Troubleshooting Android Bluetooth Connection Issues

Some Android devices encounter more Bluetooth connection problems than others. This may be due to manufacturing variations, variations in Bluetooth hardware or software, or bugs in the devices operating system. Our Android development team is always working to understand and resolve as many of these problems as possible. However some problems are beyond the influence of our software.

If the pHin App is having trouble using Bluetooth on your Android device, this article should help you solve the problem.

How does pHin use Bluetooth?

The pHin Mobile App uses Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE, also known as Bluetooth 4.0) to wirelessly set up you Monitor and Bridge. In most cases, after set up, you wont need Bluetooth again. But until the Monitor and Bridge have been set up (sometimes called "provisioned"), they won't be able to help you care for your pool.

Does your Android device support Bluetooth LE?

pHin uses Bluetooth LE.. Most newer mobile phones and tablets support Bluetooth LE. However if you are using an older phone, you might want to check your device's features on the manufacturer's website.

Look for any one of these features
 

  • Bluetooth LE
  • Bluetooth Low Energy
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • BLE

Is your device's Bluetooth LE turned on?

You may need to turn on Bluetooth on your device. Refer to your manufacturer's documentation on how to enable Bluetooth.

Is GPS/Location Service turned on?

Because Bluetooth LE is often used to enhance your device's location accuracy, Android OS (since 6.0) has begun requiring GPS/Location Services to also be enabled. pHin cannot alter this setting for you. If you have Android 6.0 or later, please follow these steps.
 

  1. Locate the GPS/Location Settings
  2. Locate the setting called "GPS, Wi-Fi and mobile Network"
  3. Select "High Accuracy"

The GPS/Location Services requirement was confusing to us as well. This bug report against Android is where we learned about it. Google tells us that the functionality is "as intended".
 

Have you given pHin the proper permissions?

Since Android 6.0, you must grant additional permissions to each application in order to enable Bluetooth LE. These permissions can be granted by affirming the prompts from the pHin application as they are presented, or by accessing your device's settings. If you have Android 6.0 or later, please verify that the following permissions have been granted to pHin.
 

  1. Bluetooth permissions are ON (BLUETOOTH, BLUETOOTH_ADMIN). This setting allows pHin to communicate with pHin Monitors and Bridges.
  2. GPS/Location permission is ON and option "GPS, Wi-Fi and mobile Network" is set to High Accuracy. This setting allows pHin to use Bluetooth LE, since Bluetooth LE could be used to locate your device (pHin will not use Bluetooth LE to locate your device). 
  3. Internet network access permissions are ON. 

If you are using Android 6.0.0 (not 6.0.1)

There is a known Bluetooth issue in Android 6.0.0 (Marshmallow) internal code discovered by Tile, which may affect pHin’s connectivity with Android devices. Please update your Android OS to 6.0.1 for proper Bluetooth support.

If you are using Android earlier than 4.4

The Android Bluetooth LE software was unstable before Android 4.4. If you are still running an earlier Android version (e.g. 4.2), please update Android OS on your device.

Still having trouble?

If you are still having trouble after verifying your Android version and settings and ensuring that your device supports Bluetooth LE, then follow these next steps.

Step 1: Reset your Device's Bluetooth Radio

The Bluetooth hardware and software on your mobile device can get confused. The next step in troubleshooting is to clear and reset this hardware and software.
 

  1. Turn your devices Bluetooth off for at least 15 seconds and then turn it back on.
  2. Turn your devices WiFi and Bluetooth off for at least 15 seconds and then turn it back on.
  3. Power down other connected and unconnected Bluetooth low energy devices like smart watches and portable speakers.
  4. Reboot your phone or tablet.

Step 2: Avoid Radio Interference

Bluetooth uses a wireless radio similar to WiFi, with a 2.4 GHz signal. Interference from similar devices can interrupt Bluetooth connections. Try eliminating interference by following these steps.
 

  1. Disconnect any USB-3 or USB-C device from your phone.
  2. Move your phone away from any USB-3 or USB-C cables plugged into other devices like laptops and other phones or tablets.
  3. Move away from your WiFi router. Sometimes a 2.4 GHz WiFi signal can interfere with the Bluetooth low energy signal.
  4. Move away from Bluetooth low energy devices connected to other phones or tablets in your home.
  5. Verify there are no heavy data transfer operations taking place in the background. Apps that perform photo sync or files sync (e.g., Box.com, Dropbox) may overwhelm the shared Bluetooth/WiFi antenna.

Step 3: Clear the Bluetooth Cache

Was Bluetooth working on your device earlier? The Bluetooth software stores information about previous connections, but sometimes this old information creates problems. You can try clearing the Android Bluetooth Cache.

Problem still not resolved?

We're sorry you're still having trouble. We will need to investigate further. Please gather the following information, then contact pHin customer support. Be sure to mention that you are having Bluetooth connectivity problems.
 

  1. Your Android version
  2. Your device model
  3. Which steps in this document you have performed already
  4. Any error messages you are still receiving in the pHin Mobile App
  5. Please try to perform a "Troubleshooting" diagnostic in the pHin Mobile App. See here for more information.
  6. Locate a second device (iOS or Android) to use for comparison.

For another way to test your device's Bluetooth see this article.
 

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