Bluetooth speakers are more popular than ever, and pairing your phone, tablet, or other device to your speaker should be easy and stress-free. While this is usually the case, some factors can affect pairing and cause it to be more difficult than it needs to be. If you're having difficulty pairing your device to a Bluetooth speaker, you've arrived at the right place! This article reviews some of the most common issues when pairing a device to a Bluetooth speaker and shows you how to overcome them.
The most likely cause for Bluetooth pairing difficulty is...
Either your phone, or your speaker thinks it is already paired to something.
To solve this, perform the following:
- Get your speaker and your audio device as close together as possible while you troubleshoot.
- Reset the Bluetooth on your audio device (i.e. phone).
- Next, reset the Bluetooth on your speaker. Then, you should be good to go.
We'll discuss in more detail below.
Get your speaker and your audio device as close together as possible while you troubleshoot
Bluetooth devices often try to auto-pair to the closest or strongest available signal. To prevent another nearby device from crashing the party....
- Be sure your device is the closest one to the speaker while you're trying to pair.
The the phone (or iPad, tablet etc.) may think it is already paired to another speaker or device
It is possible that your phone or tablet is already paired to something else. Maybe you had your phone paired to a car stereo, or a speaker in another room of your house.
- Reset the Bluetooth on your phone (or iPad, tablet etc). - Turn Bluetooth OFF and then ON again right from your device (i.e. phone)
This will reset any existing Bluetooth connections, allowing you to reconnect to your speaker.
We've shown the iPhone Bluetooth settings below:
Your speaker may think it is already paired to another phone or device (iPad, tablet etc.)
- Turn competing devices off.
If you're reading this you've already had issues connecting. To ensure the most sure-fire fix possible, just go ahead and turn off any other Bluetooth devices in the area while you troubleshoot. This will stop other eager devices from trying to pair to your speaker at the same time you are. You don't want to spend 10 min pulling your hair out only to find out your best friend's iPhone was simultaneously trying to connect the whole time.
- Reset the Bluetooth on your speaker - Press the Bluetooth disconnect button on your speaker to clear any current connections. Then try pairing your audio device (i.e. phone) to your speaker again.
Maybe you were streaming audio to your Bluetooth speaker with another tablet a few days ago. If that tablet is still around, it may still be connected to your speaker. The same goes for smartphones and computers, especially if you share a living space with your family, roommates, or guests. It is possible that someone else connected to the Bluetooth speaker and now the speaker is either still connected or looking for its last connection. Resetting the Bluetooth on the speaker will disconnect any devices, allowing a new connection to be made.
The Bluetooth disconnect button on your speaker will probably look something like this:
The Bluetooth built into to most computers and laptops isn't suitable for audio streaming to speakers
Most laptops include some sort of Bluetooth functionality. Unfortunately, the Bluetooth chips in most laptops are intended for mice and keyboards, and are not suitable for streaming audio use. Bluetooth streaming often will not work as well from a laptop as it does from a smartphone or tablet. Symptoms can include difficulty pairing, or frequent audio dropouts during playback. With many laptops, it it just not possible to reliably stream audio to a Bluetooth speaker using the laptop's built-in Bluetooth.
If you're experiencing issues playing back audio from a laptop, before assuming something is wrong with your Bluetooth speaker, try your speaker with a smartphone or tablet. Also, be weary of inexpensive USB Bluetooth dongles which promise to add Bluetooth to older computers that don't already have wireless capabilities.
Just like your Wi-Fi, cellphone, and other wireless signals, Bluetooth range and performance can vary depending a number of factors. All smartphones and tablets aren't created equal, so be aware that the following can have varying influence on your Bluetooth connection quality -
If your phone is in your pocket and you're moving between rooms in your home, Bluetooth distance is reduced significantly. For example, if I'm streaming music to my ION Rock Speakers outside on the deck with my phone in my pocket, and then go inside to get a drink, the audio cuts out momentarily. If I go further into the house it may stop streaming entirely. Try to keep your device in the same room as your Bluetooth speaker for optimal performance.
Your body makes a better door than a window. In fact, the human body is one of the worst offenders when it comes to blocking Bluetooth signals (as are all "watery" objects). If you are in between your device and your Bluetooth speaker (like if your phone was in your back pocket), it may affect performance. Even more so, if there is a group of people between your device and your speaker (like there may be at a party or BBQ), you may not be able to stream at all. If you're having a party it might be a good idea to leave your phone or tablet in a safe place a few feet away from your speaker.
- Other wireless signals
If you have a lot of devices fighting for wireless airspace in your home, it's inevitable that they'll start fighting each other. If there is no other interference (your device and speaker are in the same room with no obstructions) and you're still experiencing issues, make sure that any other Bluetooth devices or peripherals you have in close proximity are disabled. Also, there may be areas in your home or yard that have more invisible interference than others. A reliable Bluetooth connection with some devices may be difficult in these areas. For example, in my house, if I take my phone into the bathroom 5 feet away from my bedroom, audio cuts out; however, I can go two floors down into the basement with no issue. Try relocating the setup, speakers and phone/tablet.
What about trouble pairing my two Bluetooth speakers together?
Some Bluetooth speakers, like the ION Cornerstone and ION Soundshine, allow you to pair two units together for stereo playback. When pairing two speakers together in stereo, they’ll need to be within line-of-sight of each other, and less than 30 feet from of each other. The closer they are, the stronger the signal will be.
Looking for a Bluetooth Speaker?
ION Audio offers a wide variety of top-selling portable Bluetooth speakers including the following: