Earbuds are great when they work.
But sometimes, they pause right in the middle of your favorite piece of music or when the podcast is delivering its critical point or the movie is getting exciting.
If it happens once, that is bearable. But if it keeps happening, that isn’t very pleasant. It breaks the flow of your activity and the pleasure or stimulation you’re enjoying.
Unfortunately, earbuds pausing is not uncommon and happens for a variety of reasons. So it pays to be ready if it happens to you, know how to fix the problem, and get on with your listening.
Read further to find out what can cause earbuds to pause and how to fix each cause.
Why Do Your Earbuds Pause?
There is a whole range of reasons why earbuds pause, which I’ll briefly list here:
- Wired earbuds? Your earbuds jack may be dirty or worn out.
- Do you have an ill-fitting connector?
- Perhaps you need to disable the auto-pause function?
- Earbuds dirty and gathering wax?
- Could the Motion Sense function on your Android be the problem?
- Is there a software issue?
- Is internet buffering causing delays?
- Are you getting interference from other devices?
- Wireless earbuds? Is the battery getting low?
- Bluetooth earbuds? Are you out of range?
- Do you have too many apps running on your device?
Now let’s work through how to fix each issue.
Knowing the Cause Helps to Stop Earbuds from Pausing
Sometimes with wired headphones, the pausing can be simply the result of the headphone jack not being fully pressed into the phone headphone socket of the controller. It’s a bit like the car won’t start because you’ve run out of gas.
If that’s not the problem, it could be the jack on your wired pair of headphones has worn out over time with plenty of use, or they can plain get dirty.
Perhaps the jack has collected dust, and the dust particles prevent a clean connection that causes intermittent pausing of the audio. That’s easily fixed by applying a cotton alcohol swab all over the surface of the jack (make sure you don’t leave any cotton strands on the jack.)
Are you using third-party earbuds with your mobile device, whether it’s an Apple iPhone, iPod, or Android device? It may be that the connector is ill-fitting, i.e., not as tight-fitting as it would be using the earbud recommended by the manufacturer.
A less-than-tight fit can cause a song or video to pause. Best then to replace it with the recommended earbud. It may get too expensive trying other third-party headphones until you find the one that works.
Many mobile devices have a setting that pauses audio or video when the connector is removed. Re-inserting the wired earbud jack and pressing the “Play” button re-commences the playing of the song or video.
The same can happen when a notification pops up.
You can avoid both of these occurrences by disabling the Auto-Pause function, but that means you’ll miss hearing the video or song while disconnected.
Ear wax is not suitable for earbuds. It can seep into the earbuds and ruin their insides. Over time this process can be the cause of earbuds pausing.
If pausing starts to occur and your earbuds need a clean, you can use alcohol cotton swabs. And with something thin and sharp, you can tease out the wax in the nooks and crannies of the earbuds, but you need to be careful when you’re doing this.
In any event, you should be taking preventative action by regularly cleaning the earbuds and hopefully avoid the earbuds pausing because of the wax and dirt.
Motion Sense Android Function
Most Android phones now have Motion Sense Functions that detect movement around the device. For example, one of those functions allows you to pause or resume music. Maybe you have this function operational and don’t know it?
On the Pixel 4, you can check by going to “Settings” > “System” > “Motion Sense” (it may be different on your Android device). If you don’t want to use hand gestures, disable the function to stop it being a reason for your earbuds pausing.
It may be that the most recent software update of your audio, music or video application has a bug or loses its compatibility with your device and causes pausing issues.
If that’s the case, uninstall the application in question and revert to the previous working version of the app.
When you’re online and you’re streaming a song or a video, the quality of your internet connection could cause the song or video to pause.
If this happens, the fix could be as simple as leaving the streaming on pause for a few seconds to build up a buffer so your listening or viewing is not interrupted.
If buffering doesn’t improve things, you may need to turn off the modem, wait 10 seconds then turn the power back on. Hopefully, once the modem is fully operational, your signal has improved, and all is well. If not, you may need to contact your broadband supplier.
Interference is not a common cause of wireless earbuds pausing. But it could occur where many devices are trying to simultaneously use the same radio frequency spectrum as yours. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do except perhaps move on.
All wireless and Bluetooth earbuds need to have their batteries recharged. However, it could be that as the earbuds get close to needing that recharge, there might not be enough power to maintain the connection, which causes the earbuds to pause. If this is the case, recharging the earbuds is the solution.
Bluetooth headphones can only work within a certain distance of their paired device. The range varies across devices but is usually around 30-odd feet.
As you approach or go beyond the maximum range of the device signal, dropouts will occur, which will stop the audio on the earbuds. Moving back within range will re-activate the connection, and the audio will re-commence.
Note that even if you are within the maximum distance, your earbuds could still pause if an object blocks the signal.
Read the specifications of your earbuds to understand the distance limit so you can ensure you know how far you can stray and still enjoy a seamless connection without pause.
Too Many Apps
Have you ever had your laptop or PC display an error message along the lines of “insufficient memory?” It typically means you have too many applications open, and there’s not enough memory to swap programs in and out.
The same can happen on a mobile device when you have too many apps running in the background. It could mean the signal to your earbuds is disrupted, and the audio is paused or even stopped permanently.
If you think this is the problem, look to freeze or even uninstall unwanted apps to free up resources and get that audio back working.