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 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.
1. Click the Bluetooth icon at the upper right of the desktop and select Add Device.
2. Wait a moment for your Bluetooth headphones or speaker to appear in the menu, then select it and click Pair.
3. If successful, Raspbian will tell you your device is paired.
4. Right-click the speaker icon at the upper right and click your speaker or headphones.
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.
1. Click the Bluetooth icon at the upper right and select Add Device.
2. Wait a moment for your keyboard or mouse to appear in the menu, select it, then click Pair.
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!