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May 7, 2018

How to pair Bluetooth headphones with an Android phone

by John_A

bluetooth-headphones-bluetooth-settings-

Whether your Bluetooth headphones are $5 or $500, they should all work with your phone the same way.

Phones are slowly ditching headphones jacks in the name of courage or cost-cutting or space, and while you could buy USB-C headphones or use a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter, the easiest solution is to just kiss your wired headphones goodbye and switch to Bluetooth headphones. Wired headphones always seem to get tangled anyways, and going wireless means you can get further away from your phone while you listen.

Bluetooth headphones come in a lot of styles, sizes, colors, and most importantly price points. There are $35 headphones and $350 headphones, and while they will have some differences in sound quality, build quality, and battery life, they all pair, connect, and disconnect the same way.

Need help picking out a pair of headphones? Let us help!

  • How to turn on Bluetooth on your phone
  • How to pair Bluetooth headphones through Settings
  • How to pair Bluetooth headphones via NFC
  • How to unpair Bluetooth headphones from your phone

How to turn on Bluetooth on your phone

Before your can use Bluetooth to pair and connect your headphones, you have to turn the Bluetooth on your Android phone on. Thankfully, it’s easy to do.

On your phone, swipe down the Notification shade from the top of your screen.
Swipe down the Quick settings panel from the top of the Notification shade.
If the Bluetooth icon is not illuminated, tap it to turn Bluetooth on.

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If you want to turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using it, you can easily toggle it off again from Quick Settings at any time.

How to pair Bluetooth headphones through Settings

If you just purchased your Bluetooth headphones, you might want to charge them first before attempting to pair them. When you’re ready to pair, turn your Bluetooth headphones on and set them to pairing mode according to the user guide that came with your headphones.

On your phone, swipe down the Notification shade from the top of your screen.
Swipe down the Quick settings panel from the top of the Notification shade.

Press and hold Bluetooth to open Bluetooth settings.

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Tap Pair new device. On some devices, Android will begin scanning for devices to pair upon entering Bluetooth settings, and on others, you’ll need to tap Scanning.
Tap the Bluetooth headphones you wish to pair to your phone. If see a series of letter and numbers, some phones will list unpaired devices by their MAC addresses rather than traditional names.

Note: some Bluetooth devices will have a PIN passcode for pairing. This is mostly for stereo head units, but if your Bluetooth headphones require a PIN, it will be printed in the user guide that came with them. If you don’t have the guide, try 1234 or 1111.

The phone and headphones will connect and attempt to pair. If the pairing is successful, the device will remain connected. A headphone icon may appear next to the newly connected headphones, a battery indicator may appear if your headphones have that capability. Now, each time your Bluetooth headphones turn on, they should automatically connect to your phone.

How to pair Bluetooth headphones via NFC

Now, some headphones come equipped with a nifty little feature to help simplify pairing using NFC — Near-Field Communication, which is also used for things like Google Pay. Bluetooth headset makers implant an NFC tag inside the Bluetooth headphones that stores the device’s device name and initiates a pairing request without having to open your Settings and manually scan.

Pairing NFC-enabled Bluetooth headphones is actually a ridiculously simple process so long as you have NFC turned on:

Open Settings.
Tap Connected Devices. If your Settings down have, tap Connections or search NFC if your Settings has a search bar at the top.
Tap **NFC ** if the toggle is not already switched to on.

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If you do not see NFC in your device’s Settings anywhere, your phone does not have NFC. My apologies, you’ll just have to do it the old-fashioned way

Once NFC is on and Bluetooth is on, pairing NFC-enabled headphones goes like this:

Tap the back of your phone to the NFC icon on your headphones.

On your phone, tap Yes to agree to pairing your phone to the headphones.

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Pretty easy, right? It’s an amazing thing when it works. Coincidentally, NFC has a range of only a few inches, so if you tap your phone to the NFC icon and it doesn’t work, slide your phone around over the target. The NFC sensor is usually near the middle or top of the back of the phone. Thick cases can sometimes block the signal, too.

How to unpair Bluetooth headphones from your phone

Say you have a pair of Bluetooth headphones that you want to give to a family member, or that you want to use with a different device? While Bluetooth headphones can be paired to several devices, they can usually only be actively connected to one phone at a time. If you need to unpair your headphones from your phone, whether to use with another device or to go away, here’s how to remove the headphones from your Bluetooth connections list:

On your phone, swipe down the Notification shade from the top of your screen.
Swipe down the Quick settings panel from the top of the Notification shade.

Press and hold Bluetooth to open Bluetooth settings.

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Tap the settings gear next to the headphones you want to unpair.
Tap Unpair or Forget.

A popup will appear asking you to confirm your decision to unpair. Tap Forget device, unpair, or Yes.

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Your Android phone will forget the pairing and you will have to re-pair the phone before using it to listen to music again.

Updated May 2018: This article has been completely rewritten to reflect new methods of pairing and include the unpairing process.

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