Picture of the JBL Charge 3 portable waterproof speaker, top view, showing its control panel buttons.

JBL Charge 3 Speaker Button Functions

This post discusses the JBL Charge 3 speaker button functions available on this Bluetooth speaker. The unit has several buttons and lamps across its top that activate these, as well as battery charge status lights across the front bottom. The Power button lights in either white, blue, or both, to show Bluetooth speaker 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 buttons guide.  We show you where the control buttons are on the speaker, what each button does, when to press them, and how to use them in general.





JBL Charge 3 Speaker Button Functions

Bluetooth Discovery Mode Button

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

How to Use the Bluetooth Pairing Mode Button

You’ll need this button anytime you’re pairing the JBL Charge 3 with a never-before-paired Bluetooth button.  So, with this wireless speaker powered on, press this button to place this Bluetooth speaker into discovery mode. When in discovery / pairing mode, the Charge 3 transmits its name and other connection information over the Bluetooth airwaves. This allows other nearby Bluetooth devices to discover and connect to it.

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

Volume Down and Up Buttons

The JBL Charge 3 also features volume controls. Near the center of the speaker near the Bluetooth discovery mode button, the volume buttons 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 Up buttons pointed at by the green arrows in the next picture.

How to Use the Volume Buttons

With the JBL Charge 3 paired and playing, press the minus shaped button to decrease audio output level from the speaker. Press the plus shaped button to increase audio output. Note that the volume controls 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 may have to readjust 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- buttons highlighted.
Top view of the speaker, with the -Volume UP- and -Volume DOWN- buttons highlighted.

JBL Charge 3 Speaker Button Functions: Play Pause Button

The Play / Pause button 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 Button

Press this to pause audio play. Press 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 paired. 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 button 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- button highlighted on the speaker.
Showing the -Play-Pause- button highlighted on the speaker.

The Power Button

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

How to Use and Interpret the Power Button Signals

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

Also, the power button lights up in different ways to indicate various speaker states.  First, it flashes blue when the speaker has not yet been paired, and is in Bluetooth discovery mode. It 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, not paired. Showing the glowing white -Power- button highlighted.
The speaker powered ON and not paired. Showing the glowing white -Power- button highlighted.

The power button 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.

Finally, the Power button glows a pale blue-white while the speaker is resetting.





JBL Charge 3 Speaker Button Functions: The Connect Button

The Connect button is used to connect two or more JBL Connect+ compatible speakers together, in “party mode”, such that they all play the same audio content. Similar to speakers participating in Amazon’s multi room music groups, 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 Button

You press this button on each Bluetooth speaker you wish to add to the Connect+ group.

JBL Charge 3 buttons layout guide. Picture of the JBL Charge 3 power bank speaker. Showing its -Connect Plus- button highlighted.
JBL Charge 3 buttons layout guide. JBL Charge 3 power bank speaker. Showing its -Connect Plus- button highlighted.

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

JBL Charge 3 Button Combination Functions

Reset Button Combo Function

You can reset the JBL Charge 3 to factory default settings and state by pressing the Volume UP and Play / Pause buttons at the same time and holding them in until the hard reset occurs. See these buttons 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 button, and so on. Note that resetting seems to invalidate any saved connection information to this speaker on your source Bluetooth devices. So you’ll have to forget those connections and re pair the speaker after a reset in order to play your audio content through it once again.

Picture of the -Volume UP- and -Play-Pause- buttons highlighted.
The -Volume UP- and -Play-Pause- buttons highlighted.

Service Only Mode Button Combination Function

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 buttons seem to work in this mode.  The speaker won’t pair with any devices or other speakers, and as mentioned, the Power button does not switch it off.





To turn on this mode, press the Connect and Volume UP buttons at the same time, until the speaker powers OFF, 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.

Top view picture of the JBL Charge 3 speaker, showing the -Connect- and -Volume UP- buttons highlighted.
Top view of the JBL Charge 3 speaker, showing the -Connect- and -Volume UP- buttons 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 button combination for ten seconds or so, until the unit powers off.  This returns normal speaker operation.

The JBL Charge 3 Battery Status Lights Gauge

This speaker is also equipped with a numerous lights that show Bluetooth pairing status, power on, and, 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, showing eighty percent of full charge.
The battery status gauge, showing eighty percent of 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.

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Other Posts About the JBL Charge 3 Wireless 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 Charger Adapter Specs
  5. Finding JBL Charge 3 Firmware Version
  6. JBL Charge 3 Picture Gallery for this Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
  7. How to Recharge Charge 3 Speaker
  8. JBL Charge 3 Charging Instructions, How to Recharge
  9. Pairing Victor Reader Trek with JBL Charge 3, How To
  10. JBL Charge 3 Firmware Update Instructions
  11. JBL Charge 3 Speaker Review, Features, Specs
  12. Updating Firmware on JBL Charge 3, How To
  13. JBL Charge 3 Change Name, How to Rename It
  14. How to Adjust Volume on JBL Charge 3 Speaker
  15. Specs for the JBL Charge 3 Power Bank Speaker
  16. JBL Charge 3 Reset Button, Where It Is Located
  17. How to Tell if JBL Charge 3 is Charging
  18. Pairing JBL Charge 3 with Amazon Alexa Echo Dot
  19. JBL Charge 3 Google Home Pairing Instructions
  20. Charge 3 JBL Speaker Factory Reset Instructions
  21. JBL Charge 3 How to Pair with iOS Devices

References for JBL Charge 3 Speaker Button Functions

  1. JBL Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker Product Page, on JBL.com

Revision History

  • 2020-11-22: First published.