Most modern computers, smartphones, smart gadgets and wireless devices are equipped with Bluetooth wireless technology to help connect them together. Although it is an indispensable part of such devices, it is imperfect and can fail at any time.
Reasons why Bluetooth doesn’t work when you try to pair your devices include proximity between devices, device compatibility, interference from various sources such as Wi-Fi or RF signals, low battery, or simply because it isn’t turned on.
We will show you how to solve when Bluetooth is not working on your computer and smartphone and get them back to working state.
Fix when Bluetooth is not working on Windows PC
Windows computer may experience Bluetooth connection issues due to device compatibility, operating system, or driver and / or software updates. Other reasons include incorrect settings, defective device, or disconnected Bluetooth device.
There are several ways to fix Bluetooth connection problems in Windows. In this guide, we’ll show you how to fix this on a Windows 10 computer.
Turn on Bluetooth
Make sure Bluetooth is turned on by going to Action Center and clicking the notification icon in the lower right corner of your computer screen next to the clock. Find the Bluetooth tile and click to turn it on (it is gray / dim when off).
Turning Bluetooth on and off also resets the setting and helps resolve any connection issues as your computer has to constantly search for nearby devices.
If you are on board an aircraft and Airplane Mode is turned on, it turns off Bluetooth, so be sure to turn it off after landing by clicking the Windows 10 Airplane Mode tile in the Notification Center.
Bring the Devices located close to each other
If you are using a desktop computer, move the Bluetooth device closer to the computer and try pairing them together. When the distance is not large enough, the Bluetooth connection will be out of range, so make sure they are as close as possible to establish an active connection. If it’s a laptop, move it closer to the Bluetooth device you want to connect to.
Make sure your devices support Bluetooth
You might think that your computer or Bluetooth device supports wireless technology when it really isn’t. Not all devices use Bluetooth or have built-in technology, so check your device packaging or manual to see if it supports Bluetooth or not before trying to connect. Otherwise, you can connect using cable or Wi-Fi.
If your computer does not have Bluetooth, buy a Bluetooth adapter, plug it into one of the USB ports on your computer, and try connecting again.
Turn on Bluetooth device
It is also possible that the Bluetooth device you are trying to connect to your computer is turned off. Check and turn on the device before trying to connect again. Sometimes it can also take a while to scan and detect other devices, so if it turns off, turn it back on and try to connect.
Check for device conflicts
If you have paired your Bluetooth device with multiple computers or other devices, it can cause conflicts and affect the connection. To fix this, turn off Bluetooth on all but one other devices or computers and see if it works again.
For example, if you have a fitness tracker connected to multiple devices, it may interfere with those devices, so try pairing one at a time.
Disconnect nearby devices
If you connect multiple Bluetooth devices to your computer, it may make it difficult to connect a new one. Disconnecting other nearby devices connected to your computer via Bluetooth may help resolve the connection issue.
Make your system discoverable
- This setting was not found where you might expect to be, so click Start> Settings> Devices.
- Click Advanced Bluetooth Settings.
- Select the Allow Bluetooth devices to find this computer checkbox and click OK.
Restart your computer
- Restarting will usually fix any software glitches that may be causing problems with your computer, including Bluetooth and other connectivity issues. You can tap Start> Power and select Restart.
- Try connecting again after restarting your computer and logging in.
Check for Windows Updates
Windows 10 usually has a few updates that can cause the Bluetooth connection to fail, as it would with WiFi.
Updates come with security fixes, as well as the latest features and version of Windows 10, which can also help you connect your device.
- Select Start> Settings> Update & Security.
- Click Check for Updates and Download if there are pending updates.
- Make sure your computer is connected to a power source, as this process consumes resources and drains your battery. In addition, it can affect the update process if it is completed halfway.
Run Windows 10 Bluetooth Troubleshooter
It is a built-in tool that scans your computer for any Bluetooth related problems and solves them.
- Click Start> Settings> Update & Security. Click Troubleshoot> Bluetooth.
Canceling and re-pairing a Bluetooth device
- To remove a Bluetooth device, click Start> Settings> Devices. Find your device and click on it. Click Remove Device.
- Restart your computer and try pairing again.
Check Bluetooth service status
As a Windows 10 service, Bluetooth should be able to turn on like all other services, but you can always check its service status and click on it to start it if stopped.
- Right click on Start> Run and type services.msc in the run dialog. Check all Bluetooth services in the list of services.
- Double click each Bluetooth related service and check the Service Status. If “Start” is displayed, then everything is working fine. If Stopped is displayed, click Start to activate it.
Check event log
After Windows 10 June 2019 patch to protect against Bluetooth security vulnerability, some devices have had connectivity issues, but you can check if yours is among them by going to the event log.
- Right-click Start View events.
- Go to the administrative summary and click Error to expand it.
Event ID: 22
Event Source: BTHUSB or BTHMINI
Event Message Text: Your Bluetooth device tried to establish a debug connection. The Windows Bluetooth stack does not allow you to debug the connection until it is in debug mode.
- If your computer displays the above, contact the manufacturer of your Bluetooth device and ask for a patch if available. Otherwise, you might have to buy a new Bluetooth device.
Update Bluetooth Drivers
Outdated Bluetooth drivers may cause this feature to not work on your computer, especially if you recently updated Windows 10.
- Right-click on Start> Device Manager. Click Bluetooth to expand the category. Find the Bluetooth adapter for your computer and right-click it.
- Click Update Driver and select Search Automatically for Updated Driver Software. Follow the instructions on the screen and restart your computer.
- You can also check for the latest drivers on your computer manufacturer’s website and download from there.
Fix when Bluetooth is not working on Mac
If you are using a Mac, you might be able to fix Bluetooth connection problems using these methods.
Turn Bluetooth off and on
- To do this, click the Apple menu and select System Preferences.
- Select Bluetooth and click Disable Bluetooth. Wait a few seconds and click the “Turn Bluetooth On” button.
Delete Bluetooth Preference List
If Bluetooth is not working on your Mac, it could be caused by a corrupted preference list that your Mac uses to store devices and their current state – not connected, not connected, successfully paired, or not paired. This damage prevents the computer from reading data from the file or updating data in the file.
The solution is to delete or delete the preference list, but first make sure you back up your data.
- Open Finder and go to /YourStartupDrive/Library/Preferences.
- Find com.apple.Bluetooth.plist in the lists. This is your Mac’s Bluetooth preference list and possibly the file that is causing Bluetooth not to work. Select the file and move it to your desktop to create a backup.
- Right-click the com.apple.Bluetooth.plist file and select Move to Trash. Enter your password and click OK.
- Restart your Mac. A new Bluetooth settings file will be created. Then, pair your Bluetooth devices by clicking Apple menu> System Preferences> Bluetooth Preferences Panel.
- A list of all devices will be displayed with a Connect button. Click the button to pair the device with your Mac, and repeat for all other Bluetooth devices you want.
- Once the Bluetooth issue is resolved, delete the backup file that you moved to your desktop in the previous steps. If this happens again, restore the backup by copying it to the / YourStartupDrive / Library / Preferences folder.
This is another final way to get Bluetooth working on your Mac again. This makes the computer forget about every Bluetooth device you have ever used, after which you need to reconfigure each device.
- Turn on the Bluetooth menu item by holding SHIFT + OPTION and select the Bluetooth menu item. Release the keys when you see the menu.
- Select Debug, Remove All Devices.
- Hold down SHIFT + OPTION and click the Bluetooth menu.
- Select Debug> Reset the Bluetooth Module.
- Bluetooth is now set to factory defaults.
Fix when bluetooth not working on Android smartphone
If you’ve tried the basics – toggling a Bluetooth connection, turning on a Bluetooth device, restarting your smartphone – and nothing works, here are a few methods to help you fix Bluetooth not working on Android.
Remove paired devices
You can delete all previously paired devices so your Android phone can start over, especially if you are browsing the old list and you no longer need these connections.
- To do this, go to Settings> Connections> Bluetooth and turn on the switch to see the devices.
- In the list of paired devices, click the settings icon for each device to unpair with your phone. Repeat this for all devices until there are no more devices on your list.
- Your phone will scan and detect nearby Bluetooth devices and you can connect to the one you want.
Update your phone software
- Go to Settings> Software Update and click on it.
Update your phone software
- Go to Settings> Software Update and tap on it.
- Click Download and Install. When finished, the phone will restart and then you can check if the Bluetooth function works again.
Use your Android phone in Safe Mode
Safe Mode disables third-party applications on your phone that can interfere with Bluetooth and cause connection problems. The steps will differ depending on the Android model or version, but in this tutorial, we’ll be using Android 9 (Pie).
- To enter Safe Mode, press and hold the power button until you see the power options appear on the screen.
- Release the power button, press and hold the shutdown button until you see the green Safe Mode icon. Click on it to restart in safe mode.
- The phone will reboot and you will see Safe Mode at the bottom of the screen. Check if your bluetooth is working in safe mode. If it is running in safe mode, it means that your phone has an app that may interfere with Bluetooth.
- Return to normal mode by restarting your phone and uninstalling the problematic application.
Factory data reset
This is the last method as it removes all data and third party apps from your phone. Back up your device before returning it to factory defaults by going to Settings> Accounts & Backup> Smart Switch. Grant the required permissions and follow the instructions to back up your data.
- Then go to Settings> General Management> Reset.
- Click Factory Data Reset.
- Click the blue Reset button. The phone will reboot after the reset is complete, after which you can try using Bluetooth again.
Fix when Bluetooth is not working on iPhone
If you are experiencing Bluetooth hiccups on your iPhone, try the following steps to fix the problem.
Keep your iPhone software up to date
This is important for security purposes and because it comes with the latest iOS features for your device.
- To update your iOS software, go to Settings> General> Software Update.
- This is where you can receive an update request or notification that you are using the most recent version of software available for iOS.
Disable Bluetooth and restart your iPhone
If you have the latest iOS software installed, the next step is to check if Bluetooth is enabled and disable it, then force restart your iPhone.
- You can turn off Bluetooth by going to Control Center on your iPhone or by going to Settings> Bluetooth and turning the switch off.
- To force restart iPhone, press and hold the side and volume down buttons at the same time until you see the Apple logo. Then turn Bluetooth back on in Control Center or Settings> Bluetooth. The hardware restart method depends on the iPhone model you are using.
Disconnect and reconnect to Bluetooth device
If your iPhone is currently connected to the specific problematic Bluetooth device, disconnect it from the device and try to reconnect the devices.
- You can do this in Settings> Bluetooth, press the i next to the device and select Disconnect, then do the same to reconnect.
Cancel and re-pair devices
To do this, forget about your Bluetooth device and try connecting it to your iPhone again.
- Open Settings> Bluetooth.
- Click the i next to the device and select Forget This Device. This will break the pair between the two devices. Go through the Bluetooth pairing process again and see if it works.
While still pairing, you can try pairing with another iPhone to determine if the Bluetooth issue is with your iPhone or the device you are trying to pair with.
If Bluetooth still doesn’t work with another iPhone, it’s probably a different device, but if so, then the problem is with your iPhone.
Reset network settings
If the Bluetooth problem persists, try resetting your network settings. This will delete all Bluetooth information from your iPhone along with other network settings such as Wi-Fi networks.
- Go to Settings> General> Reset.
- Select “Reset Network Settings” and enter your iPhone password.
- iPhone shuts down and restarts, after which you can try connecting it to the Bluetooth device again.
Restore your iPhone
This is the last way to try if Bluetooth isn’t working on your iPhone. This includes resetting your phone to factory defaults, which ideally wipes out all of your settings and any content on the phone, so it goes back to the original state it was before you unpacked it.
- Back turn on your iPhone and then follow the steps below to restore it to factory settings.
- Go to Settings> General> Reset and select Erase All Content and Settings.
- Enter your iPhone password and the process will begin.
- If all else fails for your iPhone, contact Apple Support. Make sure your iPhone’s warranty is still valid so that you don’t have to pay much more for repairs, as if you were using an iPhone that is no longer covered by the warranty.