on July 05, 2018 :: 8:42 am

It seems I’m the only one having a connection problem with pairing 4.1 to 4.1. From phone to Bluetooth speaker constant gliching also the same with a pair of Headphones. And connecting Bluetooth version 4.1 to 4.0 no problem at all music playback is smooth and constant.


Bluetooth 2.0 versus modern iOS (iPhone 7 and higher)

From Жан Марк Ван Белл on December 06, 2018 :: 3:33 pm

Be careful, sometimes bluetooth does NOT work on iPhones but DOES work on Android Phones.

A short examle will make you this clear to follow:

We use Chinese (high quality) ODB II sensors to send car data to apps and install these in cars. Just putting it on the ODB II connector that exists in all cars now, and then use a headupdisplay or something else to measure consumption, oil or cooling temperature, rotations per minute, battery voltage, errors from the car computer, history data of errors…

A lot of them were made standard for Bluetooth. They can, however never be seen by iOS driven systems. We work around this by using Android phones or tablets.

This is because of the fact that iOS uses more security protocols for pairing so generally seen, always test it with an Android if you want to know whether it concerns the product or the Operating System at the other side. Often the failure is to be found with the last mentioned here.

For the rest: very nice article and useful.

PS: For iPhone from 8ad up, hardwere reset has been changed to this: 0. switch of the slider of Bluetooth in setting 1. short press volume UP at the left side 2. short press vooume DOWN at the left side 3. keep pressing the button at the right untill you see a hard reset followed by the Apple logo after a long while 5. you enable Bluetooth in the screen that appears again in front of you. Jean Marc +je


Security is the cause of a lot of aggravations

From Chris C on December 07, 2018 :: 1:19 pm

OK so this is not going to be strictly about Bluetooth, but should make people realize what causes so many of the aggravations we face with computers and generally on the internet today, and I would add, in our real life as well:

OUR OBSESSION WITH SECURITY and the widespread spying of corporations and government agencies we have to endure every day, and the general paranoia that is being sold to us constantly under false pretenses.

If you look at how we reacted to 911 and start to think about it, you’d have to ask yourself why the death of less than 5000 people caused us to be so fearful that we gladly abandoned our rights and accepted tyranny in our daily lives, when there are 10, 100 or even 1000 more deaths yearly due to other violent occurrences?

Similarly, why are we so afraid of a few hackers (that are easily defeated by simple common sense) when it has been proven that the biggest and most pernicious hackers have been OUR OWN GOVERNMENTS?

YES - ‘security’ is the cause of a LOT of our problems and it reflects itself in our use of technology. The solution is foregoing the technology altogether or use older technology that was never designed to be hindered by it.

But if you want to keep using the technology, you simply have to be prepared to live with its aggravations, just like you are prepared to live with the border check aggravations when you take a plane.


bluetooth earbuds

From armond on December 07, 2018 :: 11:05 am

my earbuds arent pairing, they are charged, and my computer is completely fine. how would i fix them?


"There is nothing wrong with your TV set..."

From Chris C on December 07, 2018 :: 1:31 pm

If that rings a bell, you’ve understood what the problem really is: your computer’s security settings.

And yes, it’s not doing that because there is a problem and you’re 100% right about your computer: it’s completely fine and that’s PRECISELY why you’re having problem: it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to do.

Let is sink in, read the article and follow the advice. It was MEANT to be frustrating to deal with precisely for security reasons.


soud goes off on bluetooth

From clifford coulston on February 27, 2019 :: 8:00 am

hi , i have jvc bluetooth headphones that are v3.0 class2 and a bluetooth transmitter via the tv earphone socket which is a 2.1 , the sound switches off after 20 minutes but transmitter and headphones are still powered up i have tried another v2.1 transmitter and it still does the same thing do you think that the transmitter v2.1 is to low for the v3.0 headphones and i need a higher tranmitter, i have used the headphones with my headphones with my amazon firestick and dont have any such problems , i know it look like the transmitter is to low but i dont want to go spending again


trying to pair with laptop on win8.1

From P Green on April 16, 2019 :: 5:43 am

My new Silvercrest SBL 4 B2 pairs excellently with my iphone SE, but refuses to work with my laptop.
I managed to get it to ‘pair’, whilst it was charging up on the USB port, but it just doesn’t pick up music from my laptop when I unplugged it.
- is it because my laptop is 5years old, so maybe an older version of bluetooth, or because I’m using Win 8.1?
Thanks for any insight!


Signia hearing aids

From Sam on May 07, 2019 :: 5:32 pm

My Bluetooth hearing aids will not connect to my iPhone while I am driving down the road just wondering if anybody else is having this problem


A great and helpful article.

From Jenny on July 05, 2019 :: 9:30 am

I’m so thankful of this article! I had pairing problems on earphones with my new razer phone 2 and I thought it was because they weren’t compatible until I read maybe there was another button for pairing, thank you.


I wish I knew what all of the dumb people were saying, about their smart devices. I really hate com

From victor zapata on December 10, 2019 :: 6:59 pm

that’s a very long title. I am not a robot. flint still ain’t got no water. not as sad as California, just becoming the new flint,get ready for the end of our water table. 300 feet below your feet, is our water table. 600 feet below that is an ocean of crude oil. in between our drinking water and the ocean of crude oil are layers of sand,sludge,and other elements that are toxic to humans. somebody tell me where I can go bitch about assholes that own the water table, and try to google it. one is alive, it says those are districts and that’s who is in charge, at one time, when they were living. I m talking about my tulare, kern, kings, San Luis Obispo counties. I dont know about any other countries. in any manner, dont poison our drinking water. I see it as an attempt, on my life. yes I mean I’m threaten. like really threaten, am I sounding upset. well, I’m more than that. I’m wondering what happened to all the hippies. or Erin borrokwitvih. so see, not being of the generation of digital technology I’m seeing what’s go on around me oh and what’s up with this wheater and I think the earth’s axis shifted. if anyone owns a calender from when they come with the phases of the moon, tell when the moon ever looked so weird. at&t sucks. does Verizon take customers that were in abusive service provider relationships. I only stayed for so long for the kids. alright, does verizon have good phones, at&t has 1000 dollar phones that last 5 weeks, I’m looking for phones that last longer than most marriages.


Bluetooth wont work in car for music, but will for calls

From on February 07, 2020 :: 9:56 pm

I have a galaxy S10. I have successfully connected it via bt to my VW amarok. It is the only mobile connected. I have cleared cache.selected calls and audio. Yet it will not allow me to play my downloaded spotify music, but will allow calls to be made?!  Please help!!


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