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Dec
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The Bluetooth experience on Android has always been a rocky road. For the first few years Android relied on BlueZ, a "protocol stack" originally developed by Qualcomm for the Linux operating system. Despite many limitations and missing features, BlueZ served admirably until Android 4.2 launched with a new stack dubbed Bluedroid, a project built jointly by Google and Broadcom. Like any young project, the bugs were plentiful, but most of the critical issues were solved in the first few weeks. Unfortunately, several problems remain and a few have seemingly reappeared with KitKat.

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The introduction of Bluedroid was intended to ease many of the challenges associated with adding new features on top of the existing BlueZ architecture. So far, this has generally been successful as Android 4.3 brought new capabilities like AVRCP 1.3 and Bluetooth Low Energy while 4.4 continued the momentum with a few new profiles of its own.

All of this activity in the codebase has produced a few serious bugs and people are understandably displeased. Since many of the issues and symptoms are probably related, but they aren’t affecting everybody in the same ways, I’m going to bundle the complaints and workarounds in a single post.

Symptoms

There are a lot of reports for various abnormal behaviors, some of them first appeared with KitKat, but many have been around a bit longer. Some people are experiencing just one of these issues while others may be suffering from nearly all of them.

Inconsistent or Maximum Volume - For some people the volume to Bluetooth speakers or headsets is automatically maxed out and can’t be turned down. In other cases, as it was for me, the response to changing volume is delayed by a few seconds and operates in reverse (holding vol.up decreases volume, and vice versa). This symptom appears to be moderately common, and definitely poses a problem if it occurs during phone calls.

Bad Audio Quality - Headsets and speakers may not come through very clearly, have a scratchy noise, or even produce echoing. Reports of this are fairly rare and seem to occur mostly during calls.

Unresponsive Playback and Call Controls - The basic button controls on many modern accessories can be completely ineffective for actually doing anything with them. This appears to be fairly uncommon, but it’s showing up mostly with Bluetooth headphones and speakers.

Frequently Dropped Connections - A paired accessory may be operating normally and suddenly disconnect. The connection is usually restored a few seconds later, but it will usually repeat this behavior again. This also appears to be a common issue, so much so that it was the primary topic for two threads on the Google Product Forums and one in the AOSP Issue Tracker. In fact, it was the original focus of this Bug Watch until it became clear how many issues are present.

Pairing Failures - Sometimes new devices will refuse to pair or the pairing will error out. This appears to be rare and most people can work around it with a restart, but most people with this problem usually also have frequently dropped connections once they get something paired.

Crashing Bluetooth Service - This is exactly what it sounds like: the Bluetooth service crashes. Annoyingly, it can't be restarted without completely rebooting the device. This doesn't seem to be very common

What Is Affected?

It seems Bluetooth problems are present in the full range of devices and no type of accessory is immune to the effect. From speakers to headsets to heart rate monitors, no gadget is safe. Hands-free car kits and headsets are the most heavily represented, as are Bluetooth speakers, but people are also reporting trouble with items like the Pebble Smartwatch and laptop computers.

As for devices and Android itself, the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, and 2013 Nexus 7 are the most commonly named devices. Some of these issues were reported as early as Android 4.2, but all of them were present in version 4.4 KitKat. Some people say that their problems cleared up with the 4.4.1 update, but plenty of people are still describing these symptoms up through 4.4.2.

Possible Causes

Since this is more of a roundup of complaints, unlike the typical Bug Watch, there are almost certainly a few troublemakers. As I’ve already said, some of the blame must surely belong on Bluedroid due to the sheer number of changes it has gone through during its short life. However, the odds are pretty good that the new software stack may not be the only contributor to our Bluetooth issues, so I should mention a few other possibilities.

To begin with, the complaints are heavily weighted towards three specific devices and they happen to share a common trait: they are the only devices in the Nexus lineup with Qualcomm chipsets. This may point to a problem with the Bluetooth drivers distributed by Qualcomm. The firmware could easily be responsible for all of the aforementioned issues if it’s poorly calibrated or doesn’t properly filter out environmental noise.

A surprising number of people have cleared up a lot of their issues by disabling the 5 GHz Wi-Fi band, or shutting down Wi-Fi altogether. While unusual, this radio may be causing interference for the Bluetooth radio. I could make guesses as to how this would happen, but I’m not an expert in this area, so I’ll leave that for somebody with more experience.

Last in the list of likely factors is the code responsible for power management. A few people have identified their problems usually start around the same time their screens turn off due to inactivity. Perhaps a switch in power state is disrupting Bluedroid, resulting in trouble maintaining connections.

Workarounds

There are no clear and definite solutions for any of the reported issues, but quite a few people have been able to either significantly reduce or eliminate some issues by making certain changes. For every solution that has been posted, at least a couple of people have confirmed it didn’t work for them, so your mileage may definitely vary with these.

To begin with, just as a sanity check, try manually unpairing your Bluetooth devices, restart the device, and set up the pairings again. You can unpair devices in Settings -> Bluetooth -> settings button for a device -> Unpair. This is the safest and least destructive option and it may clear up corruptions caused by an upgrade or restoring your pairings from backup applications.

Screenshot_2013-12-27-16-39-51Screenshot_2013-12-27-16-40-52Screenshot_2013-12-27-16-41-39

If your issues are possibly caused by a power state change, it might be worth experimenting with the inactivity timeout. Simply go to Settings -> Display -> Sleep and set a fairly lengthy timespan. Just remember to keep a close eye on your battery. If this turns out to be a fix for you, it might be worth setting up a Tasker profile (or other automation tool) to adjust this timeout when Bluetooth is toggled or you are in a call.

Another relatively painless thing to try is disabling the 5 GHz band in your Wi-Fi settings. As I mentioned earlier, quite a few people have cleared up their issues with this trick, so it may be worth a shot. Simply go to Settings -> Wi-Fi -> menu -> Advanced -> Wi-Fi frequency band and set it to 2.4 GHz only. Alternatively, you can shut off Wi-Fi entirely when using Bluetooth, but that probably won’t be a good option for many of you, especially if you mainly use Bluetooth to stream music from the Internet.

Note: The following suggestions are meant for advanced users. If you aren’t comfortable with unlocking and modifying your device’s firmware, do not try these.

As for the Nexus 4 and 2013 Nexus 7, many of these issues didn’t appear until they were updated to KitKat. Since the most recent drivers from Qualcomm can be implicated, it may be possible to stay with KitKat and restore Bluetooth operation by flashing an older kernel. If you have the necessary knowledge, it might be worth experimenting with a custom kernel built from 4.4.2 code and a Bluetooth driver from older releases. Likewise, some people claim they’ve cleared up their issues on the Nexus 4 by flashing older radios from the 4.4 and 4.3 factory images. Obviously, these mix-and-match solutions may not work and could even have very bad side-effects, so experiment with them at your own risk.

Finally, if your issues are severe enough and you simply need working Bluetooth more than you need KitKat, your only fallback may be to downgrade to 4.3 using a factory image. Alternatively, if you have a little time, it might be worth experimenting with custom ROMs in the off-hand chance that some of these bugs may have already been stamped out.

Wrap-Up

There’s no need to panic or run for your pitchforks, these issues still appear to only affect a relative minority of people. Despite testing on numerous devices, the worst I could reproduce with my own hardware was some slightly annoying background static and trouble adjusting the volume (it was possible, but very fiddly). However, the really critical stuff - like frequent disconnections - can be more serious since they may cause distractions for drivers using Bluetooth headsets and car kits.

Frankly, most of these problems shouldn’t exist in a staple feature like Bluetooth. It doesn’t matter if the bugs originated from Google, Broadcom, LG, or Qualcomm; this is the sort of thing that consumers should expect to work correctly. It’s understandable if a few sneaky bugs pop up early in a release cycle, especially with how difficult they can be to discover in testing, but they should be taken more seriously and fixed very quickly. At least some of these symptoms were reported on the Nexus 4 in late July.

Now that Bluedroid is a year old and it has proven its worth as a platform for new features, it’s time to put a priority on making it rock solid.

Sources: AOSP Issue Tracker, Google Product Forums 1, 2, 3

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • Willie D

    2012 Nexus 7 I can confirm has bluetooth issues after 4.4.2 update. Dropped connections, cause music to pause on it every 5 seconds. Also have an issue with 4.4.2 updates on the Nexus 5 that causes phone calls over headphones to be LOUD and not turned down even when volume is turned down. This is not bluetooth, but regular headphones.

  • Martim

    I got a new Bluetooth headset for my Nexus 4 and it's been almost unusable because of these bugs. Bluetooth drops every 3 minutes and takes a while to reconnect, and sometimes it just turns off completely and won't switch on until a full reboot.

  • http://blog.tonysarju.com/ Tony Sarju

    My biggest issue is with how long it takes my headset Yo connect when powered on. With my GS3,thr headset would take 2 seconds to connect. With my Nexus 5 I have to wait at least 30 seconds.

  • SleepingSeasons

    I've read a lot about the maximum volume bug, but my Nexus 4's maximum Bluetooth output volume is way quieter than I'd expect or want since 4.4.2. Whereas before the update I wouldn't turn the volume up past 2/3 (which would fill the room nicely), since then the max output from the same bluetooth speaker is barely louder than the phone's own speaker. I experienced the connection erroring out earlier today, too.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      Try turning the volume way down and back up again a few times. Also try holding the buttons down instead of just tapping. I noticed that stepping the volume up and down didn't really ever result in changes. This is the stuff that seemed to work for me.

  • Francois-Xavier Launois

    I have the same issues with a Parrot Zik disconnecting/reconnecting itself randomly. Thankfully it does not happen too often. It takes also very long time to connect, sometimes the pairing simply fails. I have to restart the headset and shut off/on bluetooth. Happening of course on stock rooted Nexus 5 and 7, but it happened also on Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 running CM 10.2 or PA.

  • tehone

    On my Nexus 4 running stock (rooted) 4.4.2 ROM, the only thing that has worked was setting up a Tasker profile that turns off my WiFi when a Bluetooth connection (i.e. with my car) is established.

    That was the ONLY thing that worked for me. Otherwise, bluetooth would drop out every minute or so or, sometimes crash and require a reboot to re-enable.

    I'm guesstimating that the "bluetooth problems" is a MUCH wider/more frequent issue than reported here (and elsewhere) but it's somehow failing to grab Google's attention. It's pretty inexcusable, IMO.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      There are certainly a lot of reports, this clearly isn't an isolated incident. On the other hand, while researching this I talked to about a dozen people I know and only 2 of them had noticed any issues with Bluetooth. Regardless of how many people are affected, core components like Bluetooth deserve a higher priority and a more extensive testing. Even if this is something as simple as bad calibration for a small percentage of devices, it's something that probably should have been caught by somebody along the way.

  • Scott

    Another long standing connectivity issue: Wi-Fi Direct.

  • Severo Rivera

    I just want Google to fix the hissing audio bug when recording video on my nexus 5. If anyone is wondering this bug isn't really isolated because many of my friends reported the same issue. Mine isn't that noticeable, but it's still a bit annoying.

    • Simon Belmont

      I hear it on my Nexus 5, too. It's not horrible when there's lots of sound being recorded, but if there's a "dead air" you hear it pretty easily.

      It's definitely something with the way it's being recorded because I can record a note in Google Keep and hear no hissing. Hopefully this gets fixed in Android 4.4.3, or something.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      This, right? https://plus.google.com/107797272029781254158/posts/76nK4CZwB26

      Because 4.4.2 doesn't fix it.

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    • Sir Charles

      I had the hiss in mine, uninstalled the not updated app yet called, MX Player, which was the cause of the problem not the Nex5. Restarted the Nex5 after uninstall, goooone. MX Player has been updated and I don't have the problem anymore.

      So, not Nexus 5 problem but another apps problem causing your Nexus 5 to have a problem.

      • Daryn Sturridge

        Even if that's true, doesn't that point to it being primarily an Android problem rather than an MX Player one? I thought apps were sandboxed, it's not as though MX Player is a root-only app.

  • fazillatheef

    I thought these are problems with android and everyone had it. Never thought it was only affecting a minority.

    Anyway KitKat is only available to a minority.

  • Simon Belmont

    The inconsistent volume control affects my LG Tone. The ironic thing is, it worked PERFECTLY in Android 4.4.

    They broke it in Android 4.4.1/4.4.2. The LG Tone has been blacklisted from having the unified volume control, for some reason, despite working fine for me in Android 4.4.

  • Mathias Kenting

    No problems on my Nexus 4 with my Bluebuds X.

  • power_pizza

    I have a Galaxy S3 running CM 10.2.

    I have trouble issuing voice commands through the bluetooth microphone in my car stereo. Google Now seems to work about 70% of the time (I enabled bluetooth microphone through Google Now's settings).

    Voice typing however, never seems to work.

    • Simon Belmont

      Could just be related to background noise in your car and the microphone not picking it up (or a variety of other things). I have a really good success rate with my Bluetooth headset when issuing commands to Google Now / Search and using voice typing.

      Of course, it could also very well be related to the bugs outlined above. I have volume related bugs with my Nexus 5 and my LG Tone Bluetooth stereo headset.

  • Jakub

    I unfortunately have the issue that my bluetooth disconnects after a second or two after turning it on, and rebooting it only fixes the problem temporarily... I currently have a nexus 4 running android 4.4.2.

  • TheLastAngel

    Pfff, you can write a post of this length for pretty much any Android functionality/ Google app these days. Those Google employees sure miss a lot of basic bugs/ version 1.0 features. (Remember, Google supposedly only hires geniuses from top universities)

    Good thing I stopped getting aggravated over these things. Everything sorta works and that's good enough for me:)

  • duse

    I say this as a multiple Android device owner and fan: Given things like this, is it really any wonder that more people in the US buy iPhone over Android? Would you honestly recommend Android to a non-tech savvy family member or friend? Google's QA and attention to detail and polish are very poor on anything but their core bread and butter like search and Gmail. I put up with it because I love the principles of the platform and the dev environment and can root/use custom firmware to get around some issues, but there's no denying that Google does not have their house in order when it comes to releasing rock solid CE devices. I guess it's just evidence that as good as AOSP is today, Google still mostly leaves it up to OEMs to polish and test it, and you are never going to get Apple-like testing and QA out of a Nexus or GPE device.

    • jgarrido

      I'd have to agree, for the most part. Sad, but true.

    • http://www.LOVEanon.org/ Michael Oghia (Ogie)

      Well said indeed.

    • Hermilla

      Yes, Google doesn't seem committed to selling devices. There is a lack of QA and customer support that is expected from a OEM/manufacturer. I don't think the Nexus/stock experience is worth putting up with Google's incompetence as a phone maker.

      I really wanted to get a Nexus 5, but ended up with a Note 3 after seeing these problems on friends' N5s. Sometimes, the Nexus phones feel like Kickstarter projects :)

      • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

        and Google apologist will always said it's cheap, so it's fine.

    • gh0st

      I own a Galaxy Nexus, and the way in which Google rolled out android upgrades is questionable to say the least. They never for once bothered to update the kernel. The Graphics and Wi-Fi drivers were the same in android 4.3 which were probably paired with Android 4.0. They were using the same drivers even though they introduced so many new graphics features and rather Google used hacky methods to hold everything together, which caused lags, memory leaks and what not. And as always even the latest Nexus 5 carries on the legacy of Nexus devices of old, like Mediocre camera, unacceptable audio to name a few. All this makes me not wanna buy a nexus again, but again considering the price to performance ratio, I am still confused.

    • Mark

      Google don't give a fuck and never will.
      You put up with it and that's good enough for them.
      Android is the means to stuff search and ads into as many souls as possible.
      The Google Experience is really the Google Experiment.
      Sell a "premium affordable device" to keep as many bitches logged on to their bullshit services.

      • Guest123

        true. . . however, you can throw a custom rom on it and dump google altogether. then again, everyone putting out a mobile OS is sucking up your info, and with their OS you have NO alternative to change anything.

      • mustbepbs

        Thank you. I totally agree. I'll never buy a Nexus device again because they're always riddled with bugs that never seem to get fixed by anyone but the dev community. I'm just sick of installing ROMs and work arounds for my stuff. iPhones are just too small, though.

        • http://trapchan.blogspot.com trapchan

          agree ... got an iPhone 5 myself after frustated with Nexus 4. Sure the price was twice n4, but it saved me a lot of time and frustation. With iPhone I just deal with it. While with N4, I kept having myself busy finding workaround to do this and that. flashing MIUI, unsatisfied, back to stock and repeat, not to mention camera is sucks.

    • sssgadget

      From what I have heard from current/ex - Googlers. There is no separate QA team for most of their products. The engineers themselves are QA.

      • Josh Legoza

        Wow! That's completely unacceptable from a company that wants to sell consumer products (or really any product). They need to fix that ASAP. The designer is just too close to the project/product to do a sufficient job of QA. Products need a second set of eyes looking at them.

      • duse

        Hard to believe isn't it, but it doesn't surprise me, it's the Scrum/"everyone can do everything" mentality. And as the evidence shows in Google's case, it doesn't work very well. Can't imagine anyone thinking that one person will code and test equally well as a dedicated developer and a dedicated, trained quality expert.

  • https://google.com/+LateefAlabiOki Lateef Alabi-Oki

    It's almost as if they don't test their code before pushing it out. Bluetooth is such a nightmare to use on my Nexus devices that I avoid using it whenever I can.

  • anon

    is google aware of and working on fixing these issues ?

  • Mark Stronge

    Since 4.4.2, when I am in the car and the call ends, the bluetooth gets "stuck" and on fast repeat with a blip blip blip blip going on and on until I turn off and on the bluetooth enabled car stereo (worked perfectly previously).

    • Teng

      Having a similar bluetooth issue on my Nexus 7 2nd gen 32gb. The 7 connects to my car & I can play a song or 2 through my stereo & then out of nowhere, the 7 disables the bluetooth & it won't come back on until I reboot the 7. I thought I fixed it by disabling the "phone audio" setting for my car on the tablet. It worked for me on the drive to work but it happened again on the way home. My 7 works fine with my BT speakers & headset at home & my car has no issues staying connected to my Samsung Galaxy S3. Wasn't sure if it was my car or my tablet but after reading these posts, I'm sure it's my tablet. I did an OTA update on my tablet about a week after I got it & never tried it out with my car before the update so couldn't say if it was working correctly out of the box. Hopefully Google gets their shit together

  • Eric Mixon

    I have the "Frequently Dropped Connection" issue with my Moto X

  • Mike Reid

    The thing is:

    Broadcom's proprietary BT stack is still being used on stock devices such as the HTC One, even on Android 4.3 & 4.4. And the Google Play Editions TOO, dagnab it !!

    Broadcom WROTE the Bluedroid code, licensed it BSD-like for AOSP open source (eventually, LOL) , but seem to still be developing their closed source stack "in parallel", presumably for maintaining their competitive advantage as the leader in Android Bluetooth/combo chips.

    This might be similar to what Google has long been doing now, letting their open source apps languish while moving functionality to closed source apps.

    • Francois-Xavier Launois

      How are you, Mike? I enjoyed your work on Spirit FM. Always glad to have the point of view of a specialist :)

  • tardis 13

    The bluetooth on my Droid Maxx worked fine with my Prius system until the upgrade to KitKat. Now it "connects" but the screen hangs (showing a call in progress) when attempting to dial out or answering a call. Once the screen hangs, there is no audio through the car system, and no control. The Maxx works thru its own audio, as if it was not connected.

  • lordmerovingian

    A Nexus device without issues? Surely you jest...

  • CBNforum

    I have a Note 3 and do experience the Frequently Dropped Connections issue when using the Bose Bluetooth headset Series 2, which I pretty much never use anymore due to the many drops. They worked just fine with my GS4!!

  • jdomann

    I just recently started developing the crashing bluetooth service with my Nexus 4 running stock 4.4.2 :( Was driving in my car, heard the audio stop, the bluetooth icon disappear, and couldn't restart it without restarting the phone.

    Only happens sometimes, but it is quite annoying when it does.

  • http://www.richrecruiter.com richrecruiter

    Have an issue with my G Pad GPE constantly dropping connection to my Bluetooth speakers. For whatever reason, it wasn't an issue on my Nexus 7 (2013) running 4.4.2 as well.

  • Tim Moule

    Between 4.2 and 4.4 I suffered terrible bluetooth audio quality on my Nexus 4, 5 and 7. The bitpool was set too low, so everything came out sounding like a 92kpbs MP3 - brittle, distorted, crunchy. Then suddenly in 4.4.2 they fixed it - streaming audio actually sounds decent. As far as I know it wasn't an advertised bug fix, and I don't know why it took them so long to fix.

    This was one of my biggest annoyances with my Nexus devices, so i was happy to see it addressed. Who knows if it will stay fixed though.

    However, I do find that if I am streaming bluetooth audio other connected devices tend to fail - eg, my Pebble watch and Fitbit struggle to create a BLE connection.

  • Teen

    Nexus 4 on 4.4.2 I experienced car hands free disconnections ... Unpairing seems to have helped ...

  • Ryan Seifer

    my car kit is literally unusable since kitkat on N4. It connects/disconnects every30 seconds or so during phone calls, and every half hour or so when streaming audio.

  • http://www.LOVEanon.org/ Michael Oghia (Ogie)

    Thanks for a great review Cody. I just hope the Android team reads it!

  • Oink

    There are more issues. Bluetooth Gamepad support for example. I'm not sure, how android is mapping the buttons to the keyevents, but it's not consistent. On 4.2 my ipega gamepad dont work with gta 3, because it was mapped with the wrong key events. (Button_1, Button_2, ...) With 4.3 and the better gamepad support, this was fixed. Finally button A was sending the key event BUTTON_A. I was finally able to play gta 3 with my bluetooth gamepad. Now with 4.4 this is broken again. Buttons are mapped like on 4.2 again. I simply dont unterstand why google cannot fix correctly....

  • Blomsternisse

    Talk about NIH. What was the problem with Bluez? It seems to work just fine for everyone else, and if it's missing functionality, why not fix it and commit it? Talk about wasted effort.

    • petrochemicals

      Bluez is kinda crap too. Just look at all the issues Bluez5 has had in Arch.

  • grellanl

    Bluetooth support is abominable. Two bluetooth devices connected at the same time - like, say, connecting mouse and keyboard to my Nexus 10, just doesn't work reliably, *STILL*.

    One device is fine, usually, but as soon as the second device connects the mouse lags horribly, the keyboard starts missing keys and starts dddoooouuubbbllee typing... And as for using a BT headset at the same time? No chance.

    I've tested the exact same devices connected to a Windows tablet, over bluetooth, with no problems or conflicts.

  • Dan Watt

    I love how android folk were allways telling me that "No one has these problems." And then this article...

  • DYNK

    I don't understand, coming from a Galaxy S, SII, Note 2 to Nexus 5 I'm really pleased with my bluetooth on this one. One click to turn on bluetooth will automatically connect and pair with my Logitech Sound receiver. I have had no troubles at all.

    However seeing this, I can now understand why Nike stays far away from Android as possible. Fanboys blame they are in bed together however I can see that the issue is far from it. It just ins't stable enough.... :S

  • notpoliticalyet

    And Nexus 7 2013 reboots on its own sometimes.

  • BubbleSort
  • KID ANDROID

    Experiencing severe echo on my Nexus 7 2013 and it's really p*ssing me off. This should have never been an issue as Bluetooth has become such a basic feature of a mobile device and it leaves me disappointed as I'm a huge fan of the Nexus device line after getting sick of samsung packing too many nearly useless features in their devices. Pure android where you can add only the features you will use is a very attractive setup for me and one I'm not ready to give up so I wish google fix the damn issue ASAP.

  • disqus_5WNzR6XWBG

    A problem I have is getting a bluetooth headset to work with my tablet. It pairs fine, but simply does not in any way function after that. No audio comes into it, no audio comes out of it. The button on the headset, which has multi-uses depending on the situation does nothing to interact with the tablet. Just nothing. Works fine with my moble though.

  • The Dude

    bluetooth works fine for me...I've never had any issues...Stock Nexus 5 owner here

  • J Herbsty

    Wow!! This article really hits home for me. Although Nexus devices are the focus of this discussion, my Droid Razr Maxx (XT912) has exactly the same issues cited here. I believe this is a Kit Kat problem - more specifically the BlueDroid stack. It affects a broad range of brands and types of processors and devices being used. In my case the only solution for using bluetooth is to shut off wifi completely. I really want to look into flashing older radios. And as the author mentions, it is one thing for there to be a loss of quality or a few bugs - but for it to become this dysfunctional is unacceptable. BlueZ may have been old, but at least it worked, for the most part. The basic thing it has to do is provide a means for two (or more) devices to just plain communicate at all. The consumer (at least me) is invested in bluetooth speakers and headsets, controllers and heart monitors. Their cars are sold equipped with expensive bluetooth functionality. It should be taken more seriously. But who will take the lead?

  • Dayle Soares

    my pioneer head unit has 2 problems with both my nexus 5 and my wifes nexus 4. when i place a call upon disconnecting the same person is called again. when i get a call and disconnect the playback position is lost and it advances to the next track. the issues arent present when pairing with my friends s4 and other friends note 2

  • Renato Moura

    I have experienced the CRASHING BLUETOOTH SERVICE a few times recently in my Nexus 4 with 4.4.2, although there was no crash report popup. So it basically died without any warning and couldn't be turned back on without a reboot. Unpairing and pairing again solved it so far.

  • jamesfuston

    Completely unrelated to topic: you might explode an OCD person's head with the W and A in the splash logo not being magnified.

  • kermalou

    Having all these issues with 4.4 and my LG G2. Have reverted back to 4.3 and still have this persistent notification that Bluetooth Media is connected.

  • kmand

    I had a lot of Nexus 4 issues with Bluetooth prior to 4.4 which totally went away in 4.4 stock. Now on 4.4.2 its worse than ever with any of the radios (stock 97, 98, hybrids). Bluetooth just dies after a while, it shows "off" in settings and turning it back on just has it toggle right back to off . It takes a reboot to get it back. It can go a day or 5 minutes or anything in between , but eventually this happens. I do a lot of ad2p to headphones while walking or car audio while driving.

    My workaround was to go back to 4.4 which again works fine, but now I wonder if I will be able to take future updates.

    • EthiC

      Got the exact same problem as you (with my Nexus 4), it automatically shuts down. I've been on this road before with the nexus 7, applied to different bug threads on google, all to no use. Our N7 still doesn't connect properly with my ad2p loudspeaker. Something like bluetooth should work imho..

  • Belter

    I am glad I found this article. I cracked my Galaxy Nexus so my employer gave
    me an HTC 8x WP8 phone. Great
    email/messaging. But, streaming Pandora Bluetooth
    would lockup my car’s head unit. That
    and the lack of apps inspired me to but a Moto X.

    The Moto X had horrible Bluetooth streaming quality. So I RMA it and get a Nexus 5. The Nexus 5 had the same crappy Bluetooth audio
    streaming. Concluding it had to be
    KitKat, I did some searching and found this article. I disabled “scan when wifi off” and then turned
    off wifi. It fixed the problem on the
    Nexus 5. The Bluetooth audio was much
    better.

    So, I RMA the Nexus 5 and order a developer edition Moto X
    to see if the same is true on the Moto X. While driving to UPS, I tired disabling wifi
    on the WP8 device (the HTC 8x). I could
    not cause a Bluetooth lockup. I have
    until the Moto X arrives to test this more.

    Could this be more than
    an Android problem?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      This might indicate a few things or it could just be a really amazing coincidence :)

      If I were to take a shot in the dark, I'd guess that the HTC 8X uses a bluetooth chipset from the same family as the rest of the devices with the most issues. If so, that strongly points to bad drivers. If there is bad code in the base driver, it would have easily propagated to the Windows Phone and Android codebases. This problem might be present in any device using those chipsets, just because all of those drivers originate from the same place.

      To be fair, there are still Bluetooth issues that can't be attributed to just Qualcomm hardware, and some are almost certainly problems in the Android OS. That just adds weight to the case that everybody in the chain needs to get their act together.

  • bart

    The Wi-Fi trick seems to solve the issue for me. Thanks!

  • kermalou

    heads up this issue has been fixed for me on the latest CM/AOSP nightlies on my G2

  • Dakota

    Im one of the people who cannot connect to bluetooth. I keep trying to pair devices and nothing shows up. Try with another phone and they connect within seconds. SO FRUSTRATED. Nothing Android ever works smoothly…Thought Nexus would be different but just as bad

  • golla

    My new creative d100 speakers are having the problem connecting with Nexus 4. When I read reviews I found bluetooth connectivity issues all around. I'm truly disappointed with the fact that the basic functionality of my phone is not working. Why don't google give us an update on this, since lot of people are facing difficulties with their bluetooth devices.

  • fusion01

    Just bought a Samsung Wireless Portable Bluetooth Speaker DA-F61 and it connects to my Nexus 7 2013 but the audio will not stream, just keeps playing on the Nexus device in spite of the pairing. Jacked up my (cheap & Basic) Nokia Lumia 520 phone and worked without a hitch. Nexus fail.

  • mcored

    I had turned off Wifi completely and the issue still remains. I will try disabling the following option:

    Wifi > Advanced > Scanning always available

  • rtfm

    10 years ago I was a student and I would have tinkered around. Today I have a job and ordered an iPhone. I don't have time for this crap. Get lost Google.