The Pi and Bluetooth Find True Love in the Newest Raspian Update

Change is a constant in the Raspberry Pi world, and nothing seems to change as often as Raspbian’s Bluetooth support. Each new version has required different tweaks and software and discovering them has been a bit of an adventure. But the fun may now be over. Raspbian’s developers have taken the time to really nail down Bluetooth support in the May 10, 2016 version and it works much, much better.

In this post, we’ll take a look at connecting the only two types of Bluetooth devices supported by Raspbian: Audio sink devices like speakers and headphones, and human interface devices (HID) like keyboards and mice. We tested this using a Raspberry Pi 2 with a Plugable USB-BT4LE Bluetooth adapter, but the procedure should be the same on a Raspberry Pi 3 with its built-in Bluetooth.

Bluetooth Audio

Bluetooth audio in Raspbian works only with Bluetooth audio sink devices like speakers and headphones that play audio from the Pi. As recently as the March 18th 2016 Jessie version, these devices required installing several software modules and following a complicated procedure for connecting them. It wasn’t easy and definitely not intuitive. Times have changed. The process is now very easy! Here is how it works.

Click Bluetooth Icon

1. Click the Bluetooth icon at the upper right of the desktop and select Add Device.

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2. Wait a moment for your Bluetooth headphones or speaker to appear in the menu, then select it and click Pair.

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3. If successful, Raspbian will tell you your device is paired.

Audio-4

4. Right-click the speaker icon at the upper right and click your speaker or headphones.

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5. Raspbian will connect your device. You should now be able to use it to listen to audio.

Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse

Connecting a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse is also very easy.

Click Bluetooth Icon

1. Click the Bluetooth icon at the upper right and select Add Device.

Pair Keyboard

2. Wait a moment for your keyboard or mouse to appear in the menu, select it, then click Pair.

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3. Raspbian will create the connection and your mouse or keyboard should be ready to use!

I hope this blog post is useful! Unless something goes terribly wrong, it may be the last one about connecting Bluetooth on the Pi. Any comments or questions? We would love to hear from you below!

7 comments on “The Pi and Bluetooth Find True Love in the Newest Raspian Update”

  1. Shakeel Reply

    I followed the whole guidlines about Bluetooth Audio and right clicking on the speakers icon shows the bluetooth device but after clicking on the bluetooth device to select as a sink, nothing heappens. Your answers to this are awaited

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Hi Shakeel,

      Thank you for posting. A quick question: Are you using a Pi 3 with the built-in adapter or Pi 2 with a USB adapter?

      Also, if you are using a Plugable adapter, please contact our support directly at support@plugable.com. Thanks!

  2. Shakeel Reply

    Hi Sir David,
    Thanks for replying, its a Pi 2 B model with a USB adapter 4.0

  3. Benjamin Reply

    Hi, it worked perfectly for me, however, one question remains. How can I accomplish that Raspbian automatically connects to and selects my Bluetooth speaker as audio output once I switch it on? Every time I switch the speaker off and on again, I have to select the BT speaker as audio output channel again.

    • David Roberts David Roberts Reply

      Thanks for commenting. Unfortunately, I haven’t discovered a way to do this. Being Linux, there is probably a way to accomplish this, but I haven’t done any research or testing along these lines.

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