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Bluetooth: Turn off or keep on when not in use?

Bluetooth: Turn off or keep on when not in use? Illustrative photo (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

Most modern gadgets support Bluetooth. Due to its widespread use, many smartphone owners keep Bluetooth constantly enabled.

RBC-Ukraine explores whether it's necessary to turn off Bluetooth when not in use.

Sources used for this report include: USA Today, Zendesk, The Verge, Android Authority, and TechWiser.

Bluetooth is the most common wireless communication protocol used to connect two devices over short distances, such as wirelessly connecting headphones to a smartphone.

Is it safe not to turn off Bluetooth?

Bluetooth technology is constantly improving, receiving new security standards and updates. Older versions are more vulnerable to hacking attacks, so the recommendation to turn off Bluetooth when not in use may be relevant for older phones with outdated Bluetooth versions.

Modern smartphones equipped with Low Energy (LE) Bluetooth modules have advanced security systems. While hackers can potentially access data on a phone through Bluetooth, it is extremely difficult to do so. It's important to note that the hacker's equipment must be in close proximity (no more than 10 meters) to the victim's phone, making mass attacks practically impossible.

Therefore, modern Bluetooth versions are quite secure and regularly receive updates to fix vulnerabilities. Real cases of device compromise through Bluetooth are rare, so it can be concluded that Bluetooth can be left enabled on a smartphone evem when not in use.

Does Bluetooth affect the phone battery?

Another reason users often want to turn off Bluetooth is to save battery life on their smartphones. Like other wireless networks, Bluetooth can consume battery power, but it's not as significant as many people think.

If Bluetooth is actively in use, such as connecting to wireless headphones, the battery drain is minimal - less than 1.5%. In standby mode, Bluetooth consumes slightly more, around 2%.

The introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy has significantly improved battery efficiency on smartphones. This standard is essential for smart home devices and gadgets requiring constant connections and real-time data transmission, such as fitness trackers.

As a result, leaving Bluetooth enabled on a smartphone only consumes a small percentage of battery and doesn't make a serious impact.

The only reason to turn off Bluetooth to save battery is when the battery level is extremely low (less than 5%) and the user needs to preserve it for an extended period of time. In such a situation, any additional battery usage becomes crucial.

Does Bluetooth affect human health?

Similar to the impact of Wi-Fi on human health, there is no evidence of serious negative effects of Bluetooth. Moreover, using a Bluetooth headset for calls may even be safer than using a smartphone.

If considering radiation levels from phones and headphones, the radiation from the latter is significantly weaker due to lower power: most Bluetooth devices have a maximum power of 1 mW, while smartphones operate at powers of 1000 mW or 2000 mW when using 3G/4G.


Leaving Bluetooth enabled on a smartphone is acceptable, provided that the phone's software is updated regularly to receive security patches that address vulnerabilities. The older the Bluetooth version on the phone, the more chances hackers have to exploit its imperfections and security loopholes.

There is no evidence that Bluetooth negatively impacts human health, and its effect on the smartphone battery level is extremely minimal.