How to Answer the Phone with a Bluetooth Headset

Samir Sampat

Bluetooth technology is making phones and other technology more accessible to those who can’t be tethered to devices by a bunch of cords and wires. These headsets come in a variety of styles and from several different brands. While it might seem easy enough for some to hook up a headset and start chatting away, others struggle with the technical details or just have issues getting the devices to work. 

Answering a call with a Bluetooth headset is perhaps one of the easiest tasks that you can undertake, but it’s still something that can be a bit tricky because of device compatibility and technical issues, among other things. Sometimes, it’s as simple as the press of a button. Perhaps you’ll even find newer models that let you speak or just tap to answer a call. There’s a lot out there to choose from and a lot more tech on the way. 

Bluetooth is amazing technology. It makes it easy to connect and share data in new ways for all kinds of needs.  Unfortunately, not all of the devices out there are made to be as amazing and lack a lot of the better features that Bluetooth is known for. The technology itself is designed only for short distances, so it’s somewhat limited, but it’s great for things like hands-free communication and sharing data between devices.  

While it’s been around for some time, very few people know much about how Bluetooth works. Whether you have an over-ear headset, earbuds, or any other type of headset, the rules are fairly similar across the board. Let’s start by talking about what Bluetooth is and how it works and then we’ll get to discussing how you can use your headset to answer phone calls and more. In no time, you’ll be making and taking handsfree calls all day long. 


What is Bluetooth?


Bluetooth is a wireless technology that uses radio waves to transmit data, but it’s not the same radio waves as your favorite stations. These are short waves that don’t travel much distance at all. Plus, Bluetooth waves are always switching frequencies, which helps ensure the connectivity and uptime that people love. The typical Bluetooth device will stay connected for about 30 feet or so with no walls or barriers. 

Bluetooth can be found in tons of devices, electronics, and even smart home electrics and appliances:

  • Smartphones
  • Speakers
  • Most modern vehicles have Bluetooth capability
  • TVs
  • Surround sound systems 
  • Video game systems
  • Computers, laptops, and tablets
  • Smart devices and wearables (watches)
  • Remotes
  • Thermometers
  • Ceiling fans and exhaust fans
  • Lock systems and garage door openers
  • Keyboards
  • Refrigerators

Although it’s been around for quite some time, it’s just been in the past decade that Bluetooth has become such an integral part of society. Today, it seems like everyone, and everything is connected—either by WiFi or Bluetooth, if not directly to a device itself. 


Is Bluetooth secure?


Generally speaking, Bluetooth is actually more secure than most WiFi connections. Also, most modern Bluetooth devices require a code for the devices to connect, essentially rendering them private and only for individual use. Of course, there are instances where Bluetooth can be subject to wireless interference just like any type of wireless communication. It's much less common than with older wireless technologies but does still happen. 

There are multiple ways that you can further secure your devices and Bluetooth connections, depending on the devices and headset that you are using. This is another benefit of reading the instructions (besides knowing how to use your devices)—you mind find extra features and security enhancements that you didn’t know about. 

One of the best features of Bluetooth is its frequency jumping. Known in the industry as “frequency hopping spread spectrum”, they use a method of hopping back and forth between frequencies hundreds of times each second

This pretty much all but guarantees that your devices can’t and won’t be hacked on Bluetooth, which isn’t always the case with other wireless technologies. 


Option 1 – Follow the instructions that came with the headset


Yes, thank you Captain Obvious—we know, you’re thinking it, and it’s okay—you’d be surprised how many people overlook the obvious, though. And how many people finally defeat the clamshell packaging only to toss it in the garbage, paperwork, instructions, and all, without so much as a glance. They’re too busy victoriously waving the headphones around to realize the instructions might have some valuable information. 

For the most part, it’s fairly simple to operate these headsets. However, each one has its own functions and features, and it comes with instructions for a reason. 

You may also notice upon searching the Internet that many of the top brands have their own troubleshooting and informational articles on answering and ending calls using their various Bluetooth headsets. This is ideal because they will have the exact steps that are relevant to your device. For example, you may have a certain button on your headset that another model doesn’t have that’s responsible for picking up calls. 

Furthermore, you might not even have a model that has buttons, and you’ll have to rely on the phone to answer or voice technology, the latter of which is somewhat limited with the models available today. 


Option 2 – Generic connection instructions


If you missed out on the manufacturer's instructions or they’re just not working for you, almost every Bluetooth device can be connected and used to make calls with similar instructions. For starters, you will need to make sure that Bluetooth is enabled on your headset and your device. Also, make sure that other devices aren’t active, if possible, to avoid any confusion when trying to connect. 

Simply click the Bluetooth icon on your smartphone or other device, and then locate your headset in the list of devices available. If you haven’t changed it, it will typically have some generic manufacturer name with a lot of random numbers. Once the headset is connected to your smartphone (or other devices), you will then be able to answer calls. 

You can do this with Siri or other voice technology if your headset supports that type of option; the AirPods’ latest generation has this feature and it’s pretty handy. The other option is to press the appropriate button on your Bluetooth headset when a call comes in, which will cause the headset to turn on and answer the call so that you never have to touch your phone. Some headsets only have one button, while others may have a button for connecting calls along with volume controls, and so forth. Take the time to get to know your earbuds or headset to ensure that you’re ready to take whatever calls come your way. 

It's fairly simple to connect via Bluetooth. The biggest thing is to ensure that both devices are on, in pairing mode, and not restricted from connecting. As long as these things are in place, most modern devices will connect without issue. 


Troubleshooting tips


We already mentioned checking the manufacturer’s instructions as a step in the process of answering calls correctly, but it’s your first stop if you’re having difficulties, too. That is unless you have a manual that’s less than helpful or that doesn’t explain a lot. Here are some quick tips to help you get the most out of your Bluetooth experience. 

  • Always make sure that you’re in pairing mode if either device requires it
  • Ensure that both devices are charged 
  • Turn the Bluetooth connection off and on again
  • Power down and reboot the device(s)
  • Bring the devices closer together
  • Stay away from the WiFi router to avoid interference
  • Make sure both devices are powered on (it’s happened to the best of us)
  • Double-check that power-saving mode or airplane mode aren’t enabled
  • Delete and re-add the device you’re trying to pair
  • Check for device and software updates on either device
  • Clear stored settings or other caches that could be clogging the signals

Some of this might seem like common knowledge, but when you’re frustrated and in the middle of a tech nightmare, “common” things might be eluding you. Not just that, but many people don’t realize that while Bluetooth was designed for easy connectivity, it can be finicky on certain devices (usually due to the manufacturer’s setup and not the actual Bluetooth connection). Therefore, having everything just as it should, can make a huge difference. 

That’s also why we suggest using the manufacturer’s instructions or checking their website when you want to learn how to use your Bluetooth headset. They often know better than anyone how to troubleshoot issues and make sure your device is working properly. 


Is built-in better than a Bluetooth adapter?


Some older devices might not have Bluetooth available, which is why companies have created adapters that are specifically designed to offer a dedicated connection for various devices. You can find them for notebooks, tablets, laptops, and other devices. They come in various price ranges and with different features, too, so that will all go into your decision as to which type of adapter to buy. 

With an adapter, you can upgrade if the technology changes without having to change devices. With a built-in Bluetooth feature, you’ll be more limited in upgrades, but you’ll have a more secure, reliable connection because it’s hardwired to the machine rather than being required to plug into a USB or other port. 

Consider what device you need to use Bluetooth on and how frequently you’ll be using it—in many cases, it makes sense to get an adapter and save money on a new device because the former can handle just about everything. However, if you need reliable, high-quality Bluetooth and your device is already a bit dated, upgrading could be the way to go. Again, it’s ultimately about finding what works for you. 


Headsets vs. earbuds 


Some people wonder if their connectivity issues or call quality concerns stem from the type of device they’re using. Today, with the release of AirPods and other wireless earbuds, it’s hard not to be swayed by their popularity. However, there’s a different fit and style for everyone. Over-ear headsets and earbuds are the most common, but you’ll find tons of options from different brands, including those that offer high-tech features and impressive quality. 

Think about how comfortable you’d feel wearing earbuds regularly. Some people don’t like the feel of them, so they choose a headset. Another popular reason to choose the headset is that it can cancel out noise easier and help your people stay focused on the job at hand. Earbuds are discreet, but they can sometimes make it difficult to enjoy the peace of whatever you’re listening to because ambient noise leaks in. 

More than the style (although you should find what’s comfortable), you’ll want to make sure that you choose a model that has the latest Bluetooth technology and all the features that you want. If you have a certain brand compatibility in mind, check for that, as well. In the end, it will be about choosing the style that fits your needs best. 


Or, don’t worry about answering the calls at all when you partner with Smith.ai


If you’re tired of spending hours on the phone, even when it’s hands-free, you’ll be happy to know that there is a better way. You can choose to partner with the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai instead, and never worry about missing a call even if you never pick up the phone. 

Our team of receptionists can assist with all kinds of needs, at any time of day or night. Ask about our after-hours call answering, live chat services, lead intake, and even payment collection, scheduling, and more. Plus, whatever you need, we’ll put it all together in a strategy to manage it all for you, seamlessly. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can do for your brand. You can also reach us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484. 


Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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