Bluetooth Headphones Won't Charge or Turn On [12 Solutions]

Bluetooth Headphones Won’t Charge or Turn On [12 Solutions]

Charging issues on Bluetooth headphones can be frustrating. When it happened to me, I almost wanted to throw them in the bin.

But, logic kicked in and I decided to get to the bottom of it. I am happy to report that I found the solution, and they’re now working.

However, there are a number of things that can go wrong, and I decided to create an extensive post to deal with the issues you might be experiencing. The most likely solution lies with your cable or USB.

Your Bluetooth headphones are not charging because either the USB is inserted incorrectly, or the charging cable is faulty. Make sure your USB is inserted all the way, both at the power source and on your headphones. If you suspect the issue is your cable, try using a different one.

That’s going to fix it 99% of the time. But, there could be other issues on top of that. Let’s take a look at the 12 most common causes of charging issues in Bluetooth headphones.

1)  Why your Bluetooth headphones aren’t charging

There can be a number of technical reasons why your headphones aren’t charging. Let’s look at the possibilities, because identifying the root cause is the first step to fixing the problem. Keep in mind that we’ll be looking at some of the electrical parts, so don’t get shocked by your headphones in the process.

●   Your charging cable might be faulty

The cable is easy to damage and will be the first point of inspection. Constant twisting and turning will create weak points, which can lead to a tear.

If the cable is intact, make sure the USB is firmly inserted while charging. Alternatively, try plugging into a different port to see if that helps.

Another factor to consider is if you’re using the supplied USB cable. If not, that could be the source of your problem. Try using a different cable to see if the problem persists.

If you’re using a USB hub, make sure that it is working properly. Sometimes individual ports can get damaged. Try plugging into a different port on the USB adapter, or plug in directly to the computer.

●   The Bluetooth headphone battery could be faulty

It happens, especially if you’re prone to leaving your headphones in the hot car or direct sunlight. Your Bluetooth headphones can overheat, and it can actually damage the battery.

Alternatively, it could be a factory fault, if your headphones are new, consider sending them in for a service.

●   The headphone battery hasn’t been charged for quite some time

Yes, your battery can get damaged from underuse… so rock on! But, seriously, if you keep your headphones in storage for extended periods of time, your battery won’t thank you for it.

If they discharge completely (and then some), they could die. This, of course, will cause some charging issues, to say the least.

Generally, if the light doesn’t come on when you plug in to charge, nobody’s home.

If you’re not giving up on them yet, leave the charger in for a few hours to see if anything happens. There is a slim chance that they could recover after a few rounds of charging.

●   The charging port might be malfunctioning

This has happened to me a few times. With general wear and tear, the metallic surfaces inside the USB port can get scratched. This will stop the USB charger from making a connection, which means it won’t charge.

In addition, when you keep your headphones or earphones in your pockets, or just drop them in your bag, they can pick up lint, dust, dirt, oil from food, etc.

This can either disrupt the charging or get stuck in the charging port. You’ll then need to clean it, but we’ll get to that later.

Side note: Cleaning your headphones regularly is very important to prolong their use and to prevent nasty infections.

●    High or low temperatures

Extreme temperatures are not great for Bluetooth headphone batteries, or for the electrical components in your headphones.

Try to avoid charging in really warm, humid weather, as well as extremely cold weather.

Turn on the AC to regulate the temperature, or if it’s hot, just charge at night when it’s cooler. The optimal range is anything between 41 °F – 95 °F (5 °C – 35 °C).

2) Bluetooth Headphones Not Charging [12 Tips to Fix Them]

Take this as a step by step approach to finding the source of your charging issues. You might even solve a few other problems along the way! We’ll get to the bottom of this, but basics first:

1.       Check if your computer is turned on when charging your headphones 

This might seem a bit silly, but it happens. You could be charging from your laptop that’s closed, and you wouldn’t even realize it’s off. Just open it up and check that the screen comes on. On to step 2.

2.       Use a direct connection instead of a USB hub 

USB hubs can fry, try plugging it into your PC directly, or a portable charger, etc. Just something else to see if it might be the USB hub giving issues.

3.       Try Charging the Headphones Using a Power Socket

If it still doesn’t charge from your PC, or portable charger, they might be the issue. Head straight to the source and connect your headphone charger to the power socket.

If that doesn’t work, it could indicate that the issue is with a component of your headphones.

4.       Check the contact points of your headphones and charger

Give the USB, the jack, and all ports a good inspection. If there are any scratches on the metal connection points, this could be an indication that your headphones need a service. If anyone of these are dirty, you will need to clean them thoroughly.

Do NOT use any metal object to scratch inside to try and remove dirt. I give a detailed cleaning method at the end of the post.

5.       Make sure the USB cable is correctly inserted

This is a common issue, just give the USB and the jack a light push to see if they can go any further, don’t be too forceful as it could be dirt stopping them from going further.

Get a flashlight to check for anything blocking the port (or if you’re really geared for this, use your compressed air can to clean it out a bit).

6.       Try Different USB Charging Cables

Always a good idea just to swap cables to see if it makes a difference, if you’re using a different branded cable, you might also need to try an original cable.

7.       Check your headphone’s charging port

Again, ports get blocked, if you’re used to just chucking your headphones in your backpack, the charging port might have gotten some dirt or food stuck in it.

Don’t just focus on the source of power; check your headphones as well.

8.       Keep your headphone connected to the charging source

If your battery power depleted completely, you might need to give it a moment to refill to a basic level before you even see any signs of life. Just keep it plugged in for an hour or so to see if anything happens.

9.       Charge your Bluetooth headphones in ideal temperatures

Extreme temperatures will have an effect on your battery, but specifically, cold weather can prevent your battery from charging completely.

Try heating up the room a bit; the ideal charging temperature is anywhere between 41 °F – 95 °F (5 °C – 35 °C).

10.   Install the latest firmware update

If your software is outdated, it could have an effect on charging and other functions. Do a software update if you can (hopefully, your headphones are just giving issues and haven’t completely stopped charging).

11.   Try to hard reset your Bluetooth headphones

This isn’t as drastic a step as with a phone per se, I mean, there isn’t exactly data saved on your headphones. But, a hard reset could help fix any software bugs that could have come from an update.

12. You may have placed your device in programming mode

This isn’t common, but you might have accidentally put your headphone software in programming mode, leaving it, well, useless – unless you’re a programmer.

Luckily, you can get your headphones out of this mode quite easily:

  • Plug your headphones into a computer via a USB
  • Wait till it’s “recognized”. You’ll get some sort of a pop-up notification.
  • This will automatically take your device out of programming mode.
  • Just re-pair your device, and you’re good to go.

3) How to fix Bose headphone charging issues

If you have Bose Headphones, like the Bose SoundSport Wireless that aren’t charging, a simple reset is the best solution. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Unplug your headphones.
  2. Press the power button on your headphones until the power off (Wait 30 seconds).
  3. Plug your headphones back into a USB power supply (Wait for 5 seconds).
  4. Plug the USB power cord out (Wait 1 minute).
  5. Turn on your Bose headphones and charge them to see if the issue is resolved.

Once you’ve reset your Bose headphones, charge them for two hours. If the issue persists, you might need to update your headphones.

Go to the Bose official website and download the Bose updater. Install it onto your computer, plug in your headphones, and follow the prompts.

4) How to fix Apple Airpod charging problems

The biggest issue with having Apple Airpods is that people tend to use non-Apple chargers. Don’t deny it; we’ve all done it.

But, it does have some serious drawbacks for your Airpods. So much so that, that they can actually lead to them not charging at all.

If this happens to you, there are a few things you can do:

●  Check the connection to your charger cord

Third-party cables are an issue, test your AirPods with an original Apple charging cable.

●  Make sure your power outlet is working fine

There is the possibility that the issue isn’t with your earphones at all. Try plugging them into a different outlet.

●  Test the wireless charging pad for issues

If you’re using a wireless charging pad, make sure your Airpods version supports wireless charging. If it does, then try moving your charging case around on the pad (yes, they still need to be in the charging case).

If that doesn’t seem to help and it’s charging normally with a cable, there could be an issue with the charging pad. If you’re still under warranty, send it in for repairs.

●   Pair your charging case to your phone

This helps if you just want to check that they’re actually charging. Your Airpods need to be paired with your iPhone. Check the battery status by opening the lid of your charging case and hovering your phone nearby.

The percentage should show if there is any power. Now charge your AirPods for 15 minutes and repeat the process. If the percentage has increased, everything should be working fine.

5) How to fix charging problems on Beats headphones

With Beats, the easiest solution is resetting your headphones. It’s also pretty straight-forward, nothing too complicated. Let’s have a look at the steps:

  1. Hold the Power button for 10 seconds to reset your headphones.
  2. Once you release the power button, the Fuel Gauge LEDs will all blink white, followed by one blinking red.
  3. When the lights stop flashing, reset is complete.
  4. Your Studios will automatically power on after a successful reset.
  5. If you reset and you’re still having issues, try using another power source, a different cable, or try sound troubleshooting for headphones.

6) How to fix Sennheiser headphone charging issues

If you’re experiencing issues with charging your new or older Sennheiser headphones, or the charging light goes on and off irregularly, there could be a few things happening.

First of all, let’s understand the layout of the Sennheiser. The indicator light is positioned at the front of the transmitter, and should light up only when the battery is charging. Once the battery is fully charged, it will go off.

When you get your new Sennheiser headphones, they usually come with a bit of charge from the factory.

This charge, however, may be depleted depending on how long it takes for them to reach you. That’s why it’s still a good idea to do a full 16-hour charge when you get them, just to be on the safe side.

With new headphones, it’s normal for the light to flash intermittently, it should normalize after a few charging cycles and use. This is because the charging electronics and the transmitter need to sync.

Next, if your headphones are a bit older, it could be an electronic glitch that is causing it.

If you don’t use your headphones often anymore (perhaps you’ve got a new one), or there was a power surge, it can all affect the transmitter.

Again, do a full charge and deplete to 10% for a few cycles. Eventually, the light should sync up again, and things will be back to normal.

7) Why your headphones won’t turn on after charging

If you suspect this issue isn’t with the actual charging, but something else, follow these steps to clean all the important bits and check for any other issues:

1) Clean your charging cable or case and the contact points.

Do this when it is turned OFF.

Take a clean cotton swab and use isopropyl alcohol to gently clean the connections. You can also use compressed air to remove any dirt. Don’t use a metal object to clean the port

2) Try charging the case with another cable

A different power source or another adaptor if you have one. This will help you identify where the issue is.

3) Push the USB, Jack, or earbuds firmly into the charging plug or case.

Don’t wiggle it around, just make sure it is inserted properly. This is to make sure that the contact points are, in fact, connected to the opposite charging pins.

4) Finally, clean the POWER button on your headphones/ earbuds.

It often happens that the device is charging, but there could be something stuck behind the power button. Use compressed air to force any dirt out. Alternatively, if your headphones/earbuds are still under warranty, send them in for repairs.

8) How to know if your Bluetooth headphone battery is dead

IT is inevitable, all lithium-ion batteries (which are common in Bluetooth headphones) have a lifespan, and if yours have reached the end of theirs, then there are a few things you can do. But first, let’s understand just how long they’ll last:

In a perfect world, your traditional Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) rechargeable batteries will be able to maintain their full charge for around 500 cycles.

One cycle is when you charge and deplete the battery and then need to charge again.

What happens quite often, though, is that we don’t allow full cycles and charge our batteries for short periods so we can use them constantly. Needless to say, this isn’t so great for your battery.

After about 500 cycles, the won’t be able to hold the charge as effectively, and eventually, it won’t charge at all.

A solution, your headphones are actually recyclable, and many parts can be refurbished. Try finding a replacement battery before giving up completely.

9) Why your headphones aren’t holding a charge

If your headphones are pretty old, it could be that the battery has just reached the end of its life.

If, however, it’s still brand spanking new, it could be a manufacturing issue. This seems to be the case with a few Bose models.

Basically, if you’ve had your headphones for around a year, more or less, and suddenly they are fully charged in less than an hour and depleted in 45, you’ve got a problem.

Bose’s first response is to do a reset (as discussed in point 3 at the beginning of the article). If that doesn’t work for you, you’ll need to contact customer service in your area.

10) Is it bad to leave headphones charging overnight?

While leaving them plugged into the charger overnight won’t affect a working battery, it could overheat a faulty one.

Some modern Li-ion batteries have an auto-stop when the battery is full, and leaving them on charge won’t harm the battery.

That being said, if your headphones are a bit older, it’s always a good idea to take them off charge when the battery is full.

Some older batteries will  ‘trickle charge’ to keep the battery full once it’s reached 100%. This could affect the lifespan of your battery.

11) Can Bluetooth headphones overcharge?

No, you simply can’t overcharge modern Bluetooth headphones. Most major brands use Li-Ion batteries, and must incorporate a charging circuit that cuts off charging power when the battery reaches 100%.

These “smart batteries” also can’t over-discharge.

If, however, you have an older headphone set, be a bit more careful. We all usually charge at night when we don’t need to use them, and that’s also when the voltage rises. This can damage your battery if it’s already full.

There is also the risk of a general malfunction happening while your headphones are plugged in (also mostly an issue for older headphones), which could lead to a fire.

Just play it safe and charge for the minimum amount of time.

12) How to fix your headphone charging port

While there are quite a few things you can do to fix a faulty headphone charging port, more often than not, it all comes down to a good clean. Try these simple steps first before doing anything drastic:

1)     Clean it out with a compressed air can

Position the nozzle at an angle into the port and give it a clean, then switch and do it from the opposite angle. This will force out any lint or dust that might have accumulated.

2)     Isopropyl Alcohol Cotton Swab for oils and food

It happens, even just eating and then touching your jack can get oil into your charging port. This can disrupt the signal.

Using a cotton swab, dip it in the alcohol and give it a press to get out the excess. Then gently push it in and out of the port. Wait for it to dry completely before using it again.

If your headphones or earphones are still under warranty, you could consider sending them in for a service.

Most people probably don’t even think of sending their charger or charging case with, but I have, and they actually replaced it.

As a final thought

If you have issues with charging your headphones, make sure you:

  • Test all the parts to see where the issue is.
  • Make sure you charge at an optimal temperature.
  • Update your firmware.
  • Do a reset.
  • If they’re new, check if there are any reported issues on the manufacturer’s site.
  • Replace your headphone battery if it’s old.


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