How to Set Up Bluetooth on your Linux Machine

In this post, we will discuss how to set up Bluetooth on different Linux distros. Linux may or may not come with in-built support for Bluetooth. Well, you can always make it available using some third-party tools like Bluez, Blueman, etc. 

These days, each and every peripheral device is coming wireless. This is because of users’ demand as they don’t want to use any wired device at all. Using a wired device not only makes things slightly restricted, but also loses the ease of access. The best examples are Wireless Keyboard, Mouse, Speakers, and headsets. 

Set up Bluetooth in Linux

While setting up Bluetooth is quite easy on some Linux distributions, it may complicate things when you are using Linux distros like Fedora or Arch. Worry not, as we discuss all Linux types and learn the right ways to enable Bluetooth on each one of them. 

Set Up Bluetooth on your Linux Machine

Setting up a Bluetooth device is quite easy on Linux. However, as there are several distros available on Linux, the steps of doing this may vary across different distributions. If your Linux already supports Bluetooth, skip the below two sections and learn how to set up Bluetooth on it.

However, if your Linux distro doesn’t support active Bluetooth, you need to first enable it using either Bluez or Blueman. Both are equally good programs and you may use either of them to set up a Bluetooth device on your Linux device. 

  • Setting up Bluetooth using Bluez
  • Setting up Bluetooth using Blueman

Note: You also require installing a Bluetooth manager in addition to downloading/installing Bluez or Blueman. Some known distros of Linux have in-built Bluetooth managers. For example –

GNOME consists of an in-built client whereas KDE Plasma has the KDE Bluetooth client.

In case you are using a desktop environment that doesn’t include any built-in client, you may install the Blueman Client. 

Installing Bluez across different distros of Linux

Users may install Bluez by running a simple code on their respective Linux distributions. The most common distros and the relevant codes are provided below –

Debian and Ubuntu

sudo apt install bluez*

install bluez

Fedora

sudo dnf install bluez bluez-tools

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S bluez bluez-utils

OpenSUSE

If you are using the OpenSUSE distribution, you need to install Bluez using the Open Build Service. 

Note: Bluez works with almost all Linux distributions. So, if you didn’t see your Linux distribution mentioned above, you need not worry about that. All you require is to open your Package Manager and search for Bluez on it. You will get all the relevant information on how to install Bluez on your Linux distro. 

How to enable Bluetooth on different Linux distros

Now that you have installed either Bluez, follow these steps to enable Bluetooth on your Linux device –

  • First of all, launch Terminal
  • In case you are using a Bluetooth dongle, you must run this code on the terminal.

modprobe btusb

  • Now, enable the Bluetooth service by executing the below command. 

sudo systemctl enable bluetooth.service

  • After enabling Bluetooth service, start it by running this code.

sudo systemctl start bluetooth.service

enable bluetooth on linux

Hopefully, the Bluetooth will start on your Linux distro and you may transfer files or use it for whichever purpose you need to enable it. 

Connect to a Bluetooth device using Blueman

There’s another utility program that you may install and use to connect to your Linux distros. Let’s first learn how to install this tool called “Blueman” on your Linux device –

How to Install Blueman

To install Blueman on commonly used Linux distros, execute the command enlisted separately –

Debian and Ubuntu

sudo apt install blueman

Installing Blueman on Ubuntu

Fedora

sudo dnf install blueman

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S blueman

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install blueman

For all other Linux distros, open your default package manager and search for Blueman. 

Since you have already installed Blueman, learn how to connect your Bluetooth device to Linux using Blueman. The steps may vary across different distros, however, the basic thing remains the same. 

  • Launch Bluetooth Manager first and hit Search. 
  • Your device must remain discoverable in order to connect it to a Linux device.
  • When you see your Bluetooth in the device list, right-click on it and hit Connect.
  • Let your Linux connect to that Bluetooth device. 
  • There may or may not appear a password window depending upon the security of the Bluetooth device. 
  • Provide the passcode and your Linux is now connected to the Bluetooth device. 

Connect to a Bluetooth Device on GNOME Linux

If you are using GNOME Linux, you need not worry about installing tools like Bluez or Blueman on it. This is because Gnome comes with pre-built Bluetooth support on it. Here’s how to set up Bluetooth devices on Gnome Linux –

  • Go to the top-right corner of your display screen and click on the Status icon. 
  • A small menu will open next and you can see the Bluetooth option.
  • Click on Bluetooth entry followed by Bluetooth Settings.

Bluetooth Settings on Linux

  • A separate window will open next and it searches for the available devices automatically. 
  • Make sure to turn on Bluetooth on your other device as well and make that discoverable. 
  • When a Bluetooth device pops up on your Linux, click on it.
  • This might prompt you to enter a six-digit PIN so that it completes the pairing up devices. 

Note: If you are trying to connect your Bluetooth headset, all you need is to tap on that device to confirm the pairing up. The same follows for Bluetooth Keyboard, Mouse, or any other non-peripheral device.  

How do I connect Bluetooth Devices in KDE Plasma?

If you are having a KDE Plasma Linux and want to set up a Bluetooth device on it, follow these easy steps –

  • First of all, click the Bluetooth icon available on the taskbar. 
  • When the Bluetooth sub-window opens up, click “+ Add New Device…“. 
  • KDI Plasma will then start searching for discoverable Bluetooths and enlist the available devices.
  • Select the device that you want to add to your Plasma Linux, and click Next.
  • You are required to enter the six-digit code that appears on your Bluetooth device. 

Note: Entering the passcode is mandatory only for peripheral devices. If you using a wireless keyboard, mouse, or headset, you may connect it to your KDI Plasma without entering any password. 

How do I set up the Bluetooth CLI Utility in Linux?

There comes a feature “Bluetooth CLI Utility” pre-installed with Bluez. Linux users may also use this feature to pair and connect their desktop to Bluetooth devices. 

  • First of all, launch the terminal and run this code.

bluetoothctl

  • Doing this will change your prompt to [bluetooth]#.
  • Run the below command to start the internal Bluetooth transmitter.

power on

  • Next, scan for any active Bluetooth devices by running these two codes one after another –

scan on
agent on

  • Now, get the list of nearby Bluetooth devices to which you want to pair your device. To do so, run this code –

devices

Run bluetoothctl on Linux

  • Use the MAC address of your device to pair it with your computer by running these two commands:

pair [MAC address]
connect [MAC address]

  • If the Bluetooth device is not simply a wireless keyboard, mouse, or headset, you need to type the PIN as well. 
  • Do it and your device gets connected to the Bluetooth device. 

What if Linux doesn’t recognize my phone through Bluetooth?

There should not be any issue if Bluetooth is enabled on both your phone as well as the Linux device. It’s only possible when your phone is set to “not discoverable” under the Bluetooth settings. Some phones these days automatically hide it from Bluetooth devices search once you are done adding it to a device.

So, if you had made your phone discoverable some time back, make sure to do that again. Once your device appears in the nearby Bluetooth search, you may easily connect your phone to the Linux distro.

In case you are still facing issues connecting to your phone, run the below command on bluetoothctl.

sudo bluetoothctl discoverable on

Doing so will force your computer to remain discoverable to nearby devices. I hope you are now able to connect your phone to a Linux distro quite easily.

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