bluetooth has improved the quality of our lives in many ways; For one thing, we no longer have to wrestle with all those cables! however, it is also a famously inconsistent connective technology. If your bluetooth headphones keep cutting off your music at the most inopportune times, you probably agree something needs to be done.
Of course, getting to the bottom of the problem is a responsibility that will likely fall on you. In most cases, the underlying cause of connectivity issues isn’t too difficult to fix, so you probably won’t have to suffer for long.
With that in mind, let’s talk about the main things that could be causing this choppy audio.
Why Your Bluetooth Headphones Keep Cutting Out
Things that could be causing your headphone choppy audio issues can be divided into four groups. the first and second groups include problems with the source device and the headphones. if the electronics are fully functional, the problem may be in the connection mode or even in various external factors.
more specifically, you may need to ensure that the versions of bluetooth technology used by your devices are compatible. If all of these things check out, the interference could be caused by the presence of strong electromagnetic fields. but even if that’s the case, you should be able to guarantee a solid connection with the tips we’ll discuss later. For now, let’s dig a little deeper into explaining the possible causes of bluetooth connectivity issues.
source device problems
bluetooth headsets can be connected to a wide range of devices, including computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. but while your headphones may be ready to pair at all times, the source device you’re streaming from may not be. Several things could be interfering with your source device’s bluetooth signal.
for example, you may have forgotten to check if bluetooth is activated. As mentioned, your headphones will automatically have the feature enabled even if they are the convertible type that comes with a 3.5mm jack auxiliary cable. however, unlike headsets, laptops, smartphones, and other potential source devices aren’t automatically ready to pair as soon as you turn them on.
Even if you keep the Bluetooth feature on, the source device may not be actively searching for pairing devices. Besides, manually finding your headphones on the list of Bluetooth devices that are available for pairing usually works best.
In any case, forcing your source device to continuously search for bluetooth signals will drain your battery. If the device in question does not have a constant power supply, a low battery charge may contribute to connectivity issues. therefore, it may not be a bad idea to keep the device plugged into a power outlet.
Finally, having too many apps or programs active is another thing that could compromise your bluetooth connection. software could be another drain on battery capacity. Also, the processing power your device is wasting on unnecessary apps can slow down the data transfer between your device and your wireless headphones.
If you don’t find any issues with your source device, you may have a problem with your headphones. for example, a low battery charge is something that can also happen to your wireless headphones. alternatively, the problem may simply be in the distance between it and the source device.
For starters, you’ll need to determine what kind of battery life you can expect from your headphones. if you’ve been using them for a while, you should already know if you can get five, eight or more hours of playback with them.
Both the volume of your music and the use of your microphone can affect battery life. so keep this in mind if you want to get the most out of your wireless headphones: limit the duration of the call.
Ultimately, if your source device is a newer smartphone, you will be able to see the battery percentage of your headphones on the screen when you pair them. so it should be easy to set whether to load them.
Of course, there would be nothing you could do if the battery inside your headphones was deteriorating. if your wireless headphones are relatively new, the battery shouldn’t fail yet. however, if you bought a cheap pair, the battery life would be average. then that may be the reason why you are experiencing a flickering bluetooth connection.
On the other hand, it could be due to something as simple as distance. If you’re trying to connect your headphones to a source device that’s out of range, it’s no wonder your audio is choppy! different versions of bluetooth have different ranges, but you shouldn’t test those limits if you want to establish a strong signal.
bluetooth version compatibility
since the first bluetooth headphones hit the market in 2004, the physical range of these devices has been expanding. the maximum range of some wireless headphones used to be a few feet. meanwhile, some newer models boast a physical range of about ten meters!
Otherwise, bluetooth technology has generally had the same reach for generations. versions 2.1 and 4.0 had a range of less than 100 meters or approximately 110 yards. however, with the arrival of bluetooth 5, we now have about 400 meters of margin, in theory. however, there are still some benefits to doing things the old-fashioned way.
i.e. if the source device has the newer version of bluetooth but your headphones work with an outdated one, they are more likely to connect to a nearby device that also has the older version . however, for that to happen, said device would need to be nearby. also, it would have to have an active bluetooth function.
of course, if your headphones use bluetooth 5, they will not be preferred either way. instead, they simply need to connect to whichever device is closest, though there are several ways to ensure they’re paired with the correct one. but more on that later. For now, let’s take a look at the last set of obstacles you might have to overcome.
bluetooth technology operates in a frequency range between 2.402 and 2.481 ghz. any other device that relies on that frequency range can easily disrupt the operation of your wireless devices. Also, other things could come between the source device and the headphones, namely solid structures.
As you may have noticed, walls, floors, and even doors may obscure the wireless signal your audio transmission needs. So even if your Bluetooth has a superior physical range, these factors may still disrupt its signal.
on the other hand, we have already established that other devices can cause similar problems. after all, most of our electronic devices use the frequency range I mentioned above. computers, televisions, portable devices such as tablets and phones, and modern vehicles can negatively affect wireless signals. even some washers and dryers could emit electromagnetic fields strong enough to break your bluetooth connection.
Best of all, figuring out if they are the underlying cause of your problems should be pretty easy. so if you want to solve your connectivity problems, just follow the guide below.
how to fix bluetooth headset that keeps disconnecting
At this point, you will have learned some of the tips that could strengthen the bluetooth connection of your headphones. still, let’s go through the list of some common ways and other less expected ways to fix that stuttering audio.
charge the headset and source device (if necessary)
First things first, you’ll want to make sure both devices are fully charged. You don’t want a low battery charge to get in the way of the rest of the troubleshooting process, do you? Also, this first step could find out that the battery of your headphones has been damaged, which could affect your choices.
Most wireless headphones have a battery LED indicator somewhere that flashes while charging. when they reach a full charge, the light will become constant.
If you want to see if the battery is degrading, measure the number of hours you get on that charge. ideally, you could compare that number to an earlier measurement that you may have taken when you first purchased the headphones. however, if you never did that initial test, you can trust the number provided by the manufacturer (although they tend to exaggerate it).
Depending on the type of device you’re pairing with the headset, that might be all you need to do. PCs have a constant supply of power, so battery life would not come into play. however, laptops, smartphones or tablets need to be charged to ensure that the bluetooth signal is not cut off by this. Alternatively, you can keep these devices on their chargers while you try to pair them with your headphones.
stay close to the source device
The next tip is pretty obvious: don’t move away from your source device while using wireless headphones. Although bluetooth technology generally has a maximum range of 100 to 400 yards, your headset is probably much more limited. your range of motion while wearing them will probably be around 15 to 26 feet.
You can check the box that your headset came in for additional information, but really, the closer you can get to the source device, the better. as we have already established, the physical space you are in can affect the connection. therefore, staying close will ensure there are no walls or floors between the headphones and the source device.
While we’re on the subject, you should know that our bodies can also block bluetooth signals. therefore, keeping your phone in your bag or back pocket of jeans can also cause connectivity issues.
make sure your source device is ready to pair
Most people don’t find the obvious solution here: maybe your source device’s bluetooth isn’t activated. alternatively, it could turn off automatically after a certain period. that would certainly make the connection with your headphones flicker. To prevent this, you will need to access your source device’s bluetooth settings.
the path to that looks different on various versions of the windows, mac, ios and android operating systems. still, you should find what you’re looking for in settings, near other connectivity options.
On android devices, the bluetooth settings should be somewhere around the wi-fi settings. in fact, you could probably access them from the dropdown menu. computers running windows 10 now have a similar setup with the action center appearing on the right side of the screen. if you right click on the bluetooth button you find there and select go to settings, a new window will appear.
There you will find all the options that your source device has. If you have enabled quick pairing mode or something similar, your device may be looking for devices with a higher pairing priority. so, at this point, you’ll want to uncheck any of the settings that might make it difficult to establish the connection.
check if the bluetooth versions are compatible
You probably can’t find what version of bluetooth your devices are running in the bluetooth settings. for that, you should look at the product packaging or the guarantee, if you have kept them. if not, you can google the devices to find out if any of them have an outdated version of the technology.
if so, you may have to make peace with the poor connection quality. or just follow the rest of the tips in this guide. the following might be particularly useful for people who have difficulty establishing a connection between devices with incompatible bluetooth versions.
unpair the source device and headphones from other electronic devices
If your bluetooth connection is spotty, your source device may still be searching for other nearby devices. To avoid that, you will need to go into the bluetooth settings of the device and make it connect with your headphones manually. but first, you’ll need to unpair it from any other devices.
For example, if you’re trying to connect to a windows 10 laptop, you’ll find a list of all the devices it’s ever paired with in the bluetooth settings. From there, you’ll want to left-click on each device and select delete. if you want to start over, unpair all devices, including the headphones you’re trying to connect.
so what do you achieve by doing this? Simply put, it causes your source device to not prioritize any of the devices on that list. instead, you’ll be able to manually see all the devices it finds while scanning and manually choose one to pair with. In the future, you may need to perform these additional steps before pairing your device, but the stable connection will be worth it.
quit any other applications you are using on the source device
As we have established, running too many applications on your source device can slow down the data transfer between it and your headphones. therefore, if you want to avoid bluetooth audio flickering, you should exit any apps you are not using at least while pairing the headphones.
If the sound keeps cutting off when you use the apps again, you may need to avoid them altogether. some apps tend to cause more problems than most. For example, apple users have noticed that the airbattery app can cause airpods to flash even when running in the background.
Of course, if you’re using your headset while playing on the source device, quitting the app may not be an option. in that case, you could try rebooting the source device in the hope that it will allow it to take full advantage of its resources.
Alternatively, you can get another source device that can do both at the same time. Your smartphone may not have the ability to keep the bluetooth connection strong and run games at the same time.
distance yourself from other electrical devices before attempting to pair
If your bluetooth connection remains spotty, you may be experiencing electromagnetic interference. as we have established, many electronic devices emit an electromagnetic field that uses the same frequency range as bluetooth. so if the time comes, you may need to go to another room to pair your devices.
after all, anything in the room could be causing signal interference. even if there are no smart devices in sight, even unshielded cables could do it. but if you’re trying to pair your headphones with another portable device, you can easily walk out of the room to get the job done.
it might be time to replace your old bluetooth headset
If all attempts to fix your spotty wireless connection fail, it might be time to get a new pair of headphones. there are a number of things you’ll need to consider in that case, such as what kind of headphones would best suit your needs.
Earbuds and over-ear headphones provide better passive noise isolation than over-ear models. however, for some people, on-ear headphones are more portable than on-ear headphones and more comfortable than earbuds. but ultimately, that’s not even the most important decision you’ll have to make. instead, you should consider whether you want to rely on a wireless connection again.
Of course, you may not have a choice if you’re trying to connect to one of the newer versions of the iPhone. ever since the manufacturer eliminated the headphone jack port, people who don’t want bluetooth headsets have had to use jacks. however, the apple dongle makes it impossible to charge your device at the same time. still, if you don’t mind using third-party products, some connectors come with both ports.
Ultimately, though, you shouldn’t be afraid to give wireless headphones another try. you just have to get ones that use the latest version of bluetooth technology. there are some great options with active noise cancellation technology. But if you’d rather have headphones, you can’t go wrong with the Bose SoundSport model, which is also available as a completely wireless design.
on the other hand, if you’re just not willing to give bluetooth another try, you could buy wired headphones instead. at least that way you’ll be sure your connection won’t break, unless of course you damage the cable.
Unfortunately, bluetooth technology is still pretty fickle, although the latest version improved on the weaknesses of its predecessors. As you know, it doesn’t take much to get between the source device and your headphones. pretty much anything could interfere with the signal, even our bodies!
With that in mind, you should know that the solutions I’ve presented above may not work for you. if that happens, you’ll only be left with one option: buy new headphones. but hopefully the problem will resolve itself before it’s needed.
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