Bluetooth Headphones Not Working on Windows 10: 14 Proven Solutions

Bluetooth headphones issues on Windows 10
Bluetooth headphones issues on Windows 10

Here’s a step-by-step guide on what to do when your Bluetooth headphones don’t work on Windows 10.

You finally got a pair of Bluetooth headphones to use with your Windows 10 laptop. But for whatever reason, the headphones just won’t work properly! Instead, you either can’t connect, can’t listen to anything, or experience random disconnections.

What’s more confusing is that they work on your phone and other devices properly. No hiccups from start to finish — just a seamless listening experience. So what gives?

Luckily, we’ve found some workarounds to fix Bluetooth headphones issues on Windows 10. But before we jump in, there are some things you need to do first.

Bluetooth Headphones Not Working on PC: Preliminary Check

There are various possible reasons why your Bluetooth headphones won’t work on your Windows 10 PC. Blindly going through the potential fixes for all of them may result in wasted time and effort. That’s why it’s best to make the following checks before trying the solutions we compiled in this guide:

Make sure your PC has a Bluetooth module

If you built your PC yourself, there’s a high chance it didn’t come with a Bluetooth module. Usually, most motherboards don’t have factory-installed Bluetooth modules. So, you’d have to add one yourself.

Here’s how to check if you have Bluetooth modules on your PC:

  1. Head to your taskbar and right-click on your Windows button

    Windows button
    Windows button
  2. In the pop-up menu, select Device Manager

    Device Manager
    Device Manager
  3. Find Bluetooth from the list of items in the pop-up menu. If it’s listed, your PC has a Bluetooth module.

    Bluetooth
    Bluetooth
Your PC may have Bluetooth modules and still not find them in the Device Manager. In that case, check Network Adapters to find the Bluetooth entry. If it’s still not listed, check your hardware specifications to verify if you have Bluetooth – and maybe consider buying a USB dongle.

If your PC has a Bluetooth module, the problem may be that your Bluetooth is off. All you have to do, then, is to turn on your Bluetooth. Here’s how:

  1. Enter the Start Menu and select Settings in the sidebar.

    Settings
    Settings
  2. Choose Devices in the pop-up window.

    Devices
    Devices
  3. Toggle the Bluetooth button to turn it on in the Bluetooth and Other Devices.

    Bluetooth toggle switch
    Bluetooth toggle switch
You’ll only find the Bluetooth toggle button if Windows detects a Bluetooth adapter or module. However, try updating the driver if your PC has Bluetooth, but the option is not there.

Check if it’s a headphone or PC issue

Another reason your Bluetooth headphones may not be connecting to your Windows is if the headphones themselves or your PC have an issue. Luckily, you can easily check for these issues. Here’s how:

Simply connect your headphones to another PC and see if they work. If they do, the problem is most likely from your PC, not your Bluetooth headphones. But if they don’t, you can safely assume it’s a problem with your Bluetooth headphones.

In any case, these fixes should help. We compiled fixes to try for both your PC and Bluetooth headphones.

If you’re unsure which one to try first, simply follow the fixes from top to bottom. We’ve prepared them from the simplest to the most technical ones.

How to Fix Bluetooth Headphones Issues on Windows 10

Several headphones-specific issues can stop your headphones from connecting to your PC or laptop. Here are some solutions to try:

Charge your Bluetooth headphones

If your Bluetooth headphones’ batteries are low, you can’t connect them to your PC.

So, keeping your headphones’ battery within the magic ratio (20 percent to 80 percent) is best. In addition, this is also the optimal charging range, as charging beyond these boundaries can destroy your battery.

Most headphones today use Lithium-ion batteries because they can keep more charge than alkaline ones. However, these Lithium-ion batteries are most effective when charged between 20 to 80 percent.

Consequently, you should first check your headphones’ battery level when they won’t work with your Windows 10 laptop or PC. Here’s how:

  1. Go to your Start Menu and choose Settings.

    Settings
    Settings
  2. From the pop-up window, select Devices.

    Devices
    Devices
  3. Select Bluetooth and Other Devices.

    Bluetooth and other devices
    Bluetooth and other devices
  4. Under Audio, you’ll find your headphones’ name (if they’re connected). Check the battery level through the battery level indicator beside your headphones’ name.

    Battery level
    Battery level

If your headphones’ battery is low, charge them and try reconnecting to your PC.

Of course, you may not have to go through this process if you have Bluetooth headphones with a built-in mechanism for checking battery percentage. For example, you can check the battery on Sony WH-1000XM4 by pressing the power button. The headphones will tell you the current battery percentage.

Another example is the AirPods. A tap on the charging case when on the charging mat will reveal the battery percentage of the AirPods or AirPods Pro.

Some Bluetooth headphones may also have charging problems. Make sure to try some of our fixes before you condemn them completely.

Reset headphones

Many headphones problems require simple fixes like resetting them, and it’s easy to see why. Resetting your headphones removes their previous pairing information, giving them a fresh start. That’s why even Sony advises users to reset their headphones if they’re not operating correctly.

Here’s how to reset your Bluetooth headphones:

  1. Forget your headphones from your list of paired Bluetooth devices by clicking on your device name and selecting Remove Device.

    Remove device
    Remove device
  2. Find your headphones’ power button, usually at the side or on the headphones’ cup, and press and hold it.

Do this until the headphones’ status light indicates blue or red. Remember that resetting clears the pairing information, so you’ll have to reconnect to your PC to use the headphones.

The technique above is an overview of what you’ll have for any type of headphones. But this may differ according to the brand of headphones you own. If it doesn’t work for you, check our guide on resetting different brands of Bluetooth headphones

Reconnect headphones to your PC

Bluetooth is a way to send and receive data wirelessly, and like all wireless systems, it needs several protocols to work correctly. Reconnecting your headphones to your PC resets all these protocols for better connectivity. Moreover, these Bluetooth protocols perform better on initial connection.

Here’s how to reconnect your headphones to function better;

  1. Go to the Start Menu and select Settings.

    Settings
    Settings
  2. Click on Devices in the next window.

    Devices
    Devices
  3. Select the Bluetooth and Other Devices tab.

    Bluetooth and other devices
    Bluetooth and other devices
  4. Find and click on your headphones’ name.

    Click Headphones name
    Click Headphones name
  5. Click on Remove Device to unpair your headphones from your PC.

    Remove device
    Remove device
  6. Once completed, click Add Bluetooth or Other Device.

    Add Bluetooth or other device
    Add Bluetooth or other device
  7. Choose Bluetooth in the pop-up window.

    Bluetooth
    Bluetooth
  8. Click on your device name to reconnect. Make sure that your headphones are in pairing mode.

    Click on device
    Click on device

Remember to turn on your Bluetooth so you can reconnect your headphones to your PC.

Turn off nearby Bluetooth devices

Modern Bluetooth headphones can pair with multiple devices without hiccups – a feature known as multipoint pairing. So, technically you don’t have to use different headphones for your Skype meeting on a PC and your music on your phone. All you need is one multipoint-pairing pair of headphones.

While this feature is convenient, it can be the reason your Bluetooth headphones aren’t working on your Windows 10. Moreover, nearby devices could have an active connection, preventing your PC from sending an audio signal to your Bluetooth headphones. Unless you send your headphones into pairing mode, you can’t connect them to your Windows 10.

If you don’t like the idea of unpairing your other devices, you can turn them off or disable their Bluetooth. This way, they can’t automatically connect to your headphones.

Solutions for PC Issues When Bluetooth Headphones Won’t Work

Even though Windows 10 has been around for a while, it seems Microsoft continues to have audio issues. It’s no surprise that many users complain about audio connectivity issues.

Here’s what to do if you also have Bluetooth headphones connection problem on your PC:

Set headphones as the default playback device

When you try playing audio, your Windows 10 plays it through your PC’s designated default playback device. If that device isn’t your headphones, you’ll find that your headphones are connected, but you can’t hear any sound.

The solution is simple: set your headphones as the PC’s default playback device. Here’s how:

  1. Head to the taskbar and right-click on the Audio icon.
    Sometimes, you’ll find the Audio icon in the hidden icons menu. To restore it, simply click the arrow up button on the right end of your taskbar. Then click and drag the audio icon onto the taskbar so you can find the icon easily.

    Speaker icon
    Speaker icon
  2. Select Open Sound Settings.

    Open Sound Settings
    Open Sound Settings
  3. Choose Output and click your headphones’ name in the drop-down list.

    Output
    Output
  4. Now, play your audio to check if your headphones are working.

Close apps that use microphones

Sometimes, your Bluetooth headphones won’t work because other apps use their microphones. Here’s how that works.

When an audio device is recording audio while simultaneously using a microphone, it poses a problem. The Bluetooth device tries to determine which action to prioritize. And in most cases, the Bluetooth device decides you’re using the microphone instead and goes into hands-free mode.

As a result, this prevents the stereo channel from receiving sound signals; hence you’ll hear no sound.

The most effective solution is to close the apps that use your headphones’ microphone. Some examples of these apps are OBS and Mumble. But these apps tend to run in the background even after closing them.

Here’s what you can do to make sure they properly close::

  1. Go to Settings.

    Settings
    Settings
  2. In the pop-up window, select Privacy.

    Privacy
    Privacy
  3. Find and click Background Apps.

    Background apps
    Background apps
  4. Toggle the Let Apps Run In The Background to disable all background apps.

    Let apps run in the background
    Let apps run in the background
Alternatively, you can deny microphone permission for these apps. Press Win key + I > Privacy > Microphone > Change (under “Allow access to the microphone on this device ) > Toogle the switch off.

Update Bluetooth and sound drivers

Device drivers are the middleman in your sound system. They facilitate communication between your headphones and PC so you can hear sound. Remember, you won’t hear any audio if your PC doesn’t have the right Bluetooth drivers or runs an outdated one.

Luckily, Windows provides regular driver updates you can easily install on your PC. Here’s an easy way:

  1. Right-click your Start Menu and select Device Manager from the options.

    Device Manager
    Device Manager
  2. Under the Audio Inputs and Outputs tab, right-click your Bluetooth headphones’ name.

    Audio Inputs and Outputs
    Audio Inputs and Outputs
  3. Choose Update Driver from the drop-down menu.

    Update Driver
    Update Driver
  4. Select Search Automatically for Updated Driver Software in the following menu. This option allows Windows to search for your Bluetooth headphones’ driver.

    Search Automatically for Updated Driver Software
    Search Automatically for Updated Driver Software
  5. Follow the subsequent prompts to install the driver. Windows will tell you “The Best Drivers For Your Device Are Already Installed” if you have the right ones.
This method is automatic, so Windows does all the work for you. But if it still doesn’t work, you can install the drivers manually. All you have to do is download the correct drivers and install them. We explain the process in detail here.

Restart your computer

When you restart your PC, it closes all programs and processes and reboots the PC afresh. This process differs from shutting down the PC, where the Windows Kernel still runs even though all the programs are closed.

Windows Kernel stores some data from your previous session so your PC can boot faster. While this is convenient, it also means that shutting down and booting your PC won’t solve the faulty driver issue. You need to restart it.

The fastest way to restart your Windows PC is by pressing the CTRL+ALT+DEL keys. Then select the Power button at the bottom right corner, and choose Restart.

Alternatively, you could use the built-in restart button on Windows 10:

  1. Go to Start Menu.

    Start Menu
    Start Menu
  2. Click the Power button.

    Power button
    Power button
  3. Select Restart.

    Restart
    Restart

You can also go old school by pulling up Command Prompt and typing in shutdown/r.

Update Windows

Microsoft is constantly working to fix problems with its OS, and Windows 10 is no different. With every update, Microsoft claims to solve one or more bugs in the OS.

For instance, Microsoft claims to have solved the audio problems from the OS Build 19042.1865. This means that you shouldn’t have an audio problem if you update your PC to this version.

So, try updating your Windows to see if it fixes your problem.

Here’s how:

  1. Open Settings.

    Settings
    Settings
  2. Select Update and Security in the menu.

    Update and Security
    Update and Security
  3. Click Windows Update.

    Windows Update
    Windows Update
  4. Select Check for Updates to find any available updates.

    Check for updates
    Check for updates
Make sure you have enough storage space (16 GB for 32-bit systems and 20 GB for 64-bit systems) before trying the update. Otherwise, you’d have to free up some space before proceeding. If you have trouble installing the update using the steps above, you can download it manually from the Windows Update Assistant.

Revert Windows update

Even though updates are supposed to fix bugs and improve performance from their preceding versions, it’s not always the case. In fact, some updates instead damage your PC’s performance, maybe even your audio configuration.

A Reddit user began to see Bluetooth connection issues whenever he used his headphones after installing a Windows update. If you were in this position, you could try reverting the update.

When you undo a Windows update, your computer returns to the last version it had before the update. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Go to Settings and choose Updates and Security.

    Update and Security
    Update and Security
  2. Click on the Windows Update tab.

    Windows Update
    Windows Update
  3. Select View Update History. You’ll find a list of all your updates here.

    View Update History
    View Update History
  4. Click on Uninstall Updates to revert the Windows update.

    Uninstall updates
    Uninstall updates
If you only want to uninstall a particular update, find it in the list of updates and right-click on it. Click Uninstall to delete the update.

If All Else Fails, Check for Hardware Issues

If the problem persists after all these steps, it may not be from the software but the hardware itself. It can either be the headphones’ or even the PC’s hardware. Here’s how to know which one of the two:

Check hardware issue on headphones

If your headphones have a hardware problem, you’ll likely have to get a new one as it can’t connect to your Windows. For instance, water-damaged headphones may not work with your Windows 10 PC, and that’s not the PC’s fault.

Before throwing away your headphones, you can try the Windows Troubleshooter to determine if it’s really a hardware problem. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Settings and enter Update and Security.

    Update and Security
    Update and Security
  2. Select Troubleshoot in the sidebar.

    Troubleshoot
    Troubleshoot
  3. Click on Additional Troubleshooters.

    Additional troubleshooters
    Additional troubleshooters
  4. Choose Bluetooth for your fix.

    Run troubleshooter
    Run troubleshooter
The quick way to get to the Hardware and Devices window is through the command prompt. Open the command prompt, type msdt.exe id devicediagnostic, and click Enter.

Check hardware issue on PC

You can get a quick hardware overview from your PC to check if the problem is from your hardware. Here’s how:

  1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard and type Performance Monitor in the search bar.

    Performance monitor
    Performance monitor
  2. Enter the Performance Monitor and click Reports in the side panel.

    Reports
    Reports
  3. Click on System and select System Diagnostic.

    System Diagnostics
    System Diagnostics
  4. Choose your PC name.

Here, you’ll find information about your PC’s hardware and other important information. If you go even deeper, you’ll even find live performance charts of your PC in there. While this method works, it’s not quick.

If you’re willing to take drastic measures to rule out software issues, reinstalling your Windows is the best way. Once you’ve reinstalled a new Windows on your PC, any software issue should disappear. But if the problem persists, it means the problem lies with your PC’s hardware or your headphones.

If you decide to get a new pair of headphones, check our tips on making your headphones last longer.

Conclusion

Although Microsoft keeps releasing Windows 10 updates to fix problems with Bluetooth and sound, there’s still a long way to go. However, this doesn’t mean there are no solutions so far.

Outside of hardware issues, the fixes in this guide should help you connect your Bluetooth headphones to your PC. Now, you can use your headphones anytime without the stress of not connecting to your PC.

Hopefully, we’ve solved the mystery of connecting Bluetooth headphones to Windows 10. These solutions will do until Microsoft finds the all-in-one solution to this problem.

Do let us know if our tips help you or if there’s any fix you know about that we haven’t mentioned. The comment box awaits.

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