Being something of a traveler has brought about a few separate occasions where I wanted to share a private experience on my phone or tablet with someone else in public.
Sometimes, I just wanted to watch a movie in the park with my wife.
As adults, not all of the content we watch is family-friendly and suitable to blast in public areas.
The first few times we shared our experiences together, I would wear one earbud while she wore the other.
It’s not very comfortable and there are far too many problems that occur with wires.
More recently, I’ve even tried sharing one Bluetooth earbud each, but some audio chooses a specific side to play from. I’d miss a part of the movie and she would miss a different part, so I started looking into whether or not I could use two Bluetooth headphones at the same time.
Can I Use Two Bluetooth Headphones At The Same Time?
Android, more specifically Samsung devices, can pair two Bluetooth headphones to one device so that multiple people can listen in at the same time. Even if your device doesn’t support multiple Bluetooth headphone pairings at once, you can still connect two headphones using a Bluetooth transmitter/splitter.
Samsung added a Dual Audio feature back when they released the Galaxy S8. It does require that you turn it on, but it’s built-in support for connecting multiple headphones to one phone.
Unfortunately, this feature is not available on every android device and iPhone users won’t have this option at all.
For devices that do not have Dual Audio for Bluetooth connectivity, you will need to purchase a Bluetooth transmitter/splitter.
Just like an audio jack splitter, a Bluetooth splitter allows you to connect multiple devices using one connection.
That means you’ll be able to pair up to around 5 devices depending on the quality of your transmitter to listen to audio from your tablet, smartphone, laptop, desktop, or TV.
How Many Bluetooth Audio Devices Can I Use At Once?
The number of Bluetooth connections you can make to your Bluetooth-enabled device depends on the type of Bluetooth technology was used.
Here’s a break-down of the Bluetooth types and their specifications:
The first iteration of Bluetooth.
This technology was just to kick-start the development of Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
It was rarely used due to its inconsistency and unstable connectivity.
It could only transfer data at 1 megabit per second over one device.
Bluetooth 2 was the first popular version of Bluetooth technology.
In the early days of mobile technology, it helped devices to reach 3 Mbps through enhanced data rates (EDR).
V2.1 further increased the popularity by easing the process to pair Bluetooth devices.
This update made Bluetooth far more beneficial for commercial use.
It was still limited to a single device connection, though a second device could sometimes stay paired as well.
Bluetooth 3 added extra stability to data transfer and wireless connection by allowing the Bluetooth module to transmit over the radio frequency 802.11.
It used more power than previous versions, but made Bluetooth far more functional for everyday use and allowed up to three device connections.
However, it had difficulty maintaining more than one stable connection.
Bluetooth 4 changed the wireless module environment.
With the addition of the new Low Energy feature, Bluetooth 4 allowed for wearable devices to be consistently connected.
Version 4 could also maintain a connection with up to 5 devices at one time.
In the latest iteration, Bluetooth 5, the modules have been updated with twice the bandwidth, Slot Availability Masking (which helps to prevent signal crossing/interference).
It supports up to 7 different connections at once.
If your smartphone or tablet is only a couple of years old, it is likely to contain either Bluetooth 4 or 5.
If you’re lucky enough to have purchased a device sometime between 2017 and now, you have access to Bluetooth 5.
That means you can solidly connect to up to 7 devices without worrying about signal interference or connection stability issues as long as you stay within 35 feet of the connected device.
If you’re unsure when your device was made, you can check the settings to find the type of Bluetooth you have inside.
How to check which version of Bluetooth your device has:
- Go to the search form on the taskbar. Type in device manager and select it from the search results.
- Find the option labeled Bluetooth and click the arrow next to it. This will open an expanded menu.
- Select the radio listing, it may be listed as a wireless device.
- Click on the Advanced. Here you will be searching for the letters ‘LMP’. It stands for Link Manager Protocol. It should be listed near the Firmware Version.
LMP 0-2 specify Bluetooth 1.0-1.2. LMP 3 & 4 specifies Bluetooth 2.0 & 2.1. LMP 5 indicates Bluetooth 3.0. LMP 6-8 means it’s Bluetooth 4.0 – 4.2. LMP 9-11 indicates that you have Bluetooth 5.0-5.2.
- Go to your phone settings.
- Tap on App. Select the “ALL” Tab.
- Scroll down to the Bluetooth Icon named Bluetooth Share.
- The version should be displayed under App Info.
- iPhone 4s, 5, 5s, 5c, 6, 6 plus, 6s, 6s Plus, 7, and 7 Plus are all Bluetooth 4.x.
- iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X, XR, XS, XS Max, 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max are all Bluetooth 5.x.
How Do I Share Audio to a Friend’s Bluetooth Headphones?
Connecting a second pair of Bluetooth headphones or earbuds to your smartphone, tablet, or computer is just as easy as pairing one.
It’s a little different depending on which device you are pairing too.
Some operating systems and devices have built-in multiple audio output support.
Most notably, Windows and Samsung Galaxy S8 and above support either Dual Audio or multi-output options.
For iOS devices and non-Samsung Androids, you will need to get a device called a Bluetooth transmitter/splitter.
For Windows (Bluetooth 5.0 module or later):
- Open the Start menu and navigate to PC Settings > Devices.
- Double-click on the Bluetooth option.
- Click on Add Bluetooth or other device button. Select Bluetooth once again.
- Repeat this for the second Bluetooth headset.
- Now, you’ll need to enable multiple audio devices. Click on the speaker icon on the task bar.
- Then select Open Sound Settings.
- Click on App Volume and Device Preference.
- Here you will have access to sound settings for every app on your device. Click the software you want to edit and select which headphone will play which.
On Samsung, when you have two Bluetooth audio devices connected you will be offered to use the Dual Audio feature.
If it doesn’t show up as a notification you can find this option by pulling down the notification window and tapping on Media.
Select both pairs of Bluetooth headphones or earbuds and you’re all good to go.
Using a Bluetooth splitter:
To use a Bluetooth splitter, you will need to connect the splitter to your device.
In some cases, this can be done wirelessly through a Bluetooth connection.
Some splitters will require you to plug into a 3.5mm audio jack.
Once it is connected, you will pair both pairs of headphones to your Bluetooth splitter. That’s it.
You’re all good to go.
Can I use two pairs of AirPods at the same time with my iPhone?
Unfortunately, this is not an available feature for iPhones. You’ll need to get a hold of a Bluetooth transmitter/splitter to do this.
Can I pair multiple Bluetooth speakers to my iPhone?
If you utilize the Bluetooth transmitter/splitter method, you can pair any type of Bluetooth audio device you want to. So, yes you can pair multiple Bluetooth speakers without a special application.