We’re in the twenty first century now. Connecting things with wires is so passé. Until your iPhone’s Bluetooth decides to go on strike and nothing connects. Many current devices don’t even have the ports to connect something with wires unless you happen to have the proper dongle dandy. So what do you do? Keep reading and get yourself reconnected.
Before undertaking any of the more time consuming solutions below, these are a few fundamentals to get you started.
- Restart phone your phone.
- Charge the Bluetooth device you’re experience issues with. It may have enough power to come on, but not enough to establish a connection.
- Turn the Bluetooth device off and on again.
- Ensure the Bluetooth setting in your phone Bluetooth is enabled. Turn Airplane Mode off if it is on.
- If you use your Bluetooth peripheral with more than one device, be certain it’s not connected to something else.
Bad Bluetooth Configuration
In much the same way that a WiFi network may need to be reconfigured, Bluetooth pairing settings can become damaged over time. These incorrect configurations may need to be cleared.
- Under Settings > Bluetooth, click the circled “i” button next to the connection status of your device.
- The Forget option will be on the following screen. It may be helpful to restart your phone after forgetting the device to remove any residual settings.
- Pair your device again. Pairing processes differ for all Bluetooth devices. You may need to refer to the manual for your specific Bluetooth accessory to get it into pairing mode.
- If this does not resolve the issue, reset your network settings. Note: This will remove all presently known WiFi or Bluetooth connections. They will need to be connected again following this procedure.
Although we say Bluetooth to refer to any device which connects with this technology, there are numerous types. Keyboards, headphones, microphones, computers and many others all connect using Bluetooth. Each of them uses a different Bluetooth profile. Even audio from streaming media and using a headset for phone calls use different profiles and a device that can do one, may not be capable of the other.
- Check the specs of your devices to ensure compatibility and expected capabilities.
- Certain functions may not work properly if the device was not designed for iPhone. For example, buttons may not function as expected or keys on a keyboard may produce incorrect characters.
Any software which contains errors can cause connectivity issues.
- See if you can use the Bluetooth device elsewhere. Use a different app to see if your Bluetooth device functions there.
- If Bluetooth works in other apps, open the App Switcher and close the problematic app.
- Reopen the affected app and try to recreate the issue. If it reoccurs, check the App Store for updates and install them. Uninstall and reinstall the app if no updates are present.
- If it is also unresponsive in other functions, this could be an Operating System issue. Use a PC with iTunes or a Mac to check for and install any updates.
- To rule out software entirely, be sure you have a current backup, and restore your phone via a computer to ensure a fresh copy of the Operating System is used. This will delete all data on the phone. Try without restoring your backup at first to keep testing limited to a bare OS.
Just like the FM radio in your car, Bluetooth uses electromagnetic waves to transmit signals. Also like FM radio, it requires an antenna to collect the signal and convert it into data your iPhone can interpret. Malfunctioning antennas could prevent your phone from even knowing there is a signal present.
- Antenna issues are more likely to manifest as a weak or non-existent signal. This can result in an inability to connect frequently dropped connections.
- Since there are several antennas in any iPhone, a visual inspection should be your first step. Use the Guide for your model and open the phone. Check for signs of liquid, heat or tearing.
- Be mindful that an iPhone makes use of several other wireless communications types, so not all antennas are specifically for Bluetooth.
- Antennas tend to be located along the edges of the phone, or may be part of other cable assemblies. Their locations vary by model. Consider any damage suspect and worth investigating.
- If you have performed a repair recently, check that all the cables are seated properly and look closely in any places you touched during the repair.
Logic Board Fault
The logic board is the hub for the vast majority of an iPhone's functionality. Any number of the small components on the board may have failed or become damaged, and is a safe assumption of cause if nothing else on this page has worked.
- Grayed out Bluetooth or inability to enable Bluetooth, is a tell tale sign that your issue is with the board. It may also be accompanied by WiFi dysfunction since the WiFi chip is also responsible for Bluetooth.
- Check for obvious signs of a board issue - burned or cracked components, liquid residue, corrosion or bend. If there are signs of liquid the iPhone Liquid Damage Guide might help.
- Most iPhones newer than the iPhone X use a logic board which is actually two boards sandwiched together. The Bluetooth controller is always on the bottom board. Issues on these frequently stem from a heavy drop or bend causing the communication lines between the boards to sever so the Bluetooth chip cannot communicate to the CPU.
- Replacing the logic board is often the most practical solution for a DIYer in this position.
- Contrary to popular belief, the board itself can be repaired. However, it requires specialized tools and microsoldering know-how. This is not something most people can do themselves, but many independent repair shops can do it for you! Ask around to find a board level repair specialists near you.
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