Question Controlling Bluetooth headphone volume from external device intermittent

Jul 30, 2019

I bought my first Bluetooth headphone (JBL LIVE 650BTNC). It's a nice headphone, good sound, I'm happy with it.

I use it with 5 different devices. Obviously not all the time, but whichever I happen to use. These are
  • mac mini
  • macbook pro
  • imac (work)
  • iPhone 7
  • iPad 6
I noticed that regardless of which device I am connecting to, sometimes I am not able to control the volume using the device's hardware/software controls. Instead, the only way to control the volume level is through the volume controls of the headphone. So, for example, adjusting the volume using the macs' keyboard or the system's audio control is not possible. Same thing for the mobile devices. Neither mobile devices hardware audio controls, or software audio volume controls work. Only the headphones.

However, at other times, when I connect to any of the devices, I am able to control the volume using the device's volume control (hardware or software), in addition to the headphone's volume controls.

I have reset the headphone to factory settings (recommended by their tech support) but that did not change anything.

I was curious why is it that sometimes I can adjust the volume using the external device's controls (hardware or software) but at other times I am not able to. It seems this has to do with how the bluetooth connection was established...?

Example (after pairing with all devices completed):
  1. I turn on the headphone.
  2. Connect to one of the devices.
  3. Cannot control volume using the external device (eg neither using hardware or software). Volume control only works using headphone's volume control.
  4. I disconnect the headphone from the device. Turn it off.
  5. I reconnect.
  6. Now the volume can be controlled with the external device (hardware and software).
  7. Repeat steps 1-3. Now I cannot control the volume again from the external device.
I don't have neither an Android nor a Windows device to test whether this is an issue only with Apple devices.

Is this normal? Do others have similar experiences?

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