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Bluetooth (=BT) is a wireless method for exchanging data over short distances using radio waves. It is used for peripherals of all kinds, from phones and audio equipment to keyboard and mouse.


  • A BT device, which can be internal or external (e.g., USB).
  • The Linux implementation of the bluetooth stack bluez, which is installed by default.
  • The GUI for managing bluez services called blueman, which is based on GTK+
    • This application is not installed by default, but is available from the repos.
    • After installation, reboot the computer


Some simple peripherals (keyboards, mice, etc.) link automatically to the computer. Others such as smartphones and audio headsets, need to be paired. Once blueman is installed, pairing becomes easy.

  • Launch Bluetooth Manager (blueman)
    • Click Start menu > Settings >  Bluetooth Manager.
    • Alternatively, if there is a BT icon in the SysTray (Notification Area) you can right-click the icon > Add device
  •   Use the sequence of buttons across the top to proceed:
    • Click the scan button to find devices, making sure the device you are interested in is discoverable
    • Highlight the device and click the add button (plus sign)
    • Click the pairing button, choosing your preference for pin number (e.g., custom: 1234)
    • NOTE: in some cases it may be easier to start from your device and let it drive the pairing.
  • For high-end audio BT devices using A2DP, consult the link below.

File transfer

Two easy ways to transfer files with Bluetooth Manager (device must be paired first).

  • Launch the application and click Device > Send a file
  • Right-click the systray icon if there is one > Send a file

Note that attempting to Browse Files on Device produces an error.


In theory it appears that it may be possible to use a BT connection to a phone as an internet access point (tethering) using Bluetooth Manager. During the setup for a device, the final step asks whether you want to make a network connection. If you skipped that or want to change your mind, open Bluetooth Manager, right-click the device once paired and select Network Access Point.

NetworkManager can supposedly create a Bluetooth personal-area network (PAN) access point mode for phones; not tested.


  1. Some recent BT dongles may not yet have drivers in the kernel and thus will not be recognized. The most likely solution is to upgrade the kernel.
  2. Command-line tools can be helpful when problems arise.
  • To check if bluez daemon is running:
/etc/init.d/bluetooth status

If it is not running (as root):

service bluetooth start

  • To check that your BT device is present and working:
hcitool dev

For similar tools, consult the man page for hcitool

  • If the applet is not in the Notification Area:


  • If Bluetooth Manager does not seem to start:



Problematic Broadcomm Bluetooth cards.

A problem arises with certain Broadcomm Bluetooth cards where the card is identified, but adding a device fails when attempting to pair. Adding without pairing shows as successful, but the device fails to work.

The following method worked when tested on a Dell XPS 13.

From a terminal, list your USB devices with the following command:


One of the lines shown will contain something similar to this:

Bus 001 Device 004: ID 0a5c:216f Broadcom Corp. BCM20702A0 Bluetooth

Take note of the two character strings. (0a5c:216f and BCM20702A0 in this example.)

Go to this page:

and find the driver that exactly matches your character strings. Download the file, and as root copy it to here:


Reboot, and open the Bluetooth dialogue. Remove any items added from previous attempts, then add your device in the usual way. All being well, the device will now add and pair successfully.

Information was found here:

v, 20150814

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