Nothing is more annoying than discovering your Bluetooth isn’t working. Here’s a guide to troubleshooting Bluetooth connectivity issues.
Despite being with us for over 20 years, Bluetooth can still fail us from time to time.
The main issue with Bluetooth is that it depends on both software and hardware to work properly. This can lead to a large variety of Bluetooth connectivity issues when you try to pair two devices.
The good news: there are a few techniques that will help you fix most Bluetooth problems. Here they are, in no particular order.
Make Sure It’s Turned On
This may sound like the beginning of a joke, but it’s still valuable advice. Sometimes, devices entering low power mode will cause their Bluetooth antenna to turn off. The same applies when you turn on airplane mode on your device.
Most of the time, the issue will revolve around your phone running out of juice. This is why you’ll want to make sure that the device you’re pairing with has a decent charge. That way, the antenna will be able to work at full power.
Reset the Devices
Turning something off and on can solve many problems. First, switch the Bluetooth function off and on again on your transmitting device (phone, PC, etc.). Then, put the receiving device (mouse, speaker, headphones, etc.) into pairing mode.
If this doesn’t do the trick, try doing a variation on the theme. Shut both devices off, then turn your transmitting device back on and wait until it’s rebooted. Then, turn on your receiving device and attempt to pair them again.
Find the Right Range
One common Bluetooth problem involves two devices that are out of each other’s range. As a rule of thumb, they should be within 30 feet of each other. Keep in mind that solid objects such as walls and ceilings can lower their effective range.
See, the thing about Bluetooth antennas is that they transmit data by way of radio waves. To avoid interfering with similar radio frequencies, Bluetooth devices are low power. This is why their signals can’t travel as far as Wi-Fi signals.
Check for Interference
Speaking of Wi-Fi signals, they can also interfere with Bluetooth. If this is an issue, switch off the Wi-Fi function on your transmitting device and pair it again. Also, try moving to a room that’s not full of devices jamming up the 2.4GHz band.
Another thing that can interfere with the Bluetooth signal is the water in our bodies. This can be particularly noticeable if you’re using a pair of wireless headphones. If your signal keeps dropping, try changing your body position.
Delete the Device
When it comes to Bluetooth, most phones, tablets, and computers work the same way. If the receiving device is present, the transmitting device will try to connect to it. If the devices refuse to pair, you might want to delete the receiving device.
First, look for the receiving device in your Bluetooth settings and delete it. Then, place the device into pairing mode again. Once that’s done, have your other device scan for any available Bluetooth connections.
Check the Pairing
When turned on, many Bluetooth devices connect to the last device paired with. As handy as this is, it can also be frustrating. For instance, you might want to use your tablet to stream audio to a Bluetooth speaker, but it keeps connecting to your phone.
The fastest way to solve this is to turn off Bluetooth on the transmitting device you don’t want to use. Then, pair the receiving device to the right transmitting device. Some devices will require you to type a pairing code to connect them.
Reset the Module (Mac Only)
One thing Mac users can try is to reset their computer’s Bluetooth module. To do that, hold down the Shift and Option keys and click on the Bluetooth symbol in the menu bar. If the symbol isn’t there, enable it in System Preferences.
Once you’ve clicked on the symbol, hover your mouse over the Debug option. Then, click on “Reset the Bluetooth module. For specific device advice.
Try Troubleshooting (Windows Only)
Though Windows users don’t have access to the above option, they have a few alternatives. First, make sure that your Bluetooth drivers are up-to-date. If that’s the case, you can move on to Bluetooth troubleshooting.
On Windows 10, you can do that by going to Settings > Update & Security > Troubleshoot. Find “Bluetooth” under “Find and fix other problems” and run it. The software will take you through various steps in an attempt to solve the issue.
Check With the Manufacturer
Some device manufacturers post updates about connectivity issues on their website. In some cases, they’ll simply post about known Bluetooth connection problems. At the very least, this will stop you from trying to repair a broken connection.
Bluetooth devices can also get software updates from time to time. Some examples include your car’s dashboard unit or Bose portable speakers. Your Bluetooth antenna driver can also go out of date, especially when you install a new OS.
Pair With Other Devices
Are you having trouble despite going through most or all steps on this list? If so, chances are that the problem lies in one of the devices. The easiest way to test this theory is to try a few different pairing combinations to see what works.
For example, let’s say you can’t connect your Bluetooth speaker to a tablet. If the speaker works with your PC or phone, the issue is with the tablet. If the speaker can’t pair with anything else, it’s likely faulty and you should try to refund it.
More on Bluetooth Connectivity Issues
As you can see, Bluetooth connectivity issues come in many forms. Still, one or more of these tips should have you solve the problem.
Keep in mind that most Bluetooth pairing failures are a result of human error. As Bluetooth is backward compatible, old and new devices should work fine with each other. In other words, there’s probably something you can do about it.
Want to know more about how to fix a Bluetooth connection failure? Interested in the ways Bluetooth can play a role in our Health? Check out our Health IT section!