Quick Fix for Problems Using Bluetooth and Blueman from the Raspberry Pi Raspbian Desktop (Wheezy)


Editor’s note: The instructions in this blog post are for the Wheezy version of Raspian and not for Jessie, the newest version as of February 26, 2016.

Bluetooth and Raspberry Pi are a natural combination, allowing your Pi to communicate wirelessly with devices like our Bluetooth home automation switch. However, recent versions of Raspian have had permission issues that won’t let ordinary users open Blueman, the desktop Bluetooth program, without being root. Fortunately, the solution is easy: just add the current user to the bluetooth group. Here are the details:

The Problem

You install Raspbian on your Pi, boot up and log in as “pi” or another normal user. You install Blueman, the graphical interface to Bluetooth for the Pi, according to the instructions here, and plug in your Bluetooth adapter. You select Bluetooth Manager from Menu > Preferences and the icon appears on your desktop. But when you click on it, or right-click and select Setup New Device, the rotating “busy” symbol appears next to the cursor for moment, but the Blueman window fails to open.

The Solution

This happens because when Raspian installs Blueman and the other Bluetooth software, it does not automatically add ordinary users to the bluetooth group. This group gives users permissions to access D-Bus, which Bluetooth uses for communication in Raspian. This causes a Permission Denied error whenever a Bluetooth process initiated by the unprivileged user attempts to access Blueman. The solution is easy. Just add the user that will use Bluetooth to the bluetooth group:

1. Open a terminal window.
2. Type the following at the prompt
sudo usermod -G bluetooth -a <username>

Replace <username> with your actual username, usually pi.

Add user to Bluetooth group

You can check it by typing:

cat /etc/group | grep bluetooth

You should see your username at the end of the group:


Check if current user is in Bluetooth group

Check if current user is in Bluetooth group

Type sudo reboot to restart your Pi, then log in again. You should now be able to access Bluetooth using Blueman.

I hope this guide is useful. If you have any other questions, please comment here or contact us at support@plugable.com.

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