How to Fix the Most Annoying Bluetooth Headphone Problems

Most main flagship telephones have carried out away with the headphone jack in 2022, and Bluetooth headphones are as widespread as ever. Even although it’s good that there’s no twine to catch on the doorknob once I’m leaving the home, Bluetooth has its personal share of quirks. Here are a few of the commonest points it’s possible you’ll encounter, and the way to repair them.

First: Narrow Down the Problem

Before you begin urgent buttons and tweaking settings, see whether or not yow will discover the supply of the drawback: It could possibly be your earbuds, certain, nevertheless it may be your telephone and even the app you’re utilizing to play music. Pair your headphones with one other machine and see whether or not they work higher—I discover my Android telephone generally is a bit finicky, so I’ll typically check headphones on my spouse’s iPhone to see whether or not one thing on my telephone is the offender.

You may also strive a wired pair of headphones, or plug your Bluetooth headphones in with a cable (in the event that they help that). Finally, strive one other pair of Bluetooth buds when you’ve got them mendacity round. If you may decide the supply of the drawback, you may need a greater thought of the place to focus your troubleshooting efforts.

If the Headphones Won’t Pair

If you may’t get your headphones to join to your telephone in any respect, don’t despair—in my expertise, that is often the best to repair (supplied the headphones aren’t lifeless totally).

  • Check the guide. Many headphones go into pairing mode routinely while you first use them. As a end result, most customers can simply pair headphones the first time, says Win Cramer, CEO of JLab Audio (makers of WIRED’s favorite budget wirefree buds)—however the second time leaves them scratching their head. So in case your headphones aren’t showing with a brand new machine, it’s possible you’ll want to search out that guide for directions on placing them in pairing mode. Most manufacturers require you to maintain down the energy button for a number of seconds, however some earbuds—particularly these with contact controls as an alternative of buttons—have their very own methodology.
  • Disconnect different units. If you’ve already related these headphones to a tool—like an iPad—they might not join to your telephone. Some headphones can join to a number of units without delay, whereas others can’t. “Turn off the Bluetooth settings of the originally paired device,” says Cramer. “That disconnection will then automatically force the headphones back into pairing mode.”
  • Disconnect different headphones. In an identical vein, be sure your telephone hasn’t related to your partner’s earbuds throughout the room—should you’ve ever used them earlier than, they’ll routinely join when turned on and inside vary. You may even filter out outdated Bluetooth units out of your telephone’s reminiscence—from the Bluetooth settings on iOS, faucet the “i” subsequent to a given machine and faucet Forget This Device. On Android, faucet the Settings cog subsequent to a paired machine and select Unpair (or Forget, because it’s labeled on some telephones).
  • Recharge the battery. If your headphones’ battery is low, it could have hassle pairing—and I’ve even discovered some Bluetooth headphones keep turned on when in the case, that means they’ll drain down to 0 p.c quicker than you count on. Try plugging them in and charging them absolutely earlier than pairing, even when they are saying they’ve some battery left.
  • Make certain each units are suitable. Like most know-how, Bluetooth has gone by means of many revisions and enhancements over the years. Most units use Bluetooth 5.0 or newer, and whereas a Bluetooth 5.0–succesful telephone ought to have the option to join to most units you personal, sure trendy Bluetooth headphones might not join to very outdated telephones, tablets, or laptops. Check the supported Bluetooth variations on each units and guarantee they’re suitable with one another.

With any luck, you have to be ready to get the music going very quickly.

If the Audio Distorts or Stutters

If you’re ready to pair your headphones however one thing doesn’t sound fairly proper—perhaps the music sounds lower-quality than it ought to or it cuts out and in—it could possibly be an issue along with your wi-fi connection.

  • Check your supply. Before you leap to troubleshooting Bluetooth, guarantee that static isn’t inherent in the supply of your music—perhaps you’re listening to a low-bitrate MP3 out of your Napster days, or perhaps your streaming service has defaulted to a really low-quality setting. Check one other pair of headphones—which it’s best to have already carried out earlier!—and see whether or not it’s actually Bluetooth’s fault. Similarly, says Cramer, be sure your Wi-Fi or cell sign is nice. If your web connection can’t sustain with Spotify, it’ll reduce out and in by means of no fault of your headphones.
  • Re-pair the headphones. As with all troubleshooting, the “turn it off and turn it on again” mantra ought to be your first line of protection. Unpair the headphones, flip them off, reboot your telephone, and pair once more from scratch earlier than persevering with.
  • Bring the headphones nearer to your machine. If you’re listening to music on an iPad that’s sitting throughout the room, you is perhaps too distant—or have too many obstructions in its path. “While most Bluetooth headphones can be apart by 33 feet to 100 feet, it must be noted that this is in plain sight and without a bunch of other Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signals also crowding the airwaves,” explains Cramer. Get nearer to the machine and move away from other signal-generating electronics to see whether or not that helps.
  • Pair particular person buds correctly. If you will have “true wireless” or “wirefree” earbuds, many allow you to hear on only one earbud at a time—however you want to do it a sure manner. If you pair each earbuds and simply pop one in your pocket, you’ll trigger a nasty connection between the two, and it’s possible you’ll expertise stuttering. Check the guide to see the correct process for single-bud listening.
  • Disconnect different units. I’ve discovered, on some telephones, that Bluetooth audio will distort if my telephone is related to different Bluetooth units at the similar time, like a smartwatch or different set of headphones that isn’t lively. Try disconnecting different units or turning them off to see whether or not the drawback goes away.
  • Update the firmware. I do know, I do know, you hear this all the time—“Maybe you just need a software update!”—nevertheless it’s actually value a shot. When my Bose SoundSport Wireless had been having audio points a number of years in the past, downloading the official app and updating the firmware fastened all the things. See whether or not your headphones provide a companion app which may be ready to assist.
  • Turn off any audio processing. Speaking of companion apps, if you have already got the app to your headphones, strive turning off its additional options. Equalizers, noise canceling, and different processing may trigger distortion or different quirks, so higher to remove them from the equation when you troubleshoot. If your telephone has its personal processing (like Samsung’s Adapt Sound options), flip these off too.
  • Adjust your Bluetooth audio codec. In the Bluetooth settings to your machine, faucet the “i” or the Settings cog subsequent to your headphones in query and see which choices can be found to you. Some headphones might provide HD Audio or different related codecs, which you’ll swap on and off to see whether or not the audio improves.
  • Deselect hands-free mode in Windows. Similarly, should you’re attempting to join to a PC, your headphones might have two entries in Windows’ sound settings—one for stereo music, one for telephone calls. Click the speaker icon in the backside proper nook, choose the audio supply alongside the high, and ensure to choose your headphones from the listing, not a headset or hands-free choice. (You can flip off this conduct totally by going to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers, right-clicking your headphones, and selecting Properties. Under the Services tab, uncheck Handsfree Telephony.)

If You Hear Music in Only One Earbud

Finally, the rise of true wi-fi or wirefree earbuds has triggered a brand new phenomenon: You can pair correctly, however you hear music popping out of just one earbud.

  • Reconnect the earbuds to one another. Often, with true wi-fi earbuds, one will pair to your telephone, then the earbuds will pair to one another, which might trigger confusion in the event that they lose that second connection. “Reboot your earbuds by putting them into the case, closing the door (if one exists), and waiting 10 seconds before trying again,” says Cramer. “By powering down and back on your earbuds, it gives them the opportunity to “find” one another as soon as once more and reclaim the parent-child relationship between the left and proper earbuds.”
  • Re-pair the earbuds. As I discussed above, true wi-fi fashions typically have particular pairing strategies for single-bud listening, and it’s doable you by accident paired the secondary bud by itself. Try unpairing the earbuds totally and re-pairing them. Some earbuds might have a fail-safe exhausting reset mode should you nonetheless can’t get them paired, Cramer says, so test the guide to see what it recommends on this situation.

With any luck, one in every of the many troubleshooting steps above ought to get your Bluetooth headphones jamming once more. If all else fails, although, look by means of your headphones’ guide and see whether or not there’s a manner to reset them totally—or, barring that, you may reset your machine’s Bluetooth settings from scratch.

On iOS, head to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings, which can wipe all of your saved Bluetooth and Wi-Fi units. On Android, head to the Settings and seek for “Apps” or “Apps & Notifications,” faucet Show All to see a listing of all of your apps, then faucet the three dots in the nook to Show System Apps. Scroll down to Bluetooth, faucet Storage, and clear its knowledge and/or cache. These are barely extra nuclear choices that’ll require you to re-pair all of your units, but when nothing else works, they’re value a shot. Otherwise, the drawback might lie along with your telephone or earbuds, fixable solely by the producer—or by buying a phone with a damn headphone jack.

Reece Rogers contributed reporting.

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