Programming Note: This site will be on break through the holidays and return in January. Be sure to subscribe or check back for updates!

Article: Pimp Your Phone: Free Stuff Thanks to Bluetooth

by on February 12, 2007

You might have spent the extra money on a mobile phone equipped with Bluetooth so that you can wear one of those little headsets and pretend you’re Graem Bauer, but there is another use: sharing files with your Mac.

Besides putting your own MP3s on your phone to use as ringtones, you can copy pictures to and from, allowing you to get those snapshots without having to deal with picture messaging charges. This allows you to have as many custom wallpapers, ringtones, and photos of friends for caller ID that your phone’s memory will allow. Unfortunately, some phones aren’t supported, especially those sold by Verizon with the custom interface (Bluetooth file exchange is blocked), but most everything else works. Please note: the methods on this tutorial have been done on a Motorola RAZR V3, Motorola SLVR L6, SonyEricsson T616, but should work on almost any Bluetooth-equipped phone regardless of whether you can use it with iSync.

First, you’ll need to pair your phone and computer, if you haven’t done so already (obviously, you need a Mac equipped with Bluetooth). Head over to the Bluetooth preference pane in System Preferences and click the Devices tab. You should see the following screen (with a few devices already listed…or not):

Click the “Set Up New Device…” button. This will launch the Bluetooth Setup Assistant and you’d just need to follow the directions to pair your computer and phone (make sure Bluetooth is turned on for both devices and that the phone is set to “discoverable”).

Once your phone is found, your computer will generate a passkey and you must enter it on the phone—this ensures that the two are, in fact, allowed by you to pair. The assistant will quit and you’ll be returned to the Bluetooth preference pane and the phone will be listed as so:

It would most likely be a good idea to go to the Settings tab and choose “Show Bluetooth status in the menu bar” so that you have quick access to Bluetooth tools. You can quit System Preferences. From the Bluetooth menu, you can access your phone by pulling it down and choosing “Browse Device…”

You’ll get a list of your Bluetooth devices, so go ahead a pick your phone…

In a few seconds, you should see a list of what’s in your phone’s memory:

Depending on your phone’s model, this might look a bit different, but in any case, you can navigate to various folders—usually there’s one for each type of media. On most phones, you can drag and drop MP3 files, MIDI files, and JPEG images into this window and they’ll be organized automatically. Otherwise, you can navigate to a particular folder and drop ’em there. Also, you’ll be able to take photos and audio files off of your phone by finding them and clicking “Get…”, allowing you to back up those photos you took or ringtones you bought.

Most phones allow you to make categories or subfolders, although this usually can’t be achieved through your computer. Once they’re made on your phone, you can group wallpapers together, as well as pictures for caller ID:

It’s a rather simple process, but many aren’t even aware that such a feature is available. Depending on the phone manufacturer, you’ll have access to more or fewer files. Either way, it saves you a few bucks if you want to customize your phone.

Want to do more with Bluetooth? Check out our review of Salling Clicker.

This post has been filed in Articles