Bluetooth devices connect wirelessly to a computer. Except sometimes they don't. This document will help identify some bluetooth connectivity issues and some troubleshooting steps to resolve those issues.
Example Bluetooth Devices
Common bluetooth devices include mice and keyboards, speakers, microphones, headsets (which combine a microphone and speakers), and wireless presenters (clickers).
Not all bluetooth devices are created equal. More recent (higher number) versions of Bluetooth can handle more data, faster, longer distances, and with stronger connectivity.
Laptop computers typically have Bluetooth receivers (adapters) built inside them. Some have a button on or near the keyboard to turn on or off the Bluetooth manually. All of them which have Bluetooth will let you turn it on and off via software settings.
Desktop computers don't necessarily have built-in Bluetooth receivers, so an external USB receiver (adapter) needs to be plugged into one of its USB jacks. Some of these USB devices are plug and play, while others will require the correct, or updated device driver be installed before devices can connect to the computer.
When a bluetooth mouse stops connecting to a computer, it can appear that the mouse or trackpad has 'frozen,' or become unresponsive, and attempts to move the mouse pointer are unsuccessful.
When a bluetooth audio device stops connecting to a computer, it can appear as if the Mute function has been enabled, and some software will automatically select an alternative device (such as an internal mic or speakers) to use instead of the bluetooth device.
Some computers will notify you visually, with a pop-up message, that the connection is unstable, or has changed.
Some headsets will notify you that they are no longer functioning properly, by changing their status LED to a color that signifies disconnection, or by audibly speaking a message of connection or mute status.
Some clickers will notify you that they are no longer functioning properly, by changing their status LED to a color that signifies disconnection
Solutions to Bluetooth Issues
If devices won't pair with a computer using Bluetooth
Close other applications that might be using your bluetooth device.
Reboot your computer! If the computer hasn't been rebooted recently, this step solves many bluetooth issues.
Reboot the Bluetooth peripheral device. As you turn it on, enter pairing mode. Some devices require a specific sequence of button presses, or length of time to hold down the button, to enter pairing mode.
[Mac Users] Ensure that the application has been given correct permission to access peripherals. For instance, give Zoom.US access to your Camera, Microphone, Accessibility, Files and Folders, Screen Recording, to use the full feature-set of Zoom. Access these settings under System Settings...Security and Privacy.
If paired devices temporarily stop communicating
Some bluetooth audio devices, like microphones, speakers, or headsets will enter a Mute mode, when they temporarily lose connectivity between the peripheral device and the PC. Here are some troubleshooting measures to try:
- Position the device closer to the receiver (computer). Before it is a critical situation, test how far away from the computer your device will work before dropping the connection.
- Update the software (operating system, or applications that interface with audio peripherals, like Zoom, Skype, or Teams)
- Update the drivers
- [Mac Users] disable Handoff
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