1 Aug 2016

Bluetooth Devices Should Have a Pair Button

I have a Bluetooth keyboard paired with my Mac. I now want to use it with my iPad.

With a wired keyboard, this is trivial — just unplug it from the Mac and plug it into the iPad [1]. But Bluetooth makes this complex. You need to unpair the keyboard from the Mac before pairing it with the iPad. But you can unpair only from the Mac. If the Mac is no longer with you — say you returned it at the office, or it's at home and you're outside — you can't unpair the keyboard from it. You're stuck. You can't use your keyboard with your iPad.

This is stupid. All Bluetooth peripherals should have a Pair button. When you press it, the peripheral should make itself available for pairing. Even if it's already paired with another device, in which case it can unpair itself first. Think of it as a factory reset, but just for Bluetooth.

Manufacturers of Bluetooth devices should add a Pair button. If the user can't use the peripheral they've paid for, the technology is broken. Fix it.

[1] Which is an argument for all devices to move to USB-C. Then I can just unplug a wired keyboard from my Mac and plug it into my iPad.


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