Have you ever wanted to share a Bluetooth device with 2 or more iOS devices? For example, do you want to share a Bluetooth speaker or a pair of Bluetooth headphones with both your iPhone and iPad? Sharing one Bluetooth device with multiple iOS devices can cause confusion. This tip will help you to understand and handle the confusion.
This tip assumes you have already setup, aka paired, your Bluetooth speakers, for example, to your iPhone or iPad. If you need help with this setup, please refer to these articles from Lifewire and Apple.
Now, what happens when you turn on your Bluetooth speakers? If only one of your two iOS devices is within range, which is typically about 30 feet, then you’re all set. The speaker will find the iOS device and connect to it. The confusion can occur if both of your iOS devices are within range. Which device will your speakers connect to? There is no way to know. As far as I can tell, the Bluetooth speakers will randomly pick one of the two devices.
Inevitably, at least for me, it seems that my Bluetooth speakers always picks the device that I don’t want it to pick. Now what? How can you get the Bluetooth speaker to switch to the other device? Well, you can’t. There’s no magic button on the Bluetooth speakers which instruct it to drop its current connection and to look for another device. Instead, you have to manually disconnect the speakers from the current iOS device and then get it to connect to the desired iOS device.
Let’s imagine that I turned on my Bluetooth speakers and they connected to my iPhone, when I want to use the speakers with my iPad. Here’s what I typically do to get the speakers connected to my iPad.
On my iPhone, I’d swipe up from the bottom of its screen to invoke the Control Center.
I’d tap on the Bluetooth icon to turn off Bluetooth. This will interrupt the Bluetooth connection.
At this point, I have two choices. I could either turn off the Bluetooth speakers and then turn them on. It’ll only see my iPad and connect to it, since Bluetooth is off on my iPhone. Alternatively, I could go to Settings on my iPad and then tap on Bluetooth and then manually select the speakers to initiate a connection.
I should also mention that since I have had to do this dance a number of times, I now try to prevent this problem from occurring in the first place. Specifically, when both of my iOS devices are within range of my Bluetooth speakers, before I turn on the speakers, I will turn off Bluetooth on one of the iOS devices. Then, I will turn on the speakers. They will connect to the device I want them to connect to. Then I can re-enable Bluetooth on my other iOS device.