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How To Replace Pulseaudio with Pipewire in Ubuntu 20.04 for Bluetooth and Microphone Issues

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In this article, we will guide you through the process of replacing PulseAudio with PipeWire in Ubuntu 20.04. This can help resolve certain issues related to Bluetooth and microphones. Let’s get started.

Introduction to PulseAudio and PipeWire

PulseAudio is a sound system for POSIX OSes, meaning it is a proxy for your sound applications. It allows you to do advanced operations on your sound data as it passes between your application and your hardware.

PipeWire, on the other hand, is a new, powerful multimedia framework that aims to greatly improve audio and video handling under Linux. It offers low-latency audio processing and aims to replace both PulseAudio and JACK, providing better audio handling capabilities.

Preparing for the Transition

Before we begin, it’s important to ensure your system is up-to-date. You can do this by running the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade

Adding the PipeWire PPA to Your System

The first step in the transition is to add the PipeWire PPA to your system. This can be done with the following command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:pipewire-debian/pipewire-upstream

This command adds the PipeWire Personal Package Archive (PPA) to your system’s list of sources, allowing you to install PipeWire.

Updating the Package List

Next, update your package list to include the newly added PPA:

sudo apt update

This command refreshes your system’s package list, ensuring it’s up-to-date with the latest available packages.

Installing PipeWire and Its Dependencies

With the PPA added and the package list updated, you can now install PipeWire and its dependencies:

sudo apt install pipewire libspa-0.2-bluetooth

This command installs PipeWire and the libspa-0.2-bluetooth package, which is necessary for Bluetooth support.

Installing the Client Libraries for PipeWire

Next, install the client libraries for PipeWire:

sudo apt install pipewire-audio-client-libraries

These libraries are necessary for PipeWire to function properly.

Reloading the Systemd Daemon

After installing the necessary packages, reload the systemd daemon:

systemctl --user daemon-reload

This command reloads the systemd manager configuration, which is necessary for the changes to take effect.

Disabling PulseAudio

With PipeWire installed, you can now disable PulseAudio:

systemctl --user --now disable pulseaudio.service pulseaudio.socket

This command disables both the PulseAudio service and socket.

Enabling and Starting PipeWire

Next, enable and start PipeWire:

systemctl --user --now enable pipewire pipewire-pulse

This command enables and starts both the PipeWire service and the PipeWire PulseAudio replacement service.

Verifying the Installation

Finally, verify that PipeWire is running:

pactl info

In the output, you should see “PulseAudio (on PipeWire)” in the Server Name field. This indicates that PipeWire has successfully replaced PulseAudio.


Congratulations! You have successfully replaced PulseAudio with PipeWire in Ubuntu 20.04. If you encounter any issues, try restarting your system and re-pairing your Bluetooth device. Additionally, make sure you have uninstalled any conflicting packages like ofono and phonesim.

Remember, these steps are specifically for Ubuntu 20.04. If you are using a different version, some commands or package names may vary. Always ensure to check the compatibility before proceeding with the installation.

For more information on PipeWire, visit the official PipeWire documentation. If you are looking for more Ubuntu tips and tricks, check out our other articles on the site.

Can I replace PulseAudio with PipeWire on other Linux distributions besides Ubuntu 20.04?

Yes, you can replace PulseAudio with PipeWire on other Linux distributions as well. However, the specific commands and package names may vary. It’s recommended to consult the documentation or community support for your specific distribution.

How can I revert back to PulseAudio if I face any issues with PipeWire?

To revert back to PulseAudio, you can enable and start the PulseAudio service using the following command: systemctl --user --now enable pulseaudio.service pulseaudio.socket. This will disable and stop PipeWire, and restore PulseAudio as the default sound system.

Will replacing PulseAudio with PipeWire solve all Bluetooth and microphone issues?

While replacing PulseAudio with PipeWire can help resolve certain Bluetooth and microphone issues, it may not solve all of them. Bluetooth and microphone issues can be caused by various factors, including hardware compatibility and driver issues. It’s recommended to troubleshoot the specific issue you are facing and seek additional support if needed.

What should I do if PipeWire doesn’t work properly after installation?

If PipeWire doesn’t work properly after installation, you can try restarting your system and re-pairing your Bluetooth device. Additionally, ensure that you have uninstalled any conflicting packages like ofono and phonesim. If the issue persists, you can seek support from the PipeWire community or consult the official documentation for troubleshooting steps.

Can I use PipeWire with applications that are designed for PulseAudio?

Yes, PipeWire is designed to be compatible with applications that are designed for PulseAudio. It provides a compatibility layer that allows PulseAudio applications to work seamlessly with PipeWire. However, it’s worth noting that there may be some edge cases where certain applications may require additional configuration or updates to fully support PipeWire.

Is it possible to use both PulseAudio and PipeWire simultaneously?

While it is technically possible to use both PulseAudio and PipeWire simultaneously, it’s not recommended. Running both sound systems concurrently can lead to conflicts and unpredictable behavior. It’s best to choose one sound system and configure your system accordingly.

Can I uninstall PulseAudio after replacing it with PipeWire?

Yes, after successfully replacing PulseAudio with PipeWire, you can uninstall PulseAudio if you no longer require it. You can use the command sudo apt remove pulseaudio to remove PulseAudio from your system. However, it’s recommended to double-check that no other applications or services depend on PulseAudio before uninstalling it.

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