Connect an Android phone to a Windows 10 laptop or PC via Bluetooth

Connecting an Android phone to a Windows 10 laptop through Bluetooth is a first step required to transfer files or share the internet connection between the two devices using Bluetooth tethering. Every Android mobile today supports Bluetooth, so it’s convenient using the popular technology to pair your smartphone with your Windows 10 device. This tutorial illustrates how to connect an Android phone to a laptop, PC, or tablet via Bluetooth in Windows 10:

NOTE: The features presented are available in Windows 10 October 2020 Update or newer. If you are using an older version of Windows 10, you might not have access to all the features. This guide applies to Android 10, and it was created using a Nokia 5.3 and a Samsung Galaxy A51. The procedures are similar on most Android-powered devices, although you might come across some small differences, depending on your device’s manufacturer. If you’re using a Samsung smartphone and you encounter difficulties, don’t miss the dedicated chapter at the end of this guide.

First things first: About connecting an Android phone to Windows 10 via Bluetooth

Bluetooth may not be the fastest or most reliable wireless technology, but it is still one of the most widely used methods of interconnecting various computing devices. While you can also use a USB cable to connect an Android smartphone to your Windows 10 PC, pairing them via Bluetooth is more convenient in our opinion, for a number of reasons:

  • Every Android smartphone, many PCs, and most laptops have Bluetooth capabilities
  • You don’t need cables or a free USB port on your Windows 10 computer, laptop, or tablet
  • You can charge your Android smartphone at the same time from a different source
  • If you like, you can keep your Android smartphone out of sight, in a drawer or a bag

Connecting a phone to PC via Bluetooth lets you send files from an Android to Windows 10, enable Bluetooth tethering, and automatically lock Windows 10 with your smartphone.

The process is not complicated, as long as you follow the next steps.

Step 1. Enable Bluetooth in Windows 10

The first step is making sure that Bluetooth is enabled on your Windows 10 computer or device. There are several ways to enable Bluetooth in Windows 10, and activating it from Settings is one of them. Open the Settings app by pressing Windows + I on your keyboard and access Devices. This opens the “Bluetooth & other devices” tab, where you should see the Bluetooth switch on the right. If Bluetooth is turned Off, click or tap on its switch to turn it On.

Enable Bluetooth in Windows 10

As long as you keep the Bluetooth settings open, your Windows 10 PC can be discovered by other devices using Bluetooth.

IMPORTANT: If you don’t see a switch in the Settings app, your Windows 10 computer or device might not have a built-in Bluetooth chip. As a result, you cannot make a Bluetooth connection unless you add a Bluetooth adapter, like this one.

Step 2. Enable Bluetooth on your Android device

After enabling Bluetooth in Windows 10, you must do the same on the Android smartphone or tablet you’re connecting it to. Out of the ways to enable Bluetooth on Android, we think it’s easiest to use the Quick Settings menu. Swipe down from the top of your screen, and you should see the Bluetooth icon among the Quick Settings displayed on your Android. If it’s disabled, tap on it to enable it.

Enable Bluetooth on Android

IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that, for security reasons, some smartphones and tablets are visible to other devices only when the Bluetooth settings are open. To access them, touch and hold the Bluetooth option displayed in the Quick Settings menu.

Step 3. Connect your Android phone to a Windows 10 laptop, PC, or tablet through Bluetooth

After enabling Bluetooth on both devices, go back to Bluetooth settings in Windows 10 and click or tap the “Add Bluetooth or other device” button on top.

Add Bluetooth or other device to connect phone to laptop

In the “Add a device” window, click or tap on the first option: Bluetooth.

TIP: The “Add a device” wizard is used for connecting all types of Bluetooth devices to your Windows 10 laptop, PC, or tablet.

Choose Bluetooth in the Add a device wizard

Your Windows 10 PC starts searching for nearby Bluetooth devices. Give it up to 30 seconds to complete the scan and discover all the available options. Don’t forget to keep the Bluetooth settings open, as discussed in the previous chapter. As soon as it finds your Android smartphone, click or tap on its name to start pairing.

Find your phone in the list of devices you can connect to Windows 10

This prompts both your phone and computer to begin connecting. Shortly after, the Windows 10 wizard displays a six-digit code, which should also appear in a pop-up window on your Android smartphone. Make sure the two codes match to avoid connecting to the wrong device, and then click or tap Connect in Windows 10 to continue.

If the devices you are pairing show the same code, press Connect

Immediately after that, tap on the Pair button from the pop-up on your Android smartphone or tablet.

Unless you do this quickly, the connection between the Windows 10 PC and your phone might expire. If that happens, the pairing fails, and you must try again.

As you can see below, the prompt displayed on your Android device is not the same on all devices. Depending on your phone, you might also have the option to “Allow access to your contacts and call history” - as we do on our Nokia. If you’re using a Samsung Galaxy device, you should press OK instead of Pair.

Press Pair or OK as fast as possible on Android

If everything worked well, your Windows 10 computer is now paired and connected to your Android smartphone or tablet. Press Done to close the wizard.

Your phone was successfully connected to your Windows 10 laptop or PC

That’s all there is to it. Your phone and PC are connected, and you can start using the Bluetooth connection between Windows 10 and Android.

BONUS: What to do if Windows 10 doesn’t find or discover your Samsung Galaxy device

Like we said earlier, Bluetooth is not the most reliable technology, so you might come across some issues. While it did take quite a bit of time for Windows 10 to find our Nokia device, we weren’t able to discover our Samsung Galaxy at all when we started writing this tutorial.

If you are having the same issues, try the following:

  • Turn Bluetooth off and on again on your Samsung Galaxy and Windows 10.
  • Restart both devices and make sure you installed the latest updates for both Windows 10 and Android.
  • Reset network settings. Since this is what made our Samsung Galaxy discoverable, we detail the process further down.
  • Update the Bluetooth drivers on your Windows 10 laptop or PC. Try the technical support site of your computer’s manufacturer and look for drivers specific to your model.

To reset the network settings on your Samsung Galaxy device, open Settings, scroll down, and access General management. Then, tap Reset.

Press Reset in the General management settings of a Samsung Galaxy phone

Press “Reset network settings” from the available options.

Resetting network settings on Samsung Galaxy

Next, press the only option available, Reset settings.

NOTE: This resets all the network settings on your Samsung Galaxy device, so make sure you saved any important info first, like Wi-Fi passwords.

Tap Reset settings on Samsung Galaxy

Confirm your choice by pressing Reset again on the next page, and, as soon as it’s done, you should get a “Network settings reset” message on your Samsung Galaxy phone. You can now go back to Step 2 and continue following the tutorial to connect the phone to your laptop, PC, or tablet.

TIP: If you still can’t connect your Samsung Android to your Windows 10 computer, you can try something different. Samsung Galaxy devices have their own built-in feature that pairs them to Windows 10, and you can learn all about using it to connect a phone with a laptop or PC from our tutorial about Your Phone Companion – Link to Windows.

Did you connect your Android to your PC? Was it to enable Bluetooth tethering or something else?

Now that you managed to connect your phone to your laptop via Bluetooth, you should know that the connection remains active until you disable Bluetooth or turn off, unpair, or move one of the two devices out of range. Before you close this tutorial, we’re curious why you connected your Android to your Windows 10 computer. Was it to share files, enable Bluetooth tethering, or something else? Let us know in the comments below.

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