Skip to main content

Apple devices will benefit from Bluetooth improvements for range, speed, & smart apps next year

TestFlight 2-1

So many of Apple’s products either rely on or benefit from wireless Bluetooth connectivity these days that viewing Bluetooth’s roadmap is almost like viewing features for future Apple devices and accessories. Today the Bluetooth Special Interest Group has shared details on updates planned for the wireless connectivity technology in 2016 including improvements to range, transfer speed, and smart applications. Future and potentially even current Apple devices will certainly benefit as a result.

In its announcement today previewing Bluetooth advancements coming next year, the Special Interest Group specifically shared that Bluetooth Smart used for connected home accessories will see a range boost up to 4x in some cases. SIG explains that this can potentially create new use cases for smart home appliances as you could stay connected to outdoor accessories like a weather sensor while inside, something that is usually beyond current range limitations. Apple’s HomeKit platform currently relies heavily on both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi for connecting iPhones and iPads to smart home appliances, as do many other accessories for its devices.

Speed is also set to see a big jump in 2016. The Bluetooth SIG says a “100% increase in speed” that doesn’t require an increase in energy consumption is on the roadmap, potentially benefiting medical devices and other smart accessories. Apple Watch relies on Bluetooth connectivity for transferring most data, so a drop in latency compared to the current speeds could make for a faster experience in the future with any apps that pull data from the iPhone as well.

Finally, delivering on its focus with the Internet of Things, the Bluetooth SIG says mesh networking is on the roadmap for 2016 and will allow multiple Bluetooth devices to connect together and potentially extend the range of accessories by creating networks that can reach entire buildings.

While the roadmap is only a preview for now, the Bluetooth SIG says it will share further details “in the coming months.”

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel


  1. 89p13 - 7 years ago

    I certainly hope that existing products can take advantage of this improvement – and I’m specifically thinking of the August Smart Locks. We have so many problems connecting with them now – and it seems to be related to Bluetooth connectivity when getting close to the house.

  2. strawbis - 7 years ago

    Now if they could just increase the pairing passcode to 6 or 8 digits, we’d be all set. At the moment, 4 digits is too insecure to trust it with anything other than music and photo’s

  3. crutchcameslinking - 7 years ago

    Can’t come soon enough. I have yet to find a pair of BT earbuds that work reliably while hiking with my iPhone in my pocket. Indoor range is great. Outdoors is always terrible.

    • Daniel A. Brodersen - 7 years ago

      Have you tried Powerbeats 2?:) I have them and never had delays or problems with the music when my iPhone or iPad is in my backpack :)

  4. Ramon Solorio - 7 years ago

    this should also reduce lag time texting on the apple watch.

  5. DanG (@Ingila_Bear) - 7 years ago

    better sound quality over BT would be nice.

    • Greg Kaplan (@kaplag) - 7 years ago

      That should happen pretty soon actually. A lot of new devices got updated to BLE 4.2 which is a huge improvement over BLE 4.1 in terms of battery, data bandwidth and transfer speed. I’d bet the new apple watch and new wireless headphones will also have BLE 4.2.

  6. Piotr Kleina - 7 years ago

    Is this a hardware and software improvement or just software? Would be nice to see this on my freshly bought MBPr.

    • Greg Kaplan (@kaplag) - 7 years ago

      Probably hardware. Most of the new functions of BLE 4.2 is only available to new chips that come with it. Macs were not updated to new bluetooth for some reason. Still 4.0. Not even the new iMacs that use ble accessories.

  7. dwsolberg - 7 years ago

    I’d settle for Bluetooth 4+ that actually works. I have a long list of flaky Bluetooth devices that I own: Apple Magic Mouse (v.1), Apple watch, Samsung headphones, Plantronics headphones, polar heart rate monitor, Honda CRV car bluetooth…

    Yet I have a logitech wireless mouse (not Bluetooth) that experiences issues only once or twice a week (rather than once or twice an hour for Bluetooth).


Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.