I just got a pair of bluetooth headphones for my Apple iPhone 8 and am confused; sometimes when I turn it on the headphones automatically become the output. But not every time. How do I choose a bluetooth output device in iOS 11 on my iPhone?
The most basic answer to this question is “it depends”. More specifically, it depends on what you’re listening to and what program you’re using for the audio. I usually jump into the Music app if there are issues with output because I know exactly how that works. Generally, once you get one app working with you desired output device, you’ll find every other app and program conforms without any additional fuss or hassle.
The first step, however, is to ensure that your desired output device is powered up and connected to your iPhone. While most devices have auditory feedback or a status light or similar to show things are working well, there are some devices where it’s a bit of a mystery whether it actually is connected. Not great design, but that’s kinda beyond the scope of this Q&A, right? 🙂
Anyway, let’s start at the beginning. Go into your Bluetooth settings (Settings > Bluetooth) and ensure that your headphones are indeed connected if they’re not automatically selected and working. You should see something like this:
You probably have less devices than I do, but notice that the single most important one is “MOMENTUM M2 AEBT” which is the only one that shows Connected. None of the other devices are currently paired to my iPhone X and therefore cannot be chosen as output devices. There is a second device also connected, my Apple AirPods, but we’ll get to that in a second…
Assuming that your headphones are connected (and if they’re not and are on, just tap “Not Connected” and they should pair right up and be ready to go) then follow my example and launch Music. You’ll see something like this:
The song queued up and ready to play is “Entering the Lifeboat” from the Captain Phillips movie soundtrack, as you can see along the bottom. But what output will it use? You can’t tell from here Tap on the current song, however, and the full screen view does show the selected output device:
You can see that in this instance it’s using MOMENTUM M2 AEBT as the output (the very bottom line). Tap on that and you’ll see a list of all possible output devices:
See that tiny checkmark? It means that I’ve switched to using the AirPods as my output device. Also note “iPhone” as a choice; that’s for if you want to have your phone as the audio output device. Simple, really.
That’s it. That’s how you choose your Bluetooth audio output device in Apple’s iOS 11 system through the Music app. Hope that helps you get lots of enjoyment out of your headphones!
Pro Tip: I have a ton of helpful tutorials and iPhone help here on the site. Please take a few minutes to look around!