Since all of our trackers run on Bluetooth, it's no surprise that we frequently get asked "does Bluetooth drain phone battery?" There are all sorts of misconceptions out there about how Bluetooth works. It's tempting to blame your Bluetooth when you glance at your screen and see your battery visibly dropping. However, the reality is that Bluetooth doesn't consume quite as much power as you think. Before you start thinking about shutting down your Bluetooth, there are a few things you need to know.
Does Bluetooth drain battery on the average phone? We're used to apps and other phone processes using power whenever they run, so it's understandable that many people assume running Bluetooth also uses up power. However, this isn't actually true. Having Bluetooth on in the background isn't like having an app running. Instead, leaving Bluetooth on is like your phone is permanently connected to a Wi-Fi network. Having Bluetooth on but not running doesn't really impact battery life much at all.
Things get a little different when devices are actually connected to your Bluetooth. There's quite a bit of variance in Bluetooth gadgets. A device that requires a constant, steady Bluetooth connection, like using Bluetooth headphones to stream music, will drain a bit of battery. However, if your device just has to check in with your phone occasionally, like a Tile Mate tracker, barely any power is needed.
How much power do you use exactly? Tests run on typical smartphones reveal that leaving Bluetooth on but not using it only drains 1.8% of your battery throughout the day. Using Bluetooth constantly for a Bluetooth-intensive activity like streaming increases power consumption by just 6.6%. This ultimately means that turning off Bluetooth only gives you around 10 to 15 minutes of extra battery life each day. If you never use Bluetooth, go ahead and turn it off. However, if you've got Bluetooth devices, shutting down Bluetooth is just inconvenient and doesn't make much of a difference.
Something to keep in mind when asking "does having Bluetooth on drain battery?" is that there's actually more than one kind of Bluetooth. There's the original form of Bluetooth, called Classic or Standard Bluetooth, and a newer version called Bluetooth 4.0. This upgraded form of Bluetooth, used in our Tile trackers, is also named Bluetooth Low Energy because it uses far less battery power while still providing a very stable connection.
Standard Bluetooth is great for when your phone needs a steady connection. For example, if you're streaming music with earbuds, you'll need high-powered Standard Bluetooth. Bluetooth 4.0 is used when a gadget has very low connectivity requirements. Your phone will use energy-saving Bluetooth 4.0 when it's connecting to Tile trackers and other similar devices.
Now that you know a little about how Bluetooth works, you know that the reason for a rapidly dropping phone battery probably isn't your Bluetooth. If you're worried about your phone's battery usage, there are a few things you can do to figure out what's causing the low battery.
For Android users, it's as easy as clicking on your battery icon and selecting the Battery Usage option. This will show you which apps or phone functions are responsible for your decline in battery. If you've got an iOS phone, you can get similar data by going to Settings. Tapping on the Battery section and picking the Show Activity option will give you an overview of why your phone is using up power so fast. This lets you see exactly which phone processes are the culprit so you can turn them off. While checking battery usage, you'll most likely find that Bluetooth is barely using up any of your phone's power.
So, to sum it all up: Streaming media with Bluetooth might have a small effect on your phone's battery, but just leaving Bluetooth running for background devices barely uses any battery at all. If you've got a Tile, this means there's no reason to turn off your Bluetooth. You'll still get decent battery life while keeping track of your pets, remotes, and other important things. To learn more about how Tile works, read the FAQs in our Help Center. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.