How to Connect Bluetooth Headphones to Switch: Docked or Handheld

Using Bose Bluetooth headphones with Nintendo Switch
Using Bose Bluetooth headphones with Nintendo Switch
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Learn the different ways on how you can connect Bluetooth headphones to Nintendo Switch. And, discover the best accessories for a top-notch wireless headphone experience.

Nintendo Switch is one of the favorite consoles for people who prefer portability. And what better way to improve portability and convenience than partnering it up with a pair of wireless headphones?

However, connecting Bluetooth headphones to Switch is easier said than done.

In fact, until the latest upgrade, it wasn’t even possible! Thus, leaving many gamers no choice but to stick with wired headphones.

Good news, though! Connecting your Bluetooth headphones to Nintendo Switch has never been easier this year, giving you more options to choose from. And this article will go through all that. So without further ado, let’s start!

Can You Connect Bluetooth Headphones to Nintendo Switch?

Using Bose Bluetooth headphones with Nintendo Switch
Using Bose Bluetooth headphones with Nintendo Switch

Yes, you can connect your Bluetooth headphones to Switch!

However, this is just a recent development. As previously noted, Switch was not initially designed to work with Bluetooth headphones. This is because Bluetooth connectivity was only reserved for its wireless controllers. There was simply no room to include Bluetooth audio support.

It wasn’t until Nintendo released the 4.0 system update on Switch that a solution was provided. This update enabled Bluetooth headphones on Nintendo Switch via Bluetooth adapters.

This feature was never officially announced by Nintendo, so it was a welcome surprise when Reddit users unearthed this secret.

Yet, while the update was great, it wasn’t perfect as it required users to spend more on Bluetooth audio dongles and do a few settings tweaks for it to work. That’s why it rocked the Switch community when Nintendo finally announced the widely-requested built-in Bluetooth audio support on its latest update, version 13.0, this September 2021.

Finally, after four years of waiting, Nintendo Switch users can now use their Bluetooth-enabled headsets without any third-party adapters!

Sadly, this new feature comes with a few limitations. For example, you can only use two wireless controllers if your Bluetooth headphones are connected. We shall cover more on this as we go on.

How to Connect Bluetooth Headphones to Nintendo Switch

The Switch system’s 13.0 firmware update makes it easy to connect your Bluetooth headphones to the console. However, for this to work, make sure to update your Nintendo Switch to the latest version before attempting to pair it with your Bluetooth headphones.

When everything is set, follow the steps below to connect both devices:

  1. Ensure that your Nintendo Switch system is only paired with two wireless controllers. Then turn on your Bluetooth headphones and set them to pairing mode.
    The pairing process may vary depending on the model you have. Take Bose headphones for example. You need to slide the power button all the way up to the Bluetooth symbol. Then you need to hold it there until you hear “Ready to pair.”
  2. Navigate to System Settings from the Nintendo Switch Home menu.
  3. Move down to Bluetooth Audio and select ‘Pair’. This forces the system to initiate a search of available Bluetooth audio devices that are within range.
  4. From the list of available devices, select your Bluetooth headphone’s name to get connected.
If your headphones disconnect or are unable to pair, consider restarting the console then repeating the steps highlighted above.

Limitations of Nintendo Switch’s Built-in Bluetooth Audio Support

While the new built-in Bluetooth audio support gives you freedom from wires when using your console, it isn’t without flaws. Here’s a breakdown of some of its limitations:

Number of wireless controllers

When in Bluetooth audio mode, the console can only connect to two wireless controllers at a time. Nintendo also indicates that a single pair of Joy-Con controllers counts as two.

This means that if you are playing a two-player game with Bluetooth headsets, you’ll both have to turn your Joy-Con controller to the side for a comfortable grip.

Pro tip: Alternatively, you could both use the Nintendo Switch Pro controller for a better feel of the buttons and more comfort.

Number of Bluetooth devices

While the Switch system can save up to 10 Bluetooth devices, you can only connect one Bluetooth headset at a time. So, if you already have 10 Bluetooth devices saved and want to add a new headset or wireless controller, you must remove one of them first.

No local communication support

You should also know that Bluetooth audio support will disconnect when local wireless communication is active. This means that you can’t use your Bluetooth headphones when playing local multiplayer games that link two Switch systems together.

No Bluetooth mic support

The Nintendo Switch doesn’t support Bluetooth mics and disables your headset’s microphone by default. While most Switch games typically don’t support mic audio, this can still be a huge bummer if you would like to use your headsets to communicate with other players via voice chat.

However, using a dongle with a built-in microphone could provide a way around this.

Audio lag

You can also expect to experience some audio lag with some Bluetooth headsets. This is because Nintendo Switch utilizes Bluetooth 4.1, instead of the more latest Buetooth 5. Also, it turns out that Nintendo Switch’s built-in Bluetooth audio only support the SBC codec. Unfortunately, this is the most common audio codec, and also the most susceptible to audio lags and connection issues.

The delay between the on-screen action and audio can be so noticeable that it may negatively affect your gaming and force you to ditch your headphones.

Consider using a single pro controller instead of two Joy-Cons to reduce the audio lag. Alternatively, you could get a Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX support adapter to eliminate the audio lag.

Can’t track lost controllers

Lastly, when Bluetooth audio is connected, you can’t use the Controllers menu to find lost controllers or change grip/order.

How to Connect Bluetooth Headphones to Switch using Bluetooth Adapters

Nintendo Switch in docked mode
Nintendo Switch in docked mode

As mentioned earlier, while Nintendo Switch’s built-in Bluetooth is no doubt a valuable addition, it’s definitely far from perfect because of the various limitations. That’s why some people may opt to still use Bluetooth dongles or adapters instead.

Besides, investing in one can help with a ton of things. Using adapters can let you use more than two wireless controllers simultaneously, play with your friends via LAN connection, or even avoid audio lags and enjoy game chat! And, if you’re worried about whether this is a smart buy, consider that this can still be cost-effective especially if you buy something that also works with other consoles like PS4/5 or Xbox.

There are different ways to use Bluetooth adapters with Nintendo Switch, depending on the type of adapter you have. Let’s discuss each of them below!

Using a USB-A Bluetooth adapter

Whether you already have a Bluetooth headset that already comes with a USB dongle or a third-party USB-A dongle, this type works best with Nintendo Switch on docked mode. This is because the only USB-A port in Switch can be found on the Nintendo Dock.

Unfortunately, this method won’t allow you to use your headset mic or game chat.

Follow these steps to learn how to connect Bluetooth headphones via USB-A:

  1. Turn your headphones into ‘pairing mode’.

    Doing this depends on the brand, model, and type of device. But most of the time, like in the case of SONY WF-1000XM3, this only requires you to press and hold the power or Bluetooth button until the light flashes red and blue. For best results, consult your manufacturer’s guide.
  2. Take your USB adapter and insert it on the USB-A port on your Nintendo dock. 
  3. If you’re using a Bluetooth adapter that originally came with your headphones, the two should connect automatically once the adapter is plugged in. If not, the process depends on your chosen adapter, but it usually only requires pressing the Bluetooth/power button for a few seconds until the light changes color.
  4. You’ll see a notification on your screen saying that the USB audio mode is active. A volume level also automatically shows. Adjust this as desired.

    USB audio mode in Switch in Docked mode
    USB audio mode in Switch in docked mode

Using a USB-C Bluetooth adapter

The Nintendo Switch’s USB-C port is located at the middle-bottom part of the handheld device. This port is specifically intended for charging and docking. With the right Bluetooth audio adapter, you can use this port to connect your Bluetooth headphones and still be able to use the game chat.

Here are the steps to connect Bluetooth headphones to Switch using a USB-C adapter:

  1. Get yourself a Guilikit Route Air Pro Bluetooth Adapter or any compatible Bluetooth adapter. This is compatible with PC, Mac, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.

    Guilikit Route Air Pro Bluetooth dongle
    Guilikit Route Air Pro Bluetooth dongle

  2. Insert this into the USB-C port of your Nintendo Switch.

    Plugging USB-C Bluetooth adapter to Nintendo Switch
    Plugging USB-C Bluetooth adapter to Nintendo Switch

  3. If your Bluetooth adapter comes with a mic, plug that in the 3.5mm auxiliary port.
    Unfortunately, no Bluetooth adapter allows you to use your headset microphone. That’s why you’ll need this workaround to participate in the game chat. This means that the sound input will be on the plugged 3.5mm mic, not on your headphones, so you may need to adjust where and how you hold your console when gaming.

    Plugging mic to 3.5mm port in Nintendo Switch
    Plugging mic to 3.5mm port

  4. Turn on your Bluetooth adapter. This depends on your brand and model but it can usually be done by holding down the button at the bottom of the transmitter for about five seconds or until the light starts flashing.

    Turn on Bluetooth adaptor
    Turn on Bluetooth adapter

  5. Turn your headphones to pairing mode.
    There are different ways to do this depending on your headphone model. If unsure, refer to your manufacturer’s guide.

    Putting headphones in pairing mode
    Putting headphones in pairing mode

  6. A few seconds after turning your headphones to pairing mode, the headset and the audio transmitter should connect automatically. You can know if this is successful via the voice or audio prompts on your headset.

    Bluetooth headphones connected to Nintendo Switch
    Bluetooth headphones connected to Nintendo Switch

Using a 3.5mm Bluetooth adapter

Another way to connect wireless headphones to Switch is to use a Bluetooth dongle with a 3.5mm jack.

This tutorial features the Ugreen Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter. We selected this since it has a dual audio connectivity technology that allows you to use two headsets at a time. It also features an aptX LL technology and an 8-hour built-in 120 mAh battery.

Here’s how you can connect your Switch via a 3.5mm Bluetooth adapter:

  1. Set your wireless headphones to pairing mode.
  2. Press and hold down the multifunctional button on the upper portion of the transmitter for three seconds. You’ll know it’s turned on when the white light flashes every five seconds.

    Holding down the multifunctional button of Ugreen Nintendo Switch Bluetooth Adaptor
    Holding down the multifunctional button

  3. Plug in the audio transmitter into the 3.5 mm audio jack of your device. Press the multifunction button twice to force it into pairing mode. You’ll know it’s in pairing mode when red and blue lights flash alternately.

    Pair bluetooth headphones to Switch
    Pair Bluetooth headphones to Switch adapter

  4. Once both devices are in pairing mode, they should automatically connect. To know if this works, wait for the white light on your transmitter to flash every 10 seconds.

    Successful pairing
    Successful pairing

How to Use Bluetooth Headphones on Switch Without Buying a Dongle

If you want to use your wireless headset minus some of the limitations, and without buying any new accessories, you can try this method. You only need three things for this, which you may already have:

This method allows you to bypass the same limitations of Switch’s built-in Bluetooth support as when using adapters. This means, this can be a good option for when you want to use more than two controllers or play via LAN connection. However, this won’t enable mic input or game chat.

This works with both handheld and docked mode. However, it works better when docked since the wires may get in the way when in handheld mode.
  1. Plug-in your AUX cord to your Nintendo Switch and your laptop.

    Aux cable connected to Switch and laptop
    Aux cable connected to Switch and laptop

  2. A small window will appear. Choose ‘Line-in’.

    Choose Line in
    Choose Line in

  3. Turn on your headphones’ and laptop’s Bluetooth. Then, connect your Bluetooth headphones to your PC or your Mac.

    Connect Bluetooth headphones to laptop
    Connect Bluetooth headphones to laptop

For a video illustration of how it’s done, refer to this Youtube tutorial.

Alternatively, you can also connect your docked Nintendo Switch to TV, then connect your headphones to your TV. If you’re not sure how, head to our guide on how to connect Bluetooth headphones to TV.

Best Bluetooth Audio Transmitters for Nintendo Switch

If you’re looking for the best Bluetooth audio transmitters for your Switch, check out the list below.

Homespot Bluetooth Audio Transmitter

Homespot Bluetooth Audio Transmitter (From: Amazon)
Homespot Bluetooth Audio Transmitter (From: Amazon)

This Homespot Bluetooth Audio Transmitter is exclusively made for the Nintendo Switch. It has a high fidelity audio streaming feature that can be used in both headphones or speakers. Moreover, it is compatible with both Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch Lite.

It can be used to stream audio to two headphones at the same time. It is also the first Nintendo Switch Bluetooth audio transmitter that has a built-in microphone.

When using this device, it’s advisable to remove your Nintendo Switch’s protective casing first. The casing may prevent the USB-C port from being fully inserted.

The downside to this is that it doesn’t have a USB-C pass-through charging port. Also, you can’t use this Nintendo Switch Bluetooth Adapter while on dock mode.

Genki Bluetooth Audio Transmitter

Genki Bluetooth Audio Transmitter (From: Amazon)
Genki Bluetooth Audio Transmitter (From: Amazon)

This Genki Bluetooth Audio Transmitter features a dual headphone connectivity technology. This feature works great for multiplayer games. It allows two headphones to connect to one adapter simultaneously.

It comes with an audio adapter, a boom mic accessory, and a USB adapter for dock mode. It’s compatible with PS4, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite, Android, iOS, Windows PC, and Mac.

Unlike the Homespot Bluetooth Audio Transmitter, this has a USB-C pass-through charging port. This will enable you to charge your device while playing.

Conclusion

With these tips, you can now reclaim your freedom. No more tangled wires, no more frayed cables, and definitely no more sudden fall-offs due to accidental wire sweepages. You can now enjoy a freer and wider range of motion compared to using wired headphones while playing with your beloved Nintendo Switch.

Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without a decent wireless gaming headset. If you’re still looking for one, feel free to check out our list of the most recommended wireless gaming headsets today.

We hope that these tips helped you achieve a great Switch wireless headphone experience. If you tried any of these tips, make sure to leave us a comment below. Also, if you have any more tips you want to add, feel free to share them as well. We love hearing from you!

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