Now that the Raspberry Pi 3 comes with Bluetooth and WiFi built-in, people (including me) were excited at the increased flexibility this offers. I was already thinking about using the Pi 3 in my Raspberry PiStation build so that I could do away with the extra dongles. Setting up the WiFi was straight forward – it was the same process when using USB WiFi adapters, but getting the Bluetooth module to work properly was a little more complex and I found it a little frustrating. Hopefully my guide will help you fix Raspberry Pi 3 Bluetooth issues!

Fix Raspberry Pi 3 Bluetooth Issues

There are many guides on how to get Bluetooth working on Raspberry Pi 3 already, but again I found that some crucial steps were missing in order for mine to work properly, so I have combined everything into one post here.

On the latest version of Raspbian Jessie (2016-02-26 at the time of writing), there were some additional modules that needed installing to fix Bluetooth on Raspberry Pi 3. If you are on an earlier version of Jessie, then you will more than likely need to run:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade -y
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -y
sudo apt-get install pi-bluetooth

You may then need to update the firmware used in the Bluetooth module, which is done by running the following:

sudo apt-get install bluez bluez-firmware

And then to install the user interface, which is very handy if you are running your Raspberry Pi 3 in desktop mode:

sudo apt-get install blueman

Now at this point, many guides I read stated that a quick reboot and then Bluetooth would be working and accessible through Bluetooth Manager in Menu -> Preferences -> Bluetooth Manager, but I found that whilst this was an option, selecting Bluetooth Manager did absolutely nothing.

After an hour or so of frustrated searches online, I stumbled across a page that stated “this happens because when Raspbian installs Blueman and the other Bluetooth software, it does not automatically add ordinary users to the “bluetooth” group. This group gives users permissions to access D-Bus, which Bluetooth uses for communication in Raspbian. This causes a “Permission Denied” error whenever a Bluetooth process initiated by the unprivileged user attempts to access Blueman.”

So to fix Raspberry Pi 3 Bluetooth issues, you need to run the following code in your terminal:

sudo usermod -G bluetooth -a pi

And to check this has worked, type:

cat /etc/group | grep bluetooth

If this has worked, you should now see the following:


If you run “cat /etc/group | grep bluetooth” in your terminal, you should see this…

Then after a quick reboot:

sudo reboot

You should now be greeted with the Bluetooth Manager icon on your taskbar, which means everything has worked!

Bluetooth Manager

If Bluetooth Manager has loaded, you should now see it on your taskbar!

And there we go – hopefully you can now access Bluetooth Manager and pair with your devices and get cracking!

First published at 4:37pm on March 22, 2016
Last updated at 9:16pm on November 20, 2018