Bose QC II earbuds are not my favorites, but I do like some of their features, especially their world-class noise canceling. I tend to use them mostly when traveling. The fit and stability they provide are amazing, the sound quality is above average, and the Bose Music app offers numerous advanced features you won’t find in budget earbuds.
However, the reason I don’t use them often is that they have too many flaws for such an expensive pair of earbuds. At least in my opinion. First of all, their mic quality is not on par with AirPods Pro or Sony WF-1000XM4, which are also cheaper than Bose QC II.
Second, they tend to misbehave and have glitches more often than other high-end earbuds. I don’t know if that’s the case with my earbuds only, but according to online posts on various forums, I’m not alone.
For example, my Bose QC II buds would start to cut out for no apparent reason, even though the distance between my phone (which was in my pocket) and my earbuds (in my ears) was less than 4ft.
Once I restart the connection or reset the earbuds, things would return to normal, but after a few days or weeks, the problem would come back.
Recently, I experienced another issue with my Bose earbuds – one side simply stopped working for no apparent reason. The left one, to be more specific. I tried the usual tricks (restart, reset), but I wasn’t able to bring it back to life.
So, I started researching the issue and found out that this happened to many users before. Bose even posted official troubleshooting tips for Bose QC and Bose QC II earbuds on its support page. Manufacturers don’t post these types of guides unless there’s a significant number of users complaining about the same issue.
While reading through forums, I managed to find the solution that worked for me – it was a simple issue with Bose’s In-Ear detection. The sensors that were supposed to register when I put the earbuds back in my ears stopped working and wouldn’t un-pause the music. I just disabled in-ear detection within the app and restarted the earbuds.
To make the whole troubleshooting process easier for fellow users, I gathered all the fixes found on online forums (Reddit, Quora), the official support page, and YouTube. Keep reading to find out why one of your Bose earbuds is not working and what you can do to fix it.
- Start with simple things. First, restart the earbuds by putting them back in the case and closing the lid. Then, restart the whole connection by forgetting the buds, restarting them, and pairing them afresh. Furthermore, try updating your Bose earbuds (and your charging case) or resetting the earbuds.
- Another efficient fix when one Bose earbud is not working is disabling the In-Ear detection feature.
- Try connecting your Bose buds to a different phone/PC to rule out source device issues. If the earbuds connect to other devices without issues, you will need to troubleshoot your source device, not your earbuds. Check the audio and balance settings, restart your device, reset your device’s connection settings, or reset the entire device.
- Additionally, try using a different app to stream music to your earbuds. Also, try eliminating EM interference and stay within a traditional 33ft Bluetooth range.
- If your earbud has an empty battery or if something is preventing it from charging, you need to deal with the charging issue to fix the faulty earbud. Dirty or stuck charging contacts, as well as wrong placement and wrongly mounted tips and stability bands can prevent one or both earbuds from charging.
- If none of the suggested fixes help, you will have to contact Bose and ask for their help. If the earbuds are still under warranty, you should get a replacement. If the warranty period has expired, they may offer you a discount.
Recommended Reading :
Why Is One of My Bose Earbuds Not Working?
A number of issues can cause one of your Bose earbuds to stop working. Some are easily fixable, and others require advanced skills and knowledge.
Firmware glitches are the most common culprit of such problems. To solve them, try restarting the earbuds, re-syncing the buds and case, restarting your connection (forget the earbuds and pair them afresh), resetting, or updating your Bose earbuds.
Hardware issues could also cause one of your Bose earbuds to stop working. Most hardware malfunctions are not easy to fix, but there’s one that can be fixed in just a few seconds. If the sensors designed for in-ear detection start misbehaving, disable in-ear detection, and the earbud will start working again.
Sometimes, one earbud (or both) might refuse to work due to some software glitch on a source device. For example, you may be having issues when your earbuds are connected to your iPhone, but everything works fine when the earbuds are connected to your MacBook or Android phone.
Finally, low battery and charging issues might be the culprit. If the earbud’s battery is empty, charge it. If the faulty earbud won’t charge, inspect the charging contacts, clean them, and make sure the pins in the case and contacts on the earbuds are touching each other.
How to Fix Bose Earbuds When One Side Is Not Working?
Below, I listed the most effective fixes that worked for most Bose earbud users. Try them out and hopefully, one of them will work for you.
|Firmware Glitches||Hardware Issues||Source Device Issues||Battery/Charging Issues|
|Restart Earbuds||Disable in ear-detection||Check audio balance||Try charging your earbuds and case|
|Restart Connection||Replace damaged part||Restart your source device||Check charging pins and contacts|
|Update Earbuds||Contact Bose||Reset connection settings||Clean the contacts if they are dirty/corroded|
|Reset Earbuds||Reset your source device||Fix the pins if they are stuck|
|Reduce EM interference||Yes||Adjust ear tips and stability bands|
Restart Your Bose Earbuds
Sometimes, the oldest trick in the book will magically fix the issue and save you from going through the troubleshooting process.
So, put the earbuds in the case and close the lid. Waif for 5 seconds, open the lid and initiate pairing.
In addition to restarting the earbuds, you could try syncing the earbuds with the case. It’s almost the same as restarting, but without closing the lid. Also, it’s recommended that you disable Bluetooth on all nearby devices to prevent earbuds from connecting to them.
Restart Your Connection (Unpair – Forget – Pair Again)
The second step in troubleshooting your faulty Bose earbud is restarting the connection. Basically, you will forget the earbuds from your phone (or whatever device you are using) and pair them from scratch. You should also forget the earbuds from all the other previously paired devices.
Once the earbuds are forgotten, you can put them in the case and press the Bluetooth button (inside the case or on the back) until the earbuds’ LEDs start flashing blue.
Then, go through the standard pairing process – enable Bluetooth on your phone, refresh the list of available devices, and tap on your Bose earbuds. You should be connected in a second or two.
Bose SoundSport Earbuds – Pairing Instructions
Update Your Bose Earbuds
Updating Bose earbuds is trickier and more confusing than updating other high-end earbuds. Usually, if the earbuds come with a companion app, you just have to connect the earbuds to the app and then use the app to update them.
When it comes to Bose earbuds, you have to update both – your earbuds and your charging case, and you have to update them separately. For the earbuds, you will use the Bose Music app. To update your Bose charging case, you need to connect it to your PC using the included USB cable, and then visit the Bose updater website and follow the on-screen instructions.
Let’s update the earbuds first.
Once you install the app and connect the earbuds, the app will automatically check for updates and download them. Then, the app will transfer the update to your earbuds. This could take up to 45 minutes. Even though the instructions say you can use the earbuds while updating, I would recommend that you don’t. That way, you will speed up the process.
When the update is ready to be installed, you should see a notification on your phone. Open the app and tap on Install Update. Confirm your choice and follow the instructions to finish the update.
After updating the earbuds, you will have to update your Bose charging case. This makes Bose very different from other manufacturers.
You need to connect your charging case to your PC/laptop via the included USB cable and visit Bose’s updater website – https://btu.bose.com.
If this is your first time updating the earbuds, you will have to install the Bose Updater.
Once you install and launch the Bose updater, it will automatically recognize your charging case and inform you about available updates.
Updating Bose QC II Earbud Firmware
Disable In-Ear Detection
In-ear detection is a feature that automatically pauses the playback when you take one or both earbuds out of your ears and resumes playback when you put them back into your ears.
Each earbud has sensors that are supposed to detect when the earbuds are inside your ears. If the sensor on one or both earbuds malfunctions, the earbud may refuse to resume playback when you put it in your ear, making you think the earbud is not working.
Checking whether the in-ear detection sensor is causing the issue is easy. Open the Bose Music app, tap on the gear icon in the top-right corner, scroll down to Preferences, and tap In-Ear Detection. Now, disable all three options – Auto Play/Pause, Auto Answer Call, and Auto Transparency.
Use the Right Earbud in Mono Mode
If using older Bose earbuds with an old firmware version, you should know that only the right earbud can be used in Mono mode.
If you try to use the left earbud while putting the right one in the case and closing the lid, the left earbud will turn off. That’s because the right Bose earbud is the master earbud. It’s the only earbud that connects to your device. The left bud connects to the right one. It receives Bluetooth audio from the right earbud. So, if the right earbud is turned off, the left earbud will not play any sound.
Reset Your Bose Earbuds
If none of the previous fixes solved the issue for you, try resetting them. The process is quick and not too invasive. It will only delete the information about previously paired devices and erase all custom settings from the Bose Music app.
Before updating your earbuds, forget the earbuds from all devices previously connected to your earbuds.
Also, consider removing/deleting the earbuds from the Bose Music app.
Once you forget them and delete them from the Bose Music app, disable Bluetooth on all nearby devices.
Connect the charging case to a power source using the included USB cable. Put the earbuds inside the case, but don’t close the lid. Make sure the earbuds and the case are charging.
Locate the Bluetooth button. On older models (Bose Sport, Bose QC), the button is inside the case. On newer models (Bose QC II and Bose QC Ultra), the button is on the back of the case.
Press this button and hold it for about 10 seconds. The LEDs on the earbuds (older models) or inside the case (new models) will turn from blinking blue to blinking white. On new models, it will go back to blinking blue, and it will then turn off. You can release the button when the LED inside the case turns off. On older models, the LEDs on the earbuds will go back to blinking blue, but will not turn off. You can release the button when you see the LEDs blinking blue again.
After resetting your Bose earbuds, you need to pair them again with your phone and set up using the Bose Music app.
Resetting Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
Resetting Bose QC II Earbuds
Try Connecting to a Different Device
Maybe the problem is not in your earbuds. Your source device may be causing the issue and refusing to send audio to one of the earbuds.
To rule out this possibility, try connecting the earbuds to a different device. If you experience the same issue when the earbuds are connected to other devices, the problem is in the earbuds themselves.
However, if the earbuds work flawlessly when connected to other devices, the problem is definitely in your source device. To fix the issue, try the following:
Try Using a Different App
Rarely, one of the Bose earbuds will refuse to work when using a specific app. To rule out this possibility, try using a different app to stream audio.
Adjust Audio Settings on Your Device – Check Audio Balance
Most people don’t even know that their phones have the Audio Balance feature. If you (or your child) mistakenly change the Audio Balance settings, you may experience some issues.
For example, if you move the balance toggle all the way to the left/right, the sound will come out from one earbud only. The other earbud will be muted. You need to adjust the balance, and the faulty earbud will magically start working again.
Restart Your Device
Restarting your phone, tablet, or laptop will refresh the OS and wireless settings (Bluetooth and Wi-Fi), removing any minor bugs from your system.
How to Restart an iPhone?
Reset Network Settings on Your Device
If some of the custom network settings are causing the issue, the best fix is resetting all those settings on your source device. Unfortunately, resetting the network settings will erase all information about known Wi-Fi networks and previously paired Bluetooth devices.
Resetting Network Settings on an iOS Device
Resetting Network Settings on an Android Device
Reset Your Device
The most aggressive fix is resetting your phone. For some users, this might be a bit too drastic measure since it erases everything stored on your phone and all the custom settings. Resetting will restore all your device’s settings to factory defaults.
Reduce EM Interference and Stay Close to Your Source Device
In my experience, Bose earbuds are more susceptible to electromagnetic and other types of interference than other high-end earbuds. I used to experience cut-outs even when my earbuds were only a few feet away from my phone.
Do your best to reduce the interference – disable Bluetooth on devices you don’t use, stay away from your router and microwave, and remove obstacles between your earbuds and your phone.
Most importantly, keep your earbuds close to your phone. When I say close, I mean just a few feet max. While their advertised range is much longer, they tend to have a much shorter range in real life.
Check Your Bose Earbuds’ Battery Levels – Charge Them
Your left and right earbuds don’t charge equally fast and don’t lose their juice equally fast. The Bose Music app allows you to check individual battery levels of your left and right earbuds. If one of the earbuds is critically low, it may refuse to turn on and connect.
If the battery in one earbud is critically low, put it back in the case and let it charge until full. Then, try using it again.
When you put the earbud in the case, make sure it’s charging. Observe the LEDs on the earbuds (older Bose earbud models) or inside the case (newer models) to confirm the earbud is charging. If the LEDs don’t light up amber, you might be dealing with a charging issue.
Another indicator that one of your earbuds is not charging is a significant disparity in battery levels between the left and right earbuds, assuming that you’ve been using them together and not in Mono mode.
So, if the left earbud battery level is at 1 or 2%, while the right earbud is at 60 or 70%, there’s something wrong with the left earbud.
One Earbud Won’t Charge
If the LEDs on the earbud or inside the case don’t turn amber when you insert the earbud for charging, you are dealing with a charging issue.
Luckily, some charging issues can be fixed. For example, if the issue was caused by dirty or stuck charging contacts, you need to clean them, and the earbuds will start charging.
On the other hand, if a dead battery is causing the charging issue, the only possible fix is to replace the battery, and that’s not a job for a regular user.
Wrong Placement – Interfering Parts
Your Bose earbuds are designed to fit only one of the slots inside the charging case. If you put your earbuds in the wrong slots (which is practically impossible), they will not charge.
What’s much more possible is placing the earbuds properly in their corresponding slots, but having charging issues due to some interfering parts.
All Bose earbuds have silicone ear tips, and some even come with the so-called stability bands. If these bands and tips are not installed properly, they will interfere with the charging slots and prevent the earbud from establishing proper contact with the charging pins inside the case. Thus, you will experience charging issues – your earbuds will not charge. Check the earbud tips and stability bands and make sure they are installed properly.
Clean the Charging Contacts
Carefully inspect the charging contacts on the earbuds. Then, inspect the pins in the case. If you notice any dirt or if the contacts are corroded, you need to clean them.
To remove dirt, use isopropyl alcohol, lint-free cloth, and cotton swabs. If the stains are more persistent, you could use a toothbrush.
Some Bose earbuds are splash-proof, water-resistant, or at least sweat-resistant, which means you can use them for workouts. But if you don’t wipe them off after workouts, those tiny metal contacts on the earbuds will corrode over time.
This thin layer of corrosion will prevent your earbuds from charging. So, to make them charge again, you need to remove the corrosion. Try using a toothbrush to brush the corrosion off the contacts. If that doesn’t help, you could even try using sandpaper.
How to Clean the Charging Contacts on Earbuds and Fix Charging Issues?
After removing all the corrosion, if the earbuds still won’t charge, try applying a drop of WD40 to the contacts and pins.
Check if the Charging Pins (Inside the Case) Are Stuck
The charging pins inside the charging case on older models are spring-loaded. They go down when you insert the earbuds. If they somehow get stuck under the charging case’s cover, you won’t be able to charge your earbud. You need to find a way to get it unstuck. You could try pulling it out with plyers or using a needle.
Your Earbud Might Be Damaged – Contact Bose
If one of your Bose earbuds still refuses to work after trying all the suggested fixes, your problem might be more serious.
Some of the internal parts inside the earbud might be dead or damaged. It could be a dead battery or a dead PCB (printed circuit board). Or even a speaker driver inside the earbud.
Technically, these parts are replaceable, but that’s not a job for a regular user. Even serious DIYers will struggle to open the earbud and replace the damaged part.
If you still want to give it a try, you can find replacement parts on eBay.
Bose SoundSport Earbuds – PCB Replacement
If you don’t want to make things worse, or if your earbuds are still under warranty, contacting Bose support is a smarter move.
Call them, explain everything you have tried, and ask for additional troubleshooting tips. If the earbuds are under warranty, they might send you a replacement unit.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Question: What to do when one Bose earbud is not working?
- Answer: The usual troubleshooting procedure includes restarting the earbuds, resyncing them with the case, restarting the connection, updating the earbuds, and resetting them.
- Then, if those basic troubleshooting steps don’t help, try reducing EM interference and keep the earbuds very close to your source device. Furthermore, check whether your earbud is charging or not. If it’s having charging issues, clean the charging contacts, inspect the case for stuck charging pins, and make sure the tips and stability bands are properly installed.
- If your earbud is dead/damaged, you could try replacing the dead part on your own, or you could contact Bose support.
- Question: How to reset my Bose left earbud?
- Answer: You can’t reset just one earbud – you have to reset both. Connect the case to the charging source and put the earbuds inside. Make sure the earbuds are charging. Don’t close the lid. Locate the Bluetooth button inside the case (older models) or on the back (new models). Press this button for about 10 seconds.
- Question: Why is one side of my Bose earbuds not charging?
- Answer: It could be because the ear tips and stability bands are not installed properly and are now interfering with the case. Furthermore, your Bose earbuds may refuse to charge because of dirty/corroded charging contacts. Also, the charging pins inside the case might be stuck. Charging issues can also be caused by firmware glitches. Restarting, updating, or resetting the earbuds should fix these glitches.
- Finally, one of your Bose earbuds will refuse to charge if the battery or PCB inside the earbud is dead.
- Question: Why does my Bose left earbud keep disconnecting?
- Answer: It could be because your Bose earbuds are simply susceptible to interference and have a shorter range than other earbuds. Always keep them close to your source device and try reducing EM interference.
- Connection issues can also be caused by firmware bugs that can be fixed by updating or resetting the earbuds. Also, the connection issues can be caused by your source device (phone). Try connecting them to another device and check if this fixes the problem.
- Question: Do Bose earbuds have a reset button?
- Answer: The button inside the case (older models) or on the back of the case (new Bose earbud models) is primarily used to put Bose earbuds in pairing mode, but it also doubles as the RESET button.
- Question: Do Bose earbuds charge when the case is closed?
- Answer: Yes, Bose earbuds charge when the case is closed.
- Question: Why is my Bose QuietComfort left earbud flashing red and white?
- Answer: Earbud LED flashing red and white is an indication of an internal fault. Visit the Bose support page for detailed instructions.
- Question: Can I use just my left Bose earbud?
- Answer: Originally, users were able to use only the right Bose earbud in Mono mode. Using the left earbud was not possible. After the firmware update 1.3.26, it became possible to use either earbud in Mono mode.
- This certainly applies to Bose QC II and Bose QC Ultra earbuds, but I’m not sure if it also applies to older Bose QC and Bose Sport/SoundSport earbuds.
Bose earbuds are a mixture of fantastic features (world-class noise-canceling, great sound, companion app) and some really annoying issues.
One of the most common issues users had with Bose earbuds is one side not working. It made me mad when it happened to me, especially when the basic troubleshooting steps didn’t help.
Hopefully, this guide made the troubleshooting process easier for you, and helped you find the right fix for your Bose earbuds.
Feel free to share what fix worked for you, especially if it’s not something mentioned in this post.