Dear Apple: Could We Have a Faster Way to Toggle Bluetooth on the iPhone?

A while back Dieter asked for a fast way to toggle Airplane Mode on the iPhone -- a triple click of the home button, perhaps. Yesterday he and I were talking about all the new Bluetooth functionality in iPhone 3.0 and the same point came up -- right now, to turn Bluetooth on or off you have to:

Wake the iPhone, Slide to Unlock, (type a Passcode perhaps), (return Home perhaps), tap Settings, tap General, tap Bluetooth, and then toggle the ON/OFF switch.

That's a lot of overhead, in terms of mental "work" and physical interactions.

With Bluetooth headsets, Stereo Bluetooth speakers, Bluetooth connectivity for accessories, Bluetooth connectivity of tethering, P2P gameplay and P2P app exchange, etc. a much faster way to flip the Bluetooth switch would be really appreciated.

Triple-click may not work in terms of usability, but surely there must be some other way? Maybe surface the ON/OFF toggle on the main Settings page, just before the drill down arrow? Jeremy thinks letting users add Settings shortcuts as icons on the Home Screen (like we can currently do with Safari bookmarks) would work. Anyone have any other ideas?

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Dear Apple: Could We Have a Faster Way to Toggle Bluetooth on the iPhone?


How about a shortcut for wifi on/off too. Also perhaps one to the usage settings, and the 3G on/off. Those would be nice shortcut additions. But question, with the new API's and APPLE opening of the phone, couldnt a dev just develope these shortcuts as apps for the new 3.0 OS?

My Idea: Leave it be.
I don't think that's too much "'work'" and I don't need another icon cluttering up my home screen, I only have 9 slots open you know.

Let's have Apple focus on more important issues (for instance: push Gmail, Unified inbox, a more functional unlock screen with calendar events, tasks,etc)...BT takes up minimal memory so I just keep it on (and I'm otherwise anal about power mgmt--for example, I keep my brightness at the dimmest setting)

I think its rather patronising of you to think that to push gmail is more important than this suggestion ....I think this would be way more useful to have an easy way to switch bluetooth on and off than to worry about pushing email really can't wait 10 minutes for an email ???

@Mike Push Gmail I dont think thats an Apple issue is it? Think thats a google fix. I am sure w/ 3.0 clever devs will create slide to unlock screen shortcuts.

I think a little "connections" icon would do, and it should include toggles for wifi, 3G/EDGE, airplane, bluetooth and the ability to turn push services and data connections on/off.

It is a big deal to me. turning the BT radio OFFwhen I need it saves about 5 hours a day of usability for me. i simple direct link via software would be easy.

Maybe holding down a corner of the Home Screen to bring up a "toggle" menu- Wifi, Bluetooth, Airplane Mode, etc.

How about just leaving it on? I use mine to connect automatically to my car when i get in, I can't be fussed turning it on and off. what you should be asking is 'Dear Apple, please can we have better power management on BT and a better battery. Oh yeah and while your poking about in BT add all the stuff a nokia does.
One thing i hope they don't do with 3.0 is make all the audio go via bluetooth when a headset is connected, my old N95 would connect to the car and all the warning tones and tomtom sounds go to the car stereo when I'm not listening to that input so I don't hear it.

Are you serious rene..?
On other phones you have to manually plug your phone into your computer, then write your own code and install it on your phone to use bluetooth. lol, im fine having to open a settings app..

how bout an icon for connections like on BB? Or if you could simply tap on the BT/wifi icon on the home screen

How about putting some options on the unlock screen.A few check boxes to turn on/off functions like blue tooth and wifi. There would be a separate slider to activate these functions without unlocking the phone too. Tap the turn BT on box and slide the slider. You wouldn't even need a passcode for this since the phone would stay locked.

I'd be happy with an option to have a "quick settings" type app to put on the home screen that only had the ON/OF toggles for WiFi, 3G, bluetooth, and airplane mode. And also the screen brightness slider!

I hate to say it but the connection manager type application that Windows Mobile has is quite useful. Something to deal with 3G (though I doubt most users change thisn option regularly), Airplane mode, Wifi, Bluetooth. I really like lloft's quick settings app idea as long as its customizeable... But yeah this would be a huge improvement for me, I turn bluetooth and wifi on and off at least 5 times a day each to conserve battery life.

Anyone who has the current/soon to be former bluetooth headset knows the answer. When the headset and iPhone are charging at the same time and you unplug the iPhone it auto-magically turns on Bluetooth.
So, why not have in the bag of API's an API that allows the auto-magic turn on of Bluetooth upon launch of an app?

Wireless radio manager, all radios have a toggle. If Apple is too lazy then let someone make it in the app store, I'd probably pay money for it.

How about when you tap the status area (time, signal strength, battery meter, etc) on any home screen a small list of toggle options drops down - wifi, 3G, edge, bluetooth, airplane mode, etc. Anythat that would appear in the status bar. It could be accessed from ANY of the home screens, but it would take up that space of another icon. And it is intuitive, since you are tapping the area where the connectivity icons appear.

i was going through reasons why i would still jailbreak after 3.0 and this is the deal breaker. i need sbsettings! i care nothing for copy/paste, mms is now a reality, and video recording seems like it's in the near future... perhaps in the hardware upgrade. however, sbsettings may be the only thing i need left!
i turn on/off my bluetooth, wifi, and 3g depending on my needs to save battery life. i find that with everything turned off most of the day, my battery lasts 2x's as much or even 4x's.
bottom line is that sbsettings will be just about the only reason i will jailbreak 3.0 =D

Well, this was a poor article. With all the news coming out you have this to post? But at least it wasn't a copy/ paste job from Gizmodo. ;)

Two ideas here: First, just look at what the jailbreakers have done with this, a litttle pull down menu for quick access to settings such as brightness, bluetooth, etc. Second (similar) - look at android, they already have something similar for common settings.

I would really like to see something like a Network Preference Panel that could be accessed systemwide with, say, a triple- or double-click of the home button. This panel would have simple on-off switches immediately available for Wi-Fi, 3G (for those with the iPhone 3G), Bluetooth, Push services, and Brightness (might as well since all of these things seem to be the biggest battery hogs for the iPhone).
Anyone else think they could benefit from something like this?

Maybe when you start the app and you want to use multiplayer, the app should tell you bluetooth isin't on and turn it on automatically, I don't know if it does it I'm just saying.

apple should look into what jailbroken apps offer as they are usually developed to cater for the iphones OS shortcomings. A good mod i use to run when my phone was jailbroken was u swiped ur finger over the status bar at the top of the home screen and most applications. This would launch a quick setting things which enabled me to turn on/off wifi, 3g and bluetooh.

First, a little side note: I love this site. I have gained so much in the way of information just from reading the responses of fellow iPhone users...I must say, however, that I believe I represent a good segment of consumers that use the iPhone as it was intended. Of course, there are many things I would love to change, but I know so very little about what has already been developed for the device (through jailbreak apps).
What I mean to say is...what are all those acronyms being thrown about? SBSettings? BT? A2BQxyz?? Does the average user (me) need these things?
Some of the articles use a lot of technical acronyms that I can not understand. I have done a fair share of research on my own there a glossary I could reference on this site? I am probably inviting a good deal of ridicule but after reading a number of articles, I just had to ask.
To topic: It would be useful to have a shortcut on the status bar with toggles for all of the features already mentioned.

SpiceRak2: SBSettings is an app for jailbreak'd phones and does exactly what the author and others are asking for: in almost any screen/app you can swipe the very top of your screen and SBSettings slides down. There's the ability to turn off/on: 3G, Edge, Bluetooth, Phone, Location, Rotation, AutoCorrect, AutoLock, Wifi ...along with the ability to adjust brightness. You can also power off or reboot from SBSettings. There are a few more toggles and controls, a bit more esoteric though.
The entire process is: swipe [to open SBSettings], tap [to toggle something on/off], tap [to close SBSettings]. Since SBSettings is available at all times except in some games... that really is the entire process. There is no application to launch or start; SBSettings is always running in the background. Since SBSettings is integrated into the Springboard GUI it is difficult to say how much memory it is using. I've never compared "regular" Springboard to "modified" Springboard. I would guess it's using around 500KB of memory or less.

Know matter how much Apple gives, it will never be enough for you lazy people. Keep on asking and asking.

A quick access wifi switch would be more useful. So many passworded hotspots interfere with the 3G connection.

Please give me a Bluetooth button apple! And while you're at it let me remove the stocks and weather icons that I never use. Puh-lease!

How about Profiles? This a big area which the iPhone is weak.
I only need bluetooth in the car. I don't want to have to go in to settings and switch it on and off every time.
Just let us set the home button to profiles and then select whichever we want. Bluetooth, wifi, volume, airplane mod, alerts - all can be managed within profiles.

Apple did their work by allowing Bluetooth connectivity. I think a 3rd party developer should make an shortcut app to cut it on or off

You guys should get an Android phone. Bluetooth and WiFi toggle on the home page with a free app.
Toggle on Toggle off! Easy Peasy....

I not against an easier way, but I'm okay with the way it is now. I set Bluetooth on and stick my dorky earpiece in only when I get into my car... then turn it off when I'm done driving. I don't walk around with it all day looking like some deranged lunitic talking to himself..
I agree with the cartoon iPhone at the family reunion... "(Bluetooth) still makin' everyone look like douche bags." :lol:

Ninja: typical fanatic response - whatever Apple leaves out is obviously unnecessary even if it ignores common ease of use features available in other phones for years, right?
It's called profiles - named groups of settings that can be enabled/switched in a single operation. On windows mobile I use PhoneAlarm to automatically change profiles based on a pre-defined schedule. It's perfect - set it and forget it - and you can always override the current profile manually if you need to.
I've also come to the conclusion that without a facility like this built in, when I get an iPhone, it will be jailbroken for sure - until Apple allows true multitasking. I did come across SBSSettings, but one that looks even more promising to me is MyProfiles.

Agree totally with this post. SBSettings is the single reason right now that I will not be upgrading to 3.0 until I'm sure I can jailbreak it and install SBSettings. I toggle 3G and Bluetooth on and off as needed. Yes, the underlying problem is the battery life but until that's resolved, having quick control of toggling 3G is the best way I can manage things quickly.

How about a shake from one of the home screens opens up an SBSettings-style toggle screen for BT, wi-fi, etc (customizable settings list??). It wouldn't be hard to make it 2 or even 3 full shakes so it's less likely to be done by accident.

Completely agree - I thought about this yesterday, and have been wondering why it's so difficult for a couple of months now. Probably the first "small" thing I would change relatve to "Settings."

I won't be upgrading either until 3.0 jailbreak is released. SBSettings lets me toggle Bluetooth, wifi, Gps, and 3G within 2 taps. Not to mention copy/paste already available. (added by Mobile using Mippin)

On the first 'Settings' screen, replace 'Wi-Fi' with 'Wireless Options.' Then have bluetooth, 3G, and Wi-Fi all under that sub-menu.

YESS...Turning on bluetooth is a bitch. Living in california where they give tickets for talking on the phone, its important to be able to toggle on/off bluetooth quickly.

sbsettings. wonderful app. i can turn off/on wifi, edge/3g, bluetooth, ssh, airplane mode, brightness, and even kill processes. jailbreak 20 > apple 0

Since iPhone OS 3.0 promises A2DP, I've been running a little experiment in preparation. I have turned Bluetooth on and left it on (because I agree it's a hassle - however minor - to keep flicking it on and off).
Leaving Bluetooth ON (and doing nothing since I don't have BT headset or anything) I have found battery drain to be negligible. So my solution: turn it on, leave it on.

I agree with the original post and in doing a web search looking for such an app, I found that Stormy Productions created one last August but is afraid to use it because it uses Apple's private frameworks. Read their blog,"The most useful Iphone app I can't release" at Frankly, I am definitely willing to pay for such an app. Carol

I just bought my first iphone, the 3G S and have been wrestling with the same problem. I can't believe this hasn't been fixed on a phone that's this far developed. Does anyone know if the sleep button turns off the bluetooth? I assume not...

I would love to officially have the ability to turn off bluetooth and wi-fi. I had it when I jail broke my 1stGen. I loved the functionality of sliding the top and clicking them all on and off. My daughter loves to watch movies while we are driving and I love to call my mother or sister. I would love to be able to use my headset to call from and I have a lot of clicking to go through to turn it off (especially in the car).

I don't understand why someone hasn't come up with an app for this. Why not? The eaiest way is to have an app to open then have buttons to toggle everything. But someone needs to do some now, not next month or next year.

Ugh, this is probably the ONLY thing I hate about the iPhone - not being able to quickly turn off/on bluetooth, location services, WiFi, etc. These items are battery drainers so I only keep them on when I'm using them. But having to go through 2-3 menus to do this is just annoying. I wish Apple just put them all on the first Settings screen so that when you open that screen up, you immediately have the ability to toggle each of these features on/off.

I found this post by searching for a Bluetooth Toggle app for iPhone. There is an app (in the app store) from Japan called 'BluetoothMe' that is very small (~50k download) that enables you to receive mail or something from the 'MailMe' app from the same company.
That being said, the most useful feature of this app is that if Bluetooth is turned off, the first thing it does when you run it is it prompts you with a dialog box that allow you to turn on Bluetooth. Then you can just exit the app.
Unfortunately, it's not really a 'toggle' because it can't turn off Bluetooth, but it is handy for turning ON Bluetooth using less taps than the Apple settings (built-in) method.

I'd like to see Apple allow for shortcut to settings..that would allow each user to prioritize the functionality of the iPhone. Airplane Mode and Bluetooth would be my first choice to add. I have the original from way back and it still is serving me well.

Even my mobile phone 6 or 7 years ago had "profiles" and could switch between Bluetooth on off.
It's a shame Apple!!!

Exactley - it really is a pain to turn on Bluetooth in a hurry - The only way I have seen this done from the homepage is on a jailbreak version - which if apple does not hurry up I will consider

Yes, it's absolutely essential to have one of the features for bluetooth and/or wifi to toggle bluetooth on/off quickly. I was trying to find a way so that everytime I get in/out my car, I don't have to go through a whole bunch of sequence to activate/deactivate bluetooth to pair with my speakerphone. I can't leave it on, as it consumes more battery life.
a) Somehow assign one of the buttons on the iphone to do this (just in in windows pocket pcs - you can assign any functionality to any button. And they should have some more custom buttons for iphone)
b) Automatic bluetooh off if it cannot pair with a device for over 'n' mins! That way we can set it to about 10 or 15 mins. So it will turn off automatically.
c) Some kind of shortcut on the main page

I have both a Droid X and an iPhone 3GS. The iPhone is far superior in every aspect, with the exception of being able to toggle Bluetooth, location services, etc. As Peench mentioned, Droid had widgets that you can choose to install on any page to quickly turn off these activities.

On the Developer's Web site he says that "Apple does not provide an authorized way to turn Bluetooth off in their SDK (Software Development Kit). If they do so in the future, I will add the capability to BlueOn."
Let's hope at Apple reads this page....

Would love a way as well. For the Droid phones, there are a ton of free apps that let you toggle everything on and off: wifi, bluetooth, sound...thought for sure iphone would have something similar, but not found anything yet.

I think it's due to Apples arrogance, not a technical issue. They don't think users need to manage these settings.

I need this for both Bluetooth and forWiFi.
Just a way to bring a "switch - on/off" top the first/home screen. Seems.....simple....!?/>>

what do apple benefits from our lack off control i mean do they have a motivation for the Bluetooth to stay on

The benefit would be the battery would drain faster through each day making you charge it more frequently and since that shortens the life and we can't buy a new battery we would have to pay an arm and a leg to have Apple replace it lol

My previous phone had a button which when pressed shown a list with any shortcuts you asigned. It was extremly useful and individualised to your requirements

Apple apparently does not allow third party apps to access to these settings. That's OK, but please, Apple, give us an easy Bluetooth (and Wifi) toggle app!! When I'm in my car driving and need to turn on Bluetooth, the current steps to take to turn it on is just too cumbersome! Also, because Bluetooth and Wifi drain battery life, I want to be able to easily switch them off.

Not beeing able to turn it on more quickly is just verry gay, and dangerous while driving, hurry up apple ! Im starting to think about jailbraiking becouse of the lame way this has to be done ..

Thank-you Shane - I installed the Wi-Fi icon, makes turning on/off the Wi-Fi a little quicker.

Not being able to easily switch on/off bluetooth/location/3G/Wifi is unacceptable in view of the very weak and not removable battery.
I had the battery replaced on my 3GS and will suffer this device for a little bit longer, but if Apple does not come up with a workable solution, my next phone will be running Android. No way that I am going to pay hundreds of dollars for so little live and use time.