Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows short-range communication between devices. Bluetooth-enabled computers, tablets, and smartphones can use it to connect to a wide variety of peripherals like wireless keyboards, fitness trackers, or headphones. It operates over the 2.4 GHz frequency band and has a typical range of about 30 feet, or 10 meters.

Transferring data between two Bluetooth devices requires pairing them together. Once the pairing process is complete, the two devices can transmit data as long as they're within range of each other. They will even automatically reconnect whenever they are both turned on and nearby. While devices like computers, smartphones, or tablets can connect to several Bluetooth devices at once, peripherals can have one active connection at a time — if you want to move a peripheral to another device, you should un-pair it from the first one. Otherwise, both devices will attempt to connect to the peripheral, and only one connection may be active at a time.

A Microsoft Bluetooth keyboard and mouse set
A Microsoft Bluetooth keyboard and mouse set

The Bluetooth specification has gone through several revisions since it was first launched. Newer revisions support increased range, data transfer speed, and security. Bluetooth 4.0 also introduced a separate Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) variant that uses significantly less power.

Bluetooth Peripherals

Bluetooth's low power requirements make it an ideal wireless connection for many devices. Some of the most common types of Bluetooth peripherals include:

  • Wireless audio devices like headphones, speakers, and phone headsets. Many cars include Bluetooth-enabled infotainment systems that allow you to stream audio or make hands-free phone calls.
  • Computer peripherals like wireless mice and keyboards, as well as video game console controllers.
  • Smart home devices and sensors. Some devices use Bluetooth as a temporary connection while configuring a new device, while other low-power devices use it as the primary connection.
  • Smartwatches, activity trackers, and other wearable devices. These peripherals often require a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone for Internet access and data processing.
Updated February 2, 2023 by Brian P.

quizTest Your Knowledge

WPA2 is used to encrypt data transmissions over what type of connection?

Correct! Incorrect!     View the WPA2 definition.
More Quizzes →

The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary

The definition of Bluetooth on this page is an original definition written by the team. If you would like to reference this page or cite this definition, please use the green citation links above.

The goal of is to explain computer terminology in a way that is easy to understand. We strive for simplicity and accuracy with every definition we publish. If you have feedback about this definition or would like to suggest a new technical term, please contact us.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe or change your frequency setting at any time using the links available in each email.

Questions? Please contact us.