With the advancement of technology, more and more devices come with Bluetooth preinstalled. And while there are endless benefits, it also comes with a few cons, specifically the stress of intrusion.
Now you find yourself wondering, “Is my data safe?” “Can someone connect to my Bluetooth?”
The answer is not very simple. Read on to find out more.
Is Bluetooth dangerous?
When Bluetooth initially came out, we used it mostly for transferring files. However, we all use Bluetooth to send messages, play music, and make calls between connected devices. Because of how easy it is to use, Bluetooth is a popular way to share files.
However, Bluetooth also has some flaws. One of the biggest ones is that anyone around you can also connect to your Bluetooth device when it is on.
If you have malicious neighbors, not only can they connect to your devices that are using the Bluetooth option, they can also hack or intrude if they have the technical expertise. This can happen only if they pair their device with yours and are located sufficiently close to your home. They cannot do so if the distance between both of you is greater than 30 feet.
How can you protect your privacy?
There are several ways to prevent this from happening. If you are using a Bluetooth speaker, switch it off whenever you stop using it. If your Bluetooth is off, it is undiscoverable.
Using Bluetooth reduces your privacy levels. If you live in an apartment, your neighbors are in close proximity all the time. If you leave your Bluetooth device on, you may find out that your neighbor was connected. It is as terrible as it sounds and completely disgusting!
Some of the devices that your neighbors may connect to are smartwatches, lighting systems, personal computers, mobile phones, laptops, Bluetooth speakers, Bluetooth-enabled televisions, and Bluetooth earbuds and headphones.
READ MORE! Is it OK to leave Bluetooth on all the time?
How Can Neighbors Connect To Your Bluetooth Devices?
For two devices to connect using Bluetooth, they both must be on with the Bluetooth function being on. When your neighbor turns on his Bluetooth device, it scans the area for new devices nearby. If your device is on, it can easily pair with it.
If a neighbor or anyone else tries to connect to your device using the Bluetooth option, they must be within range. This will only be possible if the other Bluetooth user can scan your device and identify it as a new device.
The two devices have to be approximately within 10 meters of each other. This distance may vary based on the Bluetooth technology that is operational on your and your neighbor’s devices.
During the past few years, Bluetooth technology has gone through an evolution. This is because it has had to cope with extensive development in technology. From the first version, Bluetooth 1.0, a few years ago to the most recent Bluetooth 5.2 in January 2020, there have been extensive improvements.
Devices like laptops, mobile phones, and personal computers are harder for others to connect to via Bluetooth. This is because you will receive a notification asking you to allow another user to connect to or pair with your device. Unless you click to allow this pairing, your neighbor cannot connect to your device.
The only exception is when the pairing between your and your neighbor’s devices pairs without notification. This happens if you connected them earlier.
Can Devices Be Hacked?
Most often, it is impossible to be aware of who else has connected to your Bluetooth devices. You have to be there to see it to know. If you leave the Bluetooth on your device, anyone can connect to it.
There are, however, some ways in which you can get to know if anyone else has connected to one of your devices, like your headphones or speakers.
If your device is not connecting automatically to your headphones or speaker, that may be because someone else must have used them to play their music. This happens because Bluetooth devices have programs designed to connect them to the most recent device connected automatically.
You will then have to reestablish your Bluetooth connection again before using your mobile phone with your headphones.
While pairing speakers and headphones happens automatically, it is different with mobile phones. You have to pair your mobile phone first before you can establish Bluetooth connectivity. Unfortunately, Bluetooth headphones and mobile phones do not keep any record of the devices they were paired with.
On the other hand, laptops and personal computers keep records of the devices they are paired with. Therefore, these devices are relatively safe from unexpected connections with unknown devices.
Each time you connect to a new Bluetooth device, you have to click and approve the pairing. And remember that the only devices that can connect automatically to your laptop or personal computer are those that have been paired already.
You can prevent automatic pairing of your devices to other Bluetooth devices if you want to avoid automatic pairing. Simply click on the “forget device” option after you stop using a shared Bluetooth device.
How To Tell If Your Bluetooth Device Has Been Hacked?
If you are wondering, ‘can someone connect to my Bluetooth on my personal computer, mobile phone, or laptop?’ The answer is yes, and you can identify if your neighbor has connected or is trying to connect to your device. Additionally, you can also scan the Bluetooth devices nearby.
Bluetooth speakers can also be hacked. The best way to avoid this is to keep your own devices safe. If your Bluetooth device does get hacked by unscrupulous neighbors, there can be a lot of risk to your privacy.
You can tell if someone hacks your Bluetooth device as you will start getting inappropriate or unusual pop-ups. Additionally, you may see x-rated content or flashing ads or calls or texts you did not make. All these are signs that you must check your Bluetooth devices and take appropriate action.
How To Remove Anyone From Your Bluetooth Devices?
If your neighbor connects his or her Bluetooth device to your speaker often, it can be very upsetting. You may try to remove them, but you will realize that it is rather tricky. Even if your switch your speaker off, it will reconnect the moment you turn it on. The reason is that Bluetooth devices are programmed to reconnect automatically to the last device connected.
However, do not fret because we have a solution to this problem. There is a simple trick that some people think works. Just follow these steps:
First of all, turn off your Bluetooth speaker. On your mobile phone, go to your Bluetooth option and turn it on. Because your Bluetooth speaker will already be on the list of devices paired with your mobile phone, click on pair device.
While the pairing is in process, turn on the Bluetooth speaker. This should connect your mobile phone and speaker, making your mobile phone the most recent device to pair. While this method may or may not always work, you can try it out.
The second method you can use to remove your neighbor from your Bluetooth device is to reset the Bluetooth speaker.
Review your user manual to see how to do this on your Bluetooth speaker. This is important because different speakers require different methods to reset the settings. You may have to long-press either the power button, the Bluetooth button, or the mode button.
Once your speaker is restored to its initial factory settings, you can turn it on again. Its memory will be blank, and the record of all previous devices connected via Bluetooth will be deleted.
You can also choose to buy specific models of Bluetooth speakers that have a software control panel for screening pairing devices. These speakers are designed for personal use only.
A disadvantage is that your neighbor may find out the speaker model and reconnect. This can become quite troubling and an unpleasant competition.
One of the easiest ways to remove your neighbor from your Bluetooth device is to simply pick up your device and take it out of their range. The only condition is that your speaker is portable, and you can take it to another location.
This will disable the connection so that you can reconnect your own device to your Bluetooth speaker. While it does sound a bit awkward, it is one of the simplest ways to get your neighbor off your Bluetooth speaker.
This option involves another straightforward strategy. To regain control over your Bluetooth speaker or headphone and do a search on your mobile phone for a Bluetooth device that is available to connect.
Once you identify the device, go to the owner. Request them to turn off their device or switch off their Bluetooth. You can then turn your speaker on, reconnect to your mobile phone or laptop. If your device stays on, you may lose your connection again.
Can My Neighbor Accidentally Connect To My Television?
While trying to set up my Bluetooth speaker, I ran into some trouble. Whenever I would search for Bluetooth devices, the neighbor’s television would appear on my device. This was quite worrisome as I did not want to start playing my music accidentally on my neighbor’s television. Or the other way round!
I kept stressing about this for a while. What if I clicked on my neighbor’s television accidentally. Would this pair my Bluetooth speakers to his television? If this happens, will I play my music on his television?
Can someone connect to my Bluetooth in the same way?
Quite fortunately, the answer is no. My speaker will not connect or pair with my neighbor’s television like this. And there is a very logical answer to why this cannot happen.
Televisions with Bluetooth option come with Bluetooth enabled keyboards or Bluetooth enabled remote controls. These are pre-paired to each other at the factory. There are special PINs that link them together.
Some televisions allow you to pair and connect them to Bluetooth speakers or headsets using a specific PIN that may be a default number. However, you still have to enter a PIN manually to pair these devices.
Additionally, Bluetooth-enabled televisions do not let you send music to these devices. Instead, they send music and sound to devices such as Bluetooth speakers or headsets.
If you are on your computer or laptop, explore the Blooth icon and explore the options it provides. You will be pleased to see that you have a lot of control over devices connected to it.
How To Prevent Neighbors From Connecting To Your Bluetooth
Personal security has always been very important. And with the increase in the use of technology, the risks, and importance of personal security have gone up. Before you buy any networking device, your privacy must be a serious concern, in fact, a priority.
This is particularly relevant to wireless speakers and headphones. You surely do not want your devices to play music as an outcome of other people, such as your neighbors, connecting to your devices.
While this can occur by accident, there is also the possibility that someone might have simply hacked your Bluetooth devices. If this has ever happened to you, you will understand firsthand how unpleasant this can be.
The good news is that you can prevent this from happening. There are several very simple steps that you can take to ensure that your Bluetooth devices stay safe and secure. Noone should be able to connect to them at all.
Here are some very effective ways to do this:
- Use Codes
Most modern devices are programmed in a way that they do not let Bluetooth pairing happen automatically. These devices always ask the user to provide a specific code that matches the two devices to pair successfully. After the codes are entered on one or both devices, you must confirm or accept the pairing or matching.
If your Bluetooth speakers support the code-setting process, you are safe. This is because you are the only person who can use it. Someone else can have access to your code only if you share it with them.
You must keep in mind that the option to use codes to pair Bluetooth devices works only for devices with an actual display. It can also work with devices that have the option to speak to you in an audio mode and speak the code to you.
- Turn Off The Bluetooth On Your Speakers
You can simply turn off the Bluetooth option on your speakers. This is the simplest and easiest way to make sure that your devices maintain their privacy. No one will be able to connect to your speaker at all.
This does not mean that you cannot enjoy listening to your favorite music or Netflix movies. You can use your devices to your heart’s desire. Just make sure that once you have used your devices with the Bluetooth option, you switch off the Bluetooth option on your speakers.
Noone can pair or connect their device to your speakers once the Bluetooth is not available.
- Use Audio Jerks
You can not use this option with all your devices. This will work only with the devices that can be used in both wired and wireless modes.
If your audio jerk is connected to the speaker, this prevents all Bluetooth devices from connecting or pairing with it. Even if the Bluetooth option is switched on, other devices can simply not pair. The reason is that the mode of use is changed to wired instead of wireless.
If you do not have a working audio jack, simply use the jack on your old headphones by cutting it off. Attach it to your speakers and leave it there. This should prevent other Bluetooth devices from connecting to yours, thus solving your problem effectively.
- Turn Off The Visibility Option
If your Bluetooth speaker has a display option, it is quite easy to prevent other devices from pairing with it. To do this, go to the Bluetooth settings and turn on the option to make your Bluetooth invisible to other devices. This will ensure that no one can see the Bluetooth of your device.
However, before you do this, make sure that you connect your devices by pairing them. Another option is to add your device name while searching for an active Bluetooth device. This will ensure that you do not have any issues in using your devices.
Furthermore, when you see notifications that tell you that other devices attempt to connect with your speaker, decline immediately.
Enjoy Your Bluetooth Devices Safely
These are some of the several effective ways to ensure that you can enjoy your Bluetooth devices safely. You can also make certain that other people, such as your neighbors, do not connect to your Bluetooth devices purposely or accidentally.
To conclude, Bluetooth devices are an amazing invention. Despite the few risks involved, most of us would not know what to do without them.
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.