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Bluetooth headphones delay in Windows 11: 6 ways to fix it

August 13, 2022

6 ways to troubleshoot a Bluetooth headphones delay in Windows 11

-Bluetooth headphones can suffer from delays in Windows 11, but there are ways to troubleshoot the issue.

-Be as close as possible to your computer and make sure there are no sources of wireless interference nearby. 

-You can also try toggling Bluetooth off and on, re-pairing your headphones, and updating the Bluetooth driver. 

Few things beat the convenience of Bluetooth audio, but there's sometimes a cost that accompanies wireless headphones or earbuds: the dreaded audio delay. If you've found that your Bluetooth headphones suffer from an audio delay when connected to Windows, you're not alone. The good news is that there are a lot of ways you can troubleshoot the issue and dramatically reduce the delay when using Bluetooth audio in Windows 11. 

Watch your distance 

Bluetooth headphones and earbuds work best when you are close to the source, such as your Windows computer. Most have a range of no more than 30 feet, but you can start to get interference, delays, and other audio glitches at half that distance or less. And watch out for obstructions, like walls and other people. You'll get the best results when you are right in front of the PC, and when in doubt, get as close as you can. 

Beware of interference from other devices

As a general rule, modern Bluetooth devices like headphones are pretty good at cutting through interference caused by other devices and technology. But if you're having a problem with your headphones, investigate the immediate surroundings for other devices that might be unintentionally causing a glitch. At the top of the list: other wireless devices, such as Bluetooth speakers or security cameras, cordless phones in use, and a microwave that's running. To see if there's anything in the vicinity causing a problem, try taking your laptop and headphones to another room or outdoors. 

Toggle your computer's Bluetooth connection

In keeping with the tried-and-true IT troubleshooting trick, turn off your computer's Bluetooth radio, wait a minute, and turn it back on again. Click Start and then click Settings. In the pane on the left, click Bluetooth & devices and then swipe the Bluetooth button to the left to turn it off. After you turn it back on and the headphones reconnect, see if that has solved your problem. 

You can toggle your computer's Bluetooth radio off and on to see if that fixes the glitch.

Re-pair your headphones

Sometimes, pairing your headphones again can resolve a weird and hard-to-solve problem, especially if something went wrong when the headphones were initially paired. 

1. Click Start and then click Settings. 

2. In the pane on the left, click Bluetooth & devices.

3. Find the headphones causing you a problem and then click the device's three-dot menu. In the pop-up, click Remove device. 

Try removing your Bluetooth headphones, then re-pair them with your computer.

4. Follow the directions that came with your headphones to put them in pairing mode and reconnect them to your PC. The exact procedure varies, but you'll probably need to press the power button for 6-10 seconds until a status light flashes, and then click Add device in the Bluetooth & devices page of Settings to start the process. 

Update your Bluetooth driver

It's also possible that your Bluetooth driver software may need an update. There are two things you can check. First, if your headphones have a mobile app, check the app to see if there's an option to update the headphones' firmware. When that is done, check for an updated Windows driver for your Bluetooth adapter:

1. In the Start Search box, type "device manager" and click Device Manager when you see it appear in the results. 

2. Click the arrow beside Bluetooth to expand the list.

3. Right-click the Bluetooth adapter and in the drop-down menu, choose Update driver.

You can see if updating the Bluetooth driver in Device Manager solves your audio delay.

4. Click Search automatically for drivers and then follow the instructions to install the update. 

Explore the Bluetooth troubleshooter

The last thing you can check is to see if the built-in Windows troubleshooter may be able to solve your problem. In most cases, Windows won't uncover anything that will help, but it only takes a few moments to check.  

1. Click Start and then click Settings.

2. In the Settings window's search box, type "troubleshoot" and then click Troubleshoot other problems when you see it in search results.

3. In the Other section, find Bluetooth and then click its Run button. Follow the instructions to run the troubleshooter. 

If all else fails, run the Bluetooth troubleshooter to see if Windows can solve the issue.

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