I was able to listen with my BT headset, but suddenly, one day, it disappeared from sound settings forever!

I've even re-paired my headset (and its connected already) but it doesn't have any options in sound settings in order to listen from it.

When I try this command:

hcitool scan

It doesn't find any devices! Even this command:

pactl list cards short

Only lists my default sound card only! What should I do?


Try this command:

sudo -H pactl load-module module-bluetooth-discover

I run this whenever I have paired, and successfully connected, but still can't see them in sound settings. It essentially tells pulseaudio to load reload it's list of bluetooth devices.

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  • 4
    You might consider adding a little more context -- people just seeing this command probably have little idea what it does, whether it's sketchy, whether it needs to be repeated on reboots, etc.. – belacqua Jun 11 '14 at 20:34
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    Why was this answer accepted? What caused the problem to begin with, and what's the long-term fix? Ubuntu bluetooth worked perfectly for me, and then after a power outage it stopping working entirely. This command fixes it, but having to manually run this command every time I want to use bluetooth is not a solution. I've downvoted this answer until more explanation is provided. – Cerin Sep 5 '14 at 18:18
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    I'm having this same problem on Ubuntu 14.04. However, this solution did not work for me. – Ashwin Nanjappa Sep 13 '14 at 3:00
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    I am getting this error: "Failure: Module initialization failed". Can anybody help? – Jay Chakra May 7 '16 at 20:03
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    @BhikkhuSubhuti the last update to that repository was 90 weeks ago - nearly 2 years. That is not a solution for 16.04 - in fact it hasn't worked since 15.04. – Tim Dec 28 '16 at 0:35

Extending upon Mark's answer, which basically did the trick for me.

The problem is that the bluetooth service tries to load the pulseaudio bluetooth module at startup, which fails because they require X11 to be running. You need to change the configuration so that the pulseaudio bluetooth module is loaded after X11.

  1. Tell the bluetooth service to not load the module. To do this, edit /etc/pulse/default.pa and comment out these lines by putting # characters in front of them:

    .ifexists module-bluetooth-discover.so
    load-module module-bluetooth-discover
  2. Configure the module to be loaded after X11. To do this, edit /usr/bin/start-pulseaudio-x11 and add two lines:

    if [ x"$DISPLAY" != x ] ; then
        # ...
        # Add these lines:
        /usr/bin/pactl load-module module-bluetooth-discover
        /usr/bin/pactl load-module module-switch-on-connect
  3. Restart pulseaudio and bluetooh. Either reboot your machine or use the following commands:

    pulseaudio -k
    sudo service bluetooth restart

This way, the pulseaudio bluetooth module should be working and Volume Control (pavucontrol) should detect the bluetooth device and list it under input and output devices.

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    The above doesn't work for me; instead, I get start-pulseaudio-x11 /usr/bin/start-pulseaudio-x11: 24: /usr/bin/start-pulseaudio-x11: /usr/bin/pact1: not found – user1945827 Apr 18 '18 at 18:10
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    @user1945827 : it's "pactl", not "pact1". It stands for PulseAudio Control. – static_rtti May 2 '18 at 19:44
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    @static_rtti thanks. I managed to get it working. – user1945827 May 3 '18 at 13:34
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    I'm voting up but all I needed was to sudo service bluetooth restart – wranvaud Mar 11 '19 at 23:40
  • Thanks, this worked for me after a full system reboot (restarting the service didn't work. I am on Arch linux and all was well until I did a full system update last week. The only thing that isn't working is the output selector in the top right of Gnome, it doesn't show multiple outputs, just one. So I have to open sound settings to choose it, but at least it is in the list now. – Elijah Lynn Jul 16 at 16:47

The headset is properly paired and shows under Bluetooth Devices but it does not show as an available INPUT / OUTPUT source for audio. The problem is that the pulseaudio bluetooth module is loaded before X11, changing a couple of config files do the trick:

PulseAudio can not load bluetooth module 15.10/16.04

nano /etc/pulse/default.pa

Comment out the following lines:

#.ifexists module-bluetooth-discover.so
#load-module module-bluetooth-discover

nano /usr/bin/start-pulseaudio-x11

Find the following lines and add after them:

if [ x”$SESSION_MANAGER” != x ] ; then
/usr/bin/pactl load-module module-x11-xsmp “display=$DISPLAY session_manager=$SESSION_MANAGER” > /dev/null
Add the following lines:
/usr/bin/pactl load-module module-bluetooth-discover
/usr/bin/pactl load-module module-switch-on-connect

This way the Pulse audio’s Bluetooth modules will not be downloaded at boot time but after x11 is started.

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    Is there some service that needs to be restarted for these changes to take effect? – Michael Scheper Nov 8 '17 at 5:01
  • You can trigger them on the command line as in the answer above .... my post is how to have it automate on startup. – Mark Mar 27 '19 at 23:49
  • I think you're saying that if you type the three /usr/bin/pactl commands at the command line, they'll take effect immediately. It also looks like the two to add to /usr/bin/start-pulseaudio-x11 should be inside the if statement. Can you confirm both of these observations? Thanks! – Michael Scheper Apr 12 '19 at 23:01
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    The lines are inserted after the shown if..fi but within the larger if [ x"$DISPLAY"...fi. Yes, you should be able to execute the commands directly in terminal. – Mark Apr 13 '19 at 10:39

I am not able to comment on the top response, but I thought I'd add that on my Ubuntu MATE 12.04 LTS Laptop, I had to do:

sudo apt-get install pulseaudio-module-bluetooth

only then did this work

sudo -i pactl load-module module-bluetooth-discover

Then I had to go into bluetooth manager app, pair the device, then set to 'Audio Sink' mode, then I could see the device within the Ubuntu Sound options and manipulate inputs/outputs!

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  • Worked on 18.04 as well, thanks – saurabheights Sep 8 at 12:19

The permanent solution would be to add the blueman PPA and update your package to the latest version which has the bug fixed: https://launchpad.net/~blueman/+archive/ubuntu/ppa

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:blueman/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

That way, you should no longer have to run the

sudo -i pactl load-module module-bluetooth-discover

command every time but only once. Works for me on 14.04 LTS (Trusty)


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