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How to connect a JBL speaker

How to connect a JBL speaker
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

JBL produces some of the best Bluetooth speakers and best waterproof speakers, like the JBL Charge 5 and the JBL Flip 5. They’re easy to set up and use consistent interfaces for Bluetooth pairing across different models — so if you learn how to connect a JBL speaker, you’ll know how to do it for other speakers in the JBL range.

In this guide we’ll show you how to connect a JBL speaker to any Bluetooth source device, from Windows and macOS PCs to Android and iOS smartphones. 3.5mm aux outputs aren’t common on JBL speakers, so a wireless Bluetooth connection is the way to go.

The good news is that you don’t strictly need any special apps or other software to connect to a JBL speaker; for a straightforward Bluetooth connection you can just use the built-in tools of your source device OS.

We do recommend installing the JBL Portable app for iOS and Android, but only if your speaker supports it. The JBL Charge, Flip, Pulse, Extreme and Boombox series all will, though cheaper and lower-spec speakers like the JBL Go and Clip series will not. It’s still mainly useful for installing updates and setting up the PartyBoost mode for multiple speakers, as opposed to being integral to the basic connection process.

How to connect a JBL speaker

1. Power on your speaker. If this is the first time you’re using it, it will enter pairing mode automatically; otherwise, press the Bluetooth button once to enter pairing mode. The indicator LED will flash white to show it’s looking for a source device.

How to connect a JBL speaker step 1: Put speaker in pairing mode

(Image credit: Future)

2. Find the speaker in your device’s Bluetooth settings, using the following methods for each OS.

On iOS, open Settings and tap “Bluetooth.” Make sure Bluetooth is enabled then select the JBL speaker from the list of available devices, under “Other devices."

On Android, open Settings then tap “Connected devices.” Tap “Pair new device” then select the JBL speaker from the list of available devices. 

On macOS, open the Apple menu then select “System Preferences” followed by “Bluetooth.” Finally, select your JBL speaker from the list, then, click “Connect.” Click “Accept” if prompted.

On Windows, click the Bluetooth symbol in the taskbar, then click “Add a Bluetooth device.” This should make Windows start searching for nearby devices; wait for your JBL speaker to appear in the list, then click on it.

How to connect a JBL speaker- On Windows, click Bluetooth symbol then 'Add a Bluetooth device'

(Image credit: Future)

3. Check that the speaker’s indicator LED is solid to confirm the connection is ready.

How to connect a JBL speaker step 3: Check LED is solid to confirm connection

(Image credit: Future)

4. Optionally, you can open the JBL Portable app once the Bluetooth connection is established and your speaker will be automatically detected. You can now use the app to install firmware updates, set up a PartyBoost network or create a stereo pair on supported speakers.

How to connect a JBL speaker: Run JBL Connect app for compatible speakers

(Image credit: Future)
James Archer

James joined Tom’s Guide in 2020, bringing years of experience in consumer tech and product testing. As Audio Editor, James covers headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also covers the occasional spot of computing and gaming news, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.