How to wirelessly stream audio on Windows 10 using Bluetooth

Streaming audio from your phone to a Bluetooth speaker is something many of us have done for a long time, but what about your PC? With the necessary hardware installed on your Windows 10 desktop, laptop or even tablet, you can get the same, wire-free audio experience.

Here's how you set it up.

How to pair a new Bluetooth device in Windows 10

Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Navigate to Devices.
  3. Click Bluetooth & other devices in the left sidebar.
  4. Set the toggle switch at the top to On.
  5. To add a new device click add Bluetooth or other device.
  6. Select Bluetooth.
  7. Choose the device from the list.

For some Bluetooth devices you'll need to enter a PIN to confirm pairing, but once it's done you're all set. A Bluetooth speaker will connect just like headphones, and it should now be the default audio output when it's on and paired with your PC.

An easy way to check this in the latest Windows 10 update is to select the speaker icon in the bottom right corner near the clock. Clicking on this will tell you the current audio output, and if you need to change in a hurry, the ^ icon will quickly open up all your available options.

If you'd like to do this on your PC but you don't have Bluetooth built-in, all is not lost. You could always pick up a USB dongle (opens in new tab) that can affordably add the ability to your computer. Or, if you're in the mood for upgrading internals, some Wi-Fi cards also come with Bluetooth built-in.

Updated May 31, 2018: We refreshed this guide to ensure it's correct for the Windows 10 April Update.

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

  • Forgive the semantics, but I don't think "streaming" is the correct word here. I think "playing" would be correct.
  • Well, technically speaking, the audio data is sent to the bluetooth receiver using SBR compression in packets. So "steaming" may be correct rather than "playing".
  • My phone doesn't ditect my car bluetooth any more. And also doesn't show names of the devices properly. Microsoft need to make more improvements on Phone.
  • Ever since I switched from my 1520 to 950XL, I disabled Bluetooth pairing with my car. Haven't checked recently, but my god was it a horrible experience on W10 vs. WP8.1. Absolutely horrible.
  • Make sure you respond via the Feedback app on your phone. While MS is barely supporting the millions of Windows phone users now, the Feedback app is your best hope for getting a fix in one of the bug patch updates. FYI, the Bluetooth now works well with my 950XL and my wife & kids 950s, but there were certainly some rough moments with the early versions of Win10 (Bluetooth used to be a major source of phone crashing).
  • Why is that we can still cannot output to more than 1 device at a time in windows? come on MS its 2016
  • Would Love to do this with some cheap speakers so that you can easily turn it into a dual setup.
  • You can also go to the action center, choose connect and choose the device from there. So you can do everything without going to settings
  • Streaming to multiple BT receivers simultaneously is a long held fantasy of Windows users. Ain't happening yet !
  • My laptop will "play" music to a bluetooth receiver connected to my bose Wave, but will not "play" my streaming radiio station on my laptop. Receiver is paired and connecgted and shows as the speakers when I click on the little 'speaker' radio button on the bottom of the screen in Win10. "plays" my stored music from the laptop to the Bose great but not the "streaming" radio I listen to on talk radio. What am I doing wrong?
  • I don't want just poor bt prehistoric playback, what about stereo on notebook and subwoofer as bt device, in 2.1 , 5.1 , 7.1 , or stereo with just bt devices. This is so uninteresting....