Why is my audio stuttering in Android?

Audio stuttering refers to audio playback that is not smooth and consistent. Instead, the audio skips, repeats small snippets, drops out entirely, or otherwise fails to play normally. This can negatively impact audio and video playback, calls, games, and any other use of audio on an Android device. There are several potential causes of audio stuttering on Android phones and tablets.

Common Causes

There are several common causes for audio stuttering issues on Android devices:

Hardware issues like an underpowered processor or insufficient RAM can lead to performance problems that manifest as skipping or choppy audio playback. Older devices may struggle with resource-intensive apps and file formats.

Software bugs or outdated drivers can also introduce audio glitches, especially right after an OS update before compatibility fixes are released. Apps may have bugs that cause intermittent playback problems.

Connectivity problems are another prime suspect if audio stutters only during streaming or Bluetooth playback. Weak WiFi signals, congested networks, and Bluetooth pairing problems will degrade audio.

Specific culprits like insufficient RAM, overheating, and Bluetooth connectivity are commonly reported reasons for choppy and skipped audio on Android.

Hardware Issues

One common cause of audio stuttering in Android devices is hardware problems with components like the headphone jack, speakers, or microphones. Issues with these physical parts can lead to skipping, jittery playback, or distorted sounds while listening to audio on your device.

For example, a faulty headphone jack may cause the audio signal to cut in and out intermittently, leading to choppy playback through headphones or external speakers (Source). Loose connections, damaged ports, or accumulation of debris in the headphone jack can all contribute to this problem. Similarly, issues with internal speakers like blown drivers or wiring problems can also manifest as stuttering or distorted audio.

Microphone hardware problems may not directly cause playback issues, but can lead to poor audio quality during calls that is perceptible to the user. Faulty mics can pick up unwanted noises or fail to accurately capture the user’s voice (Source).

Overall, physical damage or component failure anywhere along the audio pathway – from microphone to final playback – has the potential to degrade audio performance and lead to symptoms like stuttering. Hardware issues should be one of the first areas investigated when troubleshooting inexplicable audio problems on an Android device.

Software Bugs

Software bugs in apps or the Android operating system itself can sometimes cause stuttering audio issues. Apps that are poorly coded may have problems efficiently processing audio streams from Bluetooth devices, leading to choppy playback. This seems to be a particular issue with certain music, podcast, and audiobook apps according to user reports (source).

Bugs in the Android OS Bluetooth stack or audio pipeline may also manifest as stuttering or skipping sounds when using Bluetooth headphones or speakers. Newer versions of Android have introduced various Bluetooth-related bugs for some users, requiring eventual software fixes via OS updates (source). If the issues started suddenly after an OS update on your device, a buggy release may be to blame.

Trying different apps and testing with different Bluetooth devices can help narrow down software-related stuttering. Checking if the issue persists across OS updates and factory resets can also point to an Android OS bug being the culprit. While waiting for eventual software fixes, some users have found limited workarounds like toggling Bluetooth or clearing app cache and data.

Connectivity Problems

Issues with Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity can lead to audio stuttering in Android. If the Bluetooth connection between your phone and audio system is spotty, it can cause intermittent audio cutouts and stuttering. This typically happens if the devices are paired incorrectly or too far apart. Try unpairing and repairing the Bluetooth devices to refresh the connection. Also make sure Bluetooth antennas are not being blocked by phone cases or other objects.

Weak WiFi or cellular signals can also disrupt streaming audio and cause stuttering. The Android Auto app is very data intensive, so it requires a strong stable internet connection. If you are in an area with poor signal strength, the audio may cut in and out as the connection drops. Make sure to test your WiFi and cellular signals in the location where you use Android Auto. If the signals are consistently weak, you may need to switch to a carrier with better coverage.

As noted on the Reddit thread, WiFi issues in particular can lead to stuttering and lag when using wireless Android Auto. Try switching to a wired connection if possible to rule out WiFi problems.

Insufficient RAM

One of the most common causes of audio stuttering in Android is having insufficient RAM (random access memory). Android devices need adequate free RAM to run smoothly and load audio files properly. If too many apps are running simultaneously or if the device simply doesn’t have enough RAM, it can lead to performance issues.

When there isn’t enough free RAM available, Android may begin killing background processes or delay loading sounds into memory. This can cause glitches, skips, pops, or lagged/stuttering audio playback. The more RAM being used, the more likely audio stuttering will occur as the system struggles to free up resources.

Having many apps and browser tabs open at once, especially resource-intensive games or media apps, can eat up RAM quickly. If you start encountering audio stuttering, try closing some apps to free up RAM. Alternatively, consider upgrading to a device with more RAM if available. See if the stuttering improves after a reboot when RAM has been freed.

According to user reports, audio stuttering linked to insufficient RAM tends to be more common on lower-end Android devices with only 1-2GB of RAM. Newer devices with 4GB+ RAM perform better under load. Still, too many apps at once can overwhelm even high-RAM devices. Monitoring RAM usage and closing apps when needed is advised.

If you’re running the latest Android OS version and apps, have rebooted, and closed background apps, but audio still stutters, then upgrading your RAM may be the solution. Otherwise, look into other potential causes like software bugs, connectivity issues, or overheating.

As one Reddit user found, audio stuttering went away after upgrading from 8GB to 16GB RAM on their gaming PC, confirming RAM was the bottleneck (source). While upgrading desktop RAM is easier, some Android devices also allow RAM upgrades if needed to resolve performance issues.


Overheating is a common cause of audio stuttering in Android phones. As the phone’s processor heats up from intensive tasks, it will begin to throttle performance to prevent damage. This CPU throttling can lead to choppy audio playback. Prolonged gaming, using GPS navigation, or streaming high definition video are examples of processor-intensive tasks that may cause an Android phone to overheat.

Newer phones with powerful processors like the Snapdragon 865 are more prone to overheating and subsequent audio stuttering. The small form factors of modern phones, combined with heat generating components packed closely together, exacerbates the overheating issue.

Using a phone mount in a car on a hot day can cause the processor to heat up quickly, leading to audio stuttering in apps like Android Auto. The phone should be kept cool with adequate airflow, and processor-intensive tasks avoided while driving. Turning the screen brightness down and closing unused background apps may also help.

If overheating seems to be causing audio stuttering, it’s recommended to let the phone cool off before continuing to use processor-heavy apps. A phone case with cooling properties may help disperse heat as well.[1]

[1] https://forums.androidcentral.com/threads/audio-stuttering.589343/


Here are some troubleshooting steps to try and fix audio stuttering on Android devices:

Perform a soft reset by turning the device off and then back on. This will clear any temporary software issues causing the audio problems (cited from Power Music)

Check for and disable any battery optimization or smart pause features that may interfere with audio playback when the screen is off. These are often found in Settings (cited from Reddit)

Update the Android OS, device drivers, apps, and media players to the latest versions. Updates may include bug fixes for audio issues.

Clear the cache for the media apps and Bluetooth connection. This can delete temporary problematic files.

As a last resort, back up data and perform a factory reset on the device. This will wipe the device and provide a clean software install.

If the stuttering persists after trying these fixes, the device hardware itself may be faulty and need professional repair.

Preventive Tips

There are some simple steps you can take to prevent audio stuttering on your Android device:

Close background apps when not in use. Apps running in the background can use system resources and contribute to audio glitches. Swipe up from the bottom of your screen and close any apps you aren’t currently using.

Disable animations in your device settings. The motion effects from things like scrolling and transitions use processing power. Go to Settings > System > Accessibility and turn off all animation scales.

Update audio and Bluetooth drivers. Outdated drivers can lead to compatibility issues and bugs. Go to Settings > System > Advanced > System update to check for any available updates.

These basic preventive measures can help maximize your device’s performance and reduce instances of audio stuttering during music playback.

When to Seek Repair

If you’ve tried all of the troubleshooting steps like restarting your phone, closing background apps, updating software, resetting app preferences, and the audio stuttering persists, the issue may require professional repair. Persistent audio issues can indicate a hardware problem like a faulty audio chip or degraded speaker. Seeking repairs is recommended if stuttering and skipping happens frequently across different apps and doesn’t go away after rebooting or factory resetting your device.

Before taking your phone for service, you can also try safe mode on Android to check if a third party app is the culprit. Safe mode loads only the original software and apps. If audio works fine in safe mode, then uninstall recently downloaded apps to see if that helps. Overall, if the stuttering issue is severe enough to make music, videos, and calls difficult to hear clearly, then it’s likely a hardware fault that requires a repair from a professional service center or the manufacturer.

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