How to fix an Apple iPhone XR that won't pair or connect to a Bluetooth device [Troubleshooting Guide]

When dealing with Bluetooth pairing issues among smartphones, you need to consider ruling out errors on both devices. This means the need to troubleshoot both the phone and the Bluetooth device.

Highlighted below are some potential solutions to Bluetooth pairing issues on iOS 12. Read on and learn what to do if ever you will bump into some trouble pairing your iPhone XR with a Bluetooth-enabled device or accessory.

If however, you are looking for a solution to a different problem, drop by our troubleshooting guide for we have already addressed the most common issues with this phone. Find problems that are similar with yours and use the solutions we suggested. If they don’t work for you or if you need more help, then feel free to contact us through our iPhone issues questionnaire.

How to troubleshoot iPhone XR that won’t pair or connect with Bluetooth devices

Before troubleshooting, verify and confirm that the Bluetooth device you are trying to pair with is compatible with your iPhone XR and supported by iOS 12. In addition, make sure both devices are within the specified Bluetooth range and in discoverable mode. Also ensure that the device you are trying to pair with is turned ON. Most importantly, both devices must be within the specified Bluetooth range. To make sure distance isn’t the problem, place both devices next to each other when pairing. If all these attributes are met but you still cannot pair or connect your iPhone XR to your Bluetooth device, then it’s time to rule out software-related hindrances.

First solution: Restart your iPhone and Bluetooth device.

If this is the first time you’re trying to pair both devices and encounter a problem, then it could be just a minor Bluetooth glitch that can be remedied by a restart. Thus, you may consider this as your first workaround. Here’s how to restart or soft reset your iPhone XR:

  1. Press and hold the Side/Power button and either Volume buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. Release the buttons when the Slide to Power Off command appears and then drag the power off slider to the right.
  3. After 30 seconds, press and hold the Power/Side button again until the phone reboots.

On your Bluetooth device, locate the Power button or switch and then do a long press on it until the device powers down. After a few seconds, press the button or switch to power up our device. If your Bluetooth device has a separate restart button or switch, then simply press on that switch instead.

Allow both devices to complete the start-up process and once they’re ready, try pairing again.

Second solution: Turn Bluetooth Off and then on again.

Another simple solution to minor Bluetooth errors on an iPhone is to turn Bluetooth off and then back on. Doing so refreshes your Bluetooth connection and eliminates minor glitches that might have prevented your phone from connecting to a Bluetooth-enabled device. Here’s how it works:

  1. Go to Settings-> Bluetooth menu.
  2. Then toggle the switch next to Bluetooth from ON to OFF position.
  3. Restart your iPhone (soft reset).
  4. Head back to Settings-> Bluetooth, then toggle the switch to turn Bluetooth ON again.

Wait until all nearby Bluetooth-enabled devices show up then select the Bluetooth device that you want to pair with or connect to your iPhone XR.

Third solution: Toggle Airplane Mode On and Off.

Another old trick that is used to deal with various wireless connectivity issues including Bluetooth pairing errors is the so-called Airplane Mode trick. It works by abruptly disabling wireless radios on the phone and then enabling them back. So it’s like a quick way of restarting wireless functions on the phone. Many people have found wonders from this tweak so it won’t hurt for you to try it as well. Here’s how it works:

  1. Navigate to your iPhone Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  2. Tap the switch next to Airplane Mode to turn the feature ON. Doing so will automatically disable all wireless radios including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
  3. While Airplane Mode is turned ON, restart your iPhone.
  4. After it restarts, go back to Settings-> Airplane Mode menu.
  5. Then toggle the Airplane Mode switch to turn the feature OFF again.

All wireless radios are now enabled. At this point, retry pairing your iPhone XR with your Bluetooth device and see if it’s already able to connect.

Fourth solution: Forget Bluetooth device on your iPhone then reconnect.

The problem may persists if corrupted Bluetooth connections are to blame. To clear this out, forgetting Bluetooth devices on your iPhone can help. By forgetting Bluetooth means deleting the problematic Bluetooth device from your iPhone system. And here’s how it’s done:

  1. Tap Settings from your iPhone’s main screen.
  2. Select Bluetooth. Make sure that the Bluetooth switch is turned ON to view the list of available Bluetooth devices within range.
  3. Then tap the information “i” icon next to the name of your Bluetooth device.
  4. Select the option to Forget this Device.
  5. If you see any other Bluetooth devices in the list, forget them as well to prevent any of them from causing conflict or interfere with your Bluetooth connection.
  6. After forgetting all Bluetooth devices, tap the Bluetooth switch to turn the feature OFF.
  7. Restart your iPhone then turn Bluetooth back ON.

Wait until your Bluetooth device appears in the list and then retry to connect and see if pairing is successful.

Fifth solution: Reset network settings on your iPhone.

You may have to consider performing software resets to deal with persistent issues. Thus if your iPhone XR still doesn’t pair or connect to a Bluetooth device after applying the previous methods, carrying out system resets can be the next option to try on. If you wish to continue, you can try network settings reset first. This reset will wipe all your current network configurations including Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth connections. By doing so, you can set up and connect to your Bluetooth device like it’s the first time your iPhone does during setup. Here’s how it works:

  1. Tap Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and then tap on Reset.
  4. Select the option to Reset network settings.
  5. Enter your passcode when asked to proceed.
  6. Then select the option to confirm network settings reset.

When the reset is finished, your iPhone will restart by itself. As soon as it boots up, set up your Wi-Fi network and enable Bluetooth function so you can use them again on your phone. Retry pairing with your Bluetooth device and see if it’s already working. If it’s still not, then try to reset all settings on your iPhone instead. Performing this reset won’t affect any saved information on the phone memory, so you don’t need to create backups before doing so.

Other options

  • Update software on both devices. Installing the latest software update on your iPhone and Bluetooth device can also help resolve system issues including those affecting Bluetooth functions. If you haven’t updated your iPhone yet, then head over to Settings-> General-> Software Update menu and see if a new iOS version is available and then follow the onscreen prompts to download and install the update wirelessly. Do the same to your Bluetooth device. Again, updating method may vary depending on the type of Bluetooth device you’re using. If you need help updating your Bluetooth device, contact the device manufacturer or refer to the given instructions on the user manual.
  • Reset Bluetooth accessory. If none of the above solutions is able to fix the problem and your iPhone XR still couldn’t connect to your Bluetooth device, the problem is likely within the Bluetooth device itself. To rule this out, try to reset your Bluetooth device to its factory default settings. The process may vary depending on the type of device you have. You can refer to the given steps on the user manual or contact the device manufacturer for further assistance.
  • Try pairing with other Bluetooth accessories. To determine whether or not the problem is isolated to the Bluetooth device in use, try to pair your iPhone XR with any other Bluetooth-enabled devices you have and see if that will work. If your iPhone is able to pair or connect to other devices, then the problem is with the current Bluetooth device you are using. In this case, consider using other devices that serve same function.

Connect with us

If you need more help with the use of certain functions and features of the Apple iPhone XR smartphone, feel free to visit our Tutorial Page. There you can find a list of how-to contents, step-by-step tutorials, as well as answers to FAQs regarding iPhone XR. If you have other concerns or encountered some troubles while using the phone, you can reach us through this form. Just be sure to tell us more details of the problem or device issue(s) you may have and we will be more than happy to assist you further.