How to fix an iPhone 5 that won't pair with a Bluetooth device, Bluetooth pairing error

Having trouble pairing your iPhone 5 with a Bluetooth accessory? If that is so, then this post might be able to help you. Read on to find out how to deal with Bluetooth pairing error on your iPhone 5.

The latest Bluetooth technology enables devices to share files and functionalities. In order to make it work, both devices must be compatible and within range. And for the pairing to be successful, both devices must be in discoverable mode. Old and new iPhones have Bluetooth support. This means that you can pair them to any compatible Bluetooth device that’s within the specified range. The pairing process is usually done in just a few taps on the screen. But then again, there are some factors that could make the simple pairing process more complicated or unsuccessful. The main issue that I’ll address in this post is on the iPhone 5 that won’t pair with a Bluetooth-enable accessory. Read on to find out what to do if you’ll bump into a Bluetooth pairing error when trying to pair your iPhone to your Bluetooth device.

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Troubleshooting Bluetooth pairing error on an iPhone 5, cannot pair to a Bluetooth accessory

Bluetooth pairing problems can be inflicted by many factors from device compatibility, proximity, system settings and hardware components. The following procedures will help rule out software-related factors that might have prevented your iPhone 5 from pairing with your Bluetooth-enabled device. Don’t forget to retry pairing after performing each procedure to find out whether or not the problem is fixed. Proceed to the next applicable solutions, if necessary.

First solution: Reboot your iPhone and Bluetooth device.

If you didn’t have trouble pairing your iPhone with other Bluetooth devices until now, then it may be just a random flaw that’s triggered by minor software errors on either the phone or Bluetooth device that you’re trying to pair with. To deal with minor software issues like this, performing a soft reset or restart on both devices involved is likely all that’s needed to fix the problem. To soft reset your iPhone 5, simply follow these steps:

  1. Press and  hold the Power (Sleep/Wake) button on the top of the phone for a few seconds.
  2. Release the button when the Power Off slider appears. The iPhone will then shut down.
  3. After a few seconds, press and hold the Power (Sleep/Wake) button until the Apple logo appears and then release the button.

On your Bluetooth device, find the power switch then press it until the device powers down. After a few seconds, press the same switch to turn it back on. Go to your iPhone then find the Bluetooth device from the list of available devices. Then retry pairing them and see if the Bluetooth pairing error is gone. Make sure that both devices are within range, if not, next to each other.

ALSO READ: How to fix iPhone 5s Bluetooth pairing issues after iOS update


Second solution: Disable/enable Bluetooth on your iPhone.

Random Bluetooth pairing errors can also be rectified by simply restarting your phone’s Bluetooth functions. This is carried out by turning your iPhone’s Bluetooth feature off for a few seconds and then back on again. Here’s how:

  1. From your Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select Bluetooth.
  3. Toggle the Bluetooth switch to turn the feature off. 
  4. After a few seconds, toggle the switch again to turn Bluetooth back on.

Wait for the list of Bluetooth devices to populate and then select the Bluetooth accessory that you want to pair with.

Third solution: Enable/disable Airplane Mode on your iPhone.

Another feature that you can use to rectify minor Bluetooth pairing issues is the Airplane Mode. By turning this feature on and off, errors affecting the phone’s wireless radios including Bluetooth functions are cleared out. And this is how it’s done:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select Airplane Mode.
  3. Then toggle the switch to turn Airplane Mode on. Doing so disables your iPhone’s wireless radios and relevant features are turned off. 
  4. While Airplane Mode is turned on, restart/soft reset your iPhone.
  5. After it reboots, go back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  6. Then toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn Airplane Mode off again.

Turning Airplane mode on disables your iPhone’s Bluetooth function, thus you need to enable it again through your phone Settings-> Bluetooth menu and then toggle the switch to turn Bluetooth on again.

ALSO READ: How to fix Apple Watch 4 Bluetooth pairing problems, won’t pair with Bluetooth-enabled device


Fourth solution:  Forget Bluetooth device from your iPhone.

You’re still unable to pair your iPhone with the Bluetooth device up to this point simply because the device has been corrupted. If that’s the case, then you will need to remove the corrupted device from your phone’s Bluetooth folder and then add it back. Here’s how:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen to get started.
  2. Tap Bluetooth and make sure the Bluetooth switch is turned on. 
  3. Scroll down to the list of saved Bluetooth devices and find the Bluetooth accessory that you are having trouble pairing with your iPhone 5.
  4. Select the device then tap the information “i” icon next to it.
  5. Tap Forget This Device to delete it from your phone’s Bluetooth folder/directory.
  6. If prompted, tap the option to confirm that you want to delete the Bluetooth device.

Also consider deleting all other Bluetooth devices that you’re not using so that none of them can cause conflict to the pairing process.

Fifth solution: Reset network settings to fix Bluetooth pairing error on your iPhone.

Bluetooth pairing errors can also be due to some network connectivity issues on the phone. Invalid network settings, erroneous network overrides from updates and network customizations are usually the underlying causes. To clear these out, performing a network settings reset on the phone can help. This reset will erase all your current network settings, APNs, Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth connections and then restores the original network values and configurations. Any errors tied to incorrect network settings are likewise eliminated in the process. If you wish to try it, simply follow these steps:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Scroll to and tap General.
  3. Tap on Reset
  4. Select the option to Reset network settings.
  5. Enter your passcode if prompted.
  6. Tap to confirm that you want to reset network settings on your phone.

When the reset is finished, your phone restarts on its own and then loads up the default network values and options. To get back online, you need to set up your Wi-Fi network then reconnect. To connect your iPhone to your Bluetooth device, you need to enable Bluetooth and then select the device that you wish to pair with or connect to.

Sixth solution: Install new software update for your iPhone.

Updates may also integrate the dedicated fix patch to get rid of bug-inflicted  Bluetooth pairing errors on your iPhone. These updates can be installed wirelessly or through iTunes. If your iPhone has a stable access to the Internet, then you can go for an over-the-air (OTA) iOS update installation. Here’s how to get this done:

  1. From the Home screen, tap Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Tap Software Update.
  4. If an update is available, read and review the information and then follow the onscreen prompts to download and install the update.

Reboot your iPhone after updating to clear and refresh its memory and operating system. As soon as it boots up, set up Bluetooth and retry pairing your iPhone with your preferred Bluetooth device. Be sure to accept the pairing on your other device, if prompted.

ALSO READ: How to fix Apple Watch 4 that won’t connect to iPhone, no iPhone connection error


Still getting Bluetooth pairing error and cannot pair your iPhone 5 with your Bluetooth device?

If you have another spare Bluetooth accessory that’s compatible with your iPhone 5, then try pairing your iPhone with that accessory and see if the pairing is successful. If your iPhone is able to pair with other Bluetooth-enabled devices except for the one that you’re having trouble pairing with, then there must be something wrong with that device. In that case, you better find other alternative device that serves the same purpose and is able to pair with your iPhone 5 without bumping into any kind of Bluetooth pairing error.

However, if your iPhone doesn’t pair with or connect to any Bluetooth-enabled devices, there might be some problem with your phone. Perhaps, it has obtained some physical or liquid damage to a certain Bluetooth component. To figure this out, you can set up an appointment to visit the nearest Apple-authorized service center for hardware assessment and repair, if needed.

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