I have a nice bluetooth audio receiver connect to my HiFi stereo, and I used to be able to connect it in 14.04 as a A2DP sink with nice quality.

After upgrading to 16.04, the device connects only as headset, and when trying to switch it in A2DP mode, I have this error in my syslog:

May 21 11:35:50 RRyS pulseaudio[6159]: [pulseaudio] module-bluez5-device.c: Refused to switch profile to a2dp_sink: Not connected

and the quality of audio is abismal. How can I fix it?

  • Hope this is useful to somebody. I have lost 3 hours digging into it... I love upgrades! ;-)
    – Rmano
    May 21, 2016 at 10:34

3 Answers 3


What works for me is to connect the bluetooth device, switch to HSP/HFP mode, disconnect, reconnect and then switch to A2DP mode.

  • 4
    Same here. However, it is not supposed to be this way and it used to work properly in previous version.
    – eldad-a
    Sep 22, 2016 at 20:10
  • For me too, that worked. But a real big pain in the a** for something that was working (nearly) flawlessly in 15.10 and before.
    – Dolanor
    Oct 14, 2016 at 10:30
  • Oh believe me, I agree. it's a huge pain. The only distro I've found that handles BT correctly out of the box nowadays is Solus OS.
    – rmfought
    Nov 2, 2016 at 23:44
  • 2
    This is super weird but it worked! May 9, 2017 at 17:45
  • 1
    Holy crap. Didn't expect this to work, but it did. Dec 19, 2017 at 12:49

There are several bugs opened about this, check for example this one (started in 15.05) and this other one, quite older; the causes in general are not well understood.

Before starting modifying system files, you can also check Bluetooth speaker no sound in Ubuntu 16.04 (seems a different bug) and A2DP bluetooth doesn't work on 16.04 (solved in comments by a kernel upgrade).

The fix that worked for me is the following --- thanks to user RobertFM in launchpad and SimFox3 in Arch forums. All the following instructions must be executed from a root shell (sudo -i). Take care and triple check.

  1. First of all, make a backup of these files (you never know):

    cp /etc/bluetooth/audio.conf /etc/bluetooth/audio.conf.bak
    cp /etc/pulse/default.pa /etc/pulse/default.pa.bak
    cp /usr/bin/start-pulseaudio-x11 /usr/bin/start-pulseaudio-x11.bak
  2. Edit /etc/bluetooth/audio.conf and make it similar to this one:

    # Configuration file for the audio service
    # This section contains options which are not specific to any
    # particular interface
    # Switch to master role for incoming connections (defaults to true)
    # If we want to disable support for specific services
    # Defaults to supporting all implemented services
    # SCO routing. Either PCM or HCI (in which case audio is routed to/from ALSA)
    # Defaults to HCI
    # Automatically connect both A2DP and HFP/HSP profiles for incoming
    # connections. Some headsets that support both profiles will only connect the
    # other one automatically so the default setting of true is usually a good
    # idea.
    # Headset interface specific options (i.e. options which affect how the audio
    # service interacts with remote headset devices)
    # Set to true to support HFP, false means only HSP is supported
    # Defaults to true
    # Maximum number of connected HSP/HFP devices per adapter. Defaults to 1
    # Set to true to enable use of fast connectable mode (faster page scanning)
    # for HFP when incoming call starts. Default settings are restored after
    # call is answered or rejected. Page scan interval is much shorter and page
    # scan type changed to interlaced. Such allows faster connection initiated
    # by a headset.
    # Just an example of potential config options for the other interfaces
  3. Edit /etc/pulse/default.pa and comment out the line

    #load-module module-bluetooth-discover

    (you really only need to add the # at the start)

  4. Edit /usr/bin/start-pulseaudio-x11 and add the line /usr/bin/pactl load-module module-bluetooth-discover after the loading of the module module-x11-xsmp; in practice you should edit the file near the end to have a stanza like

    if [ x"$SESSION_MANAGER" != x ] ; then
        /usr/bin/pactl load-module module-x11-xsmp "display=$DISPLAY session_manager=$SESSION_MANAGER" > /dev/null
        # add this line here:
        /usr/bin/pactl load-module module-bluetooth-discover
  5. Reboot.

    Now you should be able to set your device to A2DP and enjoy high quality music:

    Sound settings

    Notice that sometime you need to Disconnect and Reconnect your device to re-enable A2DP:

    Bluetooth devices

    ...yes, it's a can of bugs. But when it works it works beautifully.

  6. Troubles after reboot

    After all of this, sometime the trick seems to work just only after the next reboot. In such a case, try to follow rmfought's answer:

    What works for me is to connect the bluetooth device, switch to HSP/HFP mode, disconnect, reconnect and then switch to A2DP mode.

    ...works for me too (again, sometime). I had to even un-pair a re-pair the dongle once.

  7. If it still doesn't work...

    If this also isn't working for you, you can try with this script --- its author is keeping it up-to-date.

  • 5
    audio.conf is not present in ubuntu 16.04, only main.conf, will that work? May 31, 2016 at 16:30
  • 2
    @JoakimKoed --- you're right, I checked --- I had a audio.conf-remove probably remnant from the upgrade. I simply recreated it --- so now I am in doubt, maybe just points 3 and 4 are necesssary?
    – Rmano
    May 31, 2016 at 16:38
  • 1
    Steps 3 & 4 did not fix for me, and I recreated audio.conf as per the above and no fix. Deleting the bluetooth device and repairing fixes, but doing that every time you want to use bluetooth audio is not feasible. Jun 15, 2016 at 2:08
  • @ThomasCarlisle sorry to hear that - here it worked (no need to re-associating) after the first time. Must be a different thing...
    – Rmano
    Jun 15, 2016 at 6:07
  • 1
    Brilliant! It does the trick with me! I suggest you add a reference to it in your answer, as all together seems to give a fully working solution to the problem. Cheers!
    – romanovzky
    Nov 8, 2016 at 9:24

This is not necessarily a solution for those who need the mic, but this worked in Ubuntu 16.04 for me:

sudo nano /etc/bluetooth/audio.conf

And then add Disable=Headset under [General].


And restart the bluetooth service

sudo service bluetooth restart

And all the creds to this guy: https://jimshaver.net/2015/03/31/going-a2dp-only-on-linux/

  • Unluckily, didn't work out for me. My bluetooth dock icon is greyed out… Maybe it's the driver/module? XPS 13 9350 and ubuntu 16.04.
    – Dolanor
    Oct 16, 2016 at 7:55
  • @Dolanor Not sure wether this is still a problem, but a if the dock icon is greyed out, it most likely means that your bluetooth-adapter is softblocked. Try rfkill unblock bluetooth and maybe even bluetoothctl and then power on (in the bluetoothctl-CLI).
    – FMaz
    Mar 21, 2017 at 14:33
  • This worked in my case zorinos 12
    – FDisk
    Mar 28, 2018 at 13:51
  • On Ubuntu 18, there is no /etc/bluetooth/audio.conf file. I added Disable=Headset to /etc/bluetooth/main.conf, restarted the service, reconnected my headphones, but the audio profile was by default off. Not sure this worked? Jun 22, 2019 at 4:50

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