How to pair Bluetooth headphones with an Android phone

Pixel 4 Bluetooth Pairing Screen
Pixel 4 Bluetooth Pairing Screen (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

With headphone jacks now a relic of the past, chances are your next headphones/earbuds will connect to your phone wirelessly instead of with an ancient cable. A lot of you have probably already moved on to Bluetooth gear by now, but for those that haven't, getting used to Bluetooth and all of its quirks can be a bit confusing at first. If you just bought a pair of Bluetooth headphones but can't figure out how to get them paired with your phone, here's what you need to know.

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How to turn on Bluetooth on your phone

Before you can pair anything with your phone, you need to make sure that its Bluetooth connection is turned on. That may sound like a daunting task if you've never messed with your Bluetooth settings, but thankfully, doing so is quite easy.

  1. Swipe down from the top of your screen to see your notification panel.
  2. Swipe down again to see your Quick Settings.
  3. If it's not illuminated, tap the Bluetooth icon to turn it on.Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

You can turn off your phone's Bluetooth at any time using this same method, and you're free to turn it on and off as much as you'd like.

How to pair Bluetooth headphones with your phone

With Bluetooth now enabled on your phone, it's time to pair your headphones to it! This requires a few more steps, so pay attention.

  1. Open the Settings app on your phone.
  2. Tap Connected devices.
  3. Tap Pair new device.
  4. Make sure your headphones are in pairing mode (see the owner manual on how to do this).
  5. Tap the headphones under the list of available devices.Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

  1. Tap the checkbox to allow access to your contacts and call history.
  2. Tap Pair.Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

Just like that, your Bluetooth headphones are now paired to your Android phone! If you start playing music, a podcast, or YouTube video from your phone, the audio will now play through the headphones instead of your phone's speakers.

When you're done using your Bluetooth headphones, turning them off will disengage them from your phone. Turn them back on, and they'll automatically reconnect. Once that initial pairing process is complete, Bluetooth headphones are super convenient.

How to unpair Bluetooth headphones from your phone

Should the time come when you're ready to sell your current Bluetooth headphones and move on to something else, it's a good idea to unpair the old set from your phone if you're no longer going to be using it. Here's what that process looks like.

  1. Open the Settings app on your phone.
  2. Tap Connected devices.
  3. Tap the gear icon next to your headphones.
  4. Tap Forget.Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

  1. Tap Forget device.Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

Again, you only need to do this if you're getting rid of your existing Bluetooth headphones. If you are simply done using them for the day and when to disconnect them from your phone, all you need to do is turn them off.

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Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.