How to Get Internet With a Bluetooth-Enabled Cell Phone

No Wi-Fi? No problem

Interior designer using a mobile phone in the office
ONOKY - Eric Audras/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Using your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone as a modem for internet access on your laptop is great in a pinch when there's no Wi-Fi service available or your regular internet service goes down. The main benefit of using Bluetooth instead of a USB cable for tethering is that you can keep your cell phone in your bag or pocket and still make the connection.

What You Need

  • Bluetooth-enabled cell phone
  • Bluetooth adapter (built-in or external dongle) for your laptop
  • Data plan from your mobile provider

Here are instructions for using your phone as a Bluetooth modem, based on both basic Bluetooth pairing instructions and information from the Bluetooth SIG, a trade association of companies associated with Bluetooth products.

Note: There are two alternatives to this method, including using Bluetooth Dial-Up Networking (DUN) and your wireless provider's login information to tether your phone to your computer. The easiest route, however, may be to use third-party tethering software like PdaNet for smartphones or Synccell for regular phones, because these apps don't require you to make many settings changes or know specifics about your wireless provider's technology.  

The method below pairs your phone with your computer and connects them over a Personal Area Network (PAN).

How to Connect Your Phone to Your Laptop

  1. Activate Bluetooth on your mobile phone (usually found under the Settings menu) and set your phone to be discoverable or visible to other Bluetooth devices.
  2. On the PC, find your Bluetooth program manager (in Windows XP and Windows 7, look under My Computer > My Bluetooth Connections or you can look for Bluetooth devices in the Control Panel; on a Mac, go to System Settings > Bluetooth).
  3. In the Bluetooth program manager, select the option to add a new connection or device, which will make the computer search for available Bluetooth devices and find your phone.
  4. When your cell phone appears in the next screen, select it to connect/pair it to your laptop.
  5. If prompted for a PIN code, try 0000 or 1234 and enter it on both the mobile device when prompted and your computer. (If those codes don't work, look in the information that came with your device or do a search for your phone's model and the words "Bluetooth pairing code".)
  6. When the phone has been added, you will be asked what service to use. Choose PAN (Personal Area Network). You should then have a working internet connection.


    1. If you can't find the Bluetooth program manager, try looking under Programs > [Your Computer Manufacturer's Name] > Bluetooth, as your system may have a special Bluetooth application.
    2. If you aren't prompted on your laptop for the type of service to use with your Bluetooth phone, try going into the options menu of your Bluetooth application to find that setting.
    3. If you own a BlackBerry, you can also try the step by step guide to using your BlackBerry as a tethered modem.