Secret Bluetooth tips: How to print files and share your phone’s web connection without Wi-Fi

Of all the developments that have made significant impacts on how we use technology, Bluetooth ranks among the very best, but it’s a relatively unassuming and underappreciated piece of kit. Here we outline our favourite Bluetooth tips and tricks from printing and sending files to even sharing an internet connection.

Secret Bluetooth tips: How to print files and share your phone's web connection without Wi-Fi

Struggling with your Bluetooth connection?

First things first, if you’re having problems connecting to a device, try turning Bluetooth off and back on again. If that doesn’t work, select the option to ‘forget’ the problem device, then reconnect to it. This solves most issues. Some Bluetooth devices prioritise previous connections, so if you can’t pair with something, it’s possible the last person who was able to is still connected. Get them to disconnect, or turn off Bluetooth, then try again.

Bluetooth tips

Print over Bluetooth

 Most wireless printers use Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth, and for one very good reason – distance. With Bluetooth, you need to be within 30ft of your printer. Any further away and the connection will be lost. You don’t have that restriction with Wi-Fi. But if you have a Bluetooth-enabled printer, you can use this feature to print from your phone, tablet, or other device. 

First, make sure your printer is ‘discoverable’ (check its manual if you’re not sure how to do this) and then connect to it as you would any Bluetooth device. With your document or image open, select the Print option and your paired Bluetooth printer will be listed under Select Printer, ready to use. If your printer isn’t Bluetooth-compatible, you may be able to buy and add a Bluetooth adapter.

Share an internet connection over Bluetooth

If you’re out and about but can’t find a wireless hotspot for your computer to connect to, you can create one on your phone using a process called tethering. Again, most people use Wi-Fi to do this, but you can set up Bluetooth tethering, which has the benefit of using less battery power (although it is slower). 

On Android, go to Settings, and under ‘Wireless & Networks’, tap the More option. Tap ‘Tethering & portable hotspot’ then switch on ‘Bluetooth tethering’ (see screenshot below left). On the paired computer, right-click the Bluetooth icon in the system tray, then select ‘Join a Personal Area Network’. Select your phone, click the ‘Connect using’ dropdown menu then select ‘Access point’ (see screenshot above). You can now start browsing the web over Bluetooth.

Use Dynamic Lock in Windows 10

The Windows 10 Creators Update introduced a new feature called Dynamic Lock that lets Windows 10 detect when you’re away from your computer and automatically locks it, preventing anyone accessing it in your absence. The feature uses Bluetooth and a paired phone to gauge when you have stepped away from the screen. To enable it, open Settings, go to Accounts, then ‘Sign-in options’. Scroll down to ‘Dynamic lock’ and tick the option to ‘Allow Windows to detect when you’re away and automatically lock the device’ (see screenshot below left). You will also need to pair your mobile phone to use the feature.

Send and receive files from your PC

If your PC has Bluetooth, and is running Windows 10, you can send and receive files with any compatible and connected device. To send files, pair your PC with the other device, then go to Start, Settings, Devices, then ‘Bluetooth & other devices’. Scroll down, then select ‘Send or receive files via Bluetooth’. In the window that opens, select ‘Send files’. Choose the device you want to share to and click Next. Select Browse, find the files you want to share, select Open, then Next
to send them. 

The receiving device will need to accept the files. To receive files, make sure your PC and the sending device are paired. Under ‘Send or receive files via Bluetooth’ select ‘Receive files’ and wait for them to arrive. Select ‘Save the received file’, choose the save location, then click Finish.You can also access the Send and Receive options by right-clicking the Bluetooth icon in the system tray.

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.

Todays Highlights
How to See Google Search History
how to download photos from google photos