Bluetooth speakers certainly make listening to audio easier. That is, when they work. You cannot enjoy the luxury of hands-free listening if you are tinkering with the speaker every time you want it to work. If you are experiencing frequent cutting out of your Bluetooth speakers, you may be questioning if the convenience is costing you quality. Do not regret your Bluetooth speakers just yet!
Why do Bluetooth speakers cut out? A Bluetooth speaker may cut out for one of many reasons, including:
- Low battery
- Interference from other electronic devices or radio waves
- Your device is not compatible or no longer supported
- The device is outside of the Bluetooth range
- The Bluetooth app has a bug
Audio cutting out is a common problem faced by Bluetooth speaker users, and often simple to fix. Bluetooth speakers are great pieces of technology. You just have to know how to set them upright for the best result.
It may take a little familiarizing yourself with the basics of Bluetooth connection and how to optimize your connection. Still, when used correctly, Bluetooth speakers should give you all the convenience and sound quality you are looking for.
Why Does Bluetooth Connection Cut Out?
If you are finding your Bluetooth listening to be interrupted by audio cutting out and the frustration of not understanding why, there are a few common variables that are worth looking at to get you back to simple, hands-free listening,
The Battery is Low
Disconnections are more likely to occur while your Bluetooth device is operating on a low battery. By keeping your Bluetooth speaker fully charged as often as possible, you will be optimizing the connection it makes.
To determine if your speaker cutting out is due to the low battery, first observe your device’s battery life. Once you are familiar with the battery life, you will have a better idea of where your battery charge is at when you notice cutting out. If your speaker has a low battery indicator light, observe if the problem occurs while the light is off, or only while it is on.
There is Interference
While your devices have methods to reduce interference, your home may unintentionally be making the job much harder. There are many common appliances that emit radio waves which have the potential to interfere with your Bluetooth connection.
Likewise, there may be barriers that you had not realized are blocking your Bluetooth connection. To ensure optimal Bluetooth function consider if anything on this list can be an interference for your Bluetooth device.
- Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth share the 2.4HGz frequency spectrum, which can lead to radio signals interfering with each other. If this is a problem, you may also notice that your Wi-Fi runs much slower while using your Bluetooth speaker. Since the two are using the same frequency, they can easily block one another’s signals.
- Microwave Ovens: You may be surprised to learn that the source of interference causing your connection issues isn’t another handheld or speaker device, but a kitchen device! Microwave ovens us the same 2.4HGz spectrum as Bluetooth uses, but uses the high-power signal to cook food.
- Similar to the effect of Wi-Fi, these radio waves along the same spectrum can be interfering with the radio waves your Bluetooth device is sending and receiving.
- Fluorescent Lighting: Another sneaky interference may be your lightbulbs, which is especially likely if you are in an office or other public place. Fluorescent lighting emits a signal in the 2.4GHz spectrum. How exactly this happens is a bit complex, but if interested in a brief summary, check out this article!
- The bottom line is radio waves from the lights along the same spectrum as your Bluetooth device can cause interference. If lighting causes a problem and how significantly it does will be determined by the quality of your device and how strong the lighting signal is.
- Apps Open in Your Background: While connecting a Bluetooth speaker to your phone, if you have too many apps open and running at the same time, they can slow down the Bluetooth transmissions. Close all apps you are not using for optimal connection to your Bluetooth speaker.
- Other Bluetooth Devices: Depending on what kind of device you are using and the quality of it, how other nearby Bluetooth devices affect your connection will vary. Check your manufacturer’s pairing procedures to see your device’s features that may be affecting how your connection is maintained, such as pairing multiple devices or automatic pairing.
- Walls: If you have a speaker connected to your phone and are moving between different rooms, walls will decrease the range of your Bluetooth connection. The more barriers and distance between your device and speaker will make connection weaker and less stable.
- Cross-Body Interference: You likely know that the human body is made largely of water, up to 60%, according to the USGC. A lesser-known fact is that Bluetooth’s radio frequency is blocked by water. Due to this, the human body can serve as a barrier to Bluetooth connection.
- For Example: If you have your phone in your back pocket while connected to a speaker, have a Bluetooth headset on the opposite side as your phone, or are using Bluetooth speakers for a crowded party or get together these can all weaken the connection between your device and Bluetooth speaker.
Your Device is Not Compatible
In general, Bluetooth devices are backwards compatible, meaning any new device using newer Bluetooth technology can successfully connect with devices that support any older Bluetooth technology. However, Bluetooth Smart is the exception.
Bluetooth Smart devices are not backwards compatible, and therefore, are not able to connect to devices that support ‘classic’ Bluetooth. This is the most common cause of incompatibility, but by reading product specifications before buying your Bluetooth speaker you will find, for any reason, what devices are incompatible.
It is a common misconception that a Bluetooth device should work with any Bluetooth pairing device. If you are experiencing cutting out and a weaker connection, you can check your product specifications to assess if perhaps your device is incompatible.
You Are Exceeding Your Range
As mentioned, Bluetooth devices are not designed to extend connection very far. This is because Bluetooth is most commonly used for connection between devices near each other, such as your phone connecting to your car speaker.
Check the specifications for your specific product to get a clear idea of the range capacity. If you are trying to use your Bluetooth from a distance, consider how this is affecting the connection and causing any cutting out. Try moving your device closer to the speaker and see if this has any effect on the stability of the connect.
Your Bluetooth Speaker’s App is the Problem
If you are playing audio from an application on a computer, tablet, or phone, consider that the cutting out is resulting from your audio itself. The speaker may appear to be cutting out, but if you are streaming audio and have a poor connection or the app is malfunctioning, this will affect how your audio is playing.
To see if an audio application is causing audio to cut out, try playing the audio directly from your phone speaker, through headphones, or on a different Bluetooth device to observe if the cutting out still occurs. If your audio application is the issue, check for any updates you may be missing.
Troubleshooting Your Bluetooth Speaker
If you have eliminated the possibility that your device is not compatible with your speaker or that your speaker’s quality is not up to par, there is likely a fix to your cutting out issues. Some of the suggestions below address specific problems, see if they solve your cutting out issue. While others are more general ways to improve the connection for anyone using a Bluetooth speaker.
Move the Device Closer to the Bluetooth Speaker and Keep it There During Use
Keeping the device and Bluetooth speaker will help by minimizing any barriers to the connection, and by reducing the range the signal must span over. Keeping your device in the same area during use means the signal will not encounter any weak areas that cause cutting out.
The connection will stay consistent and be able to share information easily. This results in a stronger signal that is less prone to any cutting out.
Make Sure Both Devices Are Fully Charged
By having both your audio device and Bluetooth speaker fully charged, you will ensure they are working at optimal condition.
Turn Off Any Interfering Devices.
If other Bluetooth devices may be interfering, turn off their Bluetooth temporarily. If you can not turn them off while using the Bluetooth speaker, at least do so while troubleshooting. If you are near a microwave oven, consider moving either the speaker or microwave oven, so they are further apart to reduce interference.
Check the lighting in the room where you use your Bluetooth speaker for potential interference as well. If possible, change out any interfering lights or place a lamp in the room to use while you need your speaker to function properly.
Reset the Bluetooth On Your Speaker.
How you reset the Bluetooth on your speaker is dependent on the type you have, but most Bluetooth speakers have a Bluetooth or Bluetooth disconnect button. Be sure you check your Bluetooth speaker’s manual for instructions on how to reset Bluetooth.
Once disconnected, most speakers will have a sound notification. If your speaker includes a light that notifies you when the speaker is pair, refer to that. Once you are sure all connections have been disconnected, you can try to repair your device to the Bluetooth speaker. By resetting Bluetooth, you are terminating a weak pairing, in hopes of paring a more stable connection.
Reset the Bluetooth on Your Audio Device
Similar to resetting the Bluetooth on your speaker, this will end your current, malfunctioning connection and allow you to try to find a stronger connection between your device and Bluetooth speaker. Go to the settings on your audio device and turn the Bluetooth off. After a few seconds, turn the Bluetooth capabilities back on and try to pair back to your Bluetooth speaker with a new connection.
Forget or Unpair the Bluetooth Speaker from Your Device
Follow the procedure to forget the Bluetooth speaker from your audio device. In forgetting and reintroducing the speaker the two devices will forget all shared information such as the Bluetooth address. When you repair your devices, they will exchange information once again. If the problem was a faulty pairing, this should restore your sound and prevent cutting out.
If you have found that a computer or laptop that you want to connect to your Bluetooth speaker does not have Bluetooth, all hope is not lost. Bluetooth adapters are available for other devices such as TVs and cars, but in the case of speakers, a computer Bluetooth adapter is most likely to be of help.
A Bluetooth adapter also called a Bluetooth dongle, is inserted in the computer’s USB port and will send signals to nearby devices and search for other Bluetooth devices.
Consider Further Technical Support
If your Bluetooth speaker continues to cut out despite all modifications to the device, speaker, and environment, you may need to seek further support. If the problem in any damage to the speaker, technical support will be most able to help in identifying and potentially repairing the Bluetooth speaker.
A more specific issue may be causing your connection to cut out. For further technical support, you can reach out to the manufacturer of the speaker or the store where you bought it from if they offer technical support.
How Does a Bluetooth Connection Work?
To understand what is going wrong with your Bluetooth connection, it is helpful to know what should be happening.
Bluetooth connects devices and communicates information between them by using radio-waves. Think of radio programs broadcasting hundreds, possibly thousands, of miles to listeners and the technology that cordless phones use to carry calls from one speaker all to another in a city, state, or even country.
Bluetooth similarly uses radio-waves but is designed to bring communication over much shorter distances and receives radio waves in a specific range of 79 different frequencies centered on 2.4GHz. This particular range of frequencies and short carrying distance is what keeps other radio-wave communications and Bluetooth devices from interfering.
When connecting devices, one must be set as discoverable, meaning it briefly is communicating its presence to other devices, looking to be picked up. The second device must be searching for other Bluetooth devices to connect to. When the two devices pick up each other up, they share a unique Bluetooth address (usually visible on devices as a 12-digit sequence) and potentially other information such as the device’s name.
The device name is often given by the user to make identifying the device easier while pairing. It is the same name that shows up on your audio device when you choose to connect. After the devices each know the address of the other, they are ready to connect.
Through a technique known as frequency- hopping spread spectrum, two devices will randomly choose a frequency, switching until they find one that is not already taken. To reduce the chances of interference and ensure security, the devices continually shift the frequency they are using throughout the connection.
That is at least how it should go, but the process, like all things, is not always perfect. The connection is not complex compared to more advanced technology but can be affected by a few factors, some of which are less obvious than others. By becoming familiar with all the ways your Bluetooth connection can be affected, you will know where to look and save time and frustrating troubleshooting.
What to Consider When Purchasing Bluetooth Speakers
As you can see from this article, many of the problems and their fitting solutions with Bluetooth speakers are caused by the use and environment of the speakers. As the user, you control both how you use your speakers and the environment you use them in, but you want a speaker that suits your preferences.
While you will likely be able to adjust to solve any issues, you are better off buying a speaker that will function just as you want it to, so be mindful of where and how you intend to use your speaker while searching the market for one.
Start by making sure any Bluetooth speakers you invest in are compatible with any device you already own and plan to pair your speakers with. Check the range of your speaker. If you plan on using your speaker over longer distances, to entertain parties, or for music across rooms, you likely want to invest in a large range.
If you just want a Bluetooth speaker for hands free listening in your living room, that feature may not be as crucial. Use this logic with each feature, considering how it fits what you want from your Bluetooth speaker.
Bluetooth technology is an asset to any audio system, but as the user make sure to familiarize yourself with the quality and characteristics of your speakers to use them to the fullest potential. Ensuring your connection has supportive conditions can make a big difference in consistent, high-quality audio.