How to Use Bluetooth to Connect Your Phone to a Computer

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How to Use Bluetooth to Connect Your Phone to a Computer
How to Use Bluetooth to Connect Your Phone to a Computer

Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology that allows devices to be easily connected and data sent between them. Bluetooth is built into practically all PCs and almost all phones. The standard is quick, dependable, and battery-friendly.

You’re losing out if you haven’t utilized it much in the past. Let’s look at how to use Bluetooth to link your phone and Windows PC.

Why Not Use a Cable to Connect Your Phone and Computer?

While utilizing a cable to connect your PC and phone is more convenient, it is not always the best option.

For example, your computer may lack a free USB port. Many compact computers only have one or two, and your MacBook may only have USB-C connections. Even a well-equipped desktop PC often has all of its USB ports used.

Too many USB devices trying to connect to one port
Image Credit: szefei/Shutterstock

Furthermore, you may not have the appropriate cable on hand, or you may be charging your phone with a power outlet and want to charge it as rapidly as possible. Finally, if you’re in a public setting, you may want to keep your phone out of sight or prevent the risk of hanging cables.

Regardless of the cause, connecting using Bluetooth is simple. Once you’ve performed the first setup, it may even connect automatically in the future when you bring the devices near together. Anyone who routinely transfers data between their phone and PC should become proficient in the use of Bluetooth.

How to Connect Your PC and Phone via Bluetooth

Bluetooth must be enabled on both devices in order to communicate wirelessly. This is how you do it.

How to Enable Bluetooth on Android or iOS

In the Quick Settings dropdown menu on most Android phones, you’ll find a Bluetooth toggle. Swipe down from the top of the screen twice, or once with two fingers, to access this. Then, hit the Bluetooth symbol to toggle it, or long-press it to rapidly access Bluetooth settings.

To access Bluetooth settings, go to Settings > Connected devices.

If you have an iPhone without a Home button, activate Control Center by sliding down from the top-right corner of the screen. Instead, on models with a Home button, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Toggle Bluetooth by tapping the Bluetooth icon.

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Alternatively, open Bluetooth in Settings. If you’re having problems, see our iPhone Bluetooth troubleshooting guide for assistance.

How to Enable Bluetooth on Windows 10 and Windows 11

Bluetooth is included into the majority of recent Windows laptops, but not all desktop computers. Whether you’re not sure, check to see if your computer has Bluetooth. If your computer does not currently support Bluetooth, you may simply install it using an adaptor to get it operating.

Go to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices in Windows 10. Turn on the Bluetooth slider at the top if it is turned off. Then choose Add Bluetooth or other device, then Bluetooth type. Then, follow the on-screen prompts to link your phone. For additional information, see our guide to configuring Bluetooth on Windows 10.

Go to Settings > Bluetooth & devices in Windows 11. To link a new device with your PC, make sure the Bluetooth slider is set to On, then select Add device > Bluetooth.

Notes on Bluetooth Pairing

Follow any instructions that display on your PC or phone throughout the pairing procedure. In certain circumstances, you’ll be required to enter or confirm a passcode. If neither device displays a code, it’s most likely a random number like 1234 or 0000. Once you confirm this code, your phone should connect to your PC and will continue to do so as long as the devices are within range.

If you can’t get the devices to communicate with each other, one of them is probably not discoverable. Most Bluetooth gadgets only broadcast themselves as a security feature when you have their Bluetooth settings open.

Check that Bluetooth is enabled on both your phone and PC, and keep the Bluetooth settings menu mentioned above open during pairing. Now discoverable as [Device name] or anything similar should appear. (If you’re still having difficulties, there are further techniques to fix Bluetooth pairing issues with Windows.)

The connection will stay active until you switch off Bluetooth, disconnect the devices manually, turn one of them off, or move them out of range. The precise Bluetooth range varies depending on the device and the quality of your Bluetooth adapter or chip. In average, the link should be roughly 30 feet long.

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How to Transfer Files Between a Phone and PC Using Bluetooth

The actual Bluetooth file transfer method is rather straightforward after you’ve wirelessly linked your phone and PC. Because iOS devices employ AirDrop for this, sharing from your phone to a PC is most often possible on Android.

To transfer from your phone, just choose a file in whichever app you’re using and click the option to share it. The precise approach varies every program, although most have a common Share icon to search for.

When you see the list of sharing options, search for the Bluetooth entry. Then, as the destination device, pick your PC. Windows will then ask for approval before beginning to download the file. You may be able to choose the save location, or it may save to the default Downloads folder.

To transfer a file from your PC to your phone, open File Explorer and right-click on the file to be transferred. Select Bluetooth device > Send to.

This will open a new window where you can pick the device to which you want to transmit the file. Your phone may request your permission. When you confirm, the file will be sent through Bluetooth.

Multiple files may be sent in either way. Simply choose them all at once and proceed as described above.

Other Ways of Connecting Your Phone and PC

If you don’t have Bluetooth (or even if you have), another means of connecting your phone and PC may be more suitable. Bluetooth may deplete battery life, is not always dependable for big file transfers, and is not always speedy.

In some circumstances, you may wish to consider an alternative, such as one of the choices listed below.

Connect Your Phone and PC Using a USB Cable

A USB cord is the easiest method to connect your phone and PC. There is no preparation required: as soon as you attach the wire, Windows should prompt you to choose an action. If it doesn’t, you may use File Explorer under the This PC panel to move files manually.

Connecting via a cable is typically a better alternative than Bluetooth if you want to explore the contents of your phone’s storage or transfer a big number of files. It has the potential to be more quicker and more secure.

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Move Files With Email or Cloud Storage

If you just need to send a few files, emailing them to yourself is a fast and dirty approach. This, though, is clunky. It is preferable to use a cloud storage service since you can categorize the files and protect them from getting lost in your inbox.

However, keep in mind that each of these approaches include uploading and downloading. If you’re using a sluggish or metered connection, you may want to reconsider transferring huge files.

Specialized Transfer Apps

Wi-Fi Direct is an alternative to Bluetooth, but it isn’t as well-integrated into current devices and, as a result, isn’t likely to be worth dealing with for most users.

Instead, you may use an Android app like EasyJoin to transfer files over your local network. Those who own an iPhone and a Mac may utilize Apple’s AirDrop service. For additional information, see alternative file transmission techniques between PCs and mobile devices.

Remote Access and Tethering

If you want a stronger connection between devices, you should enable remote access. To get started, look into how to remotely operate your computer from your phone.

Tethering is another popular method for connecting your phone and PC. This allows you to utilize the mobile internet connection on your phone on your PC.

Keep Your PC and Phone Connected With Bluetooth

There are pros and cons to each technique of connecting your PC and smartphone. Bluetooth is ideal for temporary short-range connections when you need to rapidly transfer a file or two.

USB cords, cloud storage, and other forms of connections are still useful. However, when it comes to speed and universality, Bluetooth is hard to surpass.

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