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How can I set up Bluetooth devices with a set of connection priority rules, so that they connect to the correct device.

Ideally, my phone(Android) would prefer connection to car > laptop > PC.

My headphones would prefer Laptop > Phone for media stream, Phone > Laptop for phone stream.

I expect the answer is that it can't be done without some significant difficulty, if it's possible at all, but I'd be glad to be surprised.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

This is very simple. (Meaning that there is only one way to do this!) The bluetooth standard lacks an option for setting a specific priority on a device. This is usually handled by the operating system.

Under bluetooth settings please add (or remove and re-add) the devices to change the priority. The devices should be listed in priority, and attempt to connect in the order listed. If a device with higher priority is available during a periodic scan it should attempt to drop the connection to the current device and reconnect with the higher priority device.

I have actually had this happen to me in my car, that I entered the car with my Mono Headset turned on and talking and after about 3 minutes, my car speakerphone picked up the call.

My devices are listed:

  1. Stereo Headset
  2. Motorola Car adapter
  3. Mono headset
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This does mean that the ability to set priority may not be available on some devices. For instance, this seems to suggest that I won't be able to set my headphones to prefer my phone to my car connection, since the headphones are a fairly dumb device, and the car/phone can't negotiate the connection of the headphones. – Chris Bye Mar 7 '12 at 14:50

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