iPhone Bluetooth not connecting?

2009 January 28
by Colin

So earlier this evening I upgraded my iPhone 3G to the latest firmware (2.2.1). I should note that this is mildly counterintuitive, because I’ve been contemplating jailbreaking my phone for a while now, and this update serves to merely delay that wait should I choose to follow through. But hey, I like shiny new things.

Immediately after updating, I noticed my Plantronics Bluetooth headset wasn’t connecting. I would put the headset into “discover” mode (this is typically done by holding down the power button on a given headset for anywhere between five and ten seconds) and would flip Bluetooth to ON (underneath Settings -> General). However, the phone would just stall, and would essentially time out trying to find the headset. One thing I soon noticed is that the little Bluetooth icon that used to be in the top right corner of the phone (next to the battery indicator) had gone missing. Problem.

My first order of business online through https://www.webdesign499.com/how-to-subconsciously-turn-your-audience-around-with-your-websites-design/ was to do a soft reset by powering the phone down and then back on. I hoped to trip whatever in the software was causing the phone’s internal Bluetooth chip to not activate. That didn’t work. I then did a hard reset (hold down power and home button for ten seconds and continue holding until the Apple logo appears). That didn’t work.

Finally, I stumbled upon a post in a dusty corner of the internet that told me to flick Airplane mode on and off a few times and try again. Well it seems unbelievable, but after flipping Airplane mode on and off once, the Bluetooth icon returned to my dock and I was able to pair easily.

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17 Responses leave one →
  1. 2009 January 28
    Tim permalink


    I purchased my iPhone three weeks ago and since I have not been able to connect to my Plantronics Voyager 510. I turn on the voyager so that its ready to connect, select settings in the iphone and allow it to search. After an extended period, nothing comes up in the search field.

    Ive tried updating the soft/firmware, as well as all the tricks u mentioned above (including the airplane mode). However, Ive had no success. I havn’t updated the firmware to the latest 2.2.1 as I decided to Jailbreak my phone today. Even after Jailbreaking I am still unable to detect the handsfree kit.

    Any help would be much appreciated!



  2. 2009 February 4
    Colin permalink


    I wish I could help, but I haven’t had a problem go that far– the best bet I can think of would be to troubleshoot. If you can connect other Bluetooth devices to the phone, then it is clearly an issue with the Voyager 510; if you cannot find any devices by searching (or if the 510 will connect to every other device you try), there is a strong possibility the Bluetooth chip in the 3G is defective.

    Sorry I couldn’t be of more help.

  3. 2009 February 10
    Rob permalink

    Thanks for the tip. I was about ready to throw both devices in the trash, then simply toggled the airplane mode switch a few times. Like magic, all was right in my little Bluetooth world.

  4. 2009 March 10
    adam permalink

    Well i have an odd case. While I was purchasing my new iphone earlier this week I connected to my old blackjack via bluetooth for approximately 10 seconds…and the iphone also saw everyone else’s phone in the store…30+ but mere minutes later the iphone saw nothing…and has seen nothing for the past week. I tried the airplane mode trick and soft/hard resets to no avail. I don’t have a mobile headset so I can’t see if simple devices like that work. Any ideas?

  5. 2009 March 11
    Colin permalink


    I wish I could help, but I haven’t heard of a problem like that before– jumping to mind are these three questions.

    Did you make any significant software alterations (upgrade, jailbreak, etc.) between being able to connect and not being able to connect?
    Is the Bluetooth icon still on the iPhone dock (top right corner next to battery status indicator)?
    Can the other devices see the Blackjack via Bluetooth? (i.e., computer?)

    The first question would indicate some flaw in the software and I would recommend restoring the iPhone (put in recovery mode, yadda, yadda, yadda– directions at the Apple site). The second could indicate a flaw in the software or the hardware of the iPhone (i.e., if there is no BT icon, it means the iPhone software is not actively running BT, if there is an icon, it may mean the iPhone is unable to use the BT receiver for whatever reason). The third could indicate a flaw in the Blackjack BT receiver.

    Wish I could help further.

  6. 2009 June 24
    Donna Ciezki permalink

    I purchased the newest version of the IPHONE and was unable to connect to my Plantronics Voyager 510. I went on-line to a chat site and was given the following instructions:

    Unplug the power cord from the headset. Press the small black button above the volume control. Hold it until the light on the headset flashes blue. Let go. Press the volume plus and the silver talk button the the mic. Hold them both until the light on the headset begins to blink red and blue. Let go. Go into the phone’s blue tooth menu and search for the headset. The phone will only find the headset if it is in pairing mode (blinking red and blue). The pass key is 0000

  7. 2009 June 28
    Colin permalink


    Hope that worked; this post is not about physically connecting the device to the iPhone, but rather, allowing the iPhone’s bluetooth chip to be activated following a software update.

  8. 2009 November 2
    Agnes permalink

    Thanks a million colin!!! flippin my airplane mode on and off, really helped and worked to make my phone pair with my bluetooth h710 from motorola! I guess I will never take those dusty corners of the internet forgranted =)

  9. 2009 December 25
    Paulo permalink

    The airplane mode fast switching worked for me too after like 10 tries — so don’t give up! But now im trying to get it to actually play over Bluetooth…

  10. 2010 January 28
    peterk permalink

    Three different Plantronics Bluetooth headsets worked fine for a couple of months – eliminating, for example, the suspicion that I didn’t read the manual or can’t follow instructions. Then I went away for a month, now I am back and none of the headsets work correctly. I can “forget” each one (settings>general>bluetooth, touch headphone name, touch “forget this device”, confirm), then re-pair, and it works during the duration of that connection, but once I turn off the headset or wander too far from the Phone and break the connection, the Phone can’t connect to the headset the next time. I have to “forget” and re-pair EVERY TIME I use a headset. This can be a calming ritual before starting to drive, but it can get old after a while. Doing it in traffic, while driving is possible but definitely not recommended.

    I tried the airplane mode trick, no help.

    On another site, I saw a suggestion that one should go to settings>general>autolock, and choose “Never”. I am trying this now, but … not a great solution, since autolock prevents me from running down the battery by mistake.

    This is almost certainly a software issue. I am frustrated enough that I will probably make an appointment to talk with a Genius at the local Apple store. This takes a long time, but by now I have wasted a lot more time trying to find an answer on the web. The Apple support site is, as usual, completely useless on this subject as on almost all others.

  11. 2010 September 15
    Anthony permalink

    Yes. This worked! Thanks!!

  12. 2010 October 9
    Natalie permalink

    Amazing – the Airplane mode thing worked!

  13. 2011 March 8
    jonny permalink

    peterk really nailed my same exact problem. it’s very annoying. it use to pair just fine and with no problems. started to experience issues and now I can’t even pair my iPhone 3gs 4.2.1 to my jabra go AT ALL!!! soooo annoying. I’ll figure out the issue sooon enough but I’m very upset with apple at this point as I”m positive it’s their controlling software issues.

  14. 2011 June 23
    Lisa permalink

    What worked for me was to hold the volume and call cancel buttons down together until the light flashed red and blue alternately. Then, and only then, did the unit show up on my iPhone. Finally!

  15. 2011 June 28
    Russ Wilkins permalink

    To reset your Bluetooth headset or any audio device
    Go to settings / general/ Bluetooth / hit arrow on device bar and select forget device
    Then go back and pair.
    Good luck

  16. 2011 June 28
    Russ Wilkins permalink

    It appears that when apple provided the latest OS update it corrupted wireless and Bluetooth settings

  17. 2011 August 31
    Dawn permalink

    Thanks so much. I finally have bluetooth again!

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