Pairing iPod touch with Bluetooth headsets

Q: When I put my second-generation iPod touch into discovery mode for Bluetooth, it spins a status indicator and says “Discoverable” but it does not recognize my Motorola N136 earpiece. It does recognize and recognize and link with my Jabra speaker, however. Both are fully charged and in proximity to each other, but I can’t link them. Any ideas?

Carol

A: There are actually two main types of Bluetooth audio devices, and each uses a different “profile” that determines how it connects to a Bluetooth host device such as a phone, media player or computer. Headsets such as the Motorola N136 that are designed to be used for cell phones use the “Headset” or “Handsfree” profiles, which provide mono bi-directional audio suitable for use with a cell phone. On the other hand, Bluetooth earphones and speakers for media players use a profile known as “A2DP” which is basically a stereo audio profile suitable for listening to music and other high-quality audio.

Most media players only support the A2DP profile since it provides much higher-quality stereo audio, and the iPod touch is no exception here. Since it is not a phone, it does not support pairing with Bluetooth “Headset” or “Handsfree” devices, which are designed to be used with cell phones. Your Jabra speaker, on the other hand, likely supports the A2DP profile which is why you can pair with that just fine.

Note that even the iPhone, which can link with Handsfree and Headset devices, requires an A2DP headset to actually listen to music—Headset or Handsfree devices are only used for phone call audio.

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