Our lives are filled with devices designed to make things easier: smartphones, tablets, smart watches, fitness trackers, laptops and desktop computers, speakers, printers, headphones, cars and even smart TVs. But life is only made more seamless when these devices work together – and one of the simplest ways to do that is via a Bluetooth connection, which links two products wirelessly.
Once established, this “pairing” allows data transfer between them: your smartphone can tell your headphones what music to play; your mouse won’t need to be connected to your computer via a cable; your fitness tracker syncs with your smartphone app. Discover how to connect almost any Bluetooth-enabled device with our handy guide.
Turning On a Bluetooth Connection
Bluetooth is usually located in your device’s settings and this is where it can be turned on or off. Turning Bluetooth on will make that device visible – or discoverable – to another Bluetooth device within a 10-metre range and allow them to be paired. This process is used for products with displays, such as smartphones, tablets and computers.
iPhones and iPads
To turn on Bluetooth on an iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Bluetooth > Click On.
Android Smartphones and Tablets
To turn on Bluetooth on Android devices, go to Settings > Bluetooth > On. Some Android devices, such as Samsung smartphones, group Bluetooth in another subheading called Connections, which also houses wi-fi controls. In this case, go to Settings > Connections > Bluetooth > On.
Apple Computers and MacBooks
Apple iMac desktop computers and MacBook laptops have Bluetooth built in. The Bluetooth symbol (it looks like a pointy capital “B” with a couple of tails on the left-hand side) can be seen in the top menu bar. Clicking on the symbol will show the on/off button. This is where you’ll see connected devices and those visible in pairing mode.
On a Windows computer, the Bluetooth settings can be found on the right-hand side of the bottom bar. Click the small, upward-pointing arrow and you’ll see an option to open Settings. Another window will open that will allow you to turn Bluetooth on. You’ll also be able to see other devices already connected – such as a keyboard and mouse – and other nearby Bluetooth devices.
Head to the XMB (cross media bar) and scroll along to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth Devices to switch on and find available Bluetooth products to connect. The most common connection for a PlayStation is a wireless headset.
Turning on Bluetooth Pairing Mode
For products that don’t have a display, such as headphones, speakers or keyboards, you need to put the device into pairing mode, rather than switching Bluetooth on. This makes these devices discoverable and able to appear in the Bluetooth menu of devices with screens.
The method for doing this is slightly different for every product (with headphones, for example, pressing and holding down the on button for a few seconds should put the product into pairing mode). This pairing only needs to be done the first time you connect the products – after that, the device should remember the connection.
Connecting Your Devices
Now we know where the Bluetooth settings are located and where we can see the available devices, we can connect products. Refer to the instructions on your device to place it into pairing mode; most new products, such as headphones and speakers, will automatically go into pairing mode the first time they are turned on. Once pairing mode is on, look in the Settings on your phone, computer or tablet to find the product you want to pair by name in your list (usually the name of the product or the make and model number). Clicking on the name will pair the devices.
Connecting to Your Car’s Bluetooth
Connecting your smartphone to your car’s Bluetooth is no different to pairing with another device. An option to connect a device will be available in the in-vehicle phone settings on most newer cars (check the manufacturer instructions if you’re having trouble finding it).
The vehicle will scan for nearby smartphones – you just need to make sure your smartphone’s Bluetooth is turned on. When it finds your phone, click Connect. To confirm this connection, the car will display a code number. Your phone will receive a connection request with the same code on the screen and, if they match, click Connect.
Hot Tip: The Bluetooth pairing process doesn’t always work the first time. These troubleshooting tips should help:
- Check that the Bluetooth is on for both devices
- Make sure both products are within 10 metres of each other
- Bring the devices as close together as you can so they can be discoverable
- Turn off the device you’re trying to connect and start the pairing process again
- Make sure other devices previously paired are turned off or disconnected. Otherwise it may automatically pair to a previously paired device, not the one you're wanting to use now.
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