Article ID : 00199057 / Last Modified : 05/10/2023Print

Tips on pairing Bluetooth headphones and other devices

    IMPORTANT: This article applies only to specific products and/or operating systems. Check Applicable Products and Categories for details.

    Solving your Bluetooth pairing & connection issues 

    First, let's verify the Bluetooth issue you’re experiencing:  

    1. I'm struggling to connect two Bluetooth devices for the first time or pair a second device. Linking two devices for the first time is called Bluetooth Pairing and is often activated automatically when you're using your product for the first time. We refer to pairing to a subsequent device as 'second-time pairing'. Please continue reading the article below.  
    2. I've successfully paired and connected two devices, but the sound is disrupted, I can’t hear anything or I don’t know what sound settings to pick. Please visit our article on tips on how to solve Bluetooth sound issues.  

    What is Bluetooth pairing? 

    When you meet a new person, you usually introduce yourself first and exchange basic information. You won’t have to do this again the next time you meet your new acquaintance - unless you forget who they are or vice versa. 

    Bluetooth pairing is similar. When two Bluetooth devices are pairing, they exchange information. They establish a connection and recognise each other in the future without any introduction - unless one device forgets the other one or vice versa. 

    First-time pairing versus second-time pairing 

    Many new Bluetooth devices (e.g. wireless headphones) automatically go into pairing mode the first time you turn them ON. Your device becomes discoverable on its own. At this point, your device doesn’t have any pairing information saved. However, when you pair a second device, you must manually activate pairing mode. Your device won’t enter pairing mode automatically, unlike the first time. 

    The 7-second rule 

    With many Sony Bluetooth devices, activating pairing mode is done by pressing and holding the pairing/power button on your device for about 7 seconds. You will often hear an audio cue or see a blue flashing LED to inform you that your device has entered pairing mode. Your device will remain in pairing mode for a few minutes and will turn itself off if the pairing procedure isn't successful. 

    Be sure to check your manual or Help Guide to learn how to activate Bluetooth pairing on your product.  

    Example: how to activate pairing mode for the WH-1000XM4 headphones

    Where to find online manuals in your language

    Keep them close and charged 

    Place your devices within 1 meter (3 feet) of each other while pairing. 

    Make sure both devices have ample power. Pairing can fail if one device has low battery power. 

    NFC: the easiest way to pair and connect headphones with your smartphone 

    Switching back and forth between Bluetooth devices in your settings can be tedious. Did you know you can avoid the settings menu entirely when you’re using an Android phone?  

    Near Field Communication (NFC) is the technology used in contactless payments. You hold your card to a card reader and wait until your payment is approved. Similarly, NFC can also be used to pair and connect Bluetooth devices. If your devices are both equipped with NFC, and the NFC setting on your phone is enabled, you can pair them instantly without going through Bluetooth settings: 

    1. Make sure you've enabled NFC on your phone. 
    2. Unlock your phone. 
    3. Hold it close to the NFC logo  (e.g. left headphone cup on WH-1000XM4). You don't even have to power on your headphones. They will turn on automatically.  
    4. Bluetooth pairing will occur, or the Bluetooth connection will be activated if you’ve previously paired the devices.  

    For more information, visit the article: What’s the easiest way to pair my Bluetooth headphones with an Android phone?

    I can’t find the device in the Bluetooth list: try turning Bluetooth OFF and ON again 

    Turning Bluetooth OFF and ON again is especially useful when the device you want to connect to doesn't appear in the Bluetooth menu list. Turning Bluetooth OFF and ON again refreshes the list. This tip applies to smartphones, computers and TVs. 

    Xperia (Android) smartphone: How to turn Bluetooth ON/OFF 

    Windows 10 laptop: How to turn Bluetooth ON/OFF

    I can’t find the device in the Bluetooth list: check if it’s automatically paired with a previous device 

    The Bluetooth device you’re trying to connect to may not show up in the Bluetooth list if it’s already connected with a different device (e.g. a relative's phone might already be connected to your speaker or headphones without you noticing). You need to disable that connection first.  

    How do I know if an Xperia smartphone is already connected via Bluetooth? 

    Some devices (e.g. the WH-1000XM4 headphones) can simultaneously connect to two Bluetooth devices. This is called a ‘multipoint connection’. For more information, visit the article: Connect the WH-1000XM4 headphones to two devices (multipoint connection).

    Although I’ve paired my devices, they won’t connect: delete pairing information and pair again 

    Windows 10 message in Bluetooth & Other Devices settings for WH-1000XM4: "That didn't work. Make sure your Bluetooth device is still discoverable, then try again". Two buttons to choose from: "Connect" or "Remove device".

    Although uncommon, it’s possible that two devices are successfully paired, but refuse to connect. If you’re sure this is not caused by a low battery level or a mismatch of Bluetooth profiles, delete the pairing information and pair the devices again to solve this glitch. You can delete (Forget / Remove device) Bluetooth pairing information in your phone’s or computer’s Bluetooth menu. 

    Xperia (Android) smartphone: How to disconnect a device or delete its pairing information

    Windows 10 laptop: How to disconnect a device or delete its pairing information

    Also, there’s a limit to how many Bluetooth devices you can pair. Most smartphones can save Bluetooth pairing information for up to eight devices. That limit means your phone will delete the oldest pairing information if you try to pair a ninth device. 

    I can’t pair devices: make sure the Bluetooth profiles of your devices match 

    What is a Bluetooth profile? 

    The Bluetooth profile of a device determines what Bluetooth devices it can communicate with and how this communication is done. Take these two examples: 

    • Some TVs support Bluetooth remotes, but not Bluetooth headphones. The headphones need a different Bluetooth profile than the remote control. 
    • There are transmitting and receiving Bluetooth devices. Your phone can send music to a speaker, but not the other way around.  

    Two Bluetooth devices that want to communicate wirelessly need to have compatible profiles. Always consider the purpose of the device you’re trying to pair. You can check if your device supports the necessary profile in your device’s manual and specifications. Manuals are posted on our support website. If a device allows for more than one mode of connection (e.g. phone, music, messages, and address book), try disabling certain modes on either connected device to see if that solves your problem. 

    Related articles

    Check out our Bluetooth support videos 

    Check out our video series on all things Bluetooth.  

    1. [VIDEO] Bluetooth Series - How to pair devices 
    2. [VIDEO] Bluetooth Series - Pairing devices with NFC (Near Field Communication)
    3. [VIDEO] Bluetooth Series - Connecting to a Windows PC or Mac 
    4. [VIDEO] Bluetooth Series - Essential troubleshooting (Most common Bluetooth issues explained) 

    Have you tried resetting & initialising both devices? 

    Headphones, soundbars, wireless speakers and other Bluetooth devices have a Reset function, which you can find explained in their manual. Manuals are posted on our support website

    If you’ve tried everything and Bluetooth still isn’t working, Reset your device first, then Initialise it. Keep in mind that initialising your device will restore factory settings. After you initialise your device, it will automatically go into pairing mode when you turn it on, as if it were brand new.