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How to Use Bluetooth

You may already have it. Here's how to use it.

An Untapped Resource
Solar power? Wind energy? Geothermal heat? These are what might come to mind when you think about things we already have . . . and could be using more. But we’ve actually got another you can add to the list: Bluetooth—a technology that many of us have in music players, smart phones and computers, yet few of us take full advantage of. It can't power your car or your home, but it can make the time you spend in both a lot more fun and enjoyable. Plus, it's super easy to use. Ready to harness the awesome power of Bluetooth? Here's some basic information and tips for pairing your Bluetooth-enabled devices.

Bluetooth at a Glance
Bluetooth is named after the 10th century Scandinavian king Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson, who convinced opposing Danish factions to live together in a unified kingdom. Bluetooth technology works pretty much the same way: it’s an easy-to-use technology that establishes connections between your enabled devices—like laptops, tablets, mp3 players, smart phones, headphones, and speakers—and allows them talk to each other in a common language. And it does it all without wires or cables. You can "pair" your devices via wireless Bluetooth connections to transfer data, make and receive hands-free phone calls, or even stream music to Bluetooth speakers from your smart phone, tablet, or mp3 player.

You Want It? You Probably Already Have It.
One of the best things about Bluetooth is that many smart phones, mp3 players, tablets and laptops come equipped with Bluetooth connectivity. With technology like this literally at your fingertips, all you need to do is pair your Bluetooth-enabled devices with great accessories, like:

Tips for Pairing Up
In many cases, if you put two enabled devices next to each other with Bluetooth turned on, they will establish a connection fairly quickly. But if it doesn’t happen automatically, there are four basic steps you’ll need to follow to pair and use almost any two Bluetooth enabled devices.

Search Mode: Place your Bluetooth enabled device (smart phone, mp3 player, laptop, or tablet) into “Search Mode.” This means that your device is searching the surrounding area for another device that has Bluetooth enabled. It may be as simple as turning the device’s Bluetooth settings from “off” to “on.”

Discoverable Mode: Place the device you want to pair to in “Discoverable Mode.” When this device is in discoverable mode, your other Bluetooth devices can see it when they are searching for connections.

Selecting Your Device: Once a connection is made, the device you want to connect to should appear in the Bluetooth Menu on the device you put in Search Mode. Choose the device that appeared in the menu to establish the connection. If you have a security code or passkey on your device, you may have enter it on one or both of the devices to verify that the connection is genuine.

Disconnecting: Even though you can close a Bluetooth connection by turning Bluetooth off, your devices will remember each other when the connection is opened again. The steps needed to establish the connection should only be necessary during the initial linking of the devices.

Step-by-Step Example: Connecting to the Big Blue Live Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
If you have music on your computer, phone or mp3 player, getting it to play on your home stereo system isn’t always easy. Now, Bluetooth speakers let you stream your audio content straight from the source, all in an instant—with no cords or wires. And unlike typical home stereo systems, you get the advantage of big sound in speakers that are still small enough to go where you go. So whether it’s audio books, songs, or even your favorite Internet radio station, Bluetooth speakers are a great thing to have. Here’s a step-by-step example that shows you how to connect to one of our favorites: the Big Blue Live Wireless Bluetooth Speaker:

Step 1: Place the Bluetooth settings on your media device in Search/Scan Mode.
Step 2: Power on your Big Blue Live Bluetooth Speaker.
Step 3: Press and hold the Pairing button until the lights flash.
Step 4: Select Big Blue in the Bluetooth menu of your device.
Step 5: Rock and Roll.

Need to switch devices? It’s easy to switch Big Blue from one Bluetooth device to another.

Step 1: Press and hold the Pairing button until it blinks.
Step 2: Select Big Blue in the Bluetooth menu of new device you wish to connect.
Step 3: Commence air guitar moves.

A Few General Bluetooth Tips

  • Whenever you have any questions about Bluetooth pairing, it’s best to consult your manufacturer’s manuals and provided instruction booklets first. You may find that there are device-specific instructions you’ll need to follow in order to make the connection work properly.
  • Some accessories use a factory-preset passkey or security code for pairing, detailed in your instruction booklets.
  • Turn Bluetooth off on your smart phone or other device when it's not in use to preserve battery life.
  • Locating your Bluetooth Settings will vary from device to device, but here are some general guidelines for locating Bluetooth options for Apple, Android and Blackberry operating systems:
    • For Apple iPhones and iPods: Go to Settings, General, and select Bluetooth Settings
    • For Android: Go to Settings, Wireless & Network, and select Bluetooth Settings
    • For Blackberry: Go to the Blackberry Menu, Manage Connections icon, and select Bluetooth.