Bluetooth headphones have been around since the mid-2000s, but it was not until the early 2010s when they became widely popular.
Today, wireless headphones are as ubiquitous as traditional headphones, if not more.
Well, it isn’t surprising, given how undeniably convenient they are.
Without wires that can restrict your movement or tangle with your other devices, Bluetooth headphones offer a better listening experience.
Then again, these headphones are not without some drawbacks.
As expected with most Bluetooth devices, wireless headphones have a few limitations, including audio delay.
Luckily, it’s relatively easy to fix Bluetooth audio delay on your phone.
Audio Delay in Bluetooth Connections
You might be wondering what causes audio delay on your Bluetooth headphones.
The thing is, all wireless connections incur delays. Technically, it’s known as “latency.”
Latency is the period between when a process is told to start and when it actually started.
For example, when you tap the play button of a video, your phone goes through a series of processes to convert electrical signals into an audio format.
These processes take some time, although in extremely less noticeable length.
In particular, they will take milliseconds (ms) to complete.
Any latency above 150ms is already noticeable and, for most people, is quite frustrating.
That said, the next time you buy a pair of quality wireless headphones, look for models that offer 100ms of latency or lower.
How To Fix Bluetooth Audio Delay on Your Phone
Below, we’ll walk you through the different causes of audio delay and the best ways to address them.
1. Signal Range
While Bluetooth headphones offer you freedom of movement, you can’t be too far from your audio source.
Otherwise, it will cause significant delay or lag on your audio.
An insufficient signal range is the most common cause of audio delays on mobile devices.
As such, you want to be mindful of your distance from the audio source.
Most wireless headphones utilize Class 2 Bluetooth, which provides a range of up to 33 feet.
Meanwhile, high-end models operate on Class 1 Bluetooth that offers a considerable connection range of up to 300 feet.
If you’re constantly experiencing audio delays when you move farther from your phone, the poor signal range is most probably the cause.
Consider keeping your phone closer to you whenever possible.
2. Signal Interference
When there are too many wireless devices running at the same time, they can cause signal interference.
Think of the scenario as a traffic jam. Your wireless connection is the highway.
The Bluetooth signals from your devices (television, laptop, baby monitors, and other wireless devices) are the vehicles.
All of them are in a hurry to reach their destinations.
If that’s the case, simply disconnect other wireless connections that are not in use or transfer to a different room where there is less signal interference.
3. Obstruction in Bluetooth Transmitters
Aside from signal interference, physical interference can also cause audio delays on your phone.
For example, if you put your phone on the bed and accidentally put a pillow over it, the physical obstruction makes it difficult for the signals to travel.
The same is true if you’re traveling and your phone is in your pocket or inside your bag.
This usually leads to audio delays and other issues, including sound distortions.
4. Too Many Paired Devices
When you pair different devices to your phone, you may start having pairing issues and even audio delays and sound distortions.
To fix it, consider resetting your headphone to factory settings to remove all data from your device.
Alternatively, you can refresh or unpair existing devices or reboot your mobile device.
Doing so will clear the RAM of your phone and stop any applications or processes running in the background that affect Bluetooth signal transmission.
5. Outdated Software Drivers or Codecs
Another reason you might be experiencing lags in your audio is outdated software drivers or codecs.
Codecs determine how the electrical signals are compressed, processed, and decompressed until it reaches your ear.
The most common codecs used for Bluetooth connections are SBC, AAC, aptX, and LDAC.
Among these codecs, SBC is the oldest and least reliable.
That said, you want to upgrade your codec if your phone operates on it.
If you’re using an iOS device, your phone is likely supporting more recent codecs and their variations.
However, if you’re using an Android phone wherein the default codec is SBC, you may need to update it ASAP.
Don’t worry; it’s pretty simple to do.
Just access your device’s audio settings, look for Bluetooth Connection, and change it from there.
6. Outdated Bluetooth Version
It also pays to check if your phone operates on the latest Bluetooth version, which is 5.0.
It’s designed specifically to provide faster and more secure connections.
This version of Bluetooth processes connections at two times the speed, four times the range of handling capability, and eight times the amount of data of the previous version.
Such a massive upgrade means your headphones can easily connect, process, and receive data from your phone.
If your phone has a lower Bluetooth version, that’s okay.
The good thing is there are ways to enhance the strength of your Bluetooth connections without having to replace your device.
Check out the following tips:
- Limit the wireless devices connected to your phone.
- Remove the cover or anything that could physically obstruct the Bluetooth transmitter to improve communication distance.
- Place your devices close to each other.
- Use your headphones as far away as possible from the oven, microwave, wireless appliances, and other devices that produce electromagnetic radiation.
- Close applications that you’re not using, as they also contribute to slow Bluetooth transmission.
7. Low Battery
The battery is your phone’s life support.
Therefore, as your battery goes down, so does the performance of your device.
Unfortunately, today’s smartphones pack big, bright screens and so many high-end features that can easily squeeze the juices of your battery.
Typically, when your phone battery starts to drop at critical levels, your device won’t be able to operate particular applications.
Additionally, it may not effectively process sound signals, therefore causing an audio delay.
You should also check the battery of your headphones.
Just like your device, your headphones’ performance largely depends on their battery.
Luckily, recent headphone models feature longer battery life, sometimes as long as 40 hours, and a shorter charging time (usually two hours max).
With such a considerably fast charging speed, keeping your headphones’ battery in top shape shouldn’t have to be a problem.
To further conserve your battery, try these following tips:
- Watch your network data and use Wi-Fi whenever possible.
- Turn off features that you don’t usually use, such as location services and NCF.
- Adjust your screen’s brightness.
- Disable your Bluetooth when not in use. Doing so doesn’t just help save your battery but also improves security.
8. Low Phone Performance
It can be tempting to use a “power saver app” to stretch the battery capacity of your phone.
Unfortunately, doing so can compromise your device’s performance.
Having said that, if your phone is not running in high-performance mode, you’re likely to experience terrible lags and delays in its features, including its audio.
Thus, one way to fix Bluetooth audio delay on your phone is to switch to the “high-performance” mode.
If you’re using iPhone, follow these easy steps:
- On your home screen, tap Settings.
- Scroll until you find the Battery Entry and tap on it.
- Tap on Battery Health.
- On the bottom of the screen, you should see the Peak Performance Capability.
- Tap Enable.
If you’re using an Android device, the performance mode is usually in the System Settings.
Note that the terms vary depending on the model and brand of your phone.
Still, usually, you just turn off the “battery saving” feature or enable Performance Mode.
Fixing Bluetooth audio delays on your phone is relatively easy, and it starts with determining the possible cause.
We hope that with this guide, you won’t experience excessive latency on your phone’s audio again.