Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Send and Receive Bluetooth Files via Terminal

Ubuntu 7

In the digital age, file transfers have become a daily routine for most of us. While there are several ways to transfer files between devices, Bluetooth remains a popular method due to its convenience and wide device compatibility. In this article, we will delve into the process of sending and receiving Bluetooth files via Terminal.


Before we begin, ensure you have the necessary Bluetooth packages installed. On Ubuntu, you can install bluez and bluez-tools by running the following command in Terminal:

sudo apt install bluez bluez-tools

The bluez package is the official Bluetooth protocol stack for Linux, and bluez-tools is a set of tools to manage Bluetooth devices for Linux.

Pairing the Devices

The first step in the process is to pair the devices. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Turn on the visibility of your Bluetooth device: Run the following command in the Terminal:
    bt-adapter --set Discoverable 1
    This command sets your device to be discoverable, enabling other devices to find it.
  2. Scan for remote devices from your smartphone: This step is performed on your smartphone, not in the Terminal. Navigate to the Bluetooth settings on your phone and start scanning for new devices.
  3. Prepare for incoming pairing requests: Run the following command:
    This command prepares your computer to manage incoming pairing requests interactively.
  4. Initiate the pairing request: This step is also performed on your smartphone. Select your computer from the list of available devices and initiate the pairing request.
  5. Accept the pairing request: Back in the Terminal, you should see a prompt from bt-agent to accept the incoming pairing request. Accept it.

Sending Files

Once the devices are paired, you can start sending files. On Ubuntu, you can use the bt-obex command followed by the -p option, the MAC address of the smartphone, and the filename:

bt-obex -p [remote_mac] [file]

Replace [remote_mac] with the MAC address of the smartphone and [file] with the path to the file you want to send. The -p option stands for “push”, which means you’re pushing a file to the remote device.

Receiving Files

Receiving files via Bluetooth using the Terminal can be a bit tricky, as the method may vary depending on your system. On some systems, it may not be possible to receive files through the Terminal.

However, on Ubuntu, you can create a Bluetooth file (OBEX) server using the following command:

bt-obex -s [path]

Replace [path] with the directory where you want to receive the files. The -s option stands for “server”, which means you’re starting a server to receive files.

When a file is sent to your device, you should see an incoming file transfer request from the bt-agent screen. Accept it to receive the file.


Transferring files via Bluetooth using the Terminal can be a bit complex, but it offers a lot of control and flexibility. Whether you’re a system administrator, a developer, or a power user, knowing how to manage Bluetooth file transfers via Terminal can be a valuable skill. Remember to refer to the documentation or help files for your specific system to get the most accurate commands and options.

Can I transfer files between any Bluetooth-enabled devices using this method?

Yes, as long as both devices have Bluetooth capabilities and are compatible with the Bluetooth protocol stack for Linux (bluez), you should be able to transfer files between them.

Do I need to pair the devices every time I want to send or receive files?

No, once you have paired the devices, you should only need to pair them again if you reset or remove the Bluetooth settings on either device. Otherwise, you can use the previously paired devices for future file transfers.

Can I send multiple files at once using the bt-obex command?

No, the bt-obex command is designed to send one file at a time. If you want to send multiple files, you will need to run the bt-obex command multiple times, specifying a different file each time.

Is it possible to receive files through the Terminal on all systems?

No, the method for receiving files through the Terminal may vary depending on your system. While it is possible on Ubuntu using the bt-obex command as described in the article, other systems may not have the same capability. It is recommended to refer to the documentation or help files for your specific system to determine the appropriate method for receiving files via Bluetooth through the Terminal.

Can I transfer files of any size using this method?

Yes, you can transfer files of any size using Bluetooth file transfers via Terminal. However, keep in mind that larger files may take longer to transfer, and the transfer speed may vary depending on the Bluetooth capabilities of the devices involved.

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