Question from Mary Anne F.: After using a flip phone for years, I finally decided it was time to upgrade to a smart phone.
I found a good deal on a new iPhone at Best Buy, so I bought one. I like the phone ok, but some things about it are really confusing.
For example, the user manual says the iPhone 5s supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless connectivity.
What is Bluetooth and how is it different from Wi-Fi?
Rick’s answer: Mary Anne, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are both wireless technologies, but they are completely different and serve completely different purposes.
Wi-Fi is primarily used to wirelessly connect smart phones, computers and other devices to the Internet and/or a local network. If your home or place of business has a wireless router installed, you either already have a Wi-Fi network in place or you can easily set one up.
Bluetooth is primarily used to connect a smart phone or other computing device to an external peripheral such as a Bluetooth headset, speaker or keyboard.
All Bluetooth-capable peripherals will have the word Bluetooth somewhere in the name or description. If you don’t use any Bluetooth peripherals with your iPhone, you can (and should) disable Bluetooth in the Settings menu in order to conserve the charge on your phone’s battery.
As far as Wi-Fi is concerned, I recommend using a Wi-Fi connection if one is available when doing any kind of Internet-related task with your phone. Wi-Fi will usually be faster than your phone’s 3G/4G data connection, and it doesn’t count toward your cell plan’s data cap.
I hope this helps Mary Anne. Good luck with your new iPhone!
Update from Mary Anne: Thanks for that explanation Rick. I’m pretty sure I understand the difference now.
Bonus tip: Since you’re just getting started with your first smart phone, you might want to also read this post that explains what Airplane Mode is (and when it helps to use it).
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