Bluetooth, once a feature mainly used for sending photos between cell phones, has become an integral part of our daily lives. We use it for connecting wireless headphones, syncing smartwatches, and streaming music to smart speakers. However, keeping Bluetooth enabled on your mobile device when you’re not actively using it may not be the best idea. Let’s explore why you should consider turning it off.
Issues with Keeping Bluetooth On
There are several potential problems associated with leaving Bluetooth on when it’s not needed, including security risks, increased battery consumption, and continuous data transmission.
Having Bluetooth constantly active can drain your device’s battery over time. While the impact varies depending on your device’s version and optimizations, tests have shown that, on average, keeping Bluetooth on consumes around 1.8% more battery compared to having it off during a 26-hour test. While this might seem minimal, it can make a difference if you’re trying to maximize your device’s battery life, especially when the battery is low.
It is little but you should keep in mind that it will consume a little more if you have a low battery or are one of those people who want to get the most out of them.
Leaving Bluetooth on can make your device more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Cybercriminals can potentially exploit an active Bluetooth connection to steal data or engage in other malicious activities. Disabling Bluetooth reduces the attack surface for remote threats and helps prevent unintentional connections to unknown Bluetooth devices or services. It’s best to enable Bluetooth only when actively using it.
Continuous Data Transmission
An interesting aspect of Bluetooth is that it periodically sends your device’s UUID (universal unique identifier) to allow other devices in range to connect. Even if your device is set to be hidden, it continues to transmit this information. This data transmission can be exploited to determine the location of your device, posing a security risk.
Types of Attacks You Can Face
With Bluetooth always connected, you open yourself up to various types of attacks, including:
- Bluebugging: Attackers take advantage of device identification vulnerabilities to gain complete control over your device. These attacks can lead to cyber espionage, data theft, virus propagation, and the creation of botnet networks.
- Bluejacking: Bluejacking involves mass sending of unsolicited messages between Bluetooth-connected devices. Attackers use the system protocol to send spam messages, often using the device’s name as a cover. This type of attack is annoying and can disrupt your device’s normal functioning.
Given the potential security risks, it’s advisable to turn off Bluetooth when you’re not actively using it. While it’s true that Bluetooth offers advantages like faster device pairing and connectivity, the risks to your device’s information should not be ignored. However, it’s essential to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of disabling Bluetooth. Keep in mind that doing so may mean temporarily losing some conveniences, such as using wireless headphones or receiving notifications on your smartwatch. Ultimately, it’s a matter of assessing what’s more important to you—security or convenience.