Did the Nintendo Switch’s surprising Bluetooth audio update yesterday make your handheld worse instead of better? Here’s what happened to me: Instead of inviting me into the magical world of wireless audio, I repeatedly failed to detect my headsets and connect to them reliably.
Worse, it suddenly took more than 30 seconds to wake my switch from sleep! It’s a huge pain in the ass, considering one of the switch’s biggest strengths is how you can instantly jump back to a game.
But after a whole bunch of testing, I think I know what’s going on – and if you see the same thing, a full switch shutdown seems to offer a partial solution.
It is not quite so simple, read on for details.
Nintendo Switch Bluetooth pairing issue
To pair a Bluetooth headset, go to System settings, scroll down to Bluetooth audio, set your Bluetooth device to pairing mode, press Pair unit on your switch, and then select your device when it appears on the switch screen.
If it mates, you’re ready! If it fails because your device was not ready for pairing, you can power still be okay. Simply put it back into pairing mode and press Search again button on your switch.
Problem No. 1. But if it does not succeed in mating right – if your switch think the paired, if your headset flashes as it is paired but does not direct sound and does not appear on your Switch screen as a paired headset – you may experience a world of pain. The switch process does that does not fails gracefully and you may encounter all kinds of error messages afterwards.
After that time, my switch sometimes does not even bother to continue scanning for Bluetooth devices. It will display a “Cannot find Bluetooth audio devices” message the moment I hit the scan button.
Problem No. 2. And if you have encountered a problem with ghost sparring, you may also experience a problem with the switch also waking up from sleep – because it appears that the switch is trying to turn on Bluetooth sound Before it wakes up the screen and controllers.
This is what the Nintendo Switch looks like without Bluetooth audio devices paired or even remembered. It wakes up pretty fast, right?
But once I paired a headset to the switch, it’s no longer instantaneous: the screen takes a little longer to light up, and it does not immediately recognize my button presses that let me unlock the system.
This is what it looks like when the switch does not pair properly with a waiting headset:
So uh, not only does my Nintendo Switch not come with Bluetooth headphones from the new update … it now takes a MINIMUM of 10 seconds to wake up from sleep. pic.twitter.com/13dUvv41ga
– Sean Hollister (@ StarFire2258) September 15, 2021
(Why yes, my eyes do look scary when they bug out, thanks for noticing.)
How to partially repair Nintendo Switch Bluetooth
You have to shut the switch down completely and I mean completely shut it down. I restarted it many times and it did not seem to help.
- Press the power button and wait how long it takes for your screen to turn on
- Remove pairing and forget about all Bluetooth devices
- Hold down the power button for four seconds until you see Power settings
- Press Power settings then turn Power off
- Wait a while, then turn on your switch again
Sometimes it was just turning off my switch to solve my ghost pairing problem (where I saw a delay of 10-30 seconds when I woke up the system) and let me start pairing Bluetooth headsets again. I was able to get my Wyze Buds Pro to pair on the very first try, a headset that repeatedly failed to connect at all last night.
But other times it still would not make an initial pair – and as soon as I saw the message “Can not find Bluetooth audio devices”, my switch would take ages to wake up from sleep again. Your mileage may vary: if important, I use v2 of the original switch, the one that added more battery life.
And if you try to restore the full wake-up speed that the switch is normally known for, you must also unpair and forget all Bluetooth devices Before you do the full shutdown. When I simply removed a Bluetooth headset but left it in the Bluetooth menu, I still saw the slight delay. Same thing if I closed first and then unpaired and forgot the headset for the second.
My guess is that the switch leaves its Bluetooth audio function when it thinks you want to use it, but you can force it off by removing these devices and starting a complete shutdown.
We have asked Nintendo if there are any known issues and if we can expect fixes in a future firmware update. We will tell you what we hear.