Picture of the JBL Charge 3 speaker and power bank during factory reset. Showing the glowing Power and Connect Plus buttons lighted and circled.

JBL Charge 3 Controls Explained

The JBL Charge 3 waterproof speaker features several controls and lights across its top, as well as charge status lights across the front bottom. The Power control lights in either white, blue, or both, to show speaker connection status. There’s also an port access panel on the back bottom, that hides the USB charge in and out as well as the auxiliary (AUX) in ports.  But here, we offer our JBL Charge 3 controls guide.  We show you where the controls are on the speaker, what each one does, when to press them, and how to use them in general.

JBL Charge 3 Controls Explained: Functions, Descriptions, and Locations

Bluetooth Discovery Mode Control

There is one row of controls on the JBL Charge 3.  Each control in that row has a unique shape. First, we have the Bluetooth discovery mode pushbutton, near the left side of the speaker top, as pointed at by the green arrow in the next picture. Note its squiggly shape, which is the Bluetooth logo.

How to Use the Bluetooth Pairing Mode Control

You’ll need this switch anytime you’re pairing the JBL Charge 3 with a never-before-paired Bluetooth device.

So, with this wireless speaker powered on, press this control to place this Bluetooth speaker into discovery mode. When in discovery / pairing mode, the JBL Charge 3 transmits its name and other connection info over the Bluetooth airwaves. This allows other nearby devices to discover and sync to it.

Picture of the JBL Charge 3 wireless speaker with its Bluetooth Discovery Mode control highlighted.
JBL Charge 3 wireless speaker with its Bluetooth Discovery Mode control highlighted.

The Volume Down and Volume Up Controls

The JBL Charge 3 also features volume controls on top. Near the center of the speaker near the Bluetooth discovery mode button, the volume controls are in the shapes of the minus and plus symbols. When pressed, these lower and raise the output volume of the speaker by reducing or increasing the volume setting on the paired source Bluetooth device. See the Volume Down and Volume Up controls pointed at by the green arrows in the next picture.

How to Use the Volume Controls

With the JBL Charge 3 paired and playing, press the minus shaped pushbutton to lower the audio output. Or, press the plus shaped control to raise the audio output. Note that these switches have no effect when the speaker is not paired. Also, the volume setting may change from paired device to paired device. That is, each paired device remembers its own volume setting. So you might have to again adjust the sound output when you unpair the speaker from one Bluetooth device and pair it to another.

Top view picture of the speaker, with the -Volume UP- and -Volume DOWN- controls highlighted.
Top view of the speaker, with the -Volume UP- and -Volume DOWN- controls highlighted.

The Play / Pause Control

The Play / Pause pushbutton is shaped like a right-pointing arrow and is found near the right side of the JBL Charge 3, as pointed at by the green arrow we drew in, in the next picture.

How to Use the Play / Pause Control

Press and release this to pause audio play. Press and release again to resume audio play. Note that this is not a mute button. That is, pausing play in this way suspends sound playback on the source Bluetooth device to which this speaker is currently connected. If streaming, the stream is suspended.  So, you won’t miss any content when you pause the speaker, as the source device (your phone, tablet, or computer) remembers where the content was paused. So it resumes playback at that spot when you press the play pause button again.

When paired with an Apple device, press and hold the Play / Pause control to get Siri’s attention. Note that Siri must be enabled on the source device (phone, tablet) for this feature to work.

Picture of the -Play / Pause- control highlighted.
Showing the speaker’s -Play / Pause- control highlighted.

The Power Control

The Power control not only switches the JBL Charge 3 on and off, but also contains a multi-colored light to let you know the speaker status when it is turned on.

How to Use and Interpret the Power Control Signals

Quickly press and release the Power control to turn the speaker ON or OFF.

Also, the Power control lights up (or not) in various ways to show several speaker states.  First, it flashes blue when the speaker has not yet been paired, and is in Bluetooth discovery mode. This control glows solid blue when the JBL Charge 3 is currently paired successfully with a Bluetooth source device. See this blue glow in the next picture.

Picture of the speaker powered ON, but not paired. Showing the glowing white -Power- control highlighted.
The speaker powered ON, but not paired. Showing the glowing white -Power- control highlighted.

The Power control glows solid white when the speaker is not currently paired and awaiting a pairing request from a source Bluetooth device. See this button glowing white in the previous picture.

Next, the Power switch glows a pale blue-white while the speaker is resetting.

Finally, this pushbutton is dark when the speaker is OFF.

The Connect+ Control

Use the Connect Plus control to connect two or more JBL Connect+ compatible speakers together, in “party mode”, such that they all play the same audio content. This is like speakers participating in Amazon’s multi room music groups, where all speakers participating in Connect+ are synched. That is, all of them play the same audio at the same time.

How to Use the Connect Plus Control

First, power on all speakers you wish to join together.

Then, you press and release this control on each Bluetooth speaker to add to the Connect+ group.

Picture of the speaker's -Connect- control highlighted.
Showing the speaker’s -Connect – control highlighted.

The picture above shows the JBL Charge 3 not participating in Connect+, because the Connect+ pushbutton is dark. But that control lights up when the speaker is connected to the Connect+ group.

JBL Charge 3 Control Combinations Codes

Reset Control Combination

You can reset the JBL Charge 3 to factory default settings and state by pressing the Volume UP and Play / Pause controls at the same time and holding them in until the hard reset occurs. See these switches circled in yellow in the next picture.

You may wish to reset the speaker to correct any erratic or strange behaviors you see from it such as failing to pair, sound distortion, failure to power off when you press the Power control, and so on. Note that resetting invalidates any saved connection information to this speaker on your source Bluetooth devices. So you’ll have to forget those now-stale connections, and re pair the speaker after a reset in order to play your audio content through it once again.

Picture of the JBL Charge 3 IPX7 speaker, showing its -Volume Up- and -Play / Pause- controls highlighted.
JBL Charge 3 IPX7 speaker, showing its -Volume Up- and -Play Pause- controls highlighted.

Service Only Mode Control Combination

When in this mode, the JBL Charge 3 does not power on unless you connect the external USB power source.  And then, it powers up without you pressing the Power button.  Further, you cannot turn it off in this mode unless you disconnect the external power source.  Also, none of the controls appear to work in this mode.  The speaker won’t pair with any devices or other speakers, and as mentioned, the Powercontrol does not switch it off.

To turn on this mode, press the Connect and Volume UP controls at the same time, and hold until the speaker powers OFF.  This usually takes ten seconds or so.  You can enter this mode as long as the speaker is ON, and it doesn’t matter whether it’s connected to external power or not.

Picture of the -Connect- and -Volume UP- controls highlighted.
Showing the -Connect- and -Volume UP- controls highlighted.

But to turn off this mode, you must connect USB power, since the speaker won’t come on without it.  Then, with the speaker Power button glowing, press and hold the Connect and Volume UP controls for ten seconds or so, until the unit powers off.  This restores normal speaker operation.

The JBL Charge 3 Battery Status Lights Gauge

This speaker is also equipped with numerous lights that show the amount of charge currently in the built in power bank battery.

How to Read the Battery Status Gauge

When the internal battery is full, all five battery charge level lamps glow white.  As the power bank discharges, fewer of the lamps glow. In the next picture, the speaker is shown at between 60 and 80 percent charge. Note that four lamps are lit in this situation.

Picture of the battery status gauge on the speaker, showing eighty percent full charge.
The battery status gauge on the speaker, showing eighty percent full charge.

As the battery further discharges, more battery level lights go out, until the charge amount reaches between 0 and 20 percent. In this case, only one lamp, the one on the far left in the last picture, glows.

Finally, when the battery discharges to critically low levels, the far left battery light blinks. Speaker shutdown is imminent when this occurs.  So, recharge it immediately for continued musical enjoyment.

Other Posts About the JBL Charge 3 Power Bank BT Speaker

  1. Pairing JBL Charge 3 with Google Home Instructions
  2. JBL Charge 3 Low Frequency Mode, How to Switch It
  3. How to Run JBL Charge 3 Firmware Check
  4. JBL Charge 3 Speaker Review, Features, Specs
  5. Updating Firmware on JBL Charge 3, How To

References for this JBL Charge 3 Controls Explained Guide

  1. JBL Bluetooth Power Bank Speaker Product Page, on JBL.com

Revision History

  • 2020-11-19: First posted.
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