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How to get Bluetooth headphones to automatically connect to your Android device

Do your Bluetooth headphones always require you to manually connect them to your Android phone? This hidden feature can fix that.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
The Denon PerL Pro earbuds.
Jack Wallen/ZDNET

After reviewing the Creative Aurvana Ace 2 earbuds, I found myself turning to them every time I wanted to use a pair of earbuds with my phone. But there was a slight problem. Every time I put them into my ears, they weren't automatically connecting to my Pixel 8 Pro. The two earbuds would connect to one another and they'd be listed as connected devices on my phone, but never the twain should meet…at least not manually.

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This isn't a problem as much as an inconvenience. I'd open Settings, tap Connected Devices, and then tap the listing for the Aurvana's and, voila…connection made. But in this age of convenience, who wants to take the extra steps? This is especially true when I want to use those earbuds for phone calls and don't want whoever is on the other line to have to wait for me to fumble through Settings.

Fortunately, I discovered an experimental feature that, when enabled, triggered the earbuds to automatically connect. This feature is called LE Audio. LE stands for Low Energy and ensures users receive high-fidelity audio without sacrificing battery life.

LE Audio is enabled on a per-device basis, so I could enable it for the Aurvana earbuds and not the other earbuds I used.

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You might find that some older earbuds don't require LE Audio to be enabled before they'll automatically connect. More than likely, it'll apply to newer earbuds. But even some newer earbuds (such as the Pixel Buds and the Denon PerL Pros) are able to auto-connect without LE Audio enabled. If, however, you find you have a pair that requires you to manually connect them, LE Audio might solve the problem.

Let me show you how to enable it.

How to enable LE Audio in Android

What you'll need: First off, you'll need a phone that's compatible with LE Audio, which includes the following: Google Pixel 7/8, Samsung Galaxy S23, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, and Galaxy Z Flip 4. You'll also need a pair of earbuds that you've already paired to your phone (but don't always connect automatically when taken out of their case). That's it. Let's make some audio magic.

1. Pull your earbuds out

The first thing to do is pull your earbuds out of your case. Once you've done that, they should appear as available to your phone.

2. Open Connected Devices

Next, open Settings (either from the Notification Shade or the App Drawer) and then tap Connected Devices.

The top section of the Android Settings page.

You should find Connected Devices near the top of the Settings page.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Open Settings for the device

Locate the listing for the earbuds in question and tap the associated gear icon.

A listing of connected devices found in Android 14.

If your earbuds aren't listed, tap See All to expand the entries.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

4. Enable LE Audio

Find the listing for LE Audio and then tap the On/Off slider until it's in the On position. 

The LE Audio entry in Android 14.

Enabling LE Audio should solve the lack of auto-connect for your earbuds.

Jack Wallen/ZDNET

Once you've taken care of that, you can close the Settings app and your earbuds should now automatically connect to your Android device as soon as you take them out of the case, and they come within range of your phone. Enjoy that newfound simplicity.

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