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Question: Bluetooth audio problems Catalina

I've updated to Catalina and I'm not experiencing a lot of problems, but one problem in particular and it annoys me a lot.


I'm always using Bluetooth headphones or speakers on my Mac to listen to music.


The problem is that the sound to my output device randomly drops to zero. First I thought it lost connection but when I go to Bluetooth Settings it's still there and connected. When I go to Audio settings the device is still there and selected. So I push the volume-up button and the output device instantly changes to internal speakers and the sound is being played through my speakers instead of my Bluetooth connected device. When I look at the Bluetooth Settings again, the headphones are still connected. So it looks like an audio-codec-driver-software-hardware(or whatever it is)-problem instead of an Bluetooth problem. My Bluetooth apple mouse stays connected and keeps working.


The problem, as described above, appears randomly. Sometimes 3 or 4 times spread over the day, sometimes 4 or 5 times within an hour, sometimes 2 times within a minute! Very annoying.


The quickest way to solve the problem ad hoc is to disconnect and connect the Bluetooth device again through the top at Bluetooth settings.


I'm using different devices and each of them have the same problem;

- Apple AirPods 2

- Steelseries Arctis Wireless Pro

- Jbl charge 3


I've already deleted the Bluetooth folder in Library and rebooted my Mac.


I've already forgot the devices and reconnected everything.


I've already turned off and on my Bluetooth on my Mac


I've already turned off my Bluetooth on my phone (thought maybe this caused the problems but.. unfortunately no..)


Is there anyone with the same problems or does anyone has any ideas to fix this extremely annoying problem?


It looks like this problem appeared eversince I've updated my device to Catalina.

MacBook Air 13", macOS 10.15

Posted on Oct 27, 2019 11:16 PM

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Oct 29, 2019 12:42 AM in response to Bunkface In response to Bunkface

Just comment for inform another issue too


I have similar problem with Catalina bluetooth while using Bose QC35 II. The bluetooth still connected, but sound changed to internal speaker. And other problem, while my iPhone XR (iOS 13.1.3) and my QC35 II connected to my Macbook Air 13" together, the sound will stutter till I disconnect my iPhone XR

Oct 29, 2019 12:42 AM

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Oct 29, 2019 8:09 AM in response to Bunkface In response to Bunkface

I'm also having this issue, it's completely annoying.

I constantly use bluetooth audio devices (Airpods, Bose QC II and a bluetooth speaker).

They keep getting disconnected after a few minutes using them, and worse, I work remotely so I had a lot of issues during important work calls, while using Hangouts, if this disconnection bug happens, you don't have other option than restarting your browser to make your mic work again. I had this problem 4 times during a 30 minute work call, totally embarrassing and annoying.

I wanted to downgrade to Mojave but it takes lots of time (backup, bootable installer, uninstalling Catalina, installing Mojave).


Please, as Bunkface mentioned on his comment: if you have this same problem, click on "I have this problem too" so this issue get's Apple attention.

Oct 29, 2019 8:09 AM

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Dec 20, 2019 6:50 PM in response to Bunkface In response to Bunkface

Hey, just wanted to provide an update that i'm part of the Beta for 10.15.3 that just came out, and it appears that this update finally has the fix for this issue. Immediately noticed my headphones we're connected better as soon as I updated, and for the past 3 days, there has been 0 issues with disconnection. As of now, it appears apple finally handled this issue in 10.15.3

Dec 20, 2019 6:50 PM

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Question marked as Helpful

Oct 29, 2019 12:42 AM in response to Bunkface In response to Bunkface

Just comment for inform another issue too


I have similar problem with Catalina bluetooth while using Bose QC35 II. The bluetooth still connected, but sound changed to internal speaker. And other problem, while my iPhone XR (iOS 13.1.3) and my QC35 II connected to my Macbook Air 13" together, the sound will stutter till I disconnect my iPhone XR

Oct 29, 2019 12:42 AM

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Question marked as Helpful

Oct 29, 2019 8:09 AM in response to Bunkface In response to Bunkface

I'm also having this issue, it's completely annoying.

I constantly use bluetooth audio devices (Airpods, Bose QC II and a bluetooth speaker).

They keep getting disconnected after a few minutes using them, and worse, I work remotely so I had a lot of issues during important work calls, while using Hangouts, if this disconnection bug happens, you don't have other option than restarting your browser to make your mic work again. I had this problem 4 times during a 30 minute work call, totally embarrassing and annoying.

I wanted to downgrade to Mojave but it takes lots of time (backup, bootable installer, uninstalling Catalina, installing Mojave).


Please, as Bunkface mentioned on his comment: if you have this same problem, click on "I have this problem too" so this issue get's Apple attention.

Oct 29, 2019 8:09 AM

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Oct 31, 2019 4:51 PM in response to Bunkface In response to Bunkface

Same Issue here. On my macbook pro, 2016 new body, since Catalina, I can connect to my Sounblaster Katana soundbar, but ZERO audio comes out. Of course i've selected the device in 'audio devices', tried unpairing, repairing, How did such a massive bug get through? This persists even through OSX 10.15.1

Oct 31, 2019 4:51 PM

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Nov 1, 2019 7:16 AM in response to Bunkface In response to Bunkface

I've been having the same exact issue since updating to Catalina. Extremely annoying. I've been routinely checking various Reddit & Apple threads etc. every few days to see if anyone has found a fix for this. Apple has released a few different updates to Catalina but have not fixed this major issue, which is very surprising. I've seen some people say that downgrading to Mojave is the only solution, but I don't want to have to go through that whole process. I am hoping Apple can see these consistent complaints and address this issue.

Nov 1, 2019 7:16 AM

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Nov 1, 2019 2:57 PM in response to Bunkface In response to Bunkface

I have the same problem since I updated my mac to Catalina. My MacBook Air is connected to Bose SoundTouch 10, but it switches to the internal speakers (while it is still connected to Bose speaker through Bluetooth) sometimes one or twice per minute and sometimes it is OK for, let say, one hour and again the problem is back.

Nov 1, 2019 2:57 PM

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Nov 2, 2019 5:32 AM in response to fortezhuo In response to fortezhuo

I have the exact same setup as fortezhuo;

  • Bose QC35 II
  • Macbook Air 13''
  • iPhone XR


Everything is up to date, and I also have this stuttering issue as well as random audio drop outs, is there any indication of this stuttering occurring with other phone models? Or just a coincidence?


Nov 2, 2019 5:32 AM

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Nov 2, 2019 2:28 PM in response to Bunkface In response to Bunkface

MacBook Air (13" Early 2014)

MacOS Catalina Version 10.15.1 (19B88)


I'm experiencing the same issue.

Randomly, sound will transfer from bluetooth airpods (or any bluetooth headphones I have) to the internal speaker.

However, bluetooth menu still indicates that my bluetooth headset is still connected, but sound is coming from internal speaker not headphones.


I have to disconnect and reconnect, but again randomly it will disconnect.


I did try deleting the pst file, reboot, but made no difference at all.


Had this problem in the previous update too.


Nov 2, 2019 2:28 PM

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Nov 3, 2019 8:40 PM in response to Bunkface In response to Bunkface

I have exactly the same thing on my MacBook Pro (13") and I've tried 3 different headsets including AirPods.

I thought it didn't happen to my KB or mouse, however I did notice today these disconnect occasionally as well but they will pretty quickly reconnect again. Audio doesn't reconnect. It shows as connected in the BT menu, but the speaker can't connect to it.

Nov 3, 2019 8:40 PM

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Nov 4, 2019 5:35 AM in response to Bunkface In response to Bunkface

I have the same. I connect to a Pioneer Bluetooth stereo system, and stream Internet radio throughout the day, and yes, 3 or 4 times a day, completely at random when not even doing anything on the Mac, it simply drops back to the Mac's speakers.


The Bluetooth icon hasn't changed, it's still connected to the stereo, everything is up and running, but I have to manually go back to the BT icon and disconnect/reconnect the external device.


I haven't had the patience to leave it alone when it does this to see whether it spontaneously reconnects to the external speaker system - I expect it does (because I sometimes leave my desk for half the day and it's always connected when I return), but I can imagine how frustrating it is when you'r using headphones.

Nov 4, 2019 5:35 AM

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Question: Bluetooth audio problems Catalina