Bluetooth headset

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This article describes how to set up a bluetooth headset with Arch Linux. Before you get started, you have to make sure that bluetooth is set up and working, especially that the dbus and hcid (started with the bluetooth start scriptlet) daemons are running.

Latest Hint

It is much easier to set up your bluetooth headset today, with bluez >= 3.16. All you have to do is following the bluez official howto>> bluez wiki does not exist enymore :( And you may wanna try the out-of-box python script in this blog (you need edit the skript to work with gconftool-2). There's also a piece of equivalent bash script here.

The following method is out-of-date and obsoleted.

NOTE: This method is also outdated as with newer versions of BlueZ. The simplest way to setup your headset is to follow the steps at Make sure to take a look at the PulseAudio wiki entry for setting up PulseAudio, especially if you are running KDE.

Required software

You need the btsco package from the community repository. If you use the beyond kernel, then grab the btsco-beyond package.

# pacman -S btsco

Finding out your headset's bluetooth bdaddr

You need your headset's bdaddr. It is of the form 12:34:56:78:9A:BC. Either find it in the documentation of your headset, on the headset itself or with the hcitool scan command.

Loading the kernel module

The command

# modprobe snd-bt-sco

loads the btsco kernel module. There will now be an extra audio device. Use alsamixer -cN (where N is most likely 1) to set the volume. You can access the device with any alsa-capable application by choosing the device BT headset, or with any OSS application by using /dev/dspN as the audio device.

But to actually get any sound, you have to connect your headset to the computer first.

Connecting the headset

If you connect your headset for the first time, read the section about pairing first. To connect to your headset to the computer, use the command

$ btsco -f <bdaddr>

for example

$ btsco -f 12:34:56:78:9A:BC

Pairing the headset with your computer

The first time you connect the headset, you have to pair it with the computer. To do this, you need your headset's PIN. Depending on your headset you may have to reset the headset and repeat the pairing everytime you used the headset with another bluetooth device.

There are two ways to pair your headset with the computer:

Using bluez-gnome

Install the bluez-gnome package from the community repository. Then start the bt-applet program. Once you try to connect to the headset, a window will open and ask for the PIN.

Using passkey-agent

Before connecting to the headset, enter the command

$ passkey-agent --default <pin>

where <pin> is your headset's PIN. Then try to connect to the headset.

Headset's multimedia buttons

In order to get your bluetooth headset's multimedia buttons (play, pause, next, previous) working you need to add uinput to MODULES section in /etc/rc.conf:

MODULES=(fuse ipw2200 ... uinput)


Alternative method of connecting a BT headset to Linux:

See also: