1) How far away is your other item?
Headphones, speakers, and keyboards generally aren’t going to have a range over 30 feet – some can’t even hit that. Generally speaking, devices don’t go over 30 feet because they don’t need to, and making them powerful enough to do so makes the battery drain faster. If your device is far away, it may not connect, or keep disconnecting and re-connecting.
2) Are you trying to connect to the right thing?
Many devices have bizarre serial number names that you can only find in your user’s manual, especially if the device is not a name brand like Microsoft or Apple. When you start trying to connect your phone to your new Bluetooth headphones or speaker, make sure you know what its real name is!
3) Are you following the pairing instructions?
Many devices have light indicators on them somewhere to signal whether or not they are connected. Blinking lights usually mean a device is looking for another Bluetooth device to pair with, but not always. Sometimes things blink just to indicate that they aren’t connected. Follow your user’s manual!
Along with that, are both devices seeking a connection? Bluetooth can be on and open, but if the device isn’t in search mode, it might not connect where it’s supposed to until one or both devices are told via their Bluetooth menu that they’re supposed to work with each other.
4) Is the battery charged?
Bluetooth takes a fair amount of power to broadcast, and the signal may get weaker before the device is fully dead. If you notice your speaker suddenly wants you to be closer to make it work, it might be time to charge it, or change the batteries.
5) Has it been on for a long time, with no breaks?
You can also try turning both devices off and back on again. Any device with RAM can have things clog it up, and turning a device off usually fixes it and gives it a fresh start.
6) How old is your other item?
Bluetooth is backwards compatible, so it’s rare to find two Bluetooth compatible devices that won’t work together. It’s rare, but not impossible! Some older and simpler devices have a hard time overcoming the barriers between each successive Bluetooth upgrade. Which device has the newer version of Bluetooth seems to matter as well – my phone will connect to an older Bluetooth car radio transmitter, but my MP3 player will not. A new car radio transmitter will connect to the MP3 player and the phone just fine.
Footnote – Security
It’s not a good idea to leave Bluetooth on when it’s not in use! When you’re done using it, turn it off. Bluetooth can be tricked into connecting to strange devices a number of ways, and be used to take data off of your device. The good news is that most devices only ever expect to connect to one other thing at a time, so as long as your phone is tied to your speaker, another device won’t be able to connect via Bluetooth.