Why does my phone stop playing music when connected to Bluetooth?

We’ve all experienced that annoying moment when your favorite song cuts out mid-chorus as you’re working out or commuting with your Bluetooth headphones. The music starts again, but the moment is lost. This intermittent cutting in and out is a common frustration for Bluetooth users.

How Bluetooth Audio Works

Bluetooth audio relies on wireless transmission between a Bluetooth transmitter and receiver. The transmitter converts audio signals into digital data then broadcasts it using radio waves over the 2.4 GHz band. Nearby Bluetooth devices pick up these radio signals if they are in pairing mode. The receiver then converts the digital data back into an analog audio signal that can be played through speakers or headphones.

For a phone to transmit audio to a wireless headset, the phone encodes the digital audio data and transmits it to the headset. The headset receives the data, decodes it, converts it to analog, and plays the sound. This allows wireless streaming of music, phone calls, and other audio content. The Bluetooth protocol establishes two-way communication so the receiver can send acknowledgements back to the source device.

Bluetooth uses a technique called frequency-hopping spread spectrum that changes frequency rapidly to avoid interference. Audio quality can vary depending on the Bluetooth version – higher versions like Bluetooth 5.0 allow for faster data rates resulting in better quality. The maximum range is also extended in newer versions like Bluetooth 5.0, allowing connections up to 800 feet compared to 30 feet for older versions.

To learn more, refer to the following source: https://www.quora.com/How-does-Bluetooth-sound-work

Common Causes of Bluetooth Audio Cutting Out

There are several common reasons why music may unexpectedly stop playing over a Bluetooth connection. Interference from other devices, a weak Bluetooth signal, and maximum Bluetooth connections are three of the most frequent culprits.

Interference from other wireless devices like WiFi routers, microwaves, or cordless phones can disrupt the Bluetooth signal. The 2.4 GHz frequency used by Bluetooth is also shared by many other devices. Too much interference on this bandwidth can cause dropouts or lagging audio [1].

If your phone or headphones are too far apart or something is blocking the signal path between them, the Bluetooth connection can struggle. Most Bluetooth connections work reliably up to 30 feet, but the audio may cut out at longer distances or if objects like walls or human bodies disrupt line-of-sight [2]. Keeping your paired devices closer together improves signal strength.

Most Bluetooth devices can only maintain stable connections with a limited number of paired devices simultaneously, usually around 5 or 6. If you pair more devices than your phone or headphones can handle, it may cause random disconnections from the weakest paired device.

Phone Hardware Limitations

Phone hardware can impact Bluetooth connectivity and audio quality in a few key ways. The antenna design and placement, Bluetooth chipset and drivers, and built-in amplifiers all factor into the phone’s wireless capabilities.

Most smartphones have small, internal antennas located at the top or bottom of the device. While convenient, these small antennas have a limited wireless range compared to larger, external antennas. The antenna design determines the phone’s effective range for maintaining a Bluetooth connection. Weaker antenna gain leads to a shorter wireless range and more frequent audio cutouts as you move away from the audio source.

The Bluetooth chipset also dictates what Bluetooth versions are supported, such as the longer range and faster data rates of Bluetooth 5.0 over older standards like Bluetooth 4.2. Issues can arise if the phone’s Bluetooth driver software has bugs or compatibility problems with certain wireless headphones or speakers.

Limited built-in amplification can also constrain Bluetooth audio performance in some phones. Weak amps struggle to boost and cleanly transmit the audio signal to headphones over distance, resulting in low volume or distortion before the link is lost. High-end smartphones tend to have more advanced Bluetooth chipsets and amplifiers to deliver robust wireless audio within the constraints of the compact phone design.

Headphone Hardware Factors

The hardware capabilities of your Bluetooth headphones can also impact audio quality and reliability. Some key factors to consider include:

Antenna quality – The antennas inside wireless headphones are responsible for maintaining a strong and consistent Bluetooth connection. Low-quality antennas with poor range can lead to more frequent audio cutting out. Upgrading to headphones with newer Bluetooth versions often provides improved antenna design.

Battery life – As wireless headphone batteries start to wear down, they may not be able to provide consistent power needed for optimal Bluetooth transmission. This can cause glitches and audio drops. Make sure your headphones are fully charged before troubleshooting other issues.

Bluetooth versions – Newer versions like Bluetooth 5.0 offer improved bandwidth, range, and stability over audio connections compared to older versions like Bluetooth 4.2. If your headphones support an outdated Bluetooth version, upgrading can provide a noticeable audio boost.

According to a Reddit thread on r/hardware, some Bluetooth headphones simply use lower quality hardware components that negatively impact wireless sound quality. Choosing premium headphones from reputable brands can help minimize many issues.

Interference from Other Devices

One of the most common reasons Bluetooth audio may cut out or have connection issues is interference from other devices using the 2.4GHz frequency band. Microwaves, other Bluetooth gadgets, and WiFi networks can all contribute electromagnetic interference in this spectrum and disrupt Bluetooth connections.

Microwave ovens operate at 2.4GHz and can cause major interference issues with Bluetooth audio. The metal interior of the microwave acts like a Faraday cage, trapping the radiation inside. But when the microwave door is open or the device malfunctions, that interference can leak out and interfere with Bluetooth devices up to 10 meters away [1].

Other Bluetooth devices like speakers, headphones, fitbits, and more can also clash with your phone’s Bluetooth radio if they are in close proximity. Each Bluetooth device scans for open frequencies up to 1600 times per second. If multiple Bluetooth devices are scanning and connecting near each other, conflicts can occur. Bluetooth audio from your phone may cut out as it competes with other Bluetooth gadgets trying to make connections [2].

Finally, WiFi networks provide another source of interference in the 2.4GHz band that can disrupt Bluetooth connections. While WiFi operates on separate radio channels from Bluetooth, its high transmission power can still cause interference issues resulting in choppy Bluetooth audio. This problem can be exacerbated if you have multiple WiFi networks overlapping in your location.

Solutions and Preventative Measures

There are a few things you can try to prevent your phone from cutting out Bluetooth audio:

Optimize Your Phone’s Bluetooth Settings

Go into your phone’s Bluetooth settings and ensure the Audio Quality is set to “Best Available” or “High Fidelity” to prioritize audio quality over stability. You can also try disabling any battery saving or power saving modes for Bluetooth which may cause audio to cut out.

Update Your Phone and Headphones

Make sure your phone and Bluetooth headphones are running the latest firmware/software. Updates often include bug fixes and optimizations for Bluetooth connectivity issues.

Avoid Interference from Other Devices

Other wireless devices like WiFi routers, microwaves, or even other Bluetooth devices can cause interference resulting in audio dropout. Try not using Bluetooth when you are in areas with lots of wireless activity. Also make sure your phone and headphones are within close range, as longer distances are more prone to interference.

Use Higher Quality Headphones

Some cheaper Bluetooth headphones use lower bandwidth Bluetooth versions or compress audio more aggressively. Investing in better quality headphones that support high bandwidth Bluetooth 5.0 and audio codecs like aptX or AAC can help reduce cutouts.

Switch to Wired Headphones for Critical Listening

For critical music listening or watching videos where audio dropout is highly annoying, use wired headphones to avoid any wireless interference entirely.

Bluetooth Alternatives

While Bluetooth headphones offer wireless convenience, there are alternatives worth considering that avoid some of the connection issues common with Bluetooth. Here’s an overview of some pros and cons to other options:

Wired Headphones

Wired headphones use a direct physical connection rather than a wireless signal. This avoids Bluetooth connectivity problems. However, wires reduce portability and introduce the risk of getting tangled or caught on something. Popular wired options include:[1]

  • Beats Studio3
  • Apple AirPods Max
  • Sony WH-CH720N Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones

Wireless Non-Bluetooth

Some alternatives to Bluetooth use different wireless technologies. These include:[2]

  • Proprietary radio frequencies like Apple’s W1 chip
  • WiFi and adapters
  • Radio frequency systems

The advantage is avoiding Bluetooth’s range and interference limitations. However, compatibility is narrower and audio quality can suffer.

The Future of Wireless Audio

Wireless audio technology continues to advance rapidly, driven by new Bluetooth versions, audio codecs, and headphone innovations. The two main developments to watch are Bluetooth LE Audio and LC3 codec.

Bluetooth LE Audio is the new Bluetooth audio standard introduced in Bluetooth 5.2. It brings major improvements in audio quality, latency, and broadcast audio capabilities (Bluetooth.com). LE Audio will enable new immersive listening experiences like Auracast broadcast audio, which allows wireless audio sharing between unlimited devices (Bluetooth.com).

The new LC3 codec included in LE Audio will significantly improve audio quality and efficiency. LC3 provides comparable quality to SBC at half the bit rate, which results in power savings (sRhythm). This extends wireless headphone battery life and range.

Bluetooth headphone companies are also innovating with new driver technologies, noise cancellation algorithms, and form factors. Future models will leverage LE Audio and LC3 to deliver exceptional sound quality without compromises.


In summary, there are a few main reasons why your phone may stop playing music when connected to Bluetooth. The most common causes are phone hardware limitations, headphone compatibility issues, interference from other devices, obstacles blocking the Bluetooth signal, and exceeding the Bluetooth connection’s range. While frustrating, Bluetooth audio cutouts can often be reduced by using high-quality headphones optimized for stability, minimizing interference from other wireless devices, and keeping your phone within 30 feet and line-of-sight of the Bluetooth receiver. If the problem persists, you may need to reset your phone’s network settings, update its operating system, or consider switching to wired headphones or newer Bluetooth versions like Bluetooth 5.0. By understanding the nature of Bluetooth connections, you can troubleshoot and prevent many wireless audio disruptions.

The goal of this article was to provide a comprehensive look at why Bluetooth audio interruptions occur and how to minimize them. With the right headphones and setup, Bluetooth can be a convenient wireless listening option. But occasional audio cutouts may be unavoidable given the limitations of current technology. Paying attention to hardware, positioning, distance and interference can greatly improve the reliability of your wireless listening experience.

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