Most Common Nintendo Switch Bluetooth Audio Problems And How To Fix Them

Nintendo Switch owners had to wait for a fair bit (about four years!) for Nintendo's hybrid portable console to start supporting Bluetooth audio devices, but it did eventually happen. Even though your Switch can connect to your Bluetooth headphones now, you'll have to set everything up manually first. Still, at least now you can finally do it. Right?

Unfortunately, because both the Switch and whatever Bluetooth audio device you intend to use are electronics, they can be prone to the occasional issue. Whether it's due to hardware limitations or errors, connection troubles, or something you might have overlooked, chances are you'll hit a speed bump or two in the process of setting up or using a wireless connection like that.

Fortunately there are a number of ways to tackle the more common Bluetooth connection issues you're likely to encounter. It's just a matter of figuring out what is or isn't working, what's causing it, and what the best steps are for fixing everything.

Device name not shown

It can take some time — up to 40 seconds or more — for the Bluetooth item you're attempting to pair to show up in your Switch's list of detected devices, so don't panic if you don't spot it right away. If, however, you've waited longer than that 40-second maximum and still aren't seeing what you want, there are some things you need to check.

First, make sure the Bluetooth device is turned on and is in pairing mode or is otherwise discoverable. The process for this will differ depending on your device. As well, yYour Bluetooth device may just not be compatible. According to Nintendo, the Switch will only pair with "A2DP" profiles using "SBC" codecs — so double-check those specs before attempting to connect.

Of course, the Bluetooth device may be out of juice, in which case you'll need to charge it and try again later. If that still hasn't solved your project, the device's firmware may need an update. Check the device's manual or website for information on how to look for and install updates if you need to. There may be outside interference with the Bluetooth signal, too, in which case you should turn off any other Bluetooth devices that may be causing issues and try again. If the problem persists, you may need to try using a different internet access point for your Switch.

Paired device won't connect

What if you've already paired a Bluetooth device before, but now it won't reconnect? Even if your device worked with your Switch in the past, there are still some factors that could prevent it from performing as expected during follow-up attempts. You should check to see how many wireless controllers are currently connected to your Switch. If it's picking up three or more controllers at the same time, you're going to need to turn them off or manually disconnect them using the Home menu until you're down to two controllers, at most.

Keep in mind that Bluetooth connections won't work while your Switch is engaged in local communications  — for example, when playing locally with another Switch console. In that case, either wait for local communications to end or turn on Airplane Mode to close off all possible local connections other than Bluetooth.

Make sure you don't already have a different audio device connected to the Switch, and disconnect it if you do. Your Bluetooth device may already be connected to something else like your smartphone or computer. Disconnect it from that other device (this process will vary) and then attempt to connect to the Switch again. Finally, you may not have actually paired the Bluetooth device with your Switch before or the pairing may have been forgotten somehow, in which case you need to re-pair the Bluetooth device with your Switch for it to work.

No sound (or extremely quiet or loud sound)

In the event that you do get your Bluetooth device connected to your Switch but the audio is either not coming through or is coming through at extremely high or extremely low volumes, there are a couple of possible causes. There might be some other audio device plugged into the Switch (via audio jack, USB port, etc.), which you'll need to disconnect. If the problem persists after unplugging the other device — or if there was no other device — it's probably the console or device volume settings.

Hold the Home button on your Switch controller to access Quick Settings and double-check the output and volume for the console. If that looks okay, try manually adjusting the volume on the Switch using the volume buttons on the top of the console or adjusting your Bluetooth device's volume if possible, such as by using the volume buttons built into the ear cup.

Audio latency

There's also a chance you may encounter a noticeable delay between what's happening on-screen and what you're hearing through your Bluetooth device. Don't worry too much if you run into this particular problem as it's more likely caused by wireless communications being an imperfect technology (like all technology, really) rather than busted hardware.

To fix this problem, you should turn your Bluetooth device off, then turn it back on and reconnect it to the Switch. A simple reset should resolve the problem. If a reset doesn't work, it may be a proximity issue. Move the Switch and Bluetooth device closer together, and make sure there are no physical obstructions between them. After attempting both of those fixes, if you're still noticing audio lag, it's possible that the problem is due to compatibility or the signal, or it could actually be the dreaded hardware issue. You should attempt to use a different Bluetooth (or wired) headset instead.