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How to turn on Bluetooth in Windows 11 and 10

Options are easier in Windows 11, but nothing's tough in Windows 10.
By

Published onMarch 8, 2023

Bluetooth might be less essential on a Windows PC than it is on your Android phone, but it still opens up a world of accessories, such as wireless earbuds and gaming controllers. Below, we’ll help you turn on Bluetooth in Windows and start pairing.

QUICK ANSWER

To turn on Bluetooth in Windows 11, go to Settings > Bluetooth and devices and flip the switch. Pair a device by putting it into pairing mode, clicking on the Network/Sound/Battery tray in the Windows taskbar, then clicking the > icon next to the Bluetooth symbol. Select your device from the list that appears.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to turn on Bluetooth in Windows 11 and 10

Bluetooth settings in Windows 11

In Windows 11:

  • Open the Settings app.
  • In the sidebar, click Bluetooth and devices.
  • Flip the Bluetooth toggle to On. You can also add devices from here when they’re in pairing mode.

In Windows 10:

  • Open the Settings app. You may need to search for it in the Start menu.
  • Click Devices, then Bluetooth and other devices.
  • Flip the Bluetooth toggle to On.

How to pair a Bluetooth device to Windows

Windows 11 taskbar Bluetooth settings

In Windows 11:

  • Put the Bluetooth device into pairing mode. The exact method is going to vary.
  • Click on the Network/Sound/Battery tray in the Windows taskbar.
  • Click the > icon next to the Bluetooth symbol. (Clicking on the symbol itself is another way of toggling Bluetooth on or off.)
  • Choose your device from the list that appears.

In Windows 10:

  • Put the Bluetooth device into pairing mode.
  • Open the Settings app. You may need to search for it in the Start menu.
  • Go to Settings > Devices > Bluetooth and other devices.
  • Click Add Bluetooth or other device, then Bluetooth.
  • Select your device once it appears in the list.

Note that both Windows 11 and 10 support Swift Pair, a feature which lets some Bluetooth devices pair automatically when they’re in close proximity to your PC. When a product supports it too, you’ll see a Windows notification when you put the device into pairing mode. Follow prompts to complete the process.

If you’re trying to add a Bluetooth printer or scanner, go to Settings > Bluetooth and devices > Printers and scanners in Windows 11, or Settings > Devices > Printers and scanners in Windows 10.

Why can’t I turn on Bluetooth in Windows?

First, doublecheck that your PC is equipped with it. While Bluetooth is almost de facto technology these days, some PCs deliberately drop it as a way of keeping costs down. If it is missing, you’ll have to buy a USB Bluetooth adapter.

In some cases the problem may be a simple control issue with an equally simple fix. Make sure Airplane mode is disabled. If it’s already off, try toggling Bluetooth off for a few seconds, then back on. A reboot might also help.

Assuming Bluetooth still isn’t working, you may need to update or reinstall related software drivers. Check Windows Update. If there’s nothing new to install there, go to your PC maker’s website (for a pre-built PC) or your motherboard maker’s site (for a custom PC) and download the Bluetooth driver appropriate for your hardware. You may need to check your computer’s specifications to find model info.