What Can You Do With The iPhone & iMac Via Bluetooth?

by David Weedmark Google

    Both the Apple iPhone and iMac come with Bluetooth technology built inside, meaning they can both connect to many of the same Bluetooth devices like headsets and keyboards, and also with each other. Bluetooth uses radio frequencies to connect devices within what is called a Personal Area Network (PAN) up to a distance of 164 feet, depending on the devices being used. For best results, you should generally use them within 30 feet of each other. Note that Bluetooth media streaming is not possible between an iMac and an iPhone; if you wish to stream media, you can use Wi-Fi.

    Personal Hotspot

    If your cellular service plan supports tethering, you can access the Internet from your iMac by accessing your iPhone's 3G or 4G service. Personal Hotspot is an option in the iPhone's Settings menu. You use your iPhone's personal hotspot wirelessly using Wi-Fi, but Bluetooth has some advantages. Most importantly, it draws less power from your iPhone's battery. Using Wi-Fi you are limited to a 90-second window for making a connection with your computer. With Bluetooth, once it is activated, you can use it whenever you want. Bluetooth signals are encrypted automatically to ensure your data can't be intercepted.

    Remote Control, Keyboard and Mouse

    There are a few apps available in the Apple App Store that use Bluetooth to connect to a Mac computer as a keyboard, remote control or mouse. One such app, Rowmote Pro, essentially does most of the things an iMac remote can do -- great if your iMac didn't come with a remote or if you lost the one you had. It acts as a wireless keyboard and remote for dozens of apps including iTunes, iPhoto and Firefox. To use your iPhone as a Bluetooth wireless mouse, you can use the WeBe Bluetooth Mouse app, which can work with any Mac or PC after installing the corresponding software.


    Most Bluetooth printers that can connect to an iMac can also connect to your iPhone. Printer manufacturers like HP provide free apps in the Apple Apps Store for connecting directly to their bluetooth printers. Even if your printer isn't Bluetooth-enabled, you can still enjoy the benefits of wireless printing from an iPhone with an app like Print n Share by EuroSmartz Ltd. With this app, just connect the printer to your iMac, turn them on, and send your print jobs directly to the printer via Bluetooth through the iMac.

    Sharing Bluetooth Devices

    Many Bluetooth devices can be shared between an iMac and an iPhone, including headsets, speakers, microphones and keyboards. The original iPhone had limited Bluetooth functionality, but the iPhone 4 and later supports most Bluetooth profiles, including Advanced Audio Distribution (A2DP), Audio/Video Remote Control (AVRCP 1.4) and Human Interface Device Profile (HID). Of course, you can't use Bluetooth devices simultaneously on two different devices, but once you have paired a device like a headset to both, you can switch from your iMac to your iPhone with relative ease.

    About the Author

    David Weedmark's articles have appeared in dozens of publications since 1989, including "The Windsor Star" and "The Ottawa Citizen." As well as being a technology consultant, he is the author of several books, including "The Tanglewood Murders." Weedmark studied English at the University of Toronto.

    Photo Credits

    • David Paul Morris/Getty Images News/Getty Images