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How To Fix Bluetooth Headset Not Showing in Sound Settings on Ubuntu

Ubuntu 5

In this article, we will delve into the issue of a Bluetooth headset not showing up in the sound settings on Ubuntu, a common problem faced by many users. We will provide a step-by-step guide on how to troubleshoot and resolve this issue.

Understanding the Issue

Before we dive into the solutions, it’s important to understand the issue at hand. When a Bluetooth headset is not showing in the sound settings, it means that Ubuntu is not recognizing the device as an audio output or input source, even though it may be connected and paired successfully. This can be due to various reasons such as incorrect Bluetooth settings, missing software packages, or configuration issues.

Solution 1: Reload the List of Bluetooth Devices

The first solution is to reload the list of Bluetooth devices. This can be done by running the following command in the terminal:

sudo -H pactl load-module module-bluetooth-discover

This command tells PulseAudio, the default sound server on Ubuntu, to load the module-bluetooth-discover module, which is responsible for discovering and connecting to Bluetooth audio devices.

Solution 2: Check Configuration Files

If the first solution doesn’t work, you can check and modify certain configuration files.

First, open the /etc/pulse/ file with a text editor with root privileges, for example:

sudo nano /etc/pulse/

In this file, comment out the lines related to module-bluetooth-discover by adding a # in front of them. This will prevent PulseAudio from automatically loading this module.

Next, open the /usr/bin/start-pulseaudio-x11 file:

sudo nano /usr/bin/start-pulseaudio-x11

In this file, add the following lines within the appropriate if statement:

/usr/bin/pactl load-module module-bluetooth-discover
/usr/bin/pactl load-module module-switch-on-connect

These commands will manually load the module-bluetooth-discover and module-switch-on-connect modules when PulseAudio starts. The module-switch-on-connect module automatically switches the audio output to a newly connected device.

After modifying these files, restart PulseAudio and the Bluetooth service with the following commands:

pulseaudio -k
pulseaudio --start
sudo service bluetooth restart

Solution 3: Modify the Bluetooth Controller Mode

Another solution is to modify the Bluetooth controller mode. Open the /etc/bluetooth/main.conf file:

sudo nano /etc/bluetooth/main.conf

In this file, change the ControllerMode option to bredr. This sets the Bluetooth controller mode to Basic Rate/Enhanced Data Rate, which is compatible with most Bluetooth audio devices.

After making this change, restart the Bluetooth service:

sudo service bluetooth restart

Then, reconnect your Bluetooth headphones.

Solution 4: Install pulseaudio-module-bluetooth

On some Ubuntu systems, the pulseaudio-module-bluetooth package may not be installed by default. This package is necessary for PulseAudio to support Bluetooth audio devices. To install it, run the following command:

sudo apt-get install pulseaudio-module-bluetooth

After installing this package, restart PulseAudio and the Bluetooth service as described in Solution 2.

Solution 5: Use the Blueman PPA

If you are using Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, adding the Blueman PPA and updating the package may solve the issue. Blueman is a GTK+ Bluetooth Manager that provides a better user interface for managing Bluetooth devices.

Run the following commands to add the PPA and update the package:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:blueman/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

After updating the package, restart your system and try reconnecting your Bluetooth headphones.


In this article, we discussed several solutions to fix the issue of a Bluetooth headset not showing in the sound settings on Ubuntu. We hope these solutions have helped you resolve the issue. Remember to always restart the relevant services or reboot your system after making any changes to the configuration files. If you’re still facing issues, consider seeking help from the Ubuntu community.

How do I open the terminal in Ubuntu?

To open the terminal in Ubuntu, you can use the shortcut Ctrl + Alt + T. Alternatively, you can search for "Terminal" in the applications menu and click on it to open.

How do I edit a file with root privileges?

To edit a file with root privileges, you can use the sudo command before the text editor command. For example, to edit the /etc/pulse/ file with nano, you can use the command sudo nano /etc/pulse/ This will prompt you to enter your password before opening the file with root privileges.

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