For most people, Bluetooth is a quick and hassle-free way of connecting wireless accessories to your phone. But clever developers have come up with many more interesting use cases for the technology.
Today, there’s much more Bluetooth can do on your phone. Here are great tips and apps to get more out of Bluetooth on an Android device.
1. Explore the Built-In Bluetooth Settings
There’s a whole lot you can do simply by exploring your phone’s built-in Bluetooth settings. For instance, when you have headphones connected, Android offers a bunch of options to tweak your preferences.
You can enable HD audio on compatible devices, edit whether it should sync with the phone’s media volume, and more. To access this, you will need to head over to Settings > Connected devices. Tap the cog wheel icon beside a connected accessory; you may need to look under Previously connected devices to find them.
Apart from those options, you can edit the Bluetooth audio codec if you’re facing difficulties or Android doesn’t recognize your device’s preferred choice by default. It’s one of the useful tools in the Developer Options menu, listed as Bluetooth Audio Codec.
2. Unlock or Lock Your Phone With Bluetooth
Another Bluetooth-based Android feature you should try is Smart Lock. This allows you to bypass your screen lock under certain criteria, including whether it’s connected to a trusted Bluetooth device. So for instance, if you have a pair of connected wireless earphones, your phone will remain unlocked as long as they’re in range.
Once they disconnect or go out of range, your phone will automatically lock. It’s worth noting that Smart Lock functions with any Bluetooth gadget and is not limited to audio accessories. You can set it up with a smartwatch or your car’s Bluetooth system.
To configure Smart Lock, go to Security and location > Smart Lock > Trusted Devices. Here, you will be asked to add a trusted device. You can choose from any existing paired devices. Confirm the selection and you’re all set.
3. Unlock a Windows, Mac, or Chrome Computer With Bluetooth
Your Android phone is also capable of unlocking or locking your computer through Bluetooth. Both Windows and Chrome OS include native solutions for this. Mac users, on the other hand, will have to rely on a third-party app.
Chromebooks feature a form of Smart Lock that lets you unlock them with your phone’s fingerprint sensor. To switch it on, open the Settings on your Chromebook and under Connected Devices, set up your Android phone. Follow the instructions and you’ll be ready to use it. Next time you’re at the Chrome OS login screen, you will be prompted to employ Smart Lock if your phone’s Bluetooth is enabled.
Windows has a security option called Dynamic Lock which locks your computer if a Bluetooth device leaves its radius. It can be accessed by checking the Allow Windows to automatically lock your device when you’re away box at Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options > Dynamic Lock. If you’d like to unlock your Windows PC through your phone’s biometrics, give the Remote Fingerprint Unlock app a shot.
Unfortunately, macOS doesn’t house any Android-specific security features. Instead, you can install a free app called DroidID. Once paired, you can log into your computer using your phone’s fingerprint reader.
4. Take Advantage of IFTTT’s Bluetooth Applets
IFTTT can help you automate a range of Bluetooth actions you would otherwise have to manually perform. You can utilize the service to establish Bluetooth triggers which execute based on a specific event.
Say you often play music when you connect your Bluetooth headphones. Instead of having to open the app on your own, you can create an IFTTT applet to automate this. Similarly, you can have IFTTT turn off Bluetooth when you disconnect the wireless device.
All IFTTT applets are free. You can view them by searching for “Bluetooth” on the IFTTT app.
Download: IFTTT (Free)
5. Compete Locally With Bluetooth-Based Multiplayer Games
You don’t always need Wi-Fi to play multiplayer games on your phone. Thanks to Bluetooth, you can easily engage in local battles as well.
The Play Store is home to hundreds of games that come with Bluetooth-powered multiplayer modes. You can instantly create a local lobby and compete with your friends without an internet connection. Due to Bluetooth’s limitations, the games are understandably simpler.
One of the apps to get you started is titled Dual! As the name suggests, it’s a straightforward arcade title with a focus on multiplayer experiences. For more like this, see our list of the best two-player mobile games.
Download: Dual! (Free)
6. YouBlue React
YouBlue React is a free app that lets you configure a handful of standard Bluetooth actions. The app will kick in both when the device connects and disconnects. You can add reactions like launching an app, adjusting the media volume to a particular level, and playing music.
In addition to Bluetooth, it supports a couple of other events based on Wi-Fi, incoming calls, plugging your phone into a power source, and more. While YouBlue React can work for multiple accessories at once, you’ll have to pay for that perk. The free version restricts you to one device.
7. Bluetooth Chat
Bluetooth Chat is a full-fledged instant messaging app. What makes it stand out is that it connects over Bluetooth, unlike other internet-based services. Because of that, Bluetooth Chat functions offline.
However, you still have access to many modern messaging features. You can chat with multiple devices at once and share images. Plus, in case the other person doesn’t have the Bluetooth Chat app, you can beam them the APK file directly. Even better, it also has a night mode.
Download: Bluetooth Chat (Free)
How Well Do You Know Bluetooth?
We hope, after discussing these apps, you have a whole new outlook on what Bluetooth can do on your phone. Apart from just letting your phone talk to wireless accessories, Bluetooth is capable of running local games and even messaging apps.
However, even though Bluetooth has existed on our devices for some, it’s still a mystery to many. Here’s a quick guide to common Bluetooth questions you should check out.