How to Connect Your Cell Phone to PC Using Bluetooth
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Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology that makes quick transfers between devices easy. Most PCs and almost all phones have Bluetooth capabilities. It’s fast, reliable, and battery-efficient.

If you haven’t used it much in the past, you’re missing out. Let’s see how you can connect your phone and PC using Bluetooth.

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

While connecting with a cable may be more straightforward, it’s not always the best choice.

For example, your PC may not have a free USB port. Many small laptops only have one or two—or you might have a MacBook that only has USB-C ports. Even a well-equipped desktop PC often has all its USB ports in use.

Too Many USB Cables
Image Credit: A.S. Zain via Shutterstock

Additionally, you may not have a cable handy. Or you might be using your cable to charge your phone. Finally, you might want to keep your phone out of sight or avoid the hazard of dangling wires, particularly if you’re in a public place.

Whatever the reason, connecting with Bluetooth is fairly easy. Once you’ve completed the initial setup, it can even be automatic. Anyone who frequently transfers files between their phone and PC should master Bluetooth.

How to Connect Your PC and Phone via Bluetooth

In order to connect, you need to have Bluetooth enabled on both devices.

Enable Bluetooth on Android or iOS

On most Android phones, you’ll see a Bluetooth toggle icon in the Quick Settings dropdown menu. To access this, swipe down from the top of the screen twice, or once using two fingers. Then tap the icon to toggle Bluetooth, or long-press it to open Bluetooth options.

You can also head to Settings > Connected devices to access Bluetooth settings.

On iOS, you can open Control Center by swiping up from the bottom of the screen (iPhone 8 and earlier) or swiping down from the top-right corner of the screen (iPhone X and later). Tap the Bluetooth icon to toggle it.

Alternatively, go to Settings and open Bluetooth. If you have trouble, check our iPhone Bluetooth troubleshooting guide for help.

Enable Bluetooth on Windows

Most modern Windows laptops have Bluetooth built-in, but not all desktops do. If your computer doesn’t support it, you can buy a cheap Bluetooth adapter How to Add Bluetooth to a Computer: 3 Great Bluetooth Adapters for PC How to Add Bluetooth to a Computer: 3 Great Bluetooth Adapters for PC Computers and laptops come with built-in Bluetooth. But what if yours doesn't? Set up your PC with a Bluetooth dongle. Read More to get it working easily.

On Windows 10, visit Start > Settings > Devices > Bluetooth & other devices. If Bluetooth is off, turn it on. Then choose Add Bluetooth or other device and follow the instructions to pair your phone. See our guide to setting up Bluetooth on Windows 10 for more info.

Windows 10 Bluetooth Settings

Notes on Bluetooth Pairing

During the pairing process, follow any instructions that appear on your PC or phone. In many cases, you’ll have to type or confirm a passcode. Often, this is a generic number like 1234 or 0000. Once you confirm this code, your phone should connect to your PC and will automatically do so in the future.

If you can’t get the devices to find each other, one of them is likely not discoverable. As a security feature, most Bluetooth devices only broadcast themselves when you have their Bluetooth options open. Double-check that you’ve enabled Bluetooth on both your phone and PC, and keep the Bluetooth options menu open while you pair. You should see Now discoverable as [Name] or something similar.

The connection will remain active until you turn off Bluetooth, manually unpair the devices, turn one of them off, or move them out of range. The exact Bluetooth range depends on the device: you can expect a phone to reach around 30 feet, but most PCs can reach up to 330 feet or so.

How to Transfer Files Using Bluetooth

Once you’ve paired your devices, the actual Bluetooth file transfer process is pretty simple.

To transfer from your phone, all you need to do is select a file in whatever app you’re using, and choose the option to share it. The exact method depends on the app, but most have a universal Share icon to look for.

When you see the list of methods you can share with, look for the Bluetooth entry. Then select your PC as the destination device. Windows will then request confirmation and start downloading the file. You may be allowed to choose the save location, or it may save to a standard Downloads folder.

When transferring a file from your PC to your phone, simply open File Explorer and right-click on the file you want to transfer. Select Send to > Bluetooth device.

Send to Bluetooth menu

This will open a new window where you can select the device you want to send to. Your phone may ask your approval. Once you confirm, the file will transfer over Bluetooth.

You can transfer multiple files in either direction. Just select them all at once and follow the above steps.

Other Ways of Connecting Your Phone and PC

If you don’t have Bluetooth (or even if you do) another way of connecting your phone and computer might be better suited to your needs. Bluetooth can consume extra battery life, might not be reliable for large file transfers, and isn’t always fast. In those cases, you might want to try an alternative.

USB Cable

The simplest way to connect your phone and PC is with a USB cable. There’s no setup involved: as soon as you connect the cable, Windows will ask you what action you want to take.

If you want to explore the contents of your phone or transfer a large number of files, this is usually a better option than Bluetooth. It’s potentially a lot faster and is more secure.

Email or Cloud Storage

If you need to transfer a small number of files, emailing them to yourself is a quick and dirty solution. However, this is clumsy. Using a cloud storage service is better, as you can organize the files and keep them from getting lost in your email.

However, be aware that these methods both involve uploading and downloading. If you’re on a slow or metered connection, you may want to think twice about transferring large files.

Specialized Apps

Wi-Fi Direct is an alternative to Bluetooth, but it’s not as well-integrated into modern devices and as such isn’t worth bothering with for most people.

Instead, you can try an app like EasyJoin on Android to transfer files over your local network. Those with an iPhone and Mac can use Apple’s AirDrop.

Remote Access and Tethering

If you need a deeper link between devices, you should set up remote access. Check out how to remotely control your computer from your phone How to Remotely Control Your Computer From Your Phone How to Remotely Control Your Computer From Your Phone Want to use remote desktop to access your computer from an Android device? Here are the best ways to do so easily. Read More to get started.

The other major way to link your phone and PC is via tethering What Is Tethering? How to Use Mobile Internet on a PC What Is Tethering? How to Use Mobile Internet on a PC With mobile data tethering, you can use internet on your laptop or tablet anywhere as long as you have your Android phone. Read More . This lets you use your phone’s mobile internet connection on your PC.

Stay Connected With Bluetooth

Each method of connecting your computer and smartphone has advantages and disadvantages. Bluetooth is great for temporary short-range connections when you need to zap a file or two quickly. But USB cables, cloud storage, and other connection types are important too.

To help you decide, have a look at the fastest file transfer methods between computers and phones The Fastest File Transfer Methods Between PCs and Mobile Devices The Fastest File Transfer Methods Between PCs and Mobile Devices Are you transferring data between devices using the fastest methods? Here are the best ways to do cross-device file transfers. Read More .

Explore more about: Bluetooth, Cloud Storage, File Management, .

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  1. James Rash
    January 29, 2019 at 1:34 am

    Also for android is the AIRMORE app on the goolgeplay. Solves all the above

  2. Roberta
    January 26, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    This is the first site that actually told me how to run a Win. 98 game on Win 7. Thanks so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Gloria Fu
    August 28, 2018 at 10:14 am

    Does anyone know ApowerMirror? Without bluetooth, it supports connect phone to PC by USB cable or Wi-Fi.

  4. Beter G.
    July 23, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    How come bluetooth file transfer is slow as snails.

  5. Pete Sosa
    January 11, 2017 at 6:10 am

    I use Bluetooth to move music from my collection to my phone. I have a 32 bit auxiliary chip for extra storage. Works flawlessly with Win10.

  6. Sandy
    October 30, 2016 at 3:11 am

    I have over three hundred photos stored on my phone's Bluetooth. How can I delete them. They are taking up too much space.

    • g.m.nelson
      January 13, 2017 at 11:31 am

      BLUETOOTH is not storage, it is method of file transfer. once you send your photos to your computer or other storage asset you can use the gallery options of your phone to delete the original file and recover the space.

  7. mir
    March 2, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    i can connect from my pc (win 10) to phone but i cant connect from my samsung to pc when i try to share from phone to pc its says sending failed but when from pc to phone it send sucessfully

    • g.m.nelson
      December 30, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      TRY OPENING THE BLUETOOTH ICON ON THE COMPUTER AND CLICK ON 'RECEIVE FILE' THEN TRY SENDING FROM THE PHONE. I ALSO FOUND THIS QUIRK WHEN I UPGRADED TO WIN 10

      • Mr. Cervik
        March 15, 2017 at 3:14 pm

        Thank you a lot G.M.Nelson, that's not intuitive at all, would've never found it without you ;-)

  8. Aj
    January 4, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    hey what do you do when the bluetooth driver has been disabled?
    I used the bluetooth facility on my laptop b4 it went 4 a repair and now the blutooth doesn't work. what do i do?

  9. Peter
    November 6, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Bluetooth is more insecure than WEP. I could do a drive by attack on it easily.

  10. emily
    November 6, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Instructions were very helpful up to the point that I tried to transfer photos of darling grandchild from the phone (Samsung Instinct) to the PC. The phone recognises the printer nearby, but is not showing the PC. The PC knows about the phone, so I'm not at all sure what to do next ... success seems always a click beyond my understanding.

  11. sfrost
    November 6, 2009 at 7:55 am

    I use bluetooth if I need to charge my touch pro2 while using my phone as a modem. Speeds are about the same as when its plugged in USB so its not even noticeable but the phone is so power hungry that the USB power supply is not enough.

  12. bben
    November 5, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Unfortunately, the only way Verizon allows my (their) phone to access anything is through their incredibly expensive service. They will not allow any direct transfer using either USB or bluetooth. To transfer a picture from the phone to my computer 2 feet away, I have to send it through their system. The only reason I put up with their BS is the phone and basic service are provided free by the company I work for.

    • Dean Sherwin
      November 6, 2009 at 4:56 am

      That sounds awful. I'v never heard of that. I'm in Ireland an if you ant to transfer something to your phone its as easy as drag and drop in most cases. Never heard of the network getting involved. I might try to find a way around that and do a post.

  13. James
    November 5, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Using the windows Bluetooth drivers I wasn't able to access all the features of my phone, only using it as a modem was available. I installed bluesoleil and now I can download/upload photos, contacts, and calendars. All I wanted was to be able to get my photos off and the windows drivers wouldn't let me do that. Might have been the cheap eBay dongle.

  14. vietvet52
    November 5, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    i upgraded to window and i don't see the blue-tooth in my control panel