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Problems Connecting to Snapbridge? 7 Easy Solutions

Photo by form PxHere

One of the first questions new photographers always ask is “how do I get photos from my camera to my phone.” Well, as you know, the answer is Snapbridge, but what do we do when Snapbridge doesn’t work. I’ve seen so many bad things about Snapbridge on Reddit, Youtube, and random forums. It’s no wonder Snapbridge 360/170 is rated two stars on both the App Store and Google Play. I’ve encountered many issues with the app myself and the solutions online are a chaotic mess. It either fails to pair, photos are missing, or the select an accessory menu is blank. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of seven things to do when Snapbridge fails to connect.

Here are seven solutions to Snapbridge not pairing and downloading photos.

1. Turn everything off and on again

First of all, we’re going to start with the most obvious solutions. You didn’t need this article to tell you this, but for the sake of completeness: completely shut off your phone and boot it back on. Do the same thing with your camera, but remove and reinsert the battery and SD card, as well. On the topic of obvious solutions, I also recommend you simply wait a few minutes. This is especially true when it comes to the Select an Accessory menu being blank, instead of closing the dialogue just wait a few minutes for something to appear. If nothing appears, close the app and try again in fifteen minutes. Around 50% of the time, after doing this, the problem will disappear.

Nikon camera from above
JPRoche, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Side note: If you’re experiencing the error message “could not connect because of incorrect pin or passkey” I have a separate article on that topic here.

2. Update app and firmware

This is another solution that should be obvious, but this one is often overlooked. Make sure you’re running the latest version of Snapbridge. The latest version is usually the most stable. Open the App Store or Google Play Store and find Snapbridge, check if the button says “Update” or “Open” to see if you’re on the latest version. You should also make sure that you’re camera is running the latest firmware. Firmware is like the operating system for your camera. To check, open the setup menu and scroll to the very bottom, and select “firmware version.” You should see two letters and their corresponding numbers, if these two numbers are different, you need an update, if they match, you’re up to date. Here’s a video on how to install new firmware.

This is optional, but checking if your phone needs a software update won’t hurt either.

3. Remove the device

If you’ve used Snapbridge successfully in the past, but it no longer functions, remove the camera from your phone and try pairing again. In the Snapbridge app click the “End Pairing” option for a camera that’s been connected in the past.

Unpaired camera dialogue on snapbridge

You’ll also receive a message telling you to remove the camera from your Bluetooth settings. Click OK and find your camera in the list of previously connected Bluetooth devices and click “forget this device.”

Forget device button bluetooth

You might not have known this since no one explains it, but you’re supposed to “forget device” in your Bluetooth settings and remove your camera in the Snapbridge app each time you finish use. This is the main reason Snapbridge stops working. This is also a good time to mention that Snapbridge has a maximum of five cameras. So if you’ve paired with five different cameras in the past you’ll need to remove one to make room for another.

4. Clear Snapbridge data and cache

If nothing has worked so far, try giving your Snapbridge app a fresh start, a second chance for its internal processes to not go wrong. This can be done by clearing the app’s data and cache. On an iPhone, this is pretty straightforward, simply uninstall the app. Hold down on the Snapbridge app and click the x button when it appears. On an Android, however, things are a bit more complicated. Deleting an app won’t necessarily clear its data. In addition to deleting it, you must also click the “delete all data” button in settings.

Delete all data dialogue

After deleting the app reinstall it. Make sure to grant the app all permissions available. You can do this in the settings app on both iPhones and Android devices:

Snapbridge permissions setting

5. Check your network settings

We’ve ruled out many potential causes of the error, one of the last things that could be causing this issue is your network. Make sure that both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are enabled and that airplane mode is turned off. Do this on both your phone and your camera. (Yes, airplane mode exists on cameras.) If Wi-Fi or Bluetooth is disabled, enable it, if they were already enabled, turn them off and back on again. There could also be a random network setting interfering with the connection that you enabled by accident, so reset your camera’s network settings to default.

Restore default network settings option

You may also need to turn on the GPS option if you’re running an older version of Android. You should also notice that there are two ways to connect to your camera. By using the Bluetooth mode and by using the Wi-Fi mode, if you’ve only tried using one, I recommend switching to the other to see if it works.

6. Switch to shooting in JPEG

One final note, if you’re attempting to transfer RAW image files or videos over Snapbridge, they are only supported on specific cameras. In the past, Snapbridge would throw an error code if you attempted to transfer these, however, now it simply omits RAW files and videos from view. If you’re wondering why certain photos and videos seem to be missing, this is why. The only solution is to start shooting in JPEG format. If your camera can successfully pair, but image downloading is slow, you can reduce image quality, this will make your photos less visually pleasing, but they will transfer faster. Both image quality and image format settings are present in the shooting menu.

Image quality and format settings

If you like RAW format but still want to use Snapbridge, choosing NEF (RAW) + JPEG is your best option. That way you have a raw copy of the photo and a JPEG that you can use in Snapbridge. The only downside to this is that it takes up lots of storage.

7. Snapbridge alternatives

But what if you want to use your RAW files for post-processing? What if none of these solutions worked? Snapbridge won’t help you with that, so should you just give up? No, there are alternative methods and software that perform the same function of transferring photos from your camera to your phone or computer. Just to name a few, you can use the SD card or USB cable that comes with your camera to transfer photos to your computer and send them from your computer to your phone. I’ve written a separate article about that here. (It says it’s for the D3500 but it should work for most Nikon cameras.) I’ve also heard good things about a software called qDslrdashboard that performs the same function as Snapbridge and supports raw photos.

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