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I am sure you might have come across an option called ‘Bluetooth tethering’ while scrolling through the settings menu on your Android device. Ever wondered why and when you could possibly use this feature? Let us explain the whys and hows of Bluetooth tethering in this article.
- What is Bluetooth tethering?
- When to use Bluetooth tethering?
- How to share Wi-Fi using Bluetooth tethering?
Let us first start by addressing what the term Bluetooth tethering actually means. The feature, as you may have guessed, is quite similar to the Wi-Fi hotspot and USB tethering, where you can share the Internet connection used by the phone to be shared with any device that supports Bluetooth.
On older Android phones, the Bluetooth tethering feature only allowed sharing of mobile data with other devices. However, if you have a newer Android phone, you can actually use Bluetooth tethering to share (and extend) the range of your Wi-Fi connection to other devices.
Now, the question may arise as to why use Bluetooth tethering in the first place when you have the Wi-Fi hotspot feature, which is not only faster - but easier to use. Let us explain a couple of use cases.
As mentioned earlier, Bluetooth tethering is an objectively slower form of connectivity compared to traditional Wi-Fi hotspots. So why use it in the first place? Turns out, there are a couple of occasions when using Bluetooth tethering may actually make sense.
As of 2021, many low-end and mid-range smartphones (still) do not allow a Wi-Fi connection and a Wi-Fi hotspot to be enabled simultaneously. This means you will not be able to use Wi-Fi Hotspot to share your internet connection with other devices. In such scenarios, you are left with no other option but to use Bluetooth tethering since this method of tethering works even if you are connected to a Wi-Fi network.
As to why anyone would want to do this, hear me out.
Suppose your friend pops in for a couple of hours, and you do not really wish to share your Wi-Fi password with him. Instead of opening up the PC and creating a guest network on your router, you can simply create a Wi-Fi Hotspot on your phone (which is already connected to your router) and use it as an extender. And if that doesn't work, you can use the Bluetooth tethering feature to do the exact same thing. The connection would be slower -, but hey, it would still work for him!
You might already know it - but the general consensus is that the Wi-Fi Hotspot feature is a massive battery hog. In case you plan to use keep your phone tethered to another device for several hours, the battery might conk faster than you would imagine. In such scenarios, it is wiser to switch to Bluetooth tethering since the battery drain is comparatively lower in this mode.
Let us now move to the part where we actually set up and use Bluetooth tethering to share your Wi-Fi connection. This process is actually really easy. Here's how to do it.
First, ensure that your phone is already connected to the Wi-Fi network at your home/office. Then, make sure you turn on Bluetooth from within the settings menu.
- To do this, go to Device connectivity > Bluetooth.
- Ensure Bluetooth is On.
Now that you're certain that Bluetooth is enabled on your device:
- Go to Wireless & networks.
- Select Tethering & portable hotspot.
- Enable Bluetooth tethering.
With this done, you can then use Bluetooth on your laptop or PC, tablet, or another device to connect to your phone and make use of its internet connection.
- Simply pair your smartphone with the device you want to share the connection with under Device connectivity > Bluetooth.
- Once connected, make sure Internet access sharing is enabled in the device profile by tapping the settings icon next to the device name.
- Finally, set up the connected device to receive its network connection via Bluetooth in its network settings.
This is very straightforward with smartphones, but to connect a Windows PC, you have to go to Settings > Devices and printer, right-click the icon representing your phone, and select Connect using > Access point. Ta-Da! You're ready to start browsing the internet.
Did you find this useful? Have you managed to connect your phone's internet connection with other devices? Tell us in the comments.
This article was updated in July 2021. Older comments were retained.