How to Fix the Most Annoying Bluetooth Headphone Problems

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

First: Narrow Down the Problem

Before you begin urgent buttons and tweaking settings, see whether or not you’ll find the supply of the drawback: It could possibly be your earbuds, positive, however it is also your cellphone and even the app you’re utilizing to play music. Pair your headphones with one other system and see whether or not they work higher—I discover my Android cellphone could be a bit finicky, so I’ll typically check headphones on my spouse’s iPhone to see whether or not one thing on my cellphone is the perpetrator.

You may also strive a wired pair of headphones, or plug your Bluetooth headphones in with a cable (in the event that they assist that). Finally, strive one other pair of Bluetooth buds in case you have them mendacity round. If you possibly can 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 possibly can’t get your headphones to join to your cellphone in any respect, don’t despair—in my expertise, that is often the best to repair (offered the headphones aren’t useless completely).

  • Check the guide. Many headphones go into pairing mode routinely once you first use them. As a consequence, most customers can simply pair headphones the first time, says Win Cramer, CEO of JLab Audio (makers of WIRED’s favourite finances wirefree buds)—however the second time leaves them scratching their head. So in case your headphones aren’t showing with a brand new system, you might 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 just a few seconds, however some earbuds—particularly these with contact controls as an alternative of buttons—have their very own technique.
  • Disconnect different gadgets. If you’ve already linked these headphones to a tool—like an iPad—they could not join to your cellphone. Some headphones can join to a number of gadgets 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 the same vein, be sure your cellphone hasn’t linked to your partner’s earbuds throughout the room—for those who’ve ever used them earlier than, they’ll routinely join when turned on and inside vary. You may even filter previous Bluetooth gadgets out of your cellphone’s reminiscence—from the Bluetooth settings on iOS, faucet the “i” subsequent to a given system and faucet Forget This Device. On Android, faucet the Settings cog subsequent to a paired system and select Unpair (or Forget, because it’s labeled on some telephones).
  • Recharge the battery. If your headphones’ battery is low, it might have bother pairing—and I’ve even discovered some Bluetooth headphones keep turned on when in the case, that means they’ll drain down to 0 % quicker than you anticipate. Try plugging them in and charging them totally earlier than pairing, even when they are saying they’ve some battery left.
  • Make positive each gadgets are suitable. Like most expertise, Bluetooth has gone via many revisions and enhancements over the years. Most gadgets use Bluetooth 5.0 or newer, and whereas a Bluetooth 5.0–succesful cellphone ought to give you the option to join to most gadgets you personal, sure trendy Bluetooth headphones could not join to very previous telephones, tablets, or laptops. Check the supported Bluetooth variations on each gadgets and guarantee they’re suitable with one another.

With any luck, try to be in a position to get the music going very quickly.

If the Audio Distorts or Stutters

If you’re in a position 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 together with your wi-fi connection.

  • Check your supply. Before you bounce to troubleshooting Bluetooth, be sure 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 accomplished earlier!—and see whether or not it’s actually Bluetooth’s fault. Similarly, says Cramer, be sure your Wi-Fi or cell sign is sweet. If your web connection can’t sustain with Spotify, it’ll reduce out and in via 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 cellphone, and pair once more from scratch earlier than persevering with.
  • Bring the headphones nearer to your system. 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 system and transfer away from different signal-generating electronics to see whether or not that helps.
  • Pair particular person buds correctly. If you have got “true wireless” or “wirefree” earbuds, many allow you to pay attention 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 you might expertise stuttering. Check the guide to see the correct process for single-bud listening.
  • Disconnect different gadgets. I’ve discovered, on some telephones, that Bluetooth audio will distort if my cellphone is linked to different Bluetooth gadgets at the similar time, like a smartwatch or different set of headphones that isn’t energetic. Try disconnecting different gadgets 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!”—however it’s actually price a shot. When my Bose SoundSport Wireless have been having audio points just a few years in the past, downloading the official app and updating the firmware fastened every thing. See whether or not your headphones supply a companion app that could be in a position to assist.
  • Turn off any audio processing. Speaking of companion apps, if you have already got the app on your headphones, strive turning off its additional options. Equalizers, noise canceling, and different processing may trigger distortion or different quirks, so higher to get rid of them from the equation whilst you troubleshoot. If your cellphone has its personal processing (like Samsung’s Adapt Sound options), flip these off too.
  • Adjust your Bluetooth audio codec. In the Bluetooth settings on your system, faucet the “i” or the Settings cog subsequent to your headphones in query and see which choices can be found to you. Some headphones could supply HD Audio or different comparable codecs, which you’ll be able to change on and off to see whether or not the audio improves.
  • Deselect hands-free mode in Windows. Similarly, for those who’re attempting to join to a PC, your headphones could have two entries in Windows’ sound settings—one for stereo music, one for cellphone 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 completely 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 cellphone, then the earbuds will pair to one another, which may 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 completely and re-pairing them. Some earbuds could have a fail-safe laborious reset mode for those who nonetheless can’t get them paired, Cramer says, so examine the guide to see what it recommends on this state of affairs.

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 via your headphones’ guide and see whether or not there’s a manner to reset them completely—or, barring that, you possibly can reset your system’s Bluetooth settings from scratch.

On iOS, head to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings, which is able to wipe all of your saved Bluetooth and Wi-Fi gadgets. On Android, head to the Settings and seek for “Apps” or “Apps & Notifications,” faucet Show All to see an inventory 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 information and/or cache. These are barely extra nuclear choices that’ll require you to re-pair all of your gadgets, but when nothing else works, they’re price a shot. Otherwise, the drawback could lie together with your cellphone or earbuds, fixable solely by the producer—or by shopping for a cellphone with a rattling headphone jack.

Reece Rogers contributed reporting.

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