Many of our readers report Bluetooth not working with headphones, car audio, and other Bluetooth enabled audio devices following upgrades to iOS and Mac OS. Even some users with Bluetooth hearing aids report they no longer work! And symptoms include crackling, static, dropouts, skipping, and popping. Not good at all, especially for the hearing impaired.
iFolks using Bluetooth in their cars experience frequent audio disconnections, occasional choppiness, a lot of static, and even phone calls getting stuck when trying to end calls. As a result, these Bluetooth problems make listening to your favorite tunes or calling a loved one a most un-fun experience. And for iFolks using Bluetooth hearing aids, this is a major quality of life challenge.
Current Reports of Bluetooth Not Working in iOS 10 and macOS Sierra
Based these numerous reports, it looks like iOS 10.2.1 has a bug in Bluetooth not working that needs fixing. Consequently, we fully expect the next upgrade to iOS and macOS address and resolve these Bluetooth issues.
So let’s get to it!
Bluetooth Not Working Tip
Until then, there is a workaround that appears to work for most iFolks. Turning off LTE when using Bluetooth headphones and other audio devices solves the problems for now. And many of our readers report that this temporary fix performs reliably. Please note that turning off LTE reduces your data speed to 4G, 3G, and even 2G or EDGE when not connected to WiFi. And remember that LTE is dramatically faster than 3G, 4G, 2G, or EDGE. So a noticeable change in speed is part of this workaround.
Other readers suggest using personal hotspot. Go to Settings>Personal Hotspot, replace the WiFi password from its default, switch on Hotspot, and finally switch WiFi OFF. Now try pairing your Bluetooth device(s) again.
If you don’t find Personal Hotspot, there are two places to look. Check Settings > Personal Hotspot. If not there, then check Settings > Cellular > Personal Hotspot. If you can’t find or turn on Personal Hotspot, verify that your wireless carrier supports Personal Hotspots, enabled it and that your wireless plan supports it.
For iFolks using Bluetooth in their automobiles, the LTE tip helps. Other fixes include cycling your Bluetooth radio to get it to work again. And sometimes restarting entirely fixes the problem.
Tips for Bluetooth Hearing Aids
- For Bluetooth hearing aids, logging out from iCloud and then logging back into iCloud appears to help
- After an iOS update, some apps for the hearing aids default into “demo mode.” Taking it out of demo mode via the app’s settings usually solves the problem
Enabling Demo mode means that you run the app without a connection to the hearing aid system. Demo mode simulates the app features as if you were connected to a hearing aid. So if your Bluetooth hearing aid is not working after an upgrade to iOS, disable Demo Mode under Settings in the app itself. Check out Apple’s information for more on iOS’s Accessibility Settings for hearing aids.
Other Fixes for Bluetooth Not Working
- Ensure your iDevice, and Bluetooth device are physically near each other
- Ensure Bluetooth accessory is on and fully charged or connected to power
- Toggle Bluetooth OFF and then BACK ON
- Try a couple of times
- Swipe up to open Control Center, then tap the Bluetooth icon twice to turn Bluetooth off and back on
- Toggle OFF WiFi, restart iDevice and Bluetooth device, and then turn WiFi back ON
- Slide Bluetooth OFF then restart your iPhone, iPad, other iDevice or car
- Turn airplane mode on
- Set WiFi on
- Turn Bluetooth on
- Pair with Bluetooth device
- Turn airplane mode OFF to get cellular signal
- Try repairing your iDevice
- Settings > Bluetooth > Choose the problematic Bluetooth device
- Tap the “i” button (information) next to the device
- Tap Forget This Device
- Now repair the devices via discovery mode
- Reset your Network Settings
- Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings
- Enter passcode if required
- Enable Airplane Mode
- Turn Bluetooth and WiFi ON
- FYI, you can’t make phone calls
- Disable Handoff on iPhone
- Settings>General>Tap Handoff & Suggested Apps>Toggle Handoff to Off
- Customize Bluetooth Settings
- General>Accessibility>Car Audio Routing >Select “Bluetooth Headset” instead of automatic
- Update car’s software and firmware to latest version
- On your iPhone, unpair your car stereo. On your car’s display, unpair your iPhone and any other devices. Restart your car and your iPhone, then pair and connect again
- Delete and Reset your car’s Bluetooth Settings
- Remove the infotainment unit fuse for a few seconds and then repair iPhone
- Disconnect your car’s battery for a few seconds, reconnect, and the repair the iPhones
- Both these solutions allow Bluetooth to work again because your car loses any stored data and any possible Bluetooth signature corruptions
Bluetooth Not Available in Mac OS
If you receive the message “Bluetooth not available” when transferring files via Bluetooth from iMac, MacBooks, and other desktops Macs, your Bluetooth preference file is potentially corrupt.
Fixing Mac OS Bluetooth not working problem
- Delete Bluetooth Preferences
- In Finder Menu, select Go and Go To Folder or press Command+Shift+G
- Type “/Library/Preferences/”
- Locate the file “com.apple.Bluetooth.plist“
- Delete this file
- Shut down your Mac, disconnect all USB devices for at least two minutes
- Start up and reconnect your USB devices
- In Finder Menu, select Go and Go To Folder or press Command+Shift+G
- If that fails, repeat steps 1-3 and then
- Reset SMC
- Shut Down again
- Shut down your Mac, disconnect all USB devices for two minutes, start up, and re-connect your USB devices once again
Check Apple’s Bluetooth Guidelines
If things aren’t going your way, take a look at Apple’s latest guidelines for iOS supported Bluetooth profiles and make sure your iDevice supports your Bluetooth device(s.)
Apple updates its information regularly on using Bluetooth with its iDevices and your automobiles, so it’s always a good idea to check out Apple support.
Bluetooth enabled devices are part of our digital life. They enrich our car rides, public transit experiences, exercise circuits, and our everyday routines. When we need a bit of alone time even amongst a crowd, our Bluetooth headphones or earbuds get us the bit of serenity. So when it’s a bumpy road in Bluetooth performance, it shakes things up in an awful way.
Hopefully one or more of these tips on getting Bluetooth up and running worked for you. We also have a few additional resources to check out in our archive of Bluetooth articles.
- Bluetooth Greyed Out or Dim
- Problems with Bluetooth on iPhone 5 models
- Bluetooth Troubleshooting
- Issues with Bluetooth on iPads
For most of her professional life, Amanda Elizabeth (Liz for short) trained all sorts of folks on how to use media as a tool to tell their own unique stories. She knows a thing or two about teaching others and creating how-to guides!
Her clients include Edutopia, Scribe Video Center, Third Path Institute, Bracket, The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Big Picture Alliance.
Elizabeth received her Master of Fine Arts degree in media making from Temple University, where she also taught undergrads as an adjunct faculty member in their department of Film and Media Arts.