When the idea of going “hands free” first arose it was revolutionary to think about taking calls without having to actually hold a phone, but Bluetooth has evolved even further. We now have cordless headphones and earbuds, speakers that connect to our smartphones simply by being near them, cameras, televisions, and the list goes on. However, as handy as Bluetooth can be when it works properly, it can also be extremely frustrating when it doesn’t
Problem: Like most technical features, Bluetooth is sensitive and depends on the software and the device itself in order to work properly. Since Bluetooth first launched it has undergone many updates and changes, though most Bluetooth devices should still be able to pair with one another. The only exception here is the low-energy version, Bluetooth Smart, supported by newer devices. Unlike the older “classic” Bluetooth devices, Bluetooth Smart is not backwards compatible and will not pair with devices that support Classic Bluetooth.
Most of the devices supporting Bluetooth Smart are smartphones and fitness devices like smartwatches or heart rate monitors, and typically support Bluetooth 4.2 or higher. Although, devices supporting Bluetooth 4.0, 4.2 or 5.0 and higher should be able to support Bluetooth Smart and Bluetooth Classic. Any Apple iPhone running iOS 7 or higher, and Android devices running version 4.3 or higher should all be compatible with Bluetooth Smart. Devices also come with specific Bluetooth profiles, and if two devices don’t speak the same Bluetooth language, they won’t be able to pair.
Solution: First, make sure you know which Bluetooth version your device supports and understand the pairing process. Different devices have different methods of pairing. Some are as simple as turning on both devices, but others require button clicks or special codes.
- Make sure Bluetooth is turned on. For Apple devices, click Settings>Devices>Bluetooth. For Androids, the Bluetooth icon should be visible in the top right hand corner of the screen. In addition, make sure the device you’re trying to connect to is on discoverable mode so that it is visible to your device. (This is usually indicated by some sort of blinking light.)
- Some devices connect with the last thing they were paired to or only pair with a certain number of devices, which can interfere with a new pairing. Remove any prior Bluetooth connections to ensure your devices are able to pair properly.
- Another trick that may solve the issue is deleting the device from your phone and rediscovering it.
Some solutions may be common sense, but just to be sure you’ve tried everything, here are a few easy things to try: Power both devices on and off, make sure the devices are in close enough proximity to pair, and make sure both devices are fully charged (some brand new devices may not be charged enough to pair). Sometimes there can be interference from other electronics in the house that can hinder pairing. Try moving away from WiFi routers, smart home devices, and USB 3.0 ports.
If none of these solutions work, you may need to contact the manufacturer for further help.