Bluetooth & USB 3.0 - A guide to resolving your Bluetooth woes

Checking your computer has USB 3.0 Support

Before we start suggesting solutions to the problem its vital to check that you have the exact problem this website is discussing, which is specific to the combination of Bluetooth and USB 3.0 devices, what we will refer to as the "Bluetooth+USB3 problem".

If you don’t have USB 3.0 hardware support in your computer then your Bluetooth problems are going to be down to something else. If this is the case click here to get some basic ideas for general Bluetooth connectivity troubleshooting, otherwise read on...

I don’t know what version of USB technology my computer has?

- skip this part, I'm sure the computer has USB 3.0 support
Firstly, how old is your computer? The very first computers with USB 3.0 support built-in shipped around November 2010, although it wasn’t until much later in 2011/mid 2012 that the feature came in most new computers. If your computer is older than this and isn’t using a USB Bluetooth adapter or internal Bluetooth adapter that was added after purchase then you don’t have the Bluetooth+USB3 problem. Click here to get some help on what could be wrong.

If your computer was purchased after mid 2012 that doesn’t mean your computer will definitely support USB 3.0. Even if it does you could quite easily still be using only USB 2.0 devices, which again means that you can’t be affected by the Bluetooth+USB3 problem.

Are USB 3 compatible computers and devices easily recognizable?

- skip this part, I'm sure my computer and USB devices support USB 3.0

Checking your USB ports to identify USB 3.0 Support
Assuming there is a chance your computer has USB 3.0 or above, the easiest way to tell if your computer supports USB 3.0 is to check for logos or writing around the sockets (also known as ports) that you plug your USB devices into. They may refer to “USB 3”, “Enhanced USB” or “SuperSpeed USB”.

USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Logo SS SuperSpeed Logo

A clear sign of USB 3.0 support is that the USB ports in your computer identify themselves are being unique USB 3.0 sockets. It is very common for USB 3.0 sockets to contain blue plastic, somewhat that was very rare before USB 3.0 and has since come to signify USB 3.0 functionality. This can be seen in the photos below on the side of a laptop and the back of a desktop PC.

 

USB 3.0 also introduced a couple of new plug interfaces. The image below left shows a "USB 3.0 Micro B" plug (often used on small portable devices) and the one on the right is a "USB 3.0 B-Type" plug (normally only found on desktop devices). If you have cables or sockets with these connection type then your system definitely supports USB 3.0.



Checking your devices for USB 3.0 Support
Just because you have USB 3.0 ports it doesn't necessarily mean that you are using USB 3.0 devices plugged into them. Remember, USB 3.0 ports are backwardly compatible with older revisions of the USB standard. You should confirm that at least one of your USB devices is made for USB 3.0 as if this isn't the case it is unlikely that you are experiencing the Bluetooth+USB3 problem.

 

As mentioned above, some USB 3.0 ports have new unique socket types. So if you have devices plugged into any of the socket types discussed above then you definitely have USB 3.0 devices.

 

Some USB 3.0 devices use the same socket types as the older generation USB standards, so these require a little more work to confirm if the devices themselves were made for USB 3.0 or not.

 

There are way too many USB 3.0 devices in the world to be able to confirm on this website if yours are among them, however the same rules apply for identifying devices as with ports (explained previously). Start by looking on your devices for the USB 3.0 logos and brand names previously highlighted. Also check the inside of the plugs, are they blue?

 

Having done this if you still aren’t sure about the revision of USB your device/s are made for check in the manual or at the manufacturer website of each device.

Here are two examples of recent USB 3.0 compatible devices and the indicators that confirm this. The item on the left is a high speed Lexar Flash Drive and the item on the right is a Kingston MobileLite memory card reader. Both have blue internal plastic elements in their plugs and both somewhere make reference to the "USB 3.0" (in the case of the card reader its hardly visible, but just right of the plug).

So are you confident that your computer and devices support USB 3.0?