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Bluetooth, or wireless headphones, are nothing without a decent battery life. In fact, that’s one of the main priorities when shopping for a good pair of Bluetooth headphones. If the devices refuse to turn off, that’s a serious problem because the strain on the battery is constant.

For some, it’s a simple matter of not understanding the controls on the earbuds or the headphones. In other situations, it might be necessary to reset them, or they could be in the wrong mode, lacking updated firmware, damaged, dirty, or won’t turn off while still connected.

AdobeStock_127749069 Black modern smartphone and headphones on grey background

Hopefully, damaged or defective isn’t the answer here but it is a possibility. So, prepare yourself for the idea of getting a new pair of Bluetooth headphones if the fixes in this guide fail to fix the problem. The good news is, unless they are pretty old, your headphones probably just need a little shake-up.

6 Potential Fixes to Bluetooth Headphones Not Turning Off

1. Issues with the Firmware

Failure to update your headphones consistently is surprisingly common. Mostly because people rightly believe most Bluetooth headphones update automatically, the moment they connect to the smartphone.

That’s a basic feature of most headphones today and that’s what they should do.

Unfortunately, that’s not what always happens. Whether you have a tweak in your smartphone’s settings or the headphones just aren’t updating like they’re supposed to, the failure to update can cause a lot of problems.

Not all Bluetooth headphones are the same but most of them will forcefully go into their update process if you simply reset them.

That usually entails holding down the power button for ten or more seconds. It’s always a good idea to hold onto your user manual so you know exactly how.

2. They are Currently in Pairing Mode

Bluetooth headphones are often difficult to just turn off the normal way when they are in pairing mode. In pairing mode, they are attempting to connect to other, nearby Bluetooth devices. While in this mode, the typical responsiveness to the power button may not exist.

Again, holding the power button down, or following the typical reset instructions in the manual will help you get around this. For the most part, headphones or earbuds in pairing mode will have a blinking indicator, though the indicator may not be in a spot that makes it obvious.

It’s also problematic if you have the types of headphones with a lot of LED stuff going on all the time. It makes it harder to identify when they are in pairing mode.

For example, the Edifier Hecates pair while in the case. However, the LED indicators on the earbuds and the LED indicators on the case are constantly going off when you open them.

That makes it hard to define at what point the device is in pairing mode. Your user manual is a great place to go to learn what all of the little LED indicators mean so you can identify at what point they are in pairing mode and stop it if you need to turn them off.

3. The Power Button is Stuck

It happens. For those of us who work in harsh environments or do a lot of exercise throughout the day, our earphones and earbuds get dirty and layered in sweat and earwax.

It’s not a pleasant thing to talk about because none of us like to point out the fact that we, as human beings, get filthy after a day of hard work or running.

When we get dirt, grime, or sweat on the button controls on our headphones (yes, it affects even touch controls), the power button may get a bit sticky. Fortunately, there are ways to clean them up and keep the touch controls clear and the buttons free of sticky residue.

With any pair of headphones or earbuds, you should always have some microfiber cloth, isopropyl alcohol, and Q-tips.

You don’t have to clean them every day. Honestly, you should only use the tiniest dab of rubbing alcohol as well. Simply give them a brief once-over every few days or so.

There’s an additional positive when it comes to cleaning your headphones too—longevity. Clean headphones and earbuds last a lot longer than dirty ones.

4. Low Battery

Being in power-saving mode might be enough to throw off your headphones and keep them from turning off. That’s assuming that your headphones have a power-saving mode, which not all of them do.

In this case, you can do one of two things—reset them according to the user manual or simply let them die on their own. You can hasten the process by turning on some music or an audiobook and turning up the volume enough to be a more severe drain on the battery.

Once they shut down on their own, or you are able to physically reset them, put them in the case and put the case on a charger. Charging them up is another way to get them out of power-saving mode as well.

It may sound like a silly feature but power-saving mode limits what you can and can’t do with your controls. This is something that is seen more commonly in Beats headphones.

5. Technically Turned Off but Still Connected

Resetting devices is one of the best go-to methods for eliminating glitches and malfunctions within devices.

Bluetooth headphones are no exception. However, another solution that often works very well for wireless headphones and earbuds is forgetting the device.

Forgetting the device is a feature in your smartphone that forces the Bluetooth device out of the phone’s memory as if you had never paired the headphones with your smartphone, to begin with. This is a sort of reset in its own right.


  1. Go to the Settings menu
  2. Select ‘Connected Devices’
  3. Select ‘Connection Preferences’
  4. Select ‘Bluetooth’
  5. Select the Bluetooth device
  6. Select ‘Forget’ or select ‘Unpair,’ whichever one pops up

iOS (iPad or iPhone)

  1. Go to the Settings menu
  2. Select ‘Bluetooth’
  3. Select the “i” in a circle symbol under ‘My Devices’
  4. Select ‘Forget This Device’
  5. Select ‘Forget Device’ to confirm

AdobeStock_409325481 Black folding headphones. Wireless headphones isolated on a white

6. Some Bluetooth Headphones Turn Off When Folded

Depending on the type of Bluetooth headphones you own, this could be your problem. You might be assuming that there is a power button when, in reality, all you need to do is fold the headphones closed to turn them off.

There are several brands of headphones that do this but many of them also have a power button. So, it really just depends on the type and how your manual describes the power-down process.

We always tend to think we have all the knowledge and understanding of these devices that we need to operate them usefully. Unfortunately, no matter how tech-minded you are, it’s surprisingly easy to miss a simple solution.

If you have a pair of Bluetooth headphones that fold closed, you should try that, rather than fooling with a power button that doesn’t seem to be doing the trick.

Final Thoughts 

The above six solutions should be more than enough to help you figure out how to power down your Bluetooth headphones or earbuds. It cannot be overstated enough how important that silly little user manual that comes with your headphones really is.

When you open the box for the first time, you don’t have to study the manual religiously. But, you should file it away somewhere safe so it’s accessible if you ever need it. You’ll be surprised at the helpful content within.