Fix Bluetooth Audio Stuttering On Android Phones

Why Do My Bluetooth Headphones Have a Delay?

Bluetooth earbuds with Android phone
Bluetooth earbuds with Android phone

To get a better grasp of what causes Bluetooth audio delay and how to fix it, you first need to know about audio latency.

Audio latency is defined as the time it takes for audio data to travel from its source (computer, smartphone, mp3 player) to your headphones or speakers. These are the milliseconds (ms) it takes to process digital data and convert it to an audio signal that can be streamed through a wired or wireless connection to your headphones.

In a regular wired connection, the typical audio latency is 5-10 ms. In a wireless connection, Bluetooth latency can go anywhere from an ideal 34 ms (aptX LL) up to 100-300 ms for true wireless earbuds and headphones.

Now, you may ask: Why do wireless headphones have higher audio latency than wired?

To give a brief background, in a Bluetooth audio chain, you have a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter sends the audio signal to the receiver. This audio signal uses a certain bandwidth to “travel” from source to destination. The bigger the audio signal’s file size (higher quality equates to larger audio files), the more bandwidth it needs to get to the receiver.

Think of bandwidth as the size of the road while the audio file size is the amount of traffic. If the traffic exceeds what the road size can accommodate, traffic jams will happen, reducing movement to a slow crawl (more time required to complete the transmission).

If there isn’t enough bandwidth to support a particularly large audio file transmission (e.g. you’re listening to a lossless audio file), then the transfer won’t go as fast and smooth, and this will reflect as audio stutter and lag.

Note that while wired connections are better in terms of audio latency, using Bluetooth headphones doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll hear noticeable sound delay all the time. As you’ll learn in a bit, there are several factors that come into play that determine if you’ll have near-imperceptible audio latency or experience some noticeable delay.

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6th Step Try Changing The Bluetooth Audio Codec

Ensure that Bluetooth is turned on and that the problematic Bluetooth device is connected to your phone, or the Developer options will not save or will not stick when you exit Developer options.

If changing the Playback Quality settings above did not help, try to change the Bluetooth Audio Codec to codecs such as AAC or SBC or LDAC to start. If those codecs do not help, try the other codecs in the list shown below.

  • Tap the settings icon / gear on your phone
  • On the settings screen, scroll down to the System heading
  • On the System screen, scroll down until you see { } Developer Options
    • On some phones, it may be housed under Advanced Settings or another heading after it is unlocked
  • Scroll down until Bluetooth Audio Codec
  • Cycle through trying different codecs such as SBC, AAC, LDAC, Qualcomm, etc.
  • Check to see if your issue has been resolved
Change Bluetooth Audio Codecs To Fix Bluetooth Iss
Change Bluetooth Audio Codecs To Fix Bluetooth Issues

How to fix Bluetooth audio stuttering on iPhone and Android

Bluetooth audio stuttering and latency issues are pretty common in both iPhone and Android devices. There are a few common fixes that can be applied to both the platforms and a few specific ones. We will cover both types of solutions.

Here are a few tips you may follow to reduce Bluetooth audio stuttering on iPhone:

1. Disable application conflict – Other applications that constantly use Bluetooth can interfere with the Bluetooth signal of your headphone. One such app is ‘Siri’ and disabling it can be a possible fix. To disable the ‘Hey Siri’ feature you have to do the following steps:

  • Go to Settings > Siri & Search 
  • Then make sure the ‘Listen for Hey Siri’ option is disabled.

This solution is only for those who don’t use the ‘Hey Siri’ feature. If you want to use the feature, you may try the other possible fixes listed below.

2. Switch audio output in AirPlay – Sometimes, alternating between the built-in speaker and back to the Bluetooth-enabled device can fix audio stuttering issues. To do that you just have to: 

  • Visit the ‘Control Center
  • Then long-press on the music player (audio playback widget)
  • And, tap on the ‘Speaker’ icon.
  • Once the audio switches to the speaker, you have to tap the name of your Bluetooth headphone to re-enable playback through the Bluetooth device.

Here are a few tips you may follow to reduce Bluetooth audio stuttering on Android:

1. Use an optimized Bluetooth codec – Unlike iPhones which are limited to but optimized for the AAC codec, Android devices support a lot of Bluetooth codec. Unfortunately, the default SBC codec offers bad performance-to-sound quality which can cause audio stuttering and audio lag.

Fortunately, it is possible to change the settings to enable your device to use a more optimized Bluetooth codec such as aptX Adaptive and aptX HD. Other popular codecs include aptX, LDAC, and AAC. You can choose any of these and experiment to see what works the best for you. 

Here is how to change the Bluetooth codec on your Android device:

  • Go to Settings > About Phone > Build number and tap on it seven times to enable the developer options.
  • Then, navigate to Settings > Additional Settings > Developer options > Bluetooth Audio Codec.
  • Select aptX Adaptive or aptX HD if you have them. Otherwise, experiment with different codecs to achieve the best performance-to-quality ratio.

2. Set the performance level option to high – Android users have the option to customize the  ‘performance profile’ of their device. Typically, these come in three modes – balanced (smart performance), normal, performance (high performance).

Setting your ‘performance mode’ to medium or low can conserve battery but it also limits the processing power of your device. Thus, you can experience a range of issues such as lag when playing games, audio syncing issues when watching videos, and even audio stuttering issues. 

If you are using a ‘Battery Saver’ app or have set the ‘performance profile’ of your device to low, disable the third-party app and set the profile to high, and check to see whether it fixes the problem.

Here are a few general tips you may follow to reduce Bluetooth audio stuttering on both iPhone and Android: 

1. Eliminate interference – As stated before, signal interference can greatly affect the stability of your Bluetooth connection. So, you need to remove any wireless device in the proximity of your smartphone or Bluetooth headset to enjoy lag-free audio. 

It is also crucial to eliminate any physical obstruction. For eg., if your mobile is under a pillow or your pocket, you may not experience a smooth audio playback.

2. Make sure the smartphone and the Bluetooth headphone is within the signal range – Bluetooth devices typically have a range of 10 m (33 ft). The more the distance between your Bluetooth headphone and your smartphone, the worse the stability of the connection would get and finally it would stop working completely. 

Thus, make sure you are always within the signal range.

3. Make sure the device is fully charged – When the battery of your smartphone goes down below a certain level, the performance of the device plummets drastically. In such situations, it can become impossible to play games, watch videos, and even play music due to the extreme lag. 

Thus, always make sure to charge your smartphone when the battery drains down to 10% before using it again. 

4. Make sure you are using a compatible Bluetooth headset with your smartphone – Although Bluetooth technology is backward compatible with the previous generations, it is still not a good idea to pair products that don’t support the same version as it would only limit the performance of the newer version. For the best results, it is recommended that you use headphones that support the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology. 

5. Factory reset the smartphone – If your Bluetooth headphone works fine when connected to other smartphones or Bluetooth-enabled devices, the problem may lie with your smartphone. In such cases, you can try doing a factory reset of your smartphone. Just make sure to back-up all the important data you have on your mobile.

6. Factory reset the Bluetooth headphone – Sometimes, pairing too many devices to your Bluetooth headphones can introduce connectivity issues such as ‘frequent disconnections’ and audio stuttering. In such cases, doing a factory reset of your Bluetooth headphone and repairing the headphone with your primary audio source can eliminate all problems. 

To do a factory reset of your Bluetooth headphone, refer to the manual that came with the product.

Basic Troubleshooting

The fundamental aspect is always the first step to fix any issue. Here also we have included various grounds to fix the “Bluetooth headphones stuttering” issue for our users. There are chances that a simple glitch has caused a disturbance in the audio output. Do follow the below steps before heading into Advanced Troubleshooting.

Resetting will refresh the pairing data and configuration of your Bluetooth device. This simple trick has worked for many.

  1. Switch off your Bluetooth headphone.
  2. Tap on the power toggle for 7 seconds to do this. In between a blue light should glow at least 4 times.

Note: Make sure you are operating in the range of the Bluetooth signal. Also, we advise you to remove all the other wireless devices temporarily. Especially the Wi-Fi device. Turn off Wi-Fi signals, it has a bad impact as explained in the next point.

The battery is the fundamental requirement here. Make sure it is fully charged or the battery is not damaged. In case the battery gets sucks soon then it’s to replace it with a new battery. As the battery drops, sound output too causing stuttering or skipping issues in Bluetooth headphones.

In today’s era all over there is a wireless signal. In case you are using your Bluetooth headphone in the place with high Wi-Fi connectivity. This will interrupt your Bluetooth connectivity causing stuttering sound.

The reason is bandwidth used by Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technology is the same i.e. 2.4 GHz to 2.5 GHz. Here, these two can clog each other’s path while data transfer. Make sure this is not the case with your Bluetooth headphone.

 

Also Read:- Mouse Lag Windows 10: LAGGING, STUTTERING, FREEZING FIXED

 

How to Fix These Common Bluetooth Audio Stutter Issues

Here’s what you need to do to fix each of the above issues.

1. Ensure You Have a Reliable Battery and Charger

If you’ve used your wireless Bluetooth headphones for a while, you may have noticed that the audio becomes choppy when the charge gets depleted.

If that’s the case, you have headphones that need to have a certain charge to work seamlessly. Ensure they are charged at all times and the issue will disappear.

If you’ve used the headphones for a while and they don’t retain charge like they used to, it might be time to grab a new battery.

What if the headphones are new and have a new battery?

Then try the following solutions.

2. Maintain Your Headphones’ Signal Range

Bluetooth technology transmits data over short distances using short-wavelength radio waves.

When you are out of range, your wireless Bluetooth headphones will disconnect the playback. Step further and the pairing will cut off altogether.

Your headphones’ manufacturer explicitly states the Bluetooth range right on the package. And that’s likely one of the specs you checked before buying the pair.

You can also check the headphones’ manual or the manufacturer’s website to get the figure. Many Bluetooth devices work seamlessly 4-5 feet from the source device (such as a phone, laptop, or Bluetooth music system).

More powerful cans, like some TaoTronics headphones, support Bluetooth reception up to 100 feet from the audio source.

3. Check To Ensure the Signal and Bluetooth Audio Profiles Match

New Bluetooth headphones paired with an old Blueto

New Bluetooth headphones paired with an old Bluetooth source unit may cause audio crackling.

Take the TaoTronics SoundSurge 46 Active Noise-cancelling headphones, for example. The pair comes with Bluetooth 5.0, the fastest, most advanced Bluetooth technology around.

If you paired them with an old Bluetooth 2.0 unit, the mismatch might cause stutter problems.

Most crucial, however, is the audio profile match.

Take the profile A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile), for example. It might be tricky to reconfigure the generating clock and consuming clock of the source device and the headphones. So, check your headphone manufacturer’s website to see if they have a firmware fix for the issue.

If they don’t, chat with their customer service representatives. The company might be working on something or may have solved similar cases with success.

If there’s an interruption of the signal or a partial disconnection, you can try un-pairing your headphones then re-pairing them with your phone.

4. Check for Cross-Body Interference

Have you ever worn a pair of wireless earbuds and noticed a Bluetooth audio stutter issue? You might have put your phone in the right pocket of your trouser and worn one earbud in the left ear when this happened.

If you have ever experienced this, it was your body’s 70+% water content interfering with the Bluetooth signal.

Bluetooth radio waves travel poorly in water-logged matter because they are quite weak. To solve this problem, keep changing your phone’s position till the stutter goes away.

5. Metal and Reinforced Concrete Could Be Problematic Obstructions

Metal deflects, bounces, and/or blocks Bluetooth radio waves from passing through it.

Reinforced concrete—such as the kind that separates rooms at the workplace, at home, or at school—contains metal rods. Concrete can also block the transmission of radio waves if it’s too thick for them to penetrate.

So, avoid obstructions between the audio source and your headphones. If the audio device has a cover, be sure to remove it.

6. Avoid Places with High Wi-Fi Usage

Modern technology offers a wide selection of wireless devices, like smart bulbs and lighting systems, Wi-Fi routers, microwaves, cordless and hands-free phones, baby monitors, and wireless Bluetooth headphones.

You may not know it, but Wi-Fi technology operates in the same 2.4 GHz-2.5Ghz wavelengths as Bluetooth technology.

While the two technologies differ, they share a network. This means they can clog each other’s data transmission paths. You may experience Bluetooth audio stutter when using your Bluetooth headphones in a place with many Wi-Fi devices.

To avoid this issue, use your headphones in areas with low Wi-Fi usage and see if the Bluetooth audio stutter stops. Also remove any unnecessary Bluetooth connections.

7. Reset Your Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Turn the headphones offPress the power button and
  • Turn the headphones off
  • Press the power button and hold for over 7 seconds
  • A blue light will flash approximately 4 times.
  • Your headphones are factory reset and pairing information is deleted

Bluetooth technology can connect up to 7 devices without needing to reset.

However, you can reset the settings to see if it’s pairing problems that could be causing the stutter. If you are using an android phone, you can also try clearing the cache.

8. Check with Your Device’s Manufacturer for Updates

Changes in device firmware may trigger subtle mismatches that can interfere with Bluetooth’s radio waves. If you bought your Bluetooth headset online, check your email.

That’s the means of communication the manufacturer will likely use to send a notification about the latest software update for your model of headphones. If there’s no email, you can visit their website and talk to customer support.

9. Grab the Latest Gadget for Your Pleasure

If all the above solutions fail, it could be you have a device that needs some work. You can look for original features to replace old, faulty parts. Or you can just get new headphones—if you have the budget for it—and get rid of the Bluetooth headphones stuttering problem for good.

The best Bluetooth headphones on the market offer much more than good design and affordability. They feature the latest Bluetooth codecs and a high connectivity range.

Final Words: Conclusion

As we know wireless is going to be essentiality of digitalization in the coming times. So, you must know the ways to tackle these devices to avoid any issue. Do follow the Tips to avoid section to do so.

In case you have any doubt or suggestions for our team, feel free to contact us. If you have any new method which worked, do mention in the comment section to help others. Once you are done with the Bluetooth headphones stuttering issue, do leave us your encouraging words in the comment section below.

We hope, now you can feel peace with your favorite tune.

 

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