How to fix Bluetooth pairing problems on your iPhone 11 Pro Max, cannot pair with a third-party Bluetooth accessory

Pairing an iPhone with a Bluetooth device is definitely an easy process for as long as all Bluetooth pairing requisites are met. And the main benchmarks are proximity or distance between the devices to pair as well as compatibility. The new iPhone 11 series have the so-called AirDrop. It’s basically a file sharing feature that is used to securely and instantly send files, photos and other contents from an Apple device to other Apple devices nearby. The technology uses both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections as the primary means of data transmission. The fact that AirDrop relies on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, it apparently won’t work if something’s wrong with your device’s Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections. Tackled in this post is a similar issue on the iPhone 11 Pro Max handset, faced with Bluetooth pairing problem. Resolving this issue will not only resolve AirDrop problems but also Bluetooth pairing problems on the iPhone in general. To give you some inputs, I’ve managed to line up a few potential solutions for you to try on. Read on to find out what to do if your new iPhone cannot pair with a Bluetooth accessory or other Apple devices using AirDrop.

Before moving on, feel free to browse through our troubleshooting pages to find potential solutions to other problems with your other Apple devices. If your iPhone is in the list of our supported devices, then you can visit its exclusive troubleshooting page and find the problem that you need help dealing with. You can refer to or use our provided solutions and workarounds if needed. In the case where you’d prefer to get direct assistance from us, simply fill up our iOS issues questionnaire and hit submit to contact us.

Troubleshooting Bluetooth pairing problems on your iPhone 11 Pro Max

Before you start ruling out software-related factors that might have ruined your iPhone’s Bluetooth pairing system, make sure your devices are close to each other and that they are compatible. If you are not sure if the Bluetooth accessory you’re trying to pair with your iPhone is supported, you can do some research beforehand. Also ensure that your Bluetooth accessory is placed in discoverable mode. If you don’t know how to put in discoverable mode, refer to the instructions found in the user manual.

 

First solution: Restart your iPhone and Bluetooth device.

Random system errors on either your iPhone or third-party Bluetooth device might have caused some conflicts and interfered with the pairing process. As a result, Bluetooth pairing error is triggered and thus the devices won’t pair. To clear out random system errors on your iPhone 11 Pro Max, perform a soft reset. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Press and hold both the Side and Volume Up buttons for a few seconds.
  2. Release both buttons when the Slide to Power off bar appears.
  3. Swipe or drag the bar to turn your device off.
  4. After about 30 seconds, press and hold the Side button and then release when the Apple logo appears.

On  your Bluetooth device, just carry out the usual restart or reboot process or simply turn it off for a few seconds and then turn it back on again. 

Allow your devices to reboot completely and when they’re both up and ready, retry pairing them and see if they successfully paired. If they don’t, then try other options to eliminate other factors.

 

Second solution: Turn Bluetooth off and on.

Minor Bluetooth errors that might have prevented your iPhone from pairing with a third-party Bluetooth accessory can also be remedied by turning Bluetooth off and on. Like many other binary features that suddenly stopped working, using this tweak usually result in positive outcome to Bluetooth. Just follow these steps if you wish to give it a try:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select Bluetooth then toggle the switch to turn the feature OFF.
  3. After about 30 seconds, toggle the switch to turn Bluetooth on again.

Performing the Airplane Mode trick is also another way to restart your iPhone’s Bluetooth functions. The trick works by giving a simultaneous restart on the phone’s wireless radios and relevant features. Any associated minor errors are likewise removed in the process. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select Airplane Mode.
  3. Toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn the feature ON. Doing so disables your iPhone’s wireless radios and associated features like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. 
  4. While Airplane Mode is turned on, reboot or soft reset your iPhone to clear out network cache.
  5. After it reboots, go back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  6. Then toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn it OFF again.

If the Bluetooth accessory requires the use of an app to pair with your iPhone, make sure that you have enabled Bluetooth for that app. Here’s what you should do then:

  1. From the Home screen of your iPhone, tap Settings.
  2. Select Privacy.
  3. Tap Bluetooth and make sure that the feature is enabled for the app.

After making all these changes, retry pairing your device and see if they are already able to pair and connect successfully. If you are prompted to enter a PIN or passcode when attempting to pair with a third-party Bluetooth accessory, check the device manual to view the default Bluetooth pairing PIN or passcode.

 

Third solution: Forget the Bluetooth device then add it back.

Bluetooth pairing errors may also be due to a corrupted Bluetooth connection. This is usually the case if you’ve already paired your iPhone with the Bluetooth accessory and then suddenly stopped working. To address the problem, forgetting or deleting the corrupted Bluetooth connection is necessary. So here’s what you should do then:

  1. Go to Settings-> Bluetooth menu and make sure the Bluetooth switch is turned on. 
  2. Scroll down to the list of available devices.
  3. Select the name of the Bluetooth device that you wish to forget then tap the information icon “i” next to it.
  4. Finally, tap the option to Forget this Device.

Follow the same steps to forget or delete all other saved Bluetooth devices from your iPhone’s Bluetooth directory.

After deleting all saved Bluetooth devices/connections, turn Bluetooth off and then restart your iPhone. Also consider rebooting your Bluetooth accessory to refresh it. As soon as your devices have finished rebooting, go to your iPhone Settings-> Bluetooth menu, then toggle the switch to turn Bluetooth back on. Scroll down to My Devices section and then wait for your Bluetooth accessory to show up in the list. Select the device then try to pair it with your iPhone again.

 

Fourth solution: Reset network settings to fix Bluetooth pairing problems on your iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Network-related errors including those inflicted by invalid or incorrect network configuration can also inflict some errors including Bluetooth pairing issues. To clear this out, performing a network settings reset on the phone can help. Doing so erases all recent network changes you’ve made along with your own network preferences. Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth connections, and other network information are also deleted in the process but the internal data won’t be affected. To see if this will work, follow these steps to reset network settings on your iPhone 11 Pro Max:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen. 
  2. Scroll down to and select General
  3. Tap Reset then select Reset network settings option.
  4. Enter your device passcode if prompted. 
  5. Tap Reset network settings again to confirm.

Your phone should restart automatically when the reset is finished. After it reboots, the default network settings are restored. This means you have to re-enable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other necessary features so you can use them again on your phone. 

After re-enabling Bluetooth, retry pairing your iPhone with your Bluetooth accessory and see if the problem is gone.

 

Fifth solution: Update your iPhone software to the latest version available.

Keeping your device software up-to-date is recommended to ensure optimum and flawless system performance. Firmware updates released by Apple for iOS devices usually embed some fix patches to get rid of existing bug-inflicted errors and problems including those affecting Bluetooth feature of an iPhone. If you haven’t yet installed the latest iOS version on your iPhone, try doing it now and see if that solves the Bluetooth pairing problem on your iPhone 11 Pro Max. Just make sure your iPhone is connected to the internet and has sufficient battery life to complete the update downloading and installation process. Just follow these steps to get started:

  1. Tap Settings from your Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap Software Update.

Follow the onscreen instructions to download and install the new update for your iPhone. When the update is finished, restart your device and retry pairing your iPhone.

 

Last resort: Restore factory default settings on your iPhone and Bluetooth device, if possible.

Among the last options you’ve got if none of the prior methods is able to fix the problem would be a factory reset. Doing so erases everything from your iPhone system including complex system errors that might have ruined the Bluetooth pairing system. Just don’t forget to back up all important data from your iPhone storage beforehand as they too will be deleted in the process. You can back up your iPhone files straight to your iCloud account or to iTunes drive on a computer. Once you have secured your backup, follow these steps to factory reset your iPhone and fresh install the software:

  1. From the Home screen, tap on Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down and tap on Reset.
  4. Tap Erase all content and settings from the given options.
  5. Enter your passcode if prompted to continue.
  6. Confirm action by tapping the option to erase and reset your iPhone.

Follow the rest of the onscreen instruction to erase your iPhone data and set things up as new. Don’t forget to re-enable Bluetooth on your iPhone then check and see if Bluetooth pairing is already successful.

On your Bluetooth accessory, find the reset switch (usually a tiny button with a reset label) then long-press or press and hold that switch until the device restarts. If the Bluetooth accessory is used with an application, you can find relevant commands from within the app to reset the device to factory defaults.

Still having Bluetooth pairing problem on your iPhone 11 Pro Max?

Bluetooth problems that could not be resolved by the previous methods are usually due to some complex errors likely from within the third-party Bluetooth accessory that you’re having trouble pairing with your iPhone. Unfortunately in that case, there’s not much can be done on your end. However, you can try isolating the problem by pairing your iPhone 11 Pro Max with other compatible Bluetooth devices. If your iPhone is able to pair with other devices, then that denotes the problem isn’t with your iPhone but rather on the Bluetooth device you’re having trouble pairing with. 

For further assistance in resolving Bluetooth issues due to a grayed out Bluetooth switch on your iPhone 11 Pro Max, contact Apple Support. Do the same if your iPhone doesn’t pair with any Bluetooth devices even if the device manufacturer confirmed that the accessory supports your iOS device. In this case, there might be some complex iOS errors caused the Bluetooth system to become totally corrupted.

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