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Bluetooth Headphones Cutting Out? Here’s How to Fix It

Last updated: 4 months ago
8 min read

Bluetooth headphones are vulnerable to interruptions that can cause the signal to cut out.

In this article, we list:

  • All possible reasons for Bluetooth headphones cutting out
  • Easy fixes and tips for preventing interruptions
Headphones cutting out audio

Bluetooth headphones receive audio through the air and operate on a 2.4GHz frequency. And because many other wireless devices, like Wi-Fi routers and microwave ovens, use the same frequency band, it makes occasional interferences inevitable.

  • Bluetooth technology uses multiple channels to avoid clashing with Wi-Fi and other Bluetooth devices. However, Wi-Fi radiates at higher powers, which overpowers the Bluetooth.
  • While microwave ovens have a metal cage to trap the microwaves, some still escape. The latter might cause interference if you’re using headphones near the operating oven.

Secondly, we should also mention software and hardware problems:

  • Errors in the code when it is poorly written
  • Errors in the Bluetooth data packets
  • Audio stuttering due to hardware malfunction.

Now, let’s look at each reason separately and find a simple solution to fix it.

CONTENTS (show more)

    Signal Obstructions

    Physical barriers are the main reason why Bluetooth signals can’t travel indefinitely. Walls, trees, human bodies, air… all of them take energy away from your Bluetooth signal.

    Bluetooth’s 2.4GHz frequency is most sensitive to walls (mode of steel or bricks) and water-based obstructions (going underwater or sending a signal through a human body).

    Bluetooth wall interference
    Walls, especially concrete brick walls, significantly reduce the connection stability of Bluetooth devices.

    What happens is that the signal weakens, and data packets don’t reach their destination or are too corrupted. Having too many missing or corrupted packets results in audio cutouts.

    The average Bluetooth indoor connection reaches 40 feet (or 12.2 meters) or right after you pass 2 brick walls.

    How do you fix signal obstructions?

    • Keep your Bluetooth headphones and transmitting device (smartphone, laptop, etc.) close to each other.

    If you leave your music device in another room with thick walls, it’s normal for Bluetooth to cut out.

    • Another way to fix this issue is to prioritize connection over sound quality. Only a few brands, like Sony, offer this option in their mobile apps.
    • Avoid using LDAC or other high-quality Bluetooth codecs. They require a very stable connection to work correctly.

    SBC, AAC, or LC3 are the most stable and, thus, the safest choices.

    Android-Bluetooth-audio codec selection menu
    If you enable Developer settings on Android, you get access to all supported Bluetooth codecs.

    Distance Between Bluetooth Headphones & Source

    Similar to obstacles like walls, distancing your wireless headphones away from the music source can create problems.

    Distance makes the signal weaker. The further you go, the fewer data packets reach their destination, which results in your Bluetooth headphones keep cutting audio.

    • Modern Bluetooth headphones and earbuds can easily maintain an outdoor connection up to 200 feet (61 meters).
    • On the other hand, the typical indoor range is around 40 feet (12.2 meters).
    Earbuds distance from source
    Keeping the distance between your earbuds and the source (smartphone) should ensure a stronger connection.

    How to fix it?

    Keep the distance between your Bluetooth headphones and the source device within the limits. A circle of 15 feet from your smartphone and in the same room.

    While the official Bluetooth range is longer, if your headphones struggle with keeping a stable connection, keeping them close might fix the problem.

    Interference From Other Devices

    Most wireless devices use a 2.4GHz frequency spectrum for communication. The main reason is that it is free to use. Different frequency spectrums are allocated for telecommunications, radio, military, medical, and other purposes so they don’t interfere.

    Bluetooth WiFi interference
    Wi-Fi routers are the most common household gadget that uses the same 2.4GHz spectrum as Bluetooth.

    Different technologies try to avoid connection interferences by using different frequencies near 2.4GHz and various channels.

    However, signals can still clash or overpower each other in a place with multiple wireless devices. Consequently, Bluetooth headphones don’t receive data packets, which results in audible stutters.

    How to fix BT interference from other devices?

    This problem has multiple solutions:

    • Keep your headphones and source Bluetooth device close.
    • Turn OFF (or at least switch OFF Bluetooth) wireless devices in the same room that you currently don’t use.

    Unaware Multipoint Connection

    Some headphones support Bluetooth multipoint, which enables them to connect to at least 2 devices simultaneously.

    The benefit is that you can be on your laptop, and when you receive a phone call, you can simply answer it and talk via headphones. No manual switching sources; everything happens automatically.

    Sony WH-1000XM5 multipoint
    Multipoint connectivity can be a useful Bluetooth function, but also annoying if you don’t know you’re using it.

    The feature is often enabled by default, and if you pair your Bluetooth headphones to at least 2 different devices, headphones might automatically connect to both.

    If you aren’t aware of that, you might hear strange sounds and random music pauses during listening. The reason is that the other device creates noise (incoming notifications, etc.), which is then played through your headphones.

    How to fix Multipoint Bluetooth interference?

    Turn OFF Bluetooth on devices you don’t use.

    Or, if you don’t want to use multipoint, turn OFF the feature in the mobile app (most apps give you the option to do that).

    Okay, the simple solutions have been taken care of. Now, let’s tackle bigger problems.

    Software Glitches

    Any device that uses code to work is susceptible to bugs. The latter affects how a device behaves. If the bug occurs during the audio processing or Bluetooth transmission, you might hear it as a stutter or crackling noise.

    Bugs can occur randomly when:

    • A specific line of code initiates an error (can be cleared)
    • A programming mistake that is permanently present in the code
    Audio interface diagram
    These are the recording and reproducing steps without encoding and decoding the Bluetooth signal. Glitches in such a complicated system can occur at any time.

    How to fix software glitches?

    The solution for random glitches is:

    • Turn OFF and ON Bluetooth on your transmitting device, as well as turn OFF and ON your headphones or earbuds.
    • If the problem persists, reset the headphones and the transmitting device. Inspect the included user manual to learn how to reset your headphones (or check our separate articles on how to reset headphones from Sony, Jabra, Apple, Bose, Skullcandy, JLab, JBL, TOZO, and Samsung).

    In contrast, the solution for permanent or continuous glitches is to update the software:

    • While having headphones connected, open their mobile app, check for new firmware updates, and install them.
    • Also, inspect your source device for new updates.

    Software bugs are common nowadays, and companies often release new firmware updates on a regular basis.

    Music App Glitch

    Apps are a string of programming code, so you shouldn’t rule them out as potential reasons for stutters.

    Sometimes, you can hear a robotic-like distortion when playing a song. This is mostly common when music is stored locally.

    Treblab WX8 listening to music
    We had our share of music app glitches in the past, especially with the Samsung’s player.

    How to fix music app BT stutters?

    If you’re still among traditional users and experience these problems, check the Google Play or App Store for new updates.

    Otherwise, close the app (by also closing it from the multitasking window) and reopen it. You may also have to reconnect your Bluetooth headphones.

    Poor Internet Connection

    If you stream your music, you’re heavily reliant on the mobile internet bandwidth.

    It can widely jump in signal strength, especially when driving when your phone has to constantly reconnect between cell towers and change from 4G to 5G.

    Headphones strong 5G signal
    Using 5G network doesn’t automatically mean great connection.

    While streaming apps use buffering to load songs in advance, you might still experience stutters when driving through a valley or walking through a crowded area (with lots of tourists, like town squares).

    How to fix poor internet connection impacting the stream?

    You can’t fix insufficient cell tower coverage. But what you can do is to avoid known problematic areas with poor connection.

    It’s not really a fix, but there’s not much else you can do.

    Hardware Malfunction

    Hardware malfunction can occur due to many reasons. All of them negatively affect how a component or entire headphones work. One damaged piece can prevent others from working.

    The reasons for malfunctioning are:

    • User misuse: Headphones or earbuds either suffered liquid damage or were dropped on the floor/squeezed, which broke something inside.
    • Factory error: The product was assembled with a bad part that broke or died sooner than expected.
    • Design oversight: A specific headphone component was poorly designed and is now causing issues.
    JBL Reflect Mini NC waterproof
    Ensure to dry your earbuds if they come in contact with water.

    How to fix hardware malfunction impacting Bluetooth?

    If no other solution helped and you’re sure your Bluetooth headphones suffer from hardware issues, you must send them for repair.

    If it isn’t your fault and they’re still under warranty, you should get them fixed for free. If your warranty has expired, you can try taking them to a third-party repair shop. Or just buy a new pair.

    You can also fix them yourself, as you typically find repair guides for all the most common headphones.

    However, note that you probably need special tools and that you might break them even more if you don’t know what you’re doing.

    Running Low on Battery

    A low battery doesn’t affect connection strength, so you shouldn’t hear stutters because of it.

    Instead, you might start hearing annoying “Battery low” prompts, or your Bluetooth headphones can suddenly shut down.

    TOZO app battery
    Normally, you get the most accurate battery information inside the headphones’ app.

    How to fix it?

    Keep track of the remaining battery in your headphones or earbuds’ charging case. Ensure to charge them regularly to avoid getting surprised next time you give them a listen.

    Advanced Tips for a Stable Connection

    Here, we explore additional tips for preventing headphones from cutting out and improving Bluetooth connection.

    Optimal placement of devices

    Keep both devices close and in line of sight. As you know by now, keeping Bluetooth headphones and a transmitting device close to you is vital for maintaining a solid connection.

    Optimally, devices should be in the line of sight. There shouldn’t be any obstructions, your body included: like when you put a phone in your pocket, and it makes the audio stutter.

    Sony WH-1000XM5 on the stairs
    Keep your headphones and the audio source close or in line of sight.

    Buy headphones & source devices with stronger antennas

    This one is a bit tricky as rarely any device, especially Bluetooth headphones, states how strong its Bluetooth receiver is.

    However, if you’ve seen our reviews, we also make Bluetooth range tests, which indicate how far headphones receive audio. So, feel free to check our reviews.

    Pick for the latest Bluetooth versions

    Newer Bluetooth versions use better protocols to avoid interference, making them a better pick, especially if you live in a crowded area or travel on public transport.

    Sony WH-1000XM4 touch controls
    Walking through a city square with many other people also using Bluetooth can lead to interferences.

    Remember that you can’t “firmware upgrade” Bluetooth versions, so you have to check which one is supported before purchasing.

    Secondly, when you connect two devices, the Bluetooth connection runs on the oldest version (newer versions are always backward compatible).

    In practice, when headphones support Bluetooth 5.3, but your smartphone has Bluetooth 5.1, the connection between them runs on version Bluetooth 5.1.

    It’s worth mentioning that versions above 5.0 are already pretty robust. However, some older laptops, smartphones, and tablets might still only support 4.2.

    • GSMArena is the most reliable source when checking which Bluetooth version is in your smartphone.
    • The Bluetooth version in headphones and earbuds is usually written on the packaging. If not, check the official specifications (we also add specifications in our reviews).
    EarFun Free Pro 3 all boxes
    Sometimes, the Bluetooth version is stated on the box (on the right), whereas sometimes, it isn’t.

    Regularly check for updates

    You might know from Windows updates that they sometimes introduce a problem rather than fix it. However, in 99% of cases, they improve your device’s functionality and security.

    The same applies to Bluetooth headphones, which occasionally receive updates, promising big fixes and improved connection stability. That’s why:

    • Regularly check for software updates on your transmitting/source device (laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.).
    • Open your Bluetooth headphone app regularly to check for new firmware updates. Headphone updates are less regular, so you don’t need to check for them so often.
    Android Galaxy Buds update
    As you can see, this firmware update for Samsung Galaxy Buds2 promises stability improvements.

    FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

    How do I fix my Bluetooth headphones from cutting out?

    You fix your Bluetooth headphones from cutting out by keeping them close to a source device and ensuring their firmware is up to date. Also, turn OFF or avoid other wireless devices (other smartphones, Wi-Fi routers). If cut-outs continue, reset them.

    Why do my Bluetooth headphones keep stuttering?

    Your Bluetooth headphones stutter due to signal interference, physical obstructions between them and a source device, and due to software bugs. Rarely it’s the hardware defect issue.

    Why is Bluetooth cutting in and out?

    Bluetooth cuts in and out when it doesn’t receive enough data packets or they’re too corrupted to be restored. That happens when something obstructs or interferes with the signal, like a wall or other wireless signals.

    Conclusion

    To summarize essential tips for maintaining a stable Bluetooth connection:

    • Keep your Bluetooth headphones and transmitting device close and in line of sight.
    • Regularly check for the latest version of software updates on all devices.
    • Reset your headphones in case of continued choppy Bluetooth audio.
    • Pick headphones and devices with newer Bluetooth versions.
    • If possible, stick with more efficient Bluetooth codecs to prioritize connection quality over audio quality (don’t use LDAC, aptX HD, or LHDC).

    Hopefully, we helped you resolve your headphone stutters, and you now enjoy your favorite songs in peace. If you have any other questions, feel free to comment below.

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