How to Pair, Connect or Forget a Bluetooth Device to the iPad

Young woman on train using an iPad with wireless earbuds

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If you have a Bluetooth device and aren't sure exactly how to connect it to your iPad, rest assured that the process of pairing a Bluetooth device is relatively straightforward.  

The process of pairing ensures the communication between the device and the iPad is encrypted and secure. This is important because headsets are a popular Bluetooth accessory and don't want someone being able to easily intercept the signal. It also allows the iPad to remember the device, so you don't need to jump through hoops each time you want to use the accessory with your iPad. You simply turn it on and it connects to the iPad.

Pairing Process, Step-by-Step

  1. Open the iPad's settings by launching the Settings app.

  2. Tap Bluetooth on the left-side menu. This will be close to the top.

  3. If Bluetooth is turned off, tap the On/Off slider to turn it on. (Remember, green means on.)

  4. Set your device to discoverable mode. Most Bluetooth devices have a button specifically for pairing the device. You may need to consult the manual of your device to find out where this is located. If you do not have the manual, make sure the device is powered on and click any other buttons on the device. This hunt-and-peck method isn't perfect but can do the trick. 

  5. The accessory should show up under the My Devices section when it is in discovery mode. It will show up with "Not Connected" next to the name. Simply tap the name of the device and the iPad will attempt to pair with the accessory.

  6. While many Bluetooth devices will automatically pair to the iPad, some accessories like a keyboard may require a passcode. This passcode is a series of numbers shown on your iPad's screen that you type using the keyboard.

How to Turn Bluetooth On/Off After the Device is Paired

While it is a good idea to turn Bluetooth off when you are not using it in order to save battery life, there's no need to repeat these steps every single time you want to connect or disconnect the device. Once paired, most devices will automatically connect to the iPad when both the device and the iPad's Bluetooth setting are turned on.

Instead of going back into the iPad's settings, you can use the iPad's control panel to flip the Bluetooth switch. Simply slide your finger up from the bottom edge of the screen to access the control panel. Tap the Bluetooth symbol to turn Bluetooth on or off. The Bluetooth button should be the one in the center. It looks like two triangles on top of each other with two lines sticking out from the side (like a B made with triangles).

How to Forget a Bluetooth Device on the iPad

You may want to forget a device, especially if you are trying to use it with another iPad or an iPhone. Forgetting a device essentially unpairs it. This means the iPad will not automatically connect to the device when it detects it nearby. You will need to pair the device again to use it with the iPad after you've forgotten it. The process of forgetting a device is similar to pairing it.

  1. Open the Settings app on your iPad.

  2. Tap Bluetooth on the left-side menu.

  3. Locate the accessory under "My Devices" and tap the "i" button with a circle around it.

  4. Choose Forget This Device.