Over the last couple of years, Bluetooth technology has certainly added convenience to the music listening experience. With a Bluetooth speaker or headset, you can effortlessly enjoy music in a portable package without having to deal with clumsy cables and adapters. However, this kind of convenience can easily be compromised by a Bluetooth speaker that keeps cutting out.
There are several reasons why Bluetooth speakers may cut out. These include a low battery, signal interference, connecting out of the recommended coverage range, incompatibility with the audio device, and a malfunctioning audio app.
In the rest of this article, we’ll explore in detail the above causes of signal interference in Bluetooth speakers and identify possible solutions to help you address the problem. I've got an IT background so this will be a piece of cake. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
A Low Battery
A low battery can be a probable cause of a choppy Bluetooth connection. If you’ve been listening to music via your Bluetooth device for a while without charging it and notice a connection problem, chances are this is what’s causing it.
But just to be sure, check your speaker’s low battery indicator and compare its timing to that of your speakers cutting out. If the low battery indicator coincides with connection issues, you can rest assured that a low battery is a culprit.
In such a case, you’re in luck because it’s easier to address a Bluetooth connection issue caused by a low battery compared to other causes. Simply plug in your device and give it some time to charge before using it again.
If your device still cuts out even when fully charged, rule out a low battery as the cause.
All devices sporting Bluetooth® technology “communicate” via 2.4GHz ISM spectrum band, mainly because it delivers a great throughput-range balance and is available worldwide.
Because many of the Bluetooth devices we use in our homes use the same frequency, signal interference may occur, resulting in your Bluetooth speakers cutting out. Others emit radio waves that may have the same effect.
Additionally, physical barriers, such as thick concrete walls, may affect your Bluetooth devices’ signal strength.
To help you find out what’s causing signal interference in your Bluetooth speakers, let’s review the most common culprits in this regard.
Wi-Fi uses the same 2.4GHz radio frequency that Bluetooth devices use to communicate with each other. So when you’re simultaneously using your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speakers, the radio signals may interfere with each other, resulting in your Bluetooth speakers cutting out.
If this is the case, you’ll notice that your Wi-Fi is much slower when you are using your Bluetooth speakers. This is mostly a problem for older wireless networks or devices as newer networking equipment can handle both 2.4GHz and 5GHz and be able to switch between them, and other wireless channels automatically.
Who would have thought a kitchen appliance (and not a handheld device) could affect how your Bluetooth speaker works? Believe it or not, it happens.
You see, microwaves also use the same frequency spectrum that Bluetooth devices use to communicate. But unlike the Bluetooth devices that use the 2.4GHz frequency to communicate, microwaves ovens use this signal to cook food.
With this in mind, it goes without saying that operating your Bluetooth speakers near a microwave oven may cause signal interference.
One of the main advantages of Bluetooth speakers is that they allow you to select and play music without being restricted to the location of your music system. This means you can carry your peripheral device (i.e., your phone, tablet, or laptop) around your home as you play your music.
However, having a wall or other thick physical barrier between your speakers and your peripheral device can interfere with the Bluetooth signal. This is because thick and compact building materials like concrete, plaster, bulletproof glass, and metal cabinets typically weaken the radio signal emitted by Bluetooth devices as it travels through them.
As a general rule, the more/thicker the physical barriers between the speaker and the peripheral device, the higher the chances of your Bluetooth speakers cutting out.
Cross Body Interference
Most people know that water makes up most of the human body (up to 60%, to be precise). Perhaps a lesser-known interesting fact is that Bluetooth signal strength weakens as it travels through water or water-based mediums. Thus, your body can act as a barrier to Bluetooth connection, and this phenomenon is known as cross-body interference.
That means if you, for instance, carry your phone in your back pocket and place your Bluetooth speaker in another pocket on the opposite side, the connection would be weaker compared to if you carried both devices in a single pocket (without your body in between). I remember noticing this first hand a number of years ago. I was mowing the lawn with my phone in my back pocket, and my Bluetooth earbuds kept cutting out.
Similarly, you might notice a weak connection when you use your speakers in a crowded area such as a party, where people may get between the peripheral device and your speakers.
Other Bluetooth Devices
Another significant factor that might be contributing to your Bluetooth speakers cutting out is signal interference caused by the availability of other Bluetooth devices. This often occurs with Bluetooth speakers with an automatic pairing feature and multiple-device pairing capability.
If your Bluetooth speakers have both of these features, there’s a pretty good chance that they’ll auto-connect to the last paired device when it becomes available. When this happens while the speakers are already paired to another device, you’ll end up with two devices competing for a single signal.
Depending on the quality of your speakers, this might mean a weaker signal in one or both devices. That’s why you need to check the manufacturer’s product specifications or user manual to find out if and how some of your speaker’s features (automatic pairing or multi-device pairing, in particular) may affect the stability of your Bluetooth connection.
If you are looking more for connecting a device to two Bluetooth speakers, be sure to check out that article.
At an airport, this can be a nightmare for some devices. Besides competing with pair signals, you can also compete for media transmissions as well. I once turned on my earbuds while trying to watch a YouTube video on my phone, and country music kept creeping into my listening experience.
Too many background apps or programs running in your phone, laptop, or other device can slow it down. When your peripheral device isn’t operating optimally, all the transmissions (whether Wi-Fi, mobile network, or Bluetooth) will be slow.
Similar to interference caused by Wi-Fi and microwave ovens, fluorescent lights also emit weak signals in the same radio frequency as those used by Bluetooth devices. The mechanics of this phenomenon are a bit complicated, so I'm going to pass on that for now.
The bottom line is that fluorescent lights interfere with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections, mainly because they emit 2.4GHz signals. The extent to which these lights affect Bluetooth connections depends on the strength of the lighting signal and the quality of your Bluetooth speakers.
Trying to Connect Beyond the Recommended Bluetooth Range
Typically, all Bluetooth devices come with a recommended range of connections. In simpler terms, this means the maximum distance you can keep between your peripheral device and the Bluetooth speaker and still enjoy a decent signal strength.
If you exceed this range, chances are your connection will become unstable, and your speakers may cut out. That’s why you need to have a clear idea of your speaker’s range capacity, and you can find this out by simply checking the product specs. This way, it’ll be easier to know when you’re out of the recommended range.
Using a Device That's Incompatible With Your Bluetooth Speakers
Like any other kind of technology, Bluetooth has evolved over the years, and some older versions of phones, tablets, or even computers may not work with newer Bluetooth versions in your speakers.
Usually, backward compatibility is possible, meaning devices sporting newer Bluetooth technology can seamlessly connect with those that support older technology. However, this isn’t possible with Bluetooth Low Energy, formally Bluetooth Smart.
With Bluetooth Low Energy, you simply can’t connect to any device that supports the “classic” Bluetooth. If you try to, your speakers will cut out.
A Malfunctioning Music App
This usually occurs when streaming music from an app on a phone, tablet, or computer. In most cases, users blame the speakers when the actual problem is a malfunctioning music app, a poor internet connection, or a combination of both.
If a malfunctioning music app is causing your Bluetooth speakers to cut out, chances are you’re missing some updates, so you might want to take care of that. Smart TVs and other media players can be a strong culprit of this too. Again, be sure to check for updates regularly (which you should be doing anyway).
How to Fix Bluetooth Speakers That Keep Cutting Out
To fix Bluetooth speakers that keep cutting out, try the following:
Purchase Compatible/Higher Quality Devices
Before you try any other fix, you need to eliminate the possibility of incompatibility or poor quality devices being the cause of your speakers cutting out. A quick Google search can tell you about both of your products' specs and save you some time.
In either case, you’ll need to make a purchase depending on the cause of the problem. I know how it sounds to be suggested to spend money to replace something instead of just “fixing it.” The truth is, technology ages and you can sometimes fall behind. Get something that works and enjoy your media.
If the cause is poor quality or old school speakers, you’ll need to upgrade. There's no other way around it. In the case of an old peripheral device, consider upgrading to one with the latest Bluetooth technology to match the modern version of your speakers.
Use Your Device Close to Your Speakers
Using your device in close proximity to your Bluetooth speakers helps nullify the signal interference caused by barriers such as walls or metal cabinets. It also minimizes the chances of exceeding your speakers’ recommended range of coverage so you can enjoy a stronger connection that’s less prone to frequent cut-outs.
It also helps to keep your phone or any other peripheral device you may be used to playing music in a fixed position. This way, you won’t achieve a strong Bluetooth connection; you’ll also keep it stable by minimizing the impact of your movement on the signal strength.
Turn Off Devices That Might Interfere With Your Signal
Like we previously discussed, some of the electrical appliances in our homes use the same radio frequency as Bluetooth speakers. Others emit signals that interfere with Bluetooth connections. Either way, they can cause your Bluetooth speakers to cut out.
The most common causes of signal interference include cordless phones, wireless video cameras, and microwave ovens. If you have any of these appliances, consider switching them off when using your speakers. If this isn’t an option, you can move them further away from your music system to reduce signal interference.
Change Your Lights
When the cause of signal interference is bulb-related, switching from fluorescent to LED bulbs may help. While LED lights do emit electromagnetic radiation like any other electrical device, the field they generate is too weak to cause signal interference in Bluetooth devices.
Additionally, they use frequencies in the range of 400 THz to 600 THz, which is way higher than the 2.4GHz used by Bluetooth devices. Given that interference only happens when lights use the same frequency as Bluetooth devices, the chances of these lights causing your speakers to cut out are very slim.
Perhaps the only occasion this may happen is when you directly replace halogen bulbs with LED lights. Even then, the problem is usually the AC transformer and not the bulb.
Since AC transformers are meant to carry larger loads from halogen lights, changing to a lighter load by switching to LED bulbs may result in some interference. Because manufacturers can’t plan for bulb transformers’ adaptability like they do with luminosity and wattage.
If the transformer is an issue, you can replace it with one with better electromagnetic interference suppression. What this does is that it reduces the strength of the electromagnetic field generated by the transformer, but it only works if you use low voltage LED lights.
Charge Your Speakers and Peripheral Devices Beforehand
Fully charging both of your devices (phone and speakers) before use increases their operational efficiency. This can be a quick fix when the cause of connection interference is related to a low battery.
Reset Your Speakers Bluetooth Function
Resetting your speaker’s Bluetooth settings can be a solution to connection interferences caused by the availability of other Bluetooth devices. How you do this will depend on the type of speaker you’re working with, so it might help to consult the user manual.
If you can’t access the manual, check your speaker for a Bluetooth disconnect button. Most modern Bluetooth speakers come with this button, so it shouldn’t be hard to find. Others even have an indicator light or a notification sound to show when the speaker is paired to a device.
Once you locate the disconnect button, press it to reset your speaker’s connection. Afterward, try reconnecting your peripheral device and see if the interference problem persists.
Reset the Bluetooth Function on Your Peripheral Device
Much like resetting your speakers Bluetooth, exercising this option will allow you to terminate your current weak or unstable connection and reconnect with a stronger one.
To reset the Bluetooth settings on your audio device, locate the settings function on your device, and switch off Bluetooth. Wait for a few seconds before turning Bluetooth back on and try and pair with your speaker. Chances are you’ll notice a more stable connection, and the speakers won’t be cutting out like before.
Forget the Bluetooth Speaker From Your Audio Device
Just to be clear, this is different from resetting the Bluetooth function in peripheral devices. Instead of turning Bluetooth off and back on, you’ll be looking to forget your Bluetooth speaker on your audio device without necessarily having to switch off the Bluetooth function.
Doing this will allow your speaker to erase all shared data, such as the Bluetooth address. When you re-introduce your device to your speaker, fresh data exchange will occur, eliminating any connection interferences caused by faulty pairing.
Consider Investing in a Bluetooth Dongle
This fix is only possible in computers or laptops and is ideal when the Bluetooth connection problem is related to a faulty or incompatible Bluetooth. Also known as Bluetooth adapters, these devices plug into a computer’s USB port.
To use a Bluetooth dongle on your computer, simply plug in the device and wait for the driver to auto-install. Afterward, pair your computer to your speakers like you would with traditional built-in Bluetooth.
If your speakers were cutting out due to a malfunctioning or an outdated Bluetooth version on your computer, this should help.
Seek for Further Technical Support
If none of the above fixes work, it might be time to call the experts. Sometimes, Bluetooth speakers may cut out due to more serious issues (in either your peripheral device or the music system) that may be too difficult to troubleshoot and fix without technical assistance.
But before you contact technical support, you’ll need to find out whether the problem is the speaker or your audio device. To do this, try using your speaker with a different phone, tablet, or computer. If it works fine, the problem is your audio device, meaning you’ll call your phone/tablet/computer manufacturer; and not your speaker’s.
In case the speaker keeps cutting out even with a different peripheral device, you’ll need to contact its manufacturer. Hopefully, they’ll be responsive enough to help you deal with the issue quickly.
That does it for today’s discussion. Hopefully, this post has shed enough light on the common culprits behind Bluetooth speakers that keep cutting out to help you fix the problem on your own.
You can usually fix these issues on your own. If you're running older technology, it may be time for an upgrade.
If you get stuck, you can always consult a repair technician. More often than not, Bluetooth connection issues aren’t that serious, so there’s a good chance you won’t need to dig too deep into your pocket to address yours. All the best!