Here’s how you solve two common Bluetooth problems

by Heres how you solve two common Bluetooth problemsDaniel Gniazdo

Bluetooth headsets have been around since the turn of the millennium, so they aren’t exactly brand new technology. But if you’ve only recently gotten your very first Bluetooth, you may encounter a few hurdles in getting it to work. Maybe I can help.

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Bluetooth headsets are meant to make your life easier, at least when it comes to talking on the phone while keeping your hands free. But Bluetooth tech isn’t flawless. Sometimes, people have a bit of a hard time making their headset do what it’s supposed to do.

Before you smash that earpiece against the wall in sheer frustration, don’t! At least two common issues can be quite easily solved, like so:

I can’t connect my Bluetooth headset to my phone

This is arguably the most pressing issue to resolve. If you can’t even connect your Bluetooth headset to your phone, it’s pretty useless, isn’t it? (Unless you’re planning on wearing it purely as a fashion accessory, which – no – you’re not.)

What’s the problem?

Unlike corded headphones we’re all used to, you don’t just plug your Bluetooth directly into your phone. You need to first teach them to be friends and recognize each other when they meet again. This is done through a process called “pairing,” which isn’t the catchiest term, if you ask me. Pairing a headset and a phone involves a bunch of steps, which aren’t always intuitive.

Here’s how you solve it:

The key thing to understand is that your Bluetooth headset isn’t constantly ready to connect, and your phone isn’t always scanning for new Bluetooth devices to connect to. To pair the two, you have to put your headset into so-called “pairing mode” (ugh) and to tell your phone to actively scan for new Bluetooth devices.

The specific way you do this varies greatly – some headsets ask you to press and hold the on/off button for a few seconds, while others have a dedicated button that puts them into pairing mode on demand. Similarly, phones have different ways of “discovering” new Bluetooth devices. But the bottom line is: You need them both in pairing/active discovery mode.

Thankfully, you can find tailored guides on the exact steps you need to take depending on which headset/phone combo you have. They even come with pictures and everything! If you have a Jabra headset, this detailed pairing guide should help.

Most new Bluetooth headsets have NFC in them, which makes the process approximately 99% simpler. You just wave the headset close to your phone and – poof – they’re paired. I’ve talked more about NFC pairing in this article. Here’s how easy NFC pairing can be:

If you’re still having no luck, here’s a great guide on the many things you can try.

The good news is: You won’t have to go through this process every time. That’d be crazy. Once the two are paired, they’ll connect to each other automatically from that point on.

My Bluetooth headset doesn’t sound good

This is another deal breaker. If your Bluetooth headset doesn’t sound up to par, you’ll be tempted to ditch it in the nearest trash can. But hiccups do happen: Sound might disappear for a few seconds or you might hear crackling noises.

What’s the problem?

Bluetooth is a wireless technology, so it has to navigate between the headset and the phone through the air. Even though most Bluetooth headsets have a range of about 10 meters (30 feet), this doesn’t account for stuff being in the way. Bluetooth isn’t super clever – it can’t sneak around an obstacle and find its way to your phone no matter what. So if there’s something solid between the two, Bluetooth connection may drop. Unfortunately, “something solid” can often be your own body.

Here’s how you solve it:

If Bluetooth seems to drop off occasionally, try placing your phone and your headset on the same side of your body. This way, Bluetooth has a better chance of having a “line of sight” to your phone and not dropping out. If you have a Bluetooth headset for running, it’s often a good idea to wear your phone in an armband close to it.

Also, make sure that your Bluetooth headset has the latest firmware. Manufacturers often release better firmware that takes care of certain sound issues like crackling, echo, and so on.

At times, there may simply be interference from other wireless devices around you, which can affect the quality of your Bluetooth connection. I’m not going to tell you where and when to use your Bluetooth headset, but sometimes you may need to find a place with less busy airwaves. That’s just the unfortunate reality of living in a world where stuff is competing for invisible radio frequencies.

If you have a Jabra headset, you can search for it here to find specific things you can try to improve its audio.

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