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The blinking red and blue lights on your Bluetooth headphones indicate a common Bluetooth problem that can be solved in minutes.
Do your Bluetooth headphones just suddenly stop working and start flashing red and blue?
Bluetooth headphones eliminate all the inconveniences of tangly wired headphones, but they can be frustrating to use at times.
You might find yourself tearing your hair out trying to figure out what these blinking lights mean and what you can do to get your headphones to start working again.
To make matters worse, Bluetooth headphones only have a few controls, typically power and volume buttons. Which ones exactly do you need to press to bring your headphones back to life?
In this article, we tell you what those blinking red and blue lights and other light patterns mean. You’ll also learn what you need to do to solve the issues indicated by these lights.
(Click to jump to section)
- Why Are My Bluetooth Headphones Flashing Red and Blue?
- Why Do Bluetooth Headphones Have a Pairing Mode?
- How Does Bluetooth Pairing Work?
- Why Bluetooth Headsets Blink Red and Blue
- Why Are My Wireless Headphones Blinking Blue, Red, or Amber?
- How to Pair Bluetooth Headphones to Get the Best Connection
Why Are My Bluetooth Headphones Flashing Red and Blue?
Bluetooth headphones have status lights. These tell you what’s going on with the headphones.
If, for example, the status light is a constant blue, it usually means the headphones are connected with your smartphone, laptop, or speaker. They’re ready to use.
Different headset brands have different status lights.
But in general, if your headphones are flashing red and blue, it means they are unpaired from your device.
Unpaired headphones means they are not connected with any other device. They are in pairing or discovery mode. This means your headphones are looking for another Bluetooth device to connect with.
Sometimes, headphones in pairing mode are trying but failing to connect with another device. They’re running into an error during pairing, so they blink red and blue to let you know.
If this happens, there are many ways to fix the red and blue flashing lights.
Why Do Bluetooth Headphones Have a Pairing Mode?
Bluetooth headphones have a pairing mode because it is what lets them connect with other devices.
Pairing mode typically lasts anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes. This puts the headphones in a time window where it can be “discovered” by other Bluetooth devices.
There are a few benefits to having a pairing mode:
- It saves battery on both devices because they’re not always looking for other devices to pair with.
- It allows both devices to establish a secure connection with each other.
- It lets you save the pairings you prefer so that you don’t have to go through the same process each time you use your headphones.
Types of Bluetooth pairing mechanisms
Most Bluetooth devices use the two most common pairing mechanisms, legacy pairing and a newer mechanism called Simple Secure Pairing (SSP).
Legacy pairing is used in devices running on Bluetooth 2.0 and older versions.
It requires you to enter the correct PIN code into both devices being paired.
Most Bluetooth headphones that use legacy pairing have a fixed PIN code, such as 0000 or 1234. You can find the PIN code in the headset’s manual.
Secure Simple Pairing
SSP is a more complex mechanism that uses elliptic curve cryptography to connect Bluetooth devices.
It is used in newer devices running on Bluetooth 2.1 and above, which is what most commercial headphones, smartphones and consumer devices use today.
This mechanism needs a confirmation on one device to establish a connection, but you normally don’t have to enter a PIN code in any of the devices.
Once the confirmation is done, both devices will automatically connect with each other.
Connections are then stored in your smartphone or laptop. This allows both devices to automatically connect with each other in the future with no input from you.
If you ever purposefully remove or ‘forget’ a device, the PIN or pairing process will need to be followed in order to reconnect your headphones again for successful use.
How Does Bluetooth Pairing Work?
Pairing between two Bluetooth devices is done so they can work together.
A connection is established when both devices create a trusted relationship with each other using a link key. This is used to confirm both devices to each other.
The link key is also used to generate a temporary encryption key to protect the data being transmitted across both devices.
As soon as a connection is made, the encryption key is discarded. However, both devices keep the link key. They use this to re-confirm each other in future connections.
Paired devices will automatically connect with each other as long as they’re turned on and are within the usual Bluetooth range of 33 feet or 10 meters.
The process of pairing your Bluetooth headphones with your device is simple:
- On your smartphone or laptop, open the Bluetooth settings and turn Bluetooth on.
- On your headphones, press the pairing button. Look at the manual to find where the pairing button is.
- Wait for the status lights to blink red and blue. This tells you the headphones are now in pairing mode.
- On your device, you will find the list of Bluetooth devices found now includes your headphones.
- Select the name of your headphones to connect.
Even if multiple devices become available, your device will only establish a Bluetooth connection with the device that you choose – unless it was previously connected and automatically connects.
In some cases, you may have to unpair some of the previously connected devices if the connection with your headphones is failing to establish.
How to stop devices from automatically pairing with each other
To prevent devices from automatically pairing with each other, you need to make your smartphone or laptop “forget” the headphones.
Here are the steps to accomplish this:
- Go to your device’s Bluetooth settings.
- Go to the list of paired devices.
- If you’re using a smartphone, tap Options next to the device you want to unpair. Select Remove or Forget.
- On a PC or Mac, right-click on the device and click Remove or Forget.
Why Do Bluetooth Headsets Blink Red and Blue
- The headphones are in pairing or discovery mode
- The headphones have an error and need a hard reset
- The headphones are not connected to each other
There are a few reasons why your Bluetooth headset is blinking red and blue. As mentioned previously, this is usually due to pairing mode.
But, there are also a couple of other possible reasons – which we’ll cover below.
The headphones are in pairing or discovery mode
The most common reason why your Bluetooth headset is flashing red and blue is it is unpaired. The headphones are looking for a connection.
It’s possible you may have accidentally held down the pairing button. This puts the headphones in pairing mode, which makes the status lights blink red and blue.
The solution is to pair your headphones with the other device again.
- Turn off Bluetooth for both devices.
- Turn on Bluetooth for both devices again.
- Let your smartphone or laptop discover your headphones. On the Bluetooth settings screen, you should see the name of your headphones listed.
- Tap or click the name of your headphones and choose Connect.
This should pair your headphones with your device. It will also stop the status lights from flashing red and blue.
If it doesn’t, the headphones likely have an error. In this case, you’ll need to do a hard reset.
The headphones have an error and need a hard reset
If your headphones have an error, you may need to do a hard reset. This clears your previous settings and reverts the headset back to its original state when it was shipped.
The headphones are not connected to each other
This usually happens with true wireless headphones. You may have accidentally changed the settings on your headphones to unlink them from each other.
One way to find out if your headphones are disconnected from each other is if the sound comes through only one channel.
In this case, you have a few options. You can:
- Go to your device’s settings and adjust the volume balance of the left and right headphones.
- Make sure the headphones are not playing in mono mode.
- If none of the above works, unpair the headphones, turn them off, and turn them back on. Pair the headphones with your device again.
- If it still doesn’t work, do a hard reset as explained above.
Why Are My Wireless Headphones Blinking only Blue, Red, Green or Amber?
Now that we’ve got the flashing red and blue lights out of the way, what about other status light colors? If your headphones flash blue, red, amber, orange, or red, here’s what it usually means.
Why are my wireless headphones blinking blue?
If your wireless headphones are blinking blue, it could mean a few things.
- A constant blinking blue light can indicate a healthy connection.
- A slow pulsing blue light can mean the headphones are in pairing mode. The most common light pattern for pairing mode is blinking red and blue. However, you may still want to try pairing your headphones with another device to see if the pulsing blue light stops once it is connected.
- It can mean interference. If this is the case, the solution is simply to move away from the object that causes interference, such as a Wi-Fi router or a microwave oven.
How to stop headphones from showing a constant, blinking blue light
If the blinking blue light indicates a healthy connection, you have nothing to worry about.
But the constant flashing can be annoying, especially if you’re in a dark room and the headphones are causing too much attention to themselves.
If the headphones have an app, you may find an option that disables the status lights.
Some headphone brands, like Sennheiser, let you turn off the status lights using the hardware controls.
- Put the headphones in pairing mode. The status lights will flash red and blue.
- Press the volume down button.
- Turn off the headphones.
- Turn them on again.
- Connect your headphones with your device.
If all else fails, you can always use tape as a last resort to cover the light.
Why are my headphones blinking amber or red?
If your headphones are flashing red or amber, it usually means the battery is running low.
An orange light may mean the battery is at a medium level and you need to charge the headphones in a few hours. It may also mean that the headphones are currently charging.
If it’s red, you likely only have a few minutes left before your headphones run out of power. The quick solution is to charge your headphones.
How to Pair Bluetooth Headphones to Get the Best Connection
Pairing Bluetooth headphones with a smartphone or laptop is easy.
But there are some common reasons that can prevent you from getting a good connection, such as:
- The devices you want to pair run on different Bluetooth versions.
- The devices you want to pair are connected to other devices.
- You don’t understand the specific pairing process for your brand of headphones.
Top tips for pairing Bluetooth devices quickly and efficiently
If you do the following, you’re almost always assured of a quick, efficient pairing and a strong, solid Bluetooth connection.
1. Make sure Bluetooth is on and your headset is in pairing mode.
Go to your smartphone or laptop’s settings and turn on Bluetooth. This will allow your device to actively search for other devices within its range. Also, turn on your headphones and press the pairing button.
2. Make sure the devices are within close proximity.
Bluetooth usually works within a range of 10 meters or less. Make sure the devices you want to pair are within close range of each other. The closer the better.
3. Read the manual that comes with your headphones.
You will find here all the details you need to know to pair your headphones successfully with your device.
Alternatively, you can do a quick Google or YouTube search to find out how others who have the same headphones have paired theirs.
4. Remove previous Bluetooth connections.
Sometimes, your device will prefer other devices that have been connected before, especially if you use that connection frequently. If this is the case, turn that other device off or unpair it from your device.
5. Move away from a Wi-Fi router.
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi both use invisible waves to connect devices. These waves are in the same frequency and can mix with one another, causing interference.
If you’re having a hard time pairing your devices, the problem could be interference. The solution to this is easy. Simply move away from your router and try the pairing process again.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re well on your way to enjoying a perfect listening experience of your favorite music, podcast or movie with a strong Bluetooth connection and no finicky or disruptive interruptions!
Hopefully, you’ve gained an understanding of what those lights on the side of your headphones now mean.
Regardless of whether they’re red, blue, orange, or red, you should be able to know exactly what your headphones are trying to communicate and how to solve this.
Got other problems with your Bluetooth headphones? Worry not! We’ve created different guides tackling the most common issues you may experience with Bluetooth headphones. Check them out here:
- Sound delay in Bluetooth headphones
- Bluetooth headphones connected but no sound
- Bluetooth headphones keep cutting out
Did you manage to fix your headphones? Have we missed other problems commonly experienced with Bluetooth headphones? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll try our best to answer with a solution.