Bluetooth Audio in OpenELEC on the Raspberry Pi

EDITORS NOTE: The Beta version mentioned in this blog post is now OpenELEC stable version 7.0, available here:

OpenELEC is popular software that can turn your Raspberry Pi into dedicated media center. However, we often hear from disappointed customers who discover that OpenELEC’s developers intentionally rejected Bluetooth audio support. But it looks like this stance is softening and OpenELEC’s current beta version supports Bluetooth audio. It works great on the Pi2 with Plugable’s USB2-BT4LE adapter and on the Pi3 using its built-in Bluetooth adapter.

In this post I’ll show how to use Bluetooth audio with the OpenELEC beta. Its interface isn’t super intuitive, so I’ve included a lot of screenshots. Click a link below to go to the corresponding section.

Download and Install the OpenELEC Beta

download openELEC beta box

1. Download the beta version of OpenELEC for the Raspberry Pi.

2. Decompress the image and install on a microSD card.

3. Plug the card into your Pi, connect the Pi to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse, and start it up.

1 Setup Screen

4.OpenELECT will expand the file system, then will take you through a series of setup screens. At the last one, click Next to go to the Home screen.

Enable Bluetooth Audio

3 Select OpenElect

1. Select System in the main menu, then select OpenELEC in the sub-menu.

5 Enable Bluetooth

2. Select Services in the menu on the left, then select Enable Bluetooth. The circle to its right will turn blue.

6 Obex Enabled

3. If you want to use Bluetooth to transfer music files from your phone, tablet, or Bluetooth enabled-computer, select OBEX Enabled. You can also set the destination for your transferred files.

Connect your Bluetooth headphones or speaker

1. Make your headphones or speaker discoverable. If you aren’t sure how, check the owner’s manual for instructions.

7 Configure and Pair Bluetooth devices

2. Click Bluetooth on the left of the OpenElec screen. Bluetooth will start scanning and should show your headphones or speaker along with any other nearby Bluetooth devices. If you don’t see your audio device, try turning off Bluetooth on any Bluetooth device you previously connected them to, so they won’t automatically connect there.

8 Trust and Connect Audio

3. Click the name of your device, then select Trust and Connect in the screen that appears. OpenELEC will connect your device.

4. Click the Home symbol at the lower right to return to the main screen. In the main menu there, select System, then select Settings from the sub-menu.

10 Select Audio Output Device

5. In the menu on the left, select System, then in the next screen to appear, select Audio Output. Click Audio Output Device.

11 Select Pulse Audio

6. In the window that appears, select PULSE: Default, Bluetooth Audio (PULSEAUDIO). Your Bluetooth headphones or speakers should now play audio.

Using Bluetooth to Transfer Files from Another Device

This shows how to transfer music files from a Windows computer. The OpenELEC operations for other devices will be similar.

1. In Windows, click the Bluetooth icon in the system tray, then select Show Bluetooth Devices to open the Manage Bluetooth Devices window. This makes your computer discoverable to OpenELEC.

2. Click Bluetooth on the left of the OpenElec screen. Bluetooth will start scanning and should show your computer along with other nearby Bluetooth devices.


3. When it finds your computer, click the device name and select Trust and Connect.

add a device

4. Windows will display a notification that says “Add a Device.” It only stays for a moment before fading, so watch for it and click it as soon as it appears.

Connect Windows passcode screen

5. Windows will display a window with a passcode. If it matches the one shown in OpenELEC, click Yes.

passcode screen

6. A similar screen will be displayed in OpenELEC. Click Yes.

7. To transfer files from the Windows computer to OpenELEC, click the Bluetooth icon in the system tray and select Send a File.

Select transfer location

8. Select your OpenELEC device as the transfer location.

Select file to send

9. Navigate to the folder with the files you want to send and select them. Click Next.

Accept computer transfer

10. In OpenELEC, click Yes to accept the transfer.

Computer transfer in progress

11. The file will be downloaded to the /storage/downloads folder or whatever folder you selected above for OBEX Upload Folder.

Connecting a Mouse or Keyboard

You can also connect a mouse or keyboard using the same Bluetooth settings screen used for Bluetooth audio.

Install keyboard

1. Make your keyboard or mouse discoverable. Go to the Bluetooth screen with System > OpenElec > Bluetooth. OpenELEC will scan for Bluetooth devices and should show your keyboard or mouse. Click your device, then select Trust and Connect.

Trust and connect mouse

2. Your keyboard or mouse should connect and be ready for use.


3. Some keyboards require a PIN code. If this is the case for your keyboard, OpenElect will display the RequestPinCode screen. If you see this, type in any desired PIN code, then press Done. Type the same pin code on your keyboard and press Enter. If the two codes match, your keyboard will be connected.

I hope this blog post has been helpful! If you have any questions or comments, please post below or contact us directly at Thanks!

11 comments on “Bluetooth Audio in OpenELEC on the Raspberry Pi”

  1. Andrew Reply

    Thanks. Do you know what the star and padlock icons represent? I am able to connect my Logitech k380 keyboard but it won’t stay connected. I did wonder if the padlock was stopping that. I don’t know how to unlock/lock it? Nor do I know how to activate/deactivate the star. They are simpy “there”. Any help appreciated

    • David Roberts Reply

      Hi Andrew,

      Thank you for posting. I didn’t really pay much attention to the star and padlock icon when I did the testing for this post, but I think the star means “Trusted” and the padlock means “Connected.”

    • David Roberts Reply

      I used the 6.95.2 beta version of OpenELEC, which is now the stable 7.0 version. Their website says it uses Kodi 16.1 final.

  2. Sudara Madushan Fernando Reply

    Is there any way for me to play media on my phone to Kodi through Bluetooth? I am looking for a completely opposite method that you have given above. I want Kodi to act as Bluetooth headphone for my phone

    • David Roberts Reply

      As far as I know, OpenELEC can only work as an audio source. It can’t act as an audio sink.

  3. Wayl Reply

    Hi great article! But my audio on raspberry pi trough bluetooth doesnt sync with video. Did you experience the same?

    • David Roberts Reply

      I didn’t test with video, just audio. Sync issues can happen because the processor is prioritizing video processing and so the Bluetooth processing lags behind. Due to the limited processing capacity available on a Pi, this is not unexpected. Another big cause of lag can be radio interference around the area of the adapter that causes the Pi to have to resend Bluetooth signals that were corrupted by interference. If the lag becomes less when the headphones or speaker is right next to adapter, then probably interference was the issue. Otherwise, it may be that the Pi just can’t handle the load of processing the video. Using a lower video resolution may help.

  4. Lionel Reply

    Hi guys. Thanx for the post. I am trying to set up my pi3 with my LG sound either over wifi or Bluetooth. I am able to detect all the speakers and so on but when I try and pair it tells me that the software aborted connection… any suggestions please

    • David Roberts Reply

      Hi Lionel, I never tested with LG sound so I’m not sure what is going on. Could you give the model number of the LG sound system?

      • Lionel Reply

        Hi David.
        I am currently using the LG HS7 sound bar with LG music flow H5 as rear speakers.
        I have tried to download openelec 7 but for some reason cant get it to boot on the pi3.

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