Bluetooth audio not working (with GDM(3))

Bug #1489651 reported by Linus on 2015-08-27
This bug affects 14 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Ubuntu GNOME
gdm3 (Debian)
gdm3 (Ubuntu)
pulseaudio (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

I'm having problems with a Marshall Stanmore bluetooth speaker in Ubuntu GNOME 15.10 Beta. It pairs fine and is listed as a bluetooth device but won't show up in the audio settings as a device nor will it show up with pactl list. I also had this problem in Ubuntu GNOME 15.04 with the gnome-staging 3.16 ppa. It works fine with stock Ubuntu GNOME 15.04.

Tim Lunn (darkxst) wrote :

Maybe related to the Bluez5 transition?

Changed in ubuntu-gnome:
milestone: none → wily
metchebe (metchebe) wrote :

So after some investigation, I found out that this is a known problem that occurs with GDM and Pulseaudio. Basically it seems that GDM starts a pulseaudio instance and it "captures" the bluetooth a2dp sink. Unfortunately from what I could gather from some forums and some mailing lists, nobody seems to consider this a proper bug.

I've seen three workarounds:
1) Stop GDM from starting a pulseaudio instance.
2) Disable the pulseaudio bluetooth discovery module and load it after starting the user session.
3) Use another display manager, for example lightdm

I have chosen the second option, disabling 'module-bluetooth-discover' in /etc/pulse/ and then running 'pacmd load-module module-bluetooth-discover && pacmd load-module module-switch-on-connect' in a terminal after I start GNOME.

Some references:

James King (bassbase-jk) wrote :

Just as a note for anyone who has this issue, I found a workaround that seems to persist well. basically not allowing the user access to the bluetooth control so GDM's pulseaudio cannot start and take over.

found here:

open terminal and run: setfacl -m u:gdm:r /usr/bin/pulseaudio (may have to run as sudo depending on current rights)

then restart pulseaudio

sudo pkill pulseaudio

This has worked for me and now shows up as expected.

Mozzy Mozbourne (kmhusseini) wrote :

Thanks James, that worked well. Couldn't list my Bose Sound Mini in my sound devices but after setting the access did the trick

Changed in ubuntu-gnome:
milestone: wily → xenial
status: New → Confirmed
Tom Bailey (tom-bailey) wrote :

For some reason making pulseaudio non-executable by hte gdm user didn't work for me, but metchebe's second workaround got bluetooth audio working.

Another way to achieve the same thing is to remove these lines from /etc/pulse/

load-module module-bluetooth-discover

And then create ~/.config/pulse/ with this content

.include /etc/pulse/

load-module module-bluetooth-discover

Prashant L Rao (prashant-rao) wrote :

I faced this same issue on Ubuntu Gnome 16.04. The bluetooth connection to my Logitech Bluetooth adapter kept dropping. Using the tip from James King above worked for me.

Yura (ykuchinskiy) wrote :

Same issue here, Ubuntu 15.10, Gnome Shell 3.18.2.

James' workaround from post #3 fixed the problem.

Metchebe's workaround from post #2 fixed the problem as well, but it requires running command manually, so not too practical...

Tom's workaround from post #5 didn't work for me...

Changed in ubuntu-gnome:
milestone: xenial → yakkety
tags: added: gnome-3.16 gnome-3.18 wily xenial
Augustin (g-u-s-g-u-s) wrote :

James's post (#3) made the bloody thing finally work for me! Dunno if it'll hold through reboots but at least, now, I entertain the hope to no completely lose my sanity.

So, to recap, after changing the user rights, I pkilled, then paired my device and was able to switch its "audio profile" to A2DP, something which had systematically failed until then.

Thanks James!

Jean-Pierre Rupp (xenog) wrote :

Fix from comment #3 worked for me.

Jeremy Bicha (jbicha) on 2016-10-04
Changed in gdm3 (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in ubuntu-gnome:
importance: Undecided → Medium
Jeremy Bicha (jbicha) on 2016-10-05
summary: - Bluetooth audio not working
+ Bluetooth audio not working (with GDM?)

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in pulseaudio (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in pulseaudio (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
Changed in gdm3 (Debian):
status: Unknown → New
Daniel van Vugt (vanvugt) wrote :

Thank you for reporting this bug to Ubuntu.
Ubuntu 15.10 (wily) reached end-of-life on July 28, 2016.

See this document for currently supported Ubuntu releases:

We appreciate that this bug may be old and you might not be interested in discussing it any more. But if you are then please upgrade to the latest Ubuntu version and re-test.

Changed in pulseaudio (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
Changed in gdm3 (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
Changed in ubuntu-gnome:
status: Confirmed → Incomplete

Still not working in 17.10 dev (gdm3
Workaround by James does allow audio but you all need to fix this if you're dumping lightdm

tags: added: aardvark
tags: added: gnome-3.24
Changed in gdm3 (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → New
status: New → Confirmed
summary: - Bluetooth audio not working (with GDM?)
+ Bluetooth audio not working (with GDM(3)?)
summary: - Bluetooth audio not working (with GDM(3)?)
+ Bluetooth audio not working (with GDM(3)
Changed in ubuntu-gnome:
status: Incomplete → New
status: New → Confirmed
tags: added: a2dp
summary: - Bluetooth audio not working (with GDM(3)
+ Bluetooth audio not working (with GDM(3))
Changed in pulseaudio:
importance: Unknown → Medium
status: Unknown → Confirmed
Doug McMahon (mc3man) wrote :

For 17.10 fresh install the best solution was just the "disable pulseaudio's bluetooth in gdm", i.e.
Add this to /var/lib/gdm3/.config/pulse/

#!/usr/bin/pulseaudio -nF

# load system wide configuration
.include /etc/pulse/

### unload driver modules for Bluetooth hardware
  unload-module module-bluetooth-policy

  unload-module module-bluetooth-discover

Nothing more needed...

It almost seems the Debian upstream bug assumes one would get audio thru bluetooth, just not A2DP.
Here on my speaker it's A2DP or nothing so as it stands now there is nothing..

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

This bug was fixed in the package gdm3 - 3.24.2-1ubuntu9

gdm3 (3.24.2-1ubuntu9) artful; urgency=medium

  * debian/
    - Added new file to disable Bluetooth audio devices in PulseAudio from
      gdm3. (LP: #1703415) (LP: #1489651)
  * debian/gdm3.install
    - Added details of the file
  * debian/gdm3.postinst
    - Added installation of and creation of dir if it doesn't

 -- Will Cooke <email address hidden> Thu, 13 Jul 2017 12:14:34 +0100

Changed in gdm3 (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Fix Released
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