Sometimes the simplest things are more complex than we think. Microsoft has devoted a lot of resources to making sure that the Windows 10 operating system is easier to use than its direct predecessor, Windows 8. Adding Bluetooth devices to Windows 10 should be easier than ever.
In the past, Microsoft did not take direct responsibility for Bluetooth devices. Instead, hardware manufacturers will include a Bluetooth utility that leaves a blue icon in the Taskbar, allowing users to add devices. These utilities can be flaky and visually confusing. Windows 10 integrates Bluetooth functionality into the Settings app, giving users the ability to manage all their wireless settings in one place.
Here’s how to use this new space to add Bluetooth devices to Windows 10.
Before You Begin
It doesn’t take much to add a Bluetooth device to your PC.
Of course, you must have the device you want to add to your Windows 10 PC at hand. For two Bluetooth devices to work together, one must act as the host and the other must be paired with it. Headphones, mice, keyboards, and other Bluetooth accessories all need to be paired with each other. To do this, you need to put these devices in pairing mode.
How you put an accessory into pairing mode varies. Some devices have a button that users hold to initiate the process. A status indicator light then starts flashing, confirming that pairing mode is working. Display accessories, such as a smartphone you are trying to pair with, have software toggles for pairing.
Either way, you’ll want to consult the documentation that came with your accessory to learn how to put it into pairing mode.
Turning Bluetooth On and Off in Windows 10
Turning Bluetooth on and off in Windows 10 is pretty simple.
The Action Center, which slides out from the right edge of your screen, is for quickly turning the feature on or off without going to the Settings app. If you have a touch device, swipe from the right edge of the screen to the left. You have to tap the text to see the Bluetooth switch, because it’s not one of the settings that appears in the Action Center without customizing the Action Center to decide which settings are always available there.
If you’re on a device with a mouse and keyboard, simply click the message button to the right of the clock in the Taskbar. You will have to tap Expand unless you also change which settings appear by default.
This button will always tell you how many devices are connected to your Windows 10 PC via Bluetooth. Turning on Airplane Mode within the Action Center will turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. If you have accessories connected to it, you can turn it back on manually.
Adding Your Bluetooth Device to Windows 10
While the Bluetooth device you want to add to Windows 10 is already in Pairing Mode, your Windows 10 PC should look for it.
Open it by tapping or clicking the Windows button on the Taskbar or pressing the Windows button on your keyboard.
Now tap or click on the Settings cog on the left edge of the Start Menu at the bottom. Note that if you have a touch device, the shortcut is in the same place.
Inside the Settings app, tap or click .
On the far left edge of the Devices area is a menu with links to other Settings pages. Tap or click the entry.
From the moment you enter this page, Windows will start searching for available Bluetooth devices to add to Windows 10 PC. You will also see a list of devices already connected via Bluetooth.
Devices that have not yet been paired appear at the bottom of this list. For the purposes of this tutorial, we’re trying to connect Microsoft’s latest Xbox One Controller to Windows 10 via Bluetooth. Find the device you are trying to add to Windows 10 in the list and tap or click on it. Then tap or click
For simple devices, you will see a progress bar as Windows 10 strengthens the connection between it and the device you paired. Some devices require you to pair a PIN by confirming it with a push of a button or typing that PIN on the device you’ve added.
Although Microsoft has added an interface for Bluetooth directly to Windows, this feature is very hardware dependent. This means – like Wi-Fi – Bluetooth can be affected by really bad drivers released by your device manufacturer. For example, Wi-Fi works pretty well on a Dell XPS 15 we have, but Microsoft’s own Surface Pro 4 has been having issues with it since launch. If you’re having trouble adding a Bluetooth device to Windows 10, go to the Update area in Settings to make sure you have the latest drivers and software updates. Your hardware manufacturer may also have custom update utility installed on your PC. Check it out too.
Good luck adding Bluetooth devices to Windows 10.