How to Pair Bluetooth Headphones With a Phone

Easy steps to connect Bluetooth headphones to your phone

You can connect Bluetooth headphones to nearly all modern phones and tablets these days to talk and listen to music wirelessly without having to lift a finger. Below is a walkthrough of how to pair Bluetooth headphones to a phone, something that's pretty straightforward to do once you get the hang of it.

Personal holding a phone while wearing Bluetooth wireless headphones.
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However, there are some things you should consider before buying a Bluetooth headset, like making sure your phone even supports Bluetooth.

The information below should apply no matter who made your phone, so you can follow these steps if you have an iPhone or an Android phone, like one from Samsung, Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc. However, directions vary greatly between devices, so pay close attention to the call-outs below.

How to Use Bluetooth Headphones With a Phone

The steps required to connect Bluetooth headphones to a phone or any other device aren't really an exact science since all makes and models are a little different, but some minor improvisations and inferences will get the job done. These steps work with iOS 12, 11, and 10, as well as Android 9.0, 8.0, and 7.0.

  1. Make sure that both your phone and your headset are well charged for the pairing process. A completely full charge is not required, but the point is that you don't want either device to shut off during the pairing process.

  2. Enable Bluetooth on your phone if it isn't already on, and then remain there in the settings for the rest of this tutorial. Bluetooth options are normally in the device's Settings app, but see the first two tips below if you need specific help.

  3. Switch on the Bluetooth adapter or hold down the pair button (if it has one) for 5 to 10 seconds.

    For some devices, that just means to power the headphones on since Bluetooth comes on at the same time as normal power. The light might blink once or twice to show power, but depending on the device, you may need to keep holding the button until the light stops blinking and becomes solid.

    Some Bluetooth devices, right after being turned on, send a pairing request to the phone automatically, and the phone might even automatically search for Bluetooth devices without asking. If that's the case, you can skip down to Step 5.

  4. On your phone, in the Bluetooth settings, scan for Bluetooth devices with the SCAN button or a similarly named option. If your phone scans for Bluetooth devices automatically, just wait for it to show up in the list.

  5. When you see the Bluetooth headphones in the list of devices, tap it to pair the two together. Or, pick the Pair new device or Pair option if you see that in a pop-up message, and then select the headphones. See the tips below if you don't see the headphones or if you're asked for a password.

  6. Once your phone makes the connection, a message will probably tell you that the pairing is successfully completed, either on the phone, through the headphones, or on both. For example, some headphones say "Device connected" each time they're paired to a phone.

Bluetooth Connection Tips and More Information

  • On Android devices, you can find the Bluetooth option through Settings, in a section called Connected devices, Bluetooth, Wireless and Networks, or Network connections. If your phone supports this, the easiest way to get there is to pull the menu down from the top of the screen and touch-and-hold the Bluetooth icon to open the Bluetooth settings.
  • If you're on an iPhone or iPad, the Bluetooth settings are in the Settings app, within the Bluetooth option. You can also turn Bluetooth on via Control Center.
  • Some phones need to be explicitly given permission to be seen by Bluetooth devices. To do that, open the Bluetooth settings and tap that option to enable discoverability.
  • Some headphones might require a special code or password in order to fully pair, or even for you to press the Pair button in a special sequence. This information should be clearly defined in the documentation that came with the headphones, but if not, try 0000 or 1234, or refer to the manufacturer for more information.
  • If the phone doesn't see the Bluetooth headphones, turn Bluetooth off on the phone and then back on to refresh the list, or keep tapping the SCAN button, waiting several seconds between each tap. You might also be too close to the device, so give some distance if you still can't see the headphones on the list. If all else fails, turn off the headphones and start the process over; some headphones are only discoverable for 30 seconds or so and need restarting in order for a phone to see them.
  • Keeping your phone's Bluetooth adapter on will automatically pair the phone with the headphones each time they're close, but usually only if the headphones aren't already paired with another device.
  • To unpair or permanently disconnect Bluetooth headphones from a phone, go into the phone's Bluetooth settings to find the device in the list, and choose the unpair, forget, or disconnect option. It might be hidden in a menu next to the entry for the headphones.
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