Insights Windows 11: Bluetooth dongle audio sync issue

Windows 11: Bluetooth dongle audio sync issue

Windows 11 is now out and as a Microsoft partner we are excited to explore the new features.  While I was doing some testing, an interesting bug presented itself.  If you use a Bluetooth headset with a dongle, you may be interested to read more…

I pair my Bluetooth headset with my iPhone as well as my Surface Book 2 via a Bluetooth dongle from the headset manufacturer. I use the dongle as it has better audio quality, longer wireless range, tighter integration with Teams, and the software from the manufacturer notifies me if there are firmware updates for the headset. I like to listen to podcasts at 1.5x speed (and if you need a good one check out the Change Agent CTO podcast) and music on my iPhone when not in a meeting or on a call.

In Windows 10 if I received a call or joined a meeting the headset would pause the audio on my iPhone and seamlessly switch over to the computer audio. Once the call or meeting ended it would seamlessly switch back and unpause the audio on my iPhone and I would go right back to listening where it left off before the meeting/call.

With Windows 11 this is no longer the case. The audio seems to always be stuck to Windows unless I receive a phone call on my iPhone. I have now had to resort to using two different headsets, one to use with my iPhone for podcasts/music and another just for Windows. Since I was used to both devices being in sync before I find myself answering calls but still hearing the audio from my iPhone because I forgot to switch the headphones.

If I remove the dongle and connect the headset directly with Bluetooth the issue seems to go away. So for the short term I will be using a straight Bluetooth connection to the computer so that I can easily switch between my iPhone and computer audio. The downside to this is the loss of audio quality that the dongle does provide, loss of wireless range and integration with Teams.

Hopefully Microsoft and the dongle/headset manufacturers can figure this out soon as it is extremely frustrating.

NOTE: I tested these scenarios with a Poly BT600 connected to a Voyager 6200 and a Voyager 8200 headsets with Plantronics Hub software. I also tested a Jabra Link 360 connected to an Evolve 75 and Motion headsets with Jabra Direct software. I am running Windows 11 Enterprise Insider Preview build 22543.rs_prerelease.220122-2315.