How to manage Bluetooth devices on Windows 10

Bluetooth is a ubiquitous wireless technology that allows you to quickly connect peripherals to your computer to send and receive data over a short distance, and it helps you to get rid of cables around your desk.

If you have a laptop you can us Bluetooth to connect a mouse and full-sized keyboard without sacrificing any of the available USB ports. Bluetooth is built into a wide range of wireless accessories, including phones, headphones, speakers, fitness trackers, printers, and more — and Windows 10 makes it super easy to add and remove these devices using the Settings app.

In this Windows 10 guide, we'll walk you through the steps to connect, disconnect, and quickly troubleshoot common problems using Bluetooth peripherals.

How to connect a new Bluetooth device using Settings

To connect a new peripheral to your computer using Bluetooth, use the following steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Devices.
  3. Click on Bluetooth & other devices.
  4. Turn on the Bluetooth toggle switch.
  5. Click the Add Bluetooth or other device button to connect a new device.

  1. Select the Bluetooth option, but note that you can also connect other devices, including wireless displays, and other peripherals.

  1. Configure the peripheral you want to connect to be discoverable. (This process will be different on most devices, as such check your device manufacturer support website for more details.)
  2. It might take a moment, but the device will appear in the list, click it to connect.

  1. On the Bluetooth device, see if the PIN matches with one shown in the Windows 10 Bluetooth wizard.
  2. Click the Connect button to pair.

  1. Click the Done button.

After completing the steps, the peripheral will communicate using Bluetooth to send and receive data.

Connecting Bluetooth using Action Center

Alternatively, if you're looking to connect a Bluetooth audio device or wireless display, you can use the Connect option in Action Center.

  1. Open Action Center.
    • Quick Tip: You can quickly open Action Center using the Windows key + A keyboard shortcut.
  2. Click the Connect quick action button.
  3. Discoverable Bluetooth devices will appear in the list, just click the one you want to connect automatically.

How to disconnect a Bluetooth device using Settings

To disconnect a Bluetooth peripheral from your computer, use the following steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click on Devices.
  3. Click on Bluetooth & other devices.
  4. Select the peripheral.
  5. Click the Remove device button.
  6. Click the Yes button to confirm.

Once you've completed the steps, the device will no longer be connected to your computer, but you can always use the instructions mentioned above to reconnect.

How to quickly troubleshoot and fix Bluetooth problems

If the Bluetooth option is missing from the Settings app, there is a chance that the problem is linked to a driver issue.

You can quickly troubleshoot these problems right-clicking the Start button, opening Device Manager, and make sure that Bluetooth doesn't have a problem (e.g., yellow exclamation mark, down arrow, red mark).

In the case you can't identify any issues, restart your computer, and if the problem persists, you may want to reinstall the Bluetooth driver or install the latest update available through your manufacturer support website.

It's recommended that you follow their instructions to install the driver, but if you can't find any directions, you can use these steps:

  1. Open Start.
  2. Search for Device Manager and click the result.
  3. Expand Bluetooth.
  4. Right-click the adapter.
  5. Click the Update driver option.

  1. Select the Browse my computer for driver software option.

  1. Specify the path for the driver you downloaded.
  2. Click Next to complete the update.

After finishing with the steps, use the instructions mentioned at the beginning of this guide to connect a new Bluetooth peripheral.

More Windows 10 resources

For more helpful articles, coverage, and answers to common questions about Windows 10, visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

8 Comments
  • The Bluetooth stack seems unstable. Often i have to turn it off and back on to get my headphones to connect. Yet on my phone there is no problem.
  • The past few weeks I've been having some reliability issues with bluetooth on my Surface Pro 2017. I have had devices (mouse and keyboard) that will say they are paired and conected, but not actually work, whereas they worked flawlessly before. And yes, I changed the batteres to fresh ons. :( Would love to see tips on how to troubleshoot more than the most obvious issues.
  • Exactly the same here
  • There is a way to know the battery status of connected devices on PC and Mobile? Gadgets app on W10M doesn't work anymore.
  • Dona Sarkar worked on this at some point, didn't she?
  • Bluetooth is a disaster on Windows 10.., we have given up trying to use it on dell and acer Laptops.. In fact it is not working on any of our Laptops in the company.
  • I agree that it is a disaster on Windows. Not so much that it does not work, at least in my case, but in the way that it is implemented. How can one seriously have a guide such as this advising that the way to disconnect a BT device is: Click the Remove device button That is a complete joke. Who wants to pair every time you want to use a device? What is needed is something really complex (I jest) a button called "Disconnect". Actually, a better way than the one suggested above in the article is to simply turn BT off. That disconnects. Then turn it back on again and there is a "Connect" button for the device. Of course, if you are losing a BT keyboard and mouse you lose those too so better have a touch screen in that instance.  Perhaps the person at Microsoft who half baked the BT connect and disconnect will read this. 
  • I just want to thank Garmin for providing a cable with my watch, because [first] Creators Update and every update since then.