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Since Bluetooth’s release in 1999, it has become one of the most widely used technology in most devices. Most modern phones, gaming consoles, and computers are equipped with Bluetooth, enabling them to send and receive Bluetooth signals. With that in mind, some people ask, does using Bluetooth cost money?
No, Bluetooth does not cost any money to use. It will also not drive your cell bill up since it does not use cellular data. Even if you use Bluetooth multiple times a day, you will not incur any costs. And you don’t even need to download Bluetooth; it is inbuilt in most modern cellular devices.
What is Bluetooth?
Bluetooth is a wireless, short-range technology. It uses radio waves to connect and transfer data between two devices. The wireless technology was named after Denmark King Harald Bluetooth Gormsson from the 10th century.
The name is appropriately used because King Harald united Norway and Denmark to form Scandinavia. Bluetooth connects two devices without using wires and cables, and it can work between two different devices, such as a phone and a computer.
How Bluetooth Works
Bluetooth uses short-range wireless radio waves between two devices to share data. The device sending the data is called the transmitter, and the one receiving, the receiver. Bluetooth uses 2.4 GHz radio waves, same as WiFi, although Bluetooth connects devices directly.
For two devices to share data, they both need to have a Bluetooth connection. Some older devices, however, do not have Bluetooth technology. You can get a Bluetooth adapter for devices like these or any new-age device that isn’t Bluetooth-compatible. The adapter creates a Bluetooth signal, enabling the non-compatible device to have a signal.
The only way you can send or receive files using Bluetooth is by pairing the two devices. You will need to turn on Bluetooth on both devices to do this. Make sure the devices are visible, click on the device you want to transmit data to, and pair.
This will generate a number that will appear on both gadgets. Confirm the code on both devices, and there you have it! A seamless Bluetooth connection! This pairing will work for future use, with the devices automatically connecting if Bluetooth is turned on and within range.
The range between the synchronized devices differs depending on their class, especially on the transmitting device. A strong transmitter connects over a longer range than its counterpart.
Class 1 devices have the most powerful transmitter, sending signals up to 100 meters. Class 2 transmitters are weaker than class 1, sending signals up to 10 meters away. These are the most common devices, such as our mobile phones. Class 3 are the weakest and only send signals 1 meter apart.
Does Bluetooth Use Cellular Data?
No, Bluetooth does not use cellular data. Its signals work differently than cellular data. It does not even require a cellular connection. You can use Bluetooth wherever you are, even when there is no signal. All that is needed is for the two devices to be compatible and within range.
Normal cellular data use depends on cellular towers, which are run by network providers. Network providers charge a fee for using their signal, which is why you will see data charges every month. Bluetooth uses different signals that do not need a network provider, meaning you won’t have to dread Bluetooth charges.
You can confirm whether Bluetooth uses cellular data on your phone by checking which apps use data. For Android phones, go to Settings>> Network and Internet>> Data Usage>> Mobile/App Data. For iPhones, go to Settings, then Cellular. I can assure you that Bluetooth will not be on this list.
What is the Difference Between Bluetooth and WiFi?
For one, WiFi uses different signals that require a router to transmit. It also requires monthly payments to access the internet. WiFi can also connect you to the internet, allowing you to download and stream your favorite music, movies, and TV shows.
Bluetooth, on the other hand, does not need an internet connection and doesn’t charge anything. You can use the two together, for example, using your Bluetooth speaker or headphones to listen to music. You can still listen to already downloaded music or shows using Bluetooth without incurring charges when you turn off WiFi.
READ MORE! Can Bluetooth And WiFi Interfere? (Solved)
Does Bluetooth Have Hidden Costs?
Bluetooth doesn’t have any indirect expenses. You don’t need to download it or pay charges whenever you use it. It comes previously installed in most devices, and all you have to do to start using it is switch it on.
The only time you can say you bought Bluetooth is if you buy an adapter. This is only necessary if you have a device without Bluetooth and you want to make a Bluetooth connection. For example, if you have a speaker without Bluetooth and want to play music through the speaker.
In this case, the Bluetooth adapter will create a wired connection with the speaker and transmit a signal to your phone. You can then use the adapter’s Bluetooth signal to indirectly pair the two together, allowing you to play music on the speaker.
Can Bluetooth Connect Multiple Devices?
Versatility is one of Bluetooth’s strengths. Did you know that Bluetooth can connect up to eight devices simultaneously? It does this by creating a network called a piconet. This allows the devices to connect or disconnect automatically.
The network is controlled by one of the connected devices, called a master. The master makes the decision while the other devices follow the instructions. All the devices use the same 2.4 GHz radio frequency, but they use different channels. This ensures a smooth connection without any interference.
The devices pick open channels on the frequency, skipping if they find one in use. They can also hop between different channels if there is interference. Channel hopping doesn’t only prevent interferences but also makes sure there is a secure connection.
I hope that I have helped you put your mind at ease. You don’t have to worry about Bluetooth costs, even when you leave it on for hours. Bluetooth does not cost any money; it is freely found on your phone and is completely free to use.
Espen is the Director of ProPairing and has written extensively about Bluetooth devices for years. He is a consumer product expert and has personally tested Bluetooth devices for the last decade.