I got my first pair of Bluetooth headphones in April 2013, because I was in a Walking for Physical Fitness class and was tired of my headphones snagging on my gear. After less than a week with my Kinivo BTH220, I knew I was never going back, even if I'd have days that my battery would start dying halfway through class because I forgot to charge it one week and they'd but out with some of the phones I bought. Bluetooth was an absolutely freeing thing, and I still use it everyday with my headphones, speakers, and my smartwatch.
Of course, that doesn't mean I don't hate it every day, too.
1. Bluetooth dies at the worst times
Most days I don't mind that you have to charge Bluetooth headphones. So long as it can get me through the day without dying, I don't mind charging my Bluetooth smartwatch or headphones at night because I'm not sleeping with my headphones on unless something's really, really wrong.
Unfortunately, sometimes days are longer than we anticipate or battery capacities are lower than average. My Aukey B60 earbuds have about an 8 hour battery life and on some days at Walt Disney World, that simply isn't enough. Nobody wants to deal with 20,000 exhausted families without music to help drown out the crying kids who missed bedtime by two hours.
Low battery warnings also tend to sneak up on you at the best part of the song or film, because of course it does. And having to charge your headphones makes you far more likely to walk out of the house without them while they're back hiding on the charger...
This has been me far, far too many times in the last year. Like "I keep a pair of backup BT earbuds in my gear bag in case my I leave my good pair home" often.
2. They cut out during the best part of the song
Know that feel when the song gets really good so you set your phone down and start dancing around your apartment, but then the song skips and stutters because you got on the cusp of the Bluetooth range on your old BT 4.1 headphones? Yeah, we all know that feel.
This is a problem I only run into these days when my phone and my Bluetooth speakers are in different rooms of my apartment, but it's still annoying when it happens.
3. Bluetooth connects to everything with a signal…
Bluetooth may be convenient since it's used by everything from toasters to tablets to toys, but Bluetooth isn't exactly secure. For years it was suggested to keep Bluetooth off when you weren't explicitly using it to prevent your device from being vulnerable to snooping from nefarious sources, but really, unless you lived in a dense city-center, the chances of anything to you or your tech was pretty slim since Bluetooth only has a range of 100 feet.
That said, Bluetooth likes to connect with anything it can, and that's made it a very nice tracking tool for stores and shopping centers that combine your Bluetooth location with other identifying data to target you for more personalized ads. This type of behavior can be used for good — Tile's trackers do the same thing to help you avoid losing your keys — but the more nefarious uses are the ones that make headlines more often.
4. ...except the actual device you need it to connect with
It's 7:55AM and you're late to work. You spent all night setting up your brand new phone, and when you get into the car to start driving, you remember you still need to pair it with the car stereo. Bad news, chief: that POS stereo in your Subaru refuses to see your phone and pair to it, so I guess you're listening to the radio today.
The connection blues don't even end when you've finished pairing, unfortunately...
If you have a Bluetooth speaker you share between your phone and tablet — or worse, between other people in your home — you know the struggle when you turn on a speaker, but it won't automatically connect to yours anymore because your roommate borrowed it and now you have to dig into Bluetooth settings to manually reconnect every time.
Of course, your phone automatically reconnecting can come with its own problems when it works "normally", too.
5. You look like a crazy person when you're using to talk to people
I love using Bluetooth to talk on the phone because it keeps my hands free to keep typing my articles, or playing Disney Emoji Blitz while I tune out my parents, or keep both hands on the wheel while I deal with rush-hour traffic. I know it looks like I'm talking to myself or some invisible voices — and hey, sometimes I am talking to invisible voices when I listen to podcasts.
It doesn't help that taking calls on Bluetooth is seen as being a self-absorbed asshole, even if you just use BT headphones and not some impractical earpiece.
6. But no more worrying about snagging cables on everything
Despite all the hate, it's important to remember what we escaped when we jumped to Bluetooth. No more cables chewed up by your rolling chairs and closing car doors.
No more getting your headphones yanked off — or worse, your laptop yanked off the desk — when you get up to get a glass of water while watching Hulu.
No more dealing with the headphones being in the purgatory between working properly and totally broken where they only work when they're turned or held a certain way.
So, while I may want to throw my Bluetooth headphones off a fourth floor balcony every now and then, I know that it beats the alternative, especially when you remember that most phones today don't come with a 3.5mm jack that makes wired headphones even worth considering.
All 20 stories from our 2019 Spotlight on Bluetooth package, all in one place. Whether it's a spot of Bluetooth history, a bit of humor or wireless memery, or some thoughtful analysis on the future of the short-range tech, you'll find it right here, courtesy of the folks at iMore, Android Central, and Windows Central.
- Introduction to our 2019 Spotlight on Bluetooth
- Where did the Bluetooth name and logo come from?
- A history of all the major Bluetooth releases and updates
- Where Bluetooth is headed, and the challenges it must overcome to get there
- Bluetooth 5: Is it actually better, and do you need it?
- Why Bluetooth is so great (and so terrible): A story told via memes
- Why the Bluetooth in your car sucks (and always will)
- 12 weird Bluetooth gadgets the Mobile Nations team uses every day
Apple and iOS
- The secret to Apple's ecosystem
- How to solve common Bluetooth issues on iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch and Mac
- Bluetooth vs AirPlay 2: Which is the superior wireless technology?
- iMore staff's favorite Bluetooth tech
- 5 major Bluetooth milestones at Microsoft
- How to master Bluetooth on Windows 10
- Why Xbox One (still) doesn't use Bluetooth
- Why wireless gaming mice still use RF receivers instead of Bluetooth
- Windows Central staff's favorite Bluetooth gadgets right now
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