By 2026, experts say that the market value of the Bluetooth headphones will reach $120 billion. Considering how convenient, easy-to-use, and portable these are, it’s not that surprising. Plus, their lack of wires makes them a lot more manageable than their cabled counterparts.
With all those benefits, it’s also no wonder that every year, over half of people in the US buy Bluetooth devices. In 2016 alone, US consumers owned an average of 4.4 Bluetooth-capable devices.
Despite the convenience they bring, these devices still experience Bluetooth interference issues. These connectivity issues, in turn, can cause a wide array of problems, such as a lack of sound and dropped calls.
To that end, we’ve come up with this guide about Bluetooth disruption and its primary culprits. Read on to learn more about it and tips on how to stop Bluetooth interference.
What Is Bluetooth and How Does It Work?
Bluetooth is a type of radio-wave technology that works kind of like how radios and TVs pick up channels. Bluetooth’s coverage is much smaller, though, as it can only communicate over a range of 10 meters.
Most Bluetooth devices work by sending signals over a 2.4GHz radiofrequency. This radiofrequency, in turn, consists of a band of 79 frequencies or channels. As such, when you pair two Bluetooth devices, they connect over one of these channels.
New connections randomly choose a frequency that’s not in use. This is a technique called “spread-spectrum frequency hopping.” It helps reduce the odds of breaking the link between already-paired devices.
When Does Bluetooth Interference Occur?
Bluetooth interference occurs if there are other devices nearby that use similar frequencies. Wi-Fi connections are a perfect example, as they rely on a channel between 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. The same goes for other devices, such as phones, tablets, laptops, headphones, etc.
Many home microwaves also depend on a 2.450Ghz frequency to run. So, it’s not rare for folks to encounter Bluetooth interference when they try to make popcorn.
Symptoms of Bluetooth Connectivity Issues
When Bluetooth interference occurs, it can make paired devices disconnect. It can also result in unsuccessful new pairings, or at the very least, difficult to achieve.
In Wi-Fi connections, you may notice that the signal strength is low. Connectivity issues can also make your Wi-Fi connection super slow.
In Bluetooth speakers, headphones, or earphones, interference can cause the audio to skip. You may also notice the sound cutting off randomly. In many other cases, there’s an annoying buzzing or static sound.
For a Bluetooth mouse, a definite sign of interference is an erratic pointer. Keyboards, on the other hand, may take a long time to react to key presses.
In smartphones and computers, interference may cause the Bluetooth functionality to stop working. For example, if you have an Apple device, you may run into iPhone or Mac Bluetooth not available issues. The same goes for Android phones, as well as Windows laptops and PCs.
How to Reduce Bluetooth Interference
Building materials like metal, concrete, and plaster can lead to Bluetooth interference. Brick, marble, and bulletproof glass can also interfere with frequencies. They can do so by hindering the signals that Bluetooth runs on.
As such, the first thing to do to avoid Bluetooth connectivity woes is to pick your environment. Use your devices in places that don’t, or at least have very few of these materials. Stay away from metal desks, as these are often the worst enemy of Bluetooth devices.
You should also do the following to reduce Bluetooth interference issues.
Use Bluetooth Devices Away from Microwaves
As mentioned above, microwave ovens can mess with your Bluetooth connections. If you need constant and reliable Bluetooth pairings, stay away from these appliances. This is even more important if you’re trying to establish a new Bluetooth connection.
Stay Close to Your Router
You should also move your study/workspace closer to your router. This may help if you experience interference while on calls with a wireless headset. It strengthens the Wi-Fi connection, which may prevent Bluetooth frequencies from overpowering it.
Check the Lights
Fluorescent lighting can emit frequencies of 2.4GHz. Being under a lot of LED lights may also interfere with your Bluetooth connections. Either way, if you use Bluetooth devices in such conditions, they may mess with your pairings.
Fortunately, FCC compliant LED lights may help keep connectivity issues at bay. That’s because they adhere to strict US manufacturing restrictions. Not only does this make them a lot safer, but it may also help prevent Bluetooth interference.
Tips on How to Fix Non-Working Bluetooth Devices
In many cases, restarting Bluetooth devices that don’t want to pair fixes the issue. So, start by switching your phone, laptop, headphones, or speakers off and on. Then, have them search for a new channel that they can communicate on.
If this doesn’t do the trick, try pairing one device with another device. This can help you determine if you have interference woes or if you already have a faulty device. If a device pairs up without a problem with another, then the one that doesn’t connect is likely the issue.
On phones, laptops, and computers, updating Bluetooth drivers may also help. It’s also best to update your operating system itself, as well as any other app that you use Bluetooth with. In many instances, outdated programs can cause Bluetooth incompatibility.
Follow These Tips to Get Your Bluetooth Connections Working Again
There you have it, a comprehensive guide on what Bluetooth interference is and how to keep it at bay. Just remember that most Bluetooth connectivity issues are due to environmental factors. So, as much as you can, use your devices in places with minimal interfering building materials.
Ready for more techy tips and tricks like this? Be sure to check out our many other blog posts then, and also feel free to follow us on social media!