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Bluetooth headsets continuously toggling call mode when using microphone

  • 5 replies
  • 1 has this problem
  • 9 views
  • Last reply by nostromov

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In recent weeks, calls with audio have become buggy in Firefox. Whenever I engage in a call that accesses the microphone while I have a bluetooth headset connected, the headset starts continuously toggling call mode on and off for an extended duration. This can be anywhere from 10 seconds/3ish toggles to never-ending (meaning I got tired of waiting after about 3 minutes/55ish toggles).

Today I finally decided to debug further. Here are my findings:

  • Problem only exists in Firefox. I tested with Safari, Chromium, Slack and Discord, with no trouble presenting itself in any of them
  • Problem relates to all bluetooth headsets. I have tested with Sennheiser Momentum 2 Wireless and Steelseries Arctis Pro Wireless, with both exhibiting the problem in Bluetooth mode. If I have no bluetooth headsets connected, the problem does not present itself. There is also no problem if I connect the Arctis using the wireless base station (which in turn is connected to the laptop by USB) instead of bluetooth. Using the base station, call and non-call are exposed to my mac as different/simultaneous channels — this may have something to do with it.
  • Problem persists with hardware acceleration toggled off
  • Problem persists in safe mode
  • Problem persists in private mode
  • Problem persists both on Whereby.com and Discord.com. On Whereby, it also interferes with the camera. This leads me to believe it might have something to do with WebRTC, as I think both websites use it.
  • Problem persists after reinstalling Firefox
  • On a possibly related note: if I end the voice chat session after it has stabilised, call mode toggles off slowly and always sends a "start playing media" signal to my Mac, even if it didn't pause anything when toggling call mode on.

In sum, this leads me to believe there is some sort of bug in Firefox causing this, but the lack of other topics on here with the same problem makes me skeptical. I am open to any suggestions with regards to further testing I can do. This is obviously very annoying, and I would like to have bluetooth calls working again.

Modified by Lemonous

All Replies (5)

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I'm not sure how it works on Mac, but could you experiment with the following setting, which is what controls integration with system media controls:

(1) In a new tab, type or paste about:config in the address bar and press Enter/Return. Click the button accepting the risk.

(2) In the search box in the page, type or paste mediak and pause while the list is filtered

(3) Double-click the media.hardwaremediakeys.enabled preference to switch the value from true to false

If Firefox has already hooked the system media controls, you might need to Quit/restart Firefox before that is released.

Any difference?

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@jscher2000 That does seem to have fixed the "possibly related note"; ending call no longer starts music playback. It does, however, not seem to have had any effect on the continuous toggling.

However, I did make a minor breakthrough: it seems to have something to do with the now-infamous ocsp.apple.com phoning, which I have blocked in my router's firewall. I tried to access the same websites through a 4G network and had no problems. Unblocked in firewall and tried again, and it worked on wifi as well. However: after re-enabling the firewall rule it still seems to be working.

This may have something to do with the backlog of ocsp messages that the mac builds up when it can't connect to the ocsp service. I will report back in a few days or if I start seeing the problems again. Since the problem only happened in Firefox, I still suspect there is something different with how Firefox handles this compared to the other programs I tested, which all worked. If there's any diagnostic data you would like in the meanwhile (or whenever the problem comes back), I'll be happy to get it. I am also not fully versed in the minutiae of the ocsp service, so I'll gladly accept angles from which to test that theory as well.

Modified by Lemonous

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Oh... the forum has a URL moderation feature to avoid "link spam" so your replies are delayed from appearing but will show up eventually.

I'm not familiar with the OCSP problem. Does it affect Firefox on Mac, or Safari, or other apps?

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Yes, I realized this after replying the second time, didn't see the banner after my edit. Pardon.

The original OCSP failure happened on November 12, as detailed in this Verge article. Basically: whenever you open an app on MacOS Mojave or higher, your Mac (secretly, and unencrypted) phones home with a bunch of personal data. If the server cannot be reached, it fails gracefully and adds the data to a backlog for later uploading instead.

The reason it failed on Nov 12 seems to have been that the servers behind ocsp.apple.com were overloaded, so the gracious failover was never triggered and programs were stuck in opening while waiting for a response that came late or never. This is how we found out about the practice, which was severely expanded in Mojave (High Sierra only phoned home once, the first time you opened a program after installing it).

TL;DR in answer to your question: it affects all apps on MacOS.

Anyhow, this kind of wanton disregard for privacy is exactly why I'm using the Mozilla ecosystem, so I naturally nullrouted the domain from my router once I found out. Since no connections are opened, ocspd fails gracefully and everything is nice and dandy. Except, apparently, somehow it affects bluetooth voice in Firefox specifically after a while. Unblocking the domain got rid of the problem, hence why I believe they are related. Re-blocking so far hasn't triggered the problem again, hence why I believe the problem is related to the backlog specifically.

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Honestly I don't - not understand - but, can't (possibly) comprehend why people would *still* get an Apple device, ever... Now, how everything is widely known. They're not only ripping people off, ever since the company's inception, by selling outdated (and sometimes even obsolete) hardware - packaged nicely and /or together with some premium components to create the illusion of exclusivity, or quality (until, like, an iPhone battery bursts into flames), but are now at the forefront of privacy invasion and human rights violations while operating under the guise of doing the opposite. It's just such a despicable company, with the only goal of hustling their user-base and maximizing their wallet-opening muscles. The "flexing" as people would flaunt it, for some reason, for many, many years (not realizing that the joke's on them, or something. ;))

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