Pairing & Unpairing Bluetooth Devices with Windows Phone

Pairing a Windows Phone to another Bluetooth enabled device is pretty easy to do, but you might be disappointed when you do it.  When I got my first Windows Phone – a Samsung Focus (WP7) – one of the first things I tried to do was pair it with my Bluetooth keyboard.  The phone paired just fine, but nothing I typed on my keyboard showed up on my phone. After researching the problem I realized that the phone was missing the HID profile, which it needed to know what to do with the keyboard after the pairing was achieved!

Bluetooth profiles possess the “capabilities” that enable a Bluetooth connected device to interpret and act on the commands received from another Bluetooth connected device.  In order for the Bluetooth radio in a receiving device to translate and act on the commands sent from another Bluetooth device, it must possess a compatible profile as the sending device.

The Samsung Focus does not include the Bluetooth HID profile (Human Interface Device) that would enable it to connect to and use external devices like mice or keyboards…..and unfortunately even today the latest Windows Phone 8.1 devices do not include this profile so I still can’t use my bluetooth keyboard with my phone.

(Click this link to review a wikipedia article for a more comprehensive description of bluetooth profiles and their related capabilities).

In this article I’ve provided a list of the Bluetooth Profiles that are supported on Windows Phone, and I’ve demonstrated how to pair and unpair a Windows Phone with another Bluetooth enabled device.

Bluetooth Profiles included on Windows Phones

Before you spend much time trying to get your phone to work with your Bluetooth device, review the list of profiles that Windows Phone supports. You might be disappointed when you discover your phone doesn’t support a device you want to connect to it, but at least you won’t waste a lot of time trying to make it work. Windows Phone 7 is not as Bluetooth capable as Windows Phone 8 devices. Windows Phone 7 supports the following Bluetooth profiles:

  • Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DB)
  • Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP)
  • Hands Free Profile (HFP)
  • Headset Profile (HSP)
  • Phone Book Access Profile (BPAP)

As you can see from this list of profiles, Windows Phone 7 is quite limited in regards to Bluetooth connection, primarily supporting Bluetooth enabled audio devices such as headsets and speakers.  Windows Phone 7 does not support any Object Push Profiles (OPP) that might allow you to send and receive contacts, pictures, music or any other kind of document from another Bluetooth enabled device. (another phone or computer).

Windows Phone 8 is more capability than Windows Phone 7 and not as capable as Windows Phone 8.1.  Windows Phone 8 supports the following Bluetooth profiles:

  • Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DB)
  • Audio/Video Remote Control Profile (AVRCP)
  • Hands Free Profile (HFP)
  • Phone Book Access Profile (BPAP)
  • Object Push Profile (OPP)
  • Out of Band (OOB) and Near Field Communications (NFC)

Windows Phone 8.1 supports the same profiles as Windows Phone 8 and also supports:

  • Hands Free Profile
  • Bluetooth Low Energy

Windows Phone 8.1 also lets you use a phone as a Network Access Point (NAP), which means if you can tether your phone, you can share its data connection with another Bluetooth enabled devices.

Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 enables a compatible phone to become a mobile hotspot by sharing its cellular data connection over Bluetooth – you’ll need to verify that your phone supports the PAN (Bluetooth Personal Area Network) profile as not every Windows Phone 8.1 will be equipped with this profile (check the documentation or manufacturer’s website). Your mobile carrier must also support tethering and your phone’s plan must be enabled by the mobile carrier (this usually costs more $$$).

The HID profile is still missing from the list and so I continue waiting for it to show up…I’ve poked my contacts at Microsoft a bit about this missing profile and their lips are sealed, so I still don’t know if or when this profile will be added Windows Phone.

To pair a Bluetooth enabled device with a Windows Phone

  • Turn on the Bluetooth radio for the device you want to pair with your phone – make sure you are in close proximity to it
  • Do whatever you usually do to make the device discoverable to other Bluetooth devices, if the device is not already discoverable (this varies, based on the device, so check the device’s documentation).
  • As long as the phone’s screen remains at the Bluetooth screen, the phone will search for and be discoverable to other Bluetooth devices that are in range.  The phone should find any available Bluetooth devices and any available Bluetooth devices should find the phone – in the screenshot below, you’ll see that my phone found my Roku Player.
  • Tap the “found” device you want to pair with the phone & follow any additional directions you are prompted to do. Tap the OK button to complete the pairing.

Bluetooth Pairing1Bluetooth Pairing Roku

Be sure to consult the other device’s screen or its documentation since every Bluetooth enabled device is different from every other Bluetooth enabled device.  The exact steps you’d follow may differ somewhat from the steps I’ve provided in this article.

To unpair or delete a Bluetooth enabled device from a Windows Phone

    • Turn off Bluetooth on the device or move out of range of the device you want to delete from the phone – you do not want the phone to connect or attempt to connect to the device right now.
    • On the Phone, go to Settings > Bluetooth > tap the the Bluetooth toggle button to the ON position
    • Press and hold your finger on the device you want to delete. Select the “delete” option from the popup menu (I selected the WM_Julie device in the screenshot below)

Bluetooth paired devicesBluetooth remove devices