Will Bluetooth ever move beyond "pairing"?

After trying to unsuccessfully pair two devices tonight, I just realized that this somewhat annoying process has been around for at least 10 years, if not longer.

Can’t we at this point just have devices that automatically pair without codes? Or is that technology out there and I missed it? Or does this present a big security issue?

I don’t know, when it comes to Bluetooth technology, I still feel like I’m waaaay back in the 2000s…
Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

So much stuff is Bluetooth these days that automatic pairing could lead to chaos. Do you really want every phone in your office to automatically pair with your headset? Probably not, so there needs to be a way to control what’s pairing with what.

There is an alternate form of pairing used by BLE or Bluetooth Low Energy devices - I’ve got some temperature sensors that were paired by being placed on my phone. No codes, just proximity.

Probably used NFC/RFID. NFC only works at very close range, and so you pretty much have to touch devices together for communication. This avoids the general problem with wireless authentication, which is how you prove that just one party controls both devices. NFC ensures this by requiring physical control over both.

I googled this because bluetooth is one of the few pieces of electronic tech that continually disappoints me – pairing often doesn’t work and the range sucks.

Apparently we’re on bluetooth 5 now, and it’s still just a pairing interface.
The biggest change from a functionality POV (as opposed to speed/distance improvements) is you can stream audio to multiple devices at the same time. (If that actually works it’s somewhat useful: my gf and I could listen to the same music while jogging.)
But that’s about it. Can’t find anything about what bluetooth 6 will have.

There is already a market for wallets with built-in RF-blocking linings, to prevent some thief reading your credit card info by walking close behind you*. What security problems would we have if all bluetooth devices automatically connected with each other?

*Which I don’t think is actually a problem – I don’t recall hearing about actual instances of it happening in the real world. I do believe some tests in laboratory conditions have shown it is possible, given optimal conditions.

you should be able to install an app that would facilitate the automatic pairing with your Bluetooth device.

I have a HY-L01 “Super Bass” Bluetooth speaker. Apparently the manufacturer didn’t bother with serial numbers, as my notebook PC will automatically connect to any of these that are within range and turned on. I’m sure there have been many surprised people staying in the same hotels as me, when their speakers started playing random (to them) music.

I was having problems pairing my iPhone to Bose headphones. I downloaded a Bose app that fixed my predicament quickly. Shouldn’t have been necessary, but it worked.

I’ve recently seen reports of some TV sound bars allowing any device to connect to it. So people in apartments are getting their neighbor’s music playing on their sound bars.

Bluetooth was a problematic scheme from the get-go. Manufacturers cutting corners and not doing things to spec just make it worse.

I was at the US research lab of a major Japanese electronics firm many years ago just when the first Bluetooth stuff was coming out. I knew then that it was intrinsically flawed and their home entertainment system ideas weren’t going to work but they were in lurv with it. This was followed very shortly by the first bluejacking (and then bluesnarfing, etc.) incidents. And they never did roll out their system.

In short, not only do you want pairing, you really need something stronger than pairing implemented.

So the issue isn’t Bluetooth itself, but how any particular device with Bluetooth is designed. I can’t remember the last time I had a pairing problem with Bluetooth, and I have several devices I use on a daily basis.

As with many tech issues, there’s an xkcd for that.

Heck, even when I get them paired they frequently don’t work.

I have an iPad and Bluetooth speaker that can pair, but when I try to play music it comes out “jerky” (one second of music, one second of silence, one second of music…). The devices are literally 1 foot from each other, both full battery.

Magically the next day it may work. I live in a single family home separated from others, so it is not like I am surrounded by 30 Bluetooth signals of interference.

In all honesty, I never have a problem pairing blue tooth devices. It’s a pretty simple process.

Oftentimes, when I’m doing something on my computer, a window pops up in the middle of the screen asking me if I want to pair to some random phone I’ve never heard of. Of course I click no, but it’s still an annoying distraction from whatever I was doing at the time. Other people, who aren’t even in the same apartment as me, shouldn’t be able to make windows pop up on my computer.

The only real Bluetooth issue I’ve had is lag. I have a couple of Bluetooth speakers, and they all have a very slight lag to them which is somewhat noticeable when watching videos on the computer and trying to stream the audio to a Bluetooth speaker. I have to hardwire it for it to be sync up right. And it’s very noticeable the few times I’ve tried using it as a speaker when trying to play keyboard parts live via MIDI through Logic Pro or GarageBand. The lag makes it completely impossible to use it as a monitor in this way. Hardwire and it’s fine.

In the car, the lag is even worse. Like a full second or so between what’s on my phone and when the car picks it up.

Is this a limitation of Bluetooth, or is there something else going on here? Is it possible to sync near-perfectly?

Using wireless headphones with my iPad while watching streaming movies, I’ll rarely get a slight lag between audio and video. If I shut everything down and restart it fixes the problem.

My neighbors once came to my door asking if I had a computer named “[myname]-PC” because everytime I turned on bluetooth to connect to my Echo, it would pop up on their stuff. I can see how that would be annoying.

No, these particular devices do not use NFC, just BLE. NFC isn’t even an option with an iPhone 4, 5, or 6, and these things (Sensor Push HT1) work with the iPhone 4 and newer.

I did a little digging, and BLE’s “whisper mode” or “smart” pairing requires the BT device and the phone be within about 30cm (one foot) of each other. I suspect the Sensor Push app saying “Put the sensor on your phone screen” is just to take out the ambiguity for the average person, and to ensure the desired sensor is identified if you’re setting up multiple sensors.

The iPhone 6 has NFC.

They’re only able to do that because you allow your computer to scan for bluetooth devices. Turn off bluetooth on your computer and that will stop happening.