How to Fix Bose Speakers asking for AirPlay Passwords

Anyone remember the debacle behind Bose NCH 700? I was one of the “proud” owners who had the headset ruined after a botched firmware update, followed by Bose’s inability to narrow down the problem. What I’m trying to say is, Bose doesn’t have particularly good track records with softwares. Unlike its unfortunate counterparts, Bose speakers at least have some redundant systems, however.


On my speaker, Soundbar 700, the problem began almost out of nowhere. I didn’t see any signs of failures, connection issues, or audio sync issues. One day I wanted to play some Christmas classics via AirPlay, then I was asked for a password. A password which the soundbar doesn’t have.

Rebooting —in Bose’s word, resetting— the speaker doesn’t fix this problem. As to why it doesn’t fix the problem, I will discuss it in the afterthoughts.


In so many words, what we need is a factory reset. Bose’s support article explains it the best, but in case the link is broken or the document is made unavailable:

  1. Make sure Bose Universal Remote is paired with the speaker. It needs Bose app to pair.
  2. Unlink your speaker from your Bose account on the app.
  3. On the Bose Universal Remote, press Power and Skip Forward for 5 seconds. The speaker will blink twice.
  4. Factory reset process could take few minutes. Wait until amber light starts glowing, then it is in setup mode.
  5. Connect the speaker to the same Wifi network.
  6. From Home app, add Bose speaker to the home as an accessory. Bose speaker does not have a QR code for the Home app to scan, but Home app can find it wirelessly under Add Accessories > More Options.
  7. Check if Bose now accepts AirPlay without password.
  8. opt. Factory reset erased paring between a soundbar and its accessory speakers (e.g. subwoofer and rear speakers). Connect them again by powering off to initiate paring, and pair them on the Bose app.
  9. opt. Bose Adaptiq calibration data is also erased. You will need to recalibrate the speaker using the Adaptiq headset.


The suggestions I’ve read implied the most bizarre decision Bose has made. When the handshake for AirPlay fails, a password prompt shows up, a password the speaker does not have nor use. To reinitiate the handshake to fix the problem, the speaker must be added to the HomeKit again, which can only be done during the setup process after the factory reset. To rephrase all of this, if AirPlay handshake fails on Bose speakers, the only way to put the speaker on pairing mode is to factory reset.

Credit where credit is due, factory reset does work. The fallback isn’t necessarily to blame. It’s how Bose decided not to implement partial fallbacks or safety nets, but instead opt to use factory reset for the basic of the problems. If failed handshake prompts for a AirPlay password, there should have been at least a default code for it. If creating a default password was not desirable, there should have been a way restart the setup process without initiating a factory reset. All the other problems aside, it’s bizarre there is no dedicated mode of reset, where the pairing to the accessory speakers and calibration data is kept while the rest is erased. Smartphones now offer partial reset across the board, why shouldn’t a smart speaker do the same? Seamless experience isn’t made by removing buttons and features, it is made by curating the experience that doesn’t need one.

This reminds me of my last Harman Kardon soundbar. The power switch didn’t actually turned the speaker off, only put it in to sleep mode. And everyone in the neighborhood could wake it, since there was no password on Bluetooth. I had to use an IoT power switch just to make sure no prankster would play some musics during the night. It was even more troublesome when some people decided to hijack my speaker whilst I was actually listening to it. It’s the weirdest design trend I’m seeing in smart speakers: leaving the buttons out.

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