How to fix iPhone XS Max Bluetooth pairing error or can’t pair

Bluetooth pairing process in iOS devices is supposed to be done with just a few taps on the screen. For as long as all the requirements and Bluetooth parameters are met, everything should work as intended. Nonetheless, there are some factors that can make the simple Bluetooth pairing process much more complicated. This is when errors occur and your iPhone is unable to pair or connect to the Bluetooth device. The problem is either on your iPhone or the Bluetooth device you’re trying to pair or connect to.

Hence, all possible culprits must be ruled out on both devices. Highlighted below are a few effective workarounds that are used to troubleshoot Bluetooth pairing error on the iPhone XS Max. Feel free to refer to this troubleshooting guide if for some reason, your iPhone cannot pair with your Bluetooth accessory.

Before we proceed, if you’re looking for a solution to a problem with your phone, try to browse through our iPhone XS Max Help Guides page to see if we support your device. If your phone is in the list of our supported devices, then go to the troubleshooting page and look for similar problems. Feel free to use our solutions and workarounds.

Fixing iPhone XS Max with Bluetooth pairing error

Before troubleshooting, make sure both devices are near each other. Bluetooth only works in specific distance range (proximity). In other words, it may not work if your devices are way too far from each other. To ensure that distance isn’t an issue, position your devices next to each other and then retry pairing them. Proceed to these subsequent solutions if the problem continues.

First solution: Restart your iPhone XS Max and Bluetooth accessory/device to fix Bluetooth pairing issue.

As mentioned earlier, pairing your iPhone with any Bluetooth accessories is very easy. But this isn’t always the case if either of the devices is experiencing random software glitches. To eliminate these culprits, start with a soft reset or simply reboot your iPhone and your Bluetooth accessory. Doing so also helps clear out corrupt data from Bluetooth cache thus refreshes the Bluetooth system on both devices. So here’s what you should do first:

  1. Press and hold the Side/Power button and either of the Volume buttons simultaneously for a few seconds.
  2. When the Slide to Power Off command appears, release both buttons.
  3. Then drag the power off slider to the right to completely turn off the iPhone. Leave the phone off for at least 30 seconds.
  4. After the elapsed time, press and hold the Side/Power button again until the Apple logo appears.

Allow your iPhone to finish booting up. After rebooting your iPhone, reboot your Bluetooth device by pressing the Power button until the device turns off. Wait for a few seconds and then press the Power button again to turn the Bluetooth device back on. Retry pairing your devices after they’ve completely rebooted and see if the error is gone.

Second solution: Disable the Bluetooth on your iPhone XS Max, and then enable it again.

Corrupted data from caches and iOS directories may also affect the Bluetooth pairing process and thereby results in an error or unsuccessful pairing. Should this be a minor flaw, turning Bluetooth off and on will likely fix it. Doing so refreshes your iPhone’s Bluetooth functions and clears out random errors. Here’s how to make it work:

  1. From the Home screen, go to Settings.
  2. Then select the Bluetooth menu.
  3. Tap the Bluetooth switch to turn the feature off.
  4. While the Bluetooth feature is off, restart (soft reset) your iPhone.
  5. Then head back to the Home screen-> Settings-> Bluetooth menu and toggle the switch to turn the Bluetooth on again.

Alternatively, you can use the shortcut icon to disable or enable the Bluetooth feature through the Control Center on your iPhone. Just launch the Control Center and then toggle the Bluetooth icon to turn the feature off/on.

You can also turn off all the wireless functions like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi functions at once by turning the Airplane Mode on. Just go to Settings-> Airplane mode menu and toggle the switch to enable the feature. Otherwise, launch the Control Center and toggle the Airplane mode icon to turn the feature from off to on. This trick has been known to help fix various types of network connectivity issues including the Bluetooth pairing error.

Once your iPhone is turned back on, re-establish your wireless connections. Then head back to Settings-> Bluetooth menu and toggle the switch to enable the feature again. A list of available devices will show up once the Bluetooth feature is turned on. Find and select the Bluetooth accessory that you want to pair with your iPhone XS Max and then tap the option to Pair or Connect. On your Bluetooth, tap the option to accept the pairing when asked to proceed.

Third solution: Delete/forget Bluetooth device on your iPhone then add it again.

One of the possible reasons as to why Bluetooth pairing error may occur is due to corrupted Bluetooth connections. This is usually the case if you have a lot of saved Bluetooth connections or devices on your phone’s Bluetooth folder. To remedy such issues, forgetting Bluetooth devices is recommended. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. From the Home screen, go to Settings.
  2. Select the Bluetooth menu. If it is currently off, toggle the Bluetooth switch to turn the feature on. Doing so will enable you to view the list of Bluetooth devices within range.
  3. Tap the information “i” icon next to the Bluetooth device you wish to delete/forget.
  4. Then select Forget this Device option.
  5. Tap Forget Device when asked to confirm. The Bluetooth device will be deleted from your iPhone.

If you have multiple Bluetooth devices saved on your iPhone, then you should consider deleting them all so that none of them can cause conflict or interfere with your Bluetooth connection.

Once you’re done deleting all saved Bluetooth devices, restart (soft reset) your iPhone XS Max to clear cached files and to refresh its internal memory. Once it is back up and running, head back to Settings-> Bluetooth menu then tap to enable the switch. Wait for the list of Bluetooth devices to populate and then tap to select the Bluetooth device that you want to pair with your iPhone XS Max. Make sure that the Bluetooth device is closed to your iPhone, turned on and set to discoverable mode.

Fourth solution: Perform reset network settings on your iPhone XS Max.

Network-related issues including Bluetooth pairing errors can also be remedied by resetting the network settings on your phone. Doing so will clear out all saved network information including customized network settings, saved Wi-Fi networks and passwords, cellular and Bluetooth connections. If you wish to try it, then here’s how to reset network settings on your iPhone XS Max:

  1. From the Home screen, go to Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Scroll down to and select the Reset option.
  4. Then select Reset Network Settings from the given options.
  5. Enter your device passcode when asked to continue.
  6. Then tap the Reset Network Settings again to confirm the reset.

Your phone will reboot automatically when the network settings reset process is finished. By then you can start enabling Wi-Fi to reconnect to your Wi-Fi network and turn on Bluetooth to retry pairing your iPhone to your Bluetooth accessory.

Fifth solution: Check for the latest iOS version and update when available.

Software updates can also be the key to fixing complex system errors that might have caused the Bluetooth system on your iPhone XS Max to fail. Thus if your iPhone has stable Wi-Fi internet access, has sufficient memory space and battery life, you can check for new iOS updates to download and install via over-the-air. Be sure back up all important files from your iPhone before you start downloading new update, for safekeeping. Then proceed to these steps whenever you’re ready:

  1. Go to Settings from the Home screen.
  2. Select General.
  3. Then tap the Software Update menu.
  4. If you see an update notification, follow the onscreen guide to Download and Install the update.

After the update is finished installing, restart (soft reset) your iPhone to save and applied the recent system changes. Bug fixes from that update should now be implemented thus associated errors are likewise rectified. To find out if this solves the Bluetooth pairing error on your iPhone XS Max, retry pairing your iPhone to your Bluetooth-enabled device and then see if the pairing is successful.

Still getting Bluetooth pairing error on your iPhone XS Max?

This could be a more complex issue with the Bluetooth device that you’re trying to pair with your iPhone. Performing the above solutions is usually good enough to rule out software-related factors that might have prevented your iPhone XS Max from pairing with your Bluetooth device. But since that did not happen, the problem is more likely with the Bluetooth device and not with your iPhone. To rule this out, try pairing your iPhone XS Max with a different Bluetooth-enabled accessory. If your iPhone is able to pair with other Bluetooth devices, then it clearly denotes that the problem is with the Bluetooth device and not on your iPhone. In this case, you may report the issue to the manufacturer of your Bluetooth device for any further recommendations.

Meanwhile, if the Bluetooth pairing error instigated from an iOS update installation and it persisted after applying all prior procedures, then it’s more likely due to an iOS bug. This is when you should escalate the problem to Apple Support so they can further assess the error on their end and develop a fix patch, if needed.

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