Pair Your Laptop With Bluetooth Devices

How to Bluetooth Your Laptop With Other Devices

Man wearing hands free mobile phone device, side view, close-up
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There are a few main reasons to join your laptop and phone (or another gadget) together over Bluetooth. Maybe you want to share your phone's internet connection with your laptop through a hotspot, transfer files between the devices or play music through the other device.

Before getting started, first make sure that both devices support Bluetooth. Most modern wireless devices include Bluetooth support but if your laptop, for example, doesn't, you might need to buy a Bluetooth adapter.

How to Connect a Bluetooth Laptop to Other Devices

Below are the basic instructions for connecting your laptop to a Bluetooth device such as your smartphone or music player, but remember that the process will vary depending on the device you're working with.

There are so many different kinds of Bluetooth devices that these steps are only relevant for some of them. It's best to consult your device's user manual or website for specific instructions. For example, the steps to pair a Bluetooth surround sound system to a laptop is not the same as pairing headphones, which isn't the same as pairing a smartphone, etc.

  1. Activate the Bluetooth function on the mobile device to make it discoverable or visible. If it has a screen, it's normally found under a Settings menu, while other devices use a special button.
  2. On the computer, access the Bluetooth settings and choose to make a new connection or set up a new device.
    For example, on Windows, either right-click the Bluetooth icon in the notification area or find the Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers page through Control Panel. Both places let you search for and add new Bluetooth devices.
  1. When your device appears on the laptop, select it to connect/pair it to your laptop.
  2. If prompted for a PIN code, try 0000 or 1234, and either enter or confirm the number on both devices. If those don't work, try searching for the device's manual online to find the Bluetooth code.
    If the device you're pairing to your laptop has a screen, like a phone, you might get a prompt that has a number that you must match with the number on the laptop. If they're the same, you can click through the connection wizard on both devices (which is normally just confirming a prompt) to pair the devices over Bluetooth.
  1. Once it's connected, depending on the device you're using, you might be able to do things like transfer a file between through an application or a Send to > Bluetooth kind of option on the OS. This clearly won't work for some devices though, such as headphones or peripherals.

Tips

  • If setting up the connection from your PC doesn't work, try initiating it from the device, such as holding down a "connect" button or finding the option within the device's software settings.
  • Some devices that don't have many buttons or options might connect to any laptop that's listening. For instance, you might be able to just find the device through your laptop and click to connect, and the device will indicate it's connected without requiring a passcode of any kind. This is true for most headphones.
  • Turn off Bluetooth when you're not using it, to prevent battery drain.