This tutorial guides you to enable Bluetooth on Windows 11, use your Bluetooth devices with your PC and fix common Bluetooth issues.
Bluetooth has become more of a necessity in recent years owing to the ease of connectivity that it offers. All the smartphones and most of the newer generation computers offer the feature along with many other devices like speakers and headphones, to name a few.
Bluetooth not just enhances accessibility and makes a device portable, but nullifies the need for those messy wires running all around. There are two ways to turn on Bluetooth on Windows 11, either through the ‘Settings’ or the ‘Action Center’.
Turn On Bluetooth from Windows Settings
To turn on Bluetooth via settings, search for ‘Settings’ in the ‘Start Menu’, and click on the relevant search result to launch the app.
You will now find multiple tabs listed on the left, select ‘Bluetooth and devices’ from the list.
Next, click on the toggle next to ‘Bluetooth’ to enable it.
Turning on Bluetooth via settings is beneficial when you want to add a new device, since the option is placed right here.
Turn on Bluetooth from Action Center
To turn on Bluetooth via ‘Action Center’, click on ‘Action Center’ near the bottom-right corner of the Desktop.
Then, click on the ‘Bluetooth’ icon in the top row among all quick actions in the Action Center to enable it. Once enabled, it should get a darker color shade based on the theme color on your PC.
Although the Bluetooth action is available in the ‘Action Center’ by default, if you had removed it earlier by any chance or is simply not present, here’s how you add it.
To add the Bluetooth option to the ‘Action Center’, launch the ‘Action Center’ and click on the ‘Edit quick settings’ icon that resembles a pencil at the bottom left of the dialog.
All the tiles will now fade and two new options, ‘Done’ and ‘Add’, will appear. Click on ‘Add’.
Next, select ‘Bluetooth’ from the list of available toggle options.
Finally, click on ‘Done’ at the bottom to save the changes.
The Bluetooth option will now be added to the ‘Action Center’ and you can enable it as you did earlier.
Pairing a Bluetooth Device in Windows 11
Now that you have turned on Bluetooth on Windows 11, the next step is to pair devices to enjoy seamless connectivity. Devices that support Bluetooth connectivity can easily be linked to your computer.
Before you proceed to pair, ensure that the Bluetooth is turned on for both the computer and the device and that the device you wish to pair is set to ‘Pairing Mode’.
Then, open Windows Settings, navigate to the ‘Bluetooth & devices’ settings from the left panel, and click on the ‘Add device’ option at the top.
An ‘Add a device’ window will appear with three options. Select the one based on the device you want to connect.
Note: Make sure the device you wish to connect is in Bluetooth pairing mode before you proceed or else, your system may not be able to scan and connect to your Bluetooth device.
After you select the device category, your PC will begin scanning for nearby Bluetooth devices. Select the one that you want to pair with.
Once the pairing is successful, you will receive a confirmation on the window. Also, the device will be connected.
There are two kinds of devices, ones that connect right away while others require authentication. The one we just connected is a Bluetooth speaker which connected right away with a single click.
Now, let’s try connecting to a phone. Enable Bluetooth on the mobile phone and select it in the list of devices.
A pin will now appear both on the computer and the phone. Verify that it’s the same pin on both, and click on ‘Connect’ on the computer and ‘Pair’ (or other similar options) on the phone to complete the pairing process.
Pairing a device is a one-time process and it will automatically be connected whenever it’s in range, with the Bluetooth turned on.
Now that you know how to pair and connect with Bluetooth devices, pair your PC with the ones that you frequently use.
Troubleshooting Bluetooth Issues
Many a time, you might face issues locating the Bluetooth option, pairing or using other devices, or with other similar aspects. There are a lot of issues that could crop up. In the following sections, we have listed the common issues and the most effective for each.
Can’t Turn On Bluetooth?
This is a common issue faced by most users where they are unable to turn on Bluetooth. This could be due to a lot of reasons and the troubleshooting steps mentioned below will help you resolve it.
1. Check if Your PC Supports Bluetooth
To check if your device supports Bluetooth, search for ‘Device Manager’ in the ‘Start Menu’ and then launch the app.
Next, try and locate the ‘Bluetooth’ entry in the list.
If the ‘Bluetooth’ entry is missing, double-click on the ‘Network Adapters’ option and check if ‘Bluetooth’ is listed there.
If you couldn’t find ‘Bluetooth’ listed in the ‘Device Manger’, your computer doesn’t offer Bluetooth Support and you can’t use the feature unless you opt for a Bluetooth adapter or a PCI card. In case, your PC supports Bluetooth, execute the following fixes to resolve the issue that’s preventing you from connecting to Bluetooth.
2. Check for a Physical Key to Enable Bluetooth
Many computers have a physical key that is meant to enable and disable Bluetooth. If you are unable to turn on Bluetooth, check if the key is set to a state that enables Bluetooth. Check the manual that came along with the system for any such external key to enable/disable Bluetooth.
3. Check if Flight Mode is Enabled
When unable to turn on Bluetooth, your primary approach should be to check if ‘Flight Mode’ is enabled. With ‘Flight Mode’ enabled, you wouldn’t be able to turn on Bluetooth.
To check if ‘Flight Mode’ is enabled, click on the ‘Action Center’ option in the Taskbar. The new ‘Action Center’ option has the Wi-Fi, Speaker, Bluetooth icons displayed.
In the ‘Action Center’, check if ‘Airplane mode’ is enabled. Any feature that is enabled will have a blue tile while the ones that are disabled will have one that’s white. If ‘Airplane Mode’ is enabled, click on the tile to disable it.
4. Run Bluetooth Troubleshooter
If the issue with Bluetooth hasn’t been fixed yet, you can try running the built-in Windows 11 Bluetooth troubleshooter.
To run the troubleshooter, launch the system ‘Settings’, and the ‘System’ tab will open by default. Now, scroll down on the right and select ‘Troubleshoot’.
Next, click on the ‘Other troubleshooters’ option.
Now, scroll down and locate the ‘Bluetooth’ troubleshooter, and then click on the ‘Run’ option next to it.
The troubleshooter will start right away and identify and fix all the known issues that are preventing you from turning on Bluetooth. You might have to confirm a few changes during the troubleshooting process.
5. Check if Bluetooth Support Service is Running
Many a time, it’s the ‘Bluetooth Support Service’ that’s behind leading to the issue. The service is by default set to ‘Manual’ instead of ‘Automatic’, and thus does not run automatically. You can fix the issue by changing the ‘Startup Type’ to ‘Automatic’ and then starting the service.
To start the ‘Bluetooth Support Service’, search for ‘Services’ in the ‘Start Menu’, and then click on the relevant search result to launch the app.
Next, locate the ‘Bluetooth Support Service’ option, and double click on it to launch its properties.
In the properties window, click on the ‘Startup type’ drop-down menu and select ‘Automatic’ from the list.
You have now changed the ‘Startup type’ but the service isn’t running yet. To run the service, click on the ‘Start’ option under ‘Service status’ and wait for it to start. Once it’s started, click on ‘OK’ at the bottom to save the changes and close the properties window.
Now, check if you are able to turn on Bluetooth.
6. Update Bluetooth Drivers
If none of the above methods have worked yet, it’s probably the Bluetooth driver at fault. Therefore, it’s time you update it.
To update the Bluetooth driver, search for ‘Device Manager’ in the ‘Start Menu’, and launch it from the search results.
Next, double-click on the ‘Bluetooth’ entry to expand and view the devices under it.
Next, right-click on the ‘Bluetooth’ device option and select ‘Update driver’ from the context menu.
The ‘Update Drivers’ window will launch. You will now be presented with two options, either to let Windows search the system for the best available driver and install it or to install the driver manually. It’s recommended that you select the first option and let Windows install the driver.
After you select the first option, follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation process, in case an update is available.
Unable to Connect to your Bluetooth Device?
This is one of the other issues that users generally encounter when trying to connect to another device with Bluetooth. The underlying reason in this scenario is a lot trivial and can be fixed quickly.
1. Check if Bluetooth is Enabled on the Device
If you are unable to connect to the other device, check if its Bluetooth is turned on. This the most common mistake made by the users, not enabling the Bluetooth on the device and trying to connect. If this was the case, now try connecting to the device and it should work fine.
2. Check if the Device is in Range
Every Bluetooth device has a range, i.e., a certain distance upto which it can send and receive signal, or in simple terms, stay connected. To find out the range of the device or your system, check the manual that came along. To fix the issue, just bring the device close by and try connecting to it.
Also, check for any obstructions between the PC and the device you are trying to connect to. For instance, if there is a wall between the two, it would affect the connection. Bring the device closer to the computer and then try connecting the two.
3. Toggle Bluetooth On / Off
Merely re-enabling the Bluetooth has worked as an effective fix for multiple users. If the above fixes didn’t work, you must give it a try.
To re-enable Bluetooth, launch ‘Settings’, and then select the ‘Bluetooth & devices’ option from the left.
Next, click on the toggle next to ‘Bluetooth’ to turn it off.
After you have turned off Bluetooth, wait for a few minutes and then click on the toggle to re-enable it.
Now, check if you are able to connect to the other devices.
4. Reboot the Computer
Most of the trivial errors can be fixed by a simple reboot. When you reboot the computer, the OS is reloaded which can fix a lot of glitches or errors that you might be encountering. The same goes for errors pertaining to Bluetooth connectivity.
After you reboot the computer, check if the error is fixed and you are able to connect to the device.
5. Re-pair the Device
If none of the above fixes have worked, the last troubleshooting step is to re-pair the device. If a problem was encountered while pairing, it would lead to issues when you try to connect to the device. Therefore, it’s recommended that you re-pair the device.
To re-pair a device, navigate to the ‘Bluetooth & devices’ settings and you will find some of the paired Bluetooth devices listed at the top. Click on the ellipsis at the top-right corner of the device tile that you are unable to connect with, and then select the ‘Remove device’ option.
Note: If the device that you are unable to connect with does not appear at the top of the ‘Bluetooth & devices’ settings, select ‘View more devices’, click on the ellipsis next to the device and follow the steps mentioned here.
Next, click on ‘Yes’ in the confirmation box that pops up.
After you have unpaired, follow the steps discussed above to pair a Bluetooth device. You will now be able to connect the device with the PC.
It’s time you bid farewell to the wired devices and switch to ones with Bluetooth connectivity. They are not just a more convenient option but also enhance the range of the device, thus making them a suitable choice for most.