How to send and receive files over Bluetooth on an Android phone

The way Bluetooth is implemented across various Android smartphones can differ. But while the UI may not look the same the underlying principles are identical.

Bluetooth is perfect for quickly sharing files or images with other users, or for quickly copying them to your desktop computer without needing to connect your device with a USB cable.

Turn on Bluetooth

To begin, you need to turn on Bluetooth. You can do this by going to Settings > Bluetooth, or by opening the quick settings panel (open the notifications pane by dragging down from the top of the screen then tap the settings icon top right) and long-pressing the Bluetooth icon.

Sending the files

Now locate the file that you to send over Bluetooth.

bluetooth share

Hit the Share button and tap the Bluetooth icon from the list that opens.

When you choose Bluetooth you need to click Scan for Devices and the phone will begin scanning for nearby Bluetooth-enabled devices.

Ensure the device you want to send to has Bluetooth turned on and is set as discoverable. Devices that you have already connected to will be remembered to enable you to access them again easily in future.

Bluetooth passcode

When the device you are sending to is located tap on it. In some cases you might need to enter a passcode between the devices to enable the pairing, or in others the receiving machine will simply need to confirm that it wants to accept the file.

The passcode is something you choose. It’s a temporary security code, so you don’t need to remember or even make it complete.

Once this is done the file will be transmitted and saved on the other machine.

On the recipient device a notification will show that the file has been received. Tap this to open the file.

To find all the files you have received over Bluetooth open the Bluetooth settings screen and tap the menu button.

Here you’ll see an option labelled Show files received. Tap this to view them. Note that once you’ve moved or deleted files they won’t show here in future.

bluetooth show files

Turn off Bluetooth to save power

Once you’ve finished sending your files it is good practice to turn Bluetooth off again.

This wireless radio can drain the battery even when it is not being actively used, and does also leave your device open to possible interference from other Bluetooth devices.

Should you want to receive files being sent to your phone, you merely need to accept when prompted.

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