Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Ensure Bluetooth is enabled on your phone by swiping down on the screen and clicking on the Bluetooth icon. Try switching it off and back on if already enabled.
  • Check if the speaker isn’t connected to another device by opening Bluetooth settings on nearby devices and disconnecting if necessary.
  • If the speaker won’t connect, make sure it is fully charged, switch it into pairing mode, and get it close to your phone to avoid interference from other wireless devices.

Frustrated because your phone won’t connect to your Bluetooth speaker? We get it! The good news is that you can often fix the issue yourself in less than 5 minutes! Let’s look at a few quick fixes to connect your speaker and get your favorite tunes back on.

Ensure Bluetooth Is Enabled on Your Phone

Before you try anything else, turn on Bluetooth on your phone. While this step seems obvious now, you might have overlooked it in the frustration of figuring out why the speaker isn’t working, especially if you keep Bluetooth always on.

On iPhones and on most Android phones, you can turn on Bluetooth by swiping down on your screen to pull down the notification panel/control center and then tap on the Bluetooth icon. If you can’t find it, open the phone settings, type “Bluetooth” in the search box, and it’ll direct you to the Bluetooth menu.

If Bluetooth is already on, try switching it off and back on. This quick fix will make your phone search for nearby Bluetooth devices, and your speaker may pop up.

Check the Speaker Isn’t Connected to Another Device

Do you use your Bluetooth speaker with multiple devices or share it with family members? If the answer is yes, there’s a good chance someone else is connected to the speaker.

Check all Bluetooth devices that can playback audio — this includes other phones, tablets, laptops, computers, car stereos, gaming consoles, and even smartwatches. Open the Bluetooth settings of all nearby devices and check if the speaker’s status says “connected.” If yes, disconnect the speaker, and it’s ready to connect to your phone.

Make Sure the Speaker Is Fully Charged

A speaker that’s low on battery either won’t turn on at all or it’ll turn on but won’t connect to another device. Most speakers have a built-in battery indicator light to let you know it’s low on juice, but just to be safe, let the speaker charge for at least 30 minutes before trying any other fix.

Switch the Bluetooth Speaker Into Pairing Mode

Bluetooth speakers must be switched to pairing mode when you’re connecting them to a device for the first time. If you bought the speaker recently, turn it on by pressing and holding the power button. Most speakers will turn on pairing mode by default when turned on, typically indicated by a sound or flashing LED on the speaker.

However, some models have to be put into pairing mode manually. There should be a Bluetooth or pairing button that you can press and hold for a few seconds. You can then connect your phone to the speaker. If you can’t find it, refer to the instructions manual that came with the speaker. If you don’t have the manual anymore, learn to find product manuals online.

Disconnect Other Bluetooth Devices From Your Phone

If your phone is already connected to a different Bluetooth device, such as a pair of earbuds, it sometimes stops searching for other nearby devices. Or you might even see the speaker on the list, but it doesn’t want to connect. The solution is to disconnect any other Bluetooth devices before connecting to the speaker.

Get the Bluetooth Speaker Close to Your Phone

Bluetooth runs on the 2.4 GHz radio frequency band. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it’s one of the most popular and most congested frequency bands we use. Having nearby devices on the same band can cause connectivity issues. The easiest solution is to get the Bluetooth speaker as close to your phone as possible while in pairing mode.

Also, move away from all other devices that may cause interference — this includes your Wi-Fi router, microwave, TV, smart home devices, wireless computer peripherals, and any other Bluetooth or Wi-Fi-enabled device.

The Tribit Stormbox Pro speaker hanging from a palm tree by its carrying handle.
Andrew Heinzman / Review Geek

Unpair and Pair the Speaker With Your Phone

If your phone and speaker have already been paired but won’t connect, a quick fix is to unpair the speaker and then re-pair. You can do this by going into your phone’s Bluetooth settings, tapping the information icon (circled “i”) or settings button (a cog icon) on the right, and tapping “Unpair” or “Disconnect.” Then, put the speaker into pairing mode and connect it to your phone, as explained above.

Make Your Phone Discoverable on Bluetooth

Some Bluetooth speakers encounter pairing issues when your phone isn’t discoverable via Bluetooth. To try this easy fix on an Android phone, open the Bluetooth menu on your phone and ensure the “Visible to other devices” option is turned on.

You can find similar settings on Windows and Mac devices. If you’re on an iPhone or a Pixel, turning Bluetooth on makes it automatically discoverable, so you can skip this step altogether.

Restart Both Devices

The easiest fix for almost any tech-related problem is to restart the device in question by turning it off and back on again.

To restart your phone, press and hold the power button for a few seconds to open the power menu, then tap “Restart.” The exact method of resetting a speaker varies, but most often, it involves pressing and holding the power and the volume down for 15–20 seconds until the LED flashes or the speaker makes a sound.

Download the Proprietary App

More expensive Bluetooth speakers typically have an app you can download to enhance your experience. You can use the app to manage multiple speakers, put them into stereo mode, and adjust the equalizer and built-in lights.

Some speakers are designed to only connect through the app and won’t work if you try to connect them like a standard Bluetooth device. The solution is to go into the App Store or Google Play Store and download the app.

The app depends on your Bluetooth speaker — try typing in the speaker brand name (e.g., JBL) or check the documentation that came with the device. Once you install the app, follow the on-screen instructions to pair the speaker.

You likely won’t be able to update the firmware on your Bluetooth speaker to resolve any connection issues at this point, but once solved, you can use the app to check for firmware updates.

Check If Other Devices Can Connect to Your Bluetooth Speaker

If all the fixes fail, the last step is troubleshooting the Bluetooth speaker. You can do this by connecting any other Bluetooth-enabled device to the speaker. Try using someone else’s phone or computer. If it succeeds, the problem is likely with your playback device, not the speaker.

If nothing helps, contact the manufacturer’s customer support for help with troubleshooting. And if the speaker is still under warranty, you can ask for a replacement, as the speaker may be broken.

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By John P.

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