iOS: Third-party Bluetooth accessories

This article outlines basic setup and troubleshooting suggestions for using Bluetooth accessories with an iOS device.

You can use iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with many Bluetooth accessories. Before you can use a Bluetooth accessory with an iOS device, you need to pair it.

About pairing a Bluetooth accessory

Pairing sets up your iOS device to work with a specific Bluetooth accessory.

How to pair with a Bluetooth accessory

  1. Follow the instructions that came with the headset or car kit to make it discoverable or to set it to search for other Bluetooth accessories. This may involve entering a passkey or PIN (Personal Identification Number).
  2. From the Home screen, choose Settings > Bluetooth, the iOS device searches for nearby Bluetooth accessories.
    Note: While your iOS device can maintain multiple pairing records, it can only connect to one headset or hands-free device at a time. This prevents your iOS device from sending your data to the wrong Bluetooth accessory.
  3. Choose the Bluetooth accessory, and then enter a passkey or PIN if prompted.
    • Bluetooth headset: Refer to the documentation for the headset to determine the passkey.
    • Bluetooth keyboard: Type the passcode displayed on the iOS device on the Bluetooth keyboard and then press Return.
  4. When pairing is complete, you can use the Bluetooth accessory with your iOS device.

How to route calls and FaceTime through a Bluetooth accessory

After you've paired a Bluetooth accessory* to work with your iOS device, you must make a connection to have the iOS device use the accessory for your calls. To connect with a third-party Bluetooth accessory, see the documentation that came with it.

When your iOS device is connected to a Bluetooth accessory, all outgoing calls are routed through the Bluetooth accessory by default. Incoming calls are routed through the Bluetooth accessory if you answer the call with it, or through your iOS device if you answer with it. In some cases, your contacts list transfers to the car kit and you can start a call by looking up a contact on the car kit's display.

After you have paired your iOS device with a Bluetooth car kit, your iOS device connects to the car kit automatically when you start your car (if you have your iOS device with you and Bluetooth is turned on). Find more information about car-stereo connectivity.

How to check Bluetooth status

You can see whether a Bluetooth accessory is connected to an iOS device, by looking at the Bluetooth icon   in the status bar at the top of the screen:

  •   or   (white): Bluetooth is on and a device is connected to the iOS device.
  •   (gray): Bluetooth is on but no device is connected. If you've paired a device with an iOS device, it may be out of range or turned off.
  • No Bluetooth icon in status bar: Bluetooth has not been paired with any devices.

How to stop using a Bluetooth accessory

There are a few ways to stop using a Bluetooth accessory so that you can go back to hearing calls through your iOS device, using the built-in keyboard, and using other functions of your iOS device.

Route calls and FaceTime through your iOS device

  • Answer a call by tapping the touchscreen.
  • During a call, tap Audio Source on your iOS device. Choose your iOS device to hear calls through it, choose Speaker Phone to hear calls through the speakerphone, or choose a connected Bluetooth accessory.
  • Turn off Bluetooth.
  • Turn off the Bluetooth accessory, or move out of range. You must be within 30 feet of a Bluetooth accessory for it to be connected to your iOS device.

To turn off the iPhone Bluetooth Headset, press and hold the button until you hear the falling tones.

Unpairing a Bluetooth accessory from an iOS device

If you've paired your iOS device with a Bluetooth accessory and no longer wish to use that accessory, you may unpair it. If you wish to leave the device paired, but route calls through a second, paired device, turn off the first device and then turn on the second device. Then in Settings > Bluetooth, tap on the device you wish to use.

  1. From the Home screen choose Settings > Bluetooth. If Bluetooth isn't on, turn it on.
  2. Choose a device and tap Unpair.
  3. Until you pair the Bluetooth accessory again, your iOS device won't route information through it.

* Find information on which iOS versions and devices support which Bluetooth profiles. Not all Bluetooth stereo headphones include a mic. Only those with a mic and that support handsfree profile (HFP 1.5) can be used to make and receive calls.

Learn more

Get help troubleshooting Bluetooth connections.

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