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How to disable Bluetooth in Ubuntu

Bluetooth is becoming a fact of daily computer life on Linux, and more and more Bluetooth dongles and PCI cards are finding support in the Linux kernel. However, not everyone likes to have this technology enabled all of the time, as it can contribute to battery drain.

Many Linux distributions make Bluetooth easy to shut off, however, most Linux users are using Ubuntu, so in this guide, we will focus on that when we demonstrate how to disable Bluetooth. That said, these instructions likely work with any Linux operating system.

Method 1: temporarily disable via the GUI

Perhaps the quickest and easiest way to shut off Bluetooth in Ubuntu is to do it temporarily. This way, you turn it off for now, but it’s not forever, and when you do need the feature, it is possible to enjoy it still.

To disable the Bluetooth temporarily through the GUI in Ubuntu, start by pressing the Win button on your keyboard. Pressing this button will reveal the Gnome search box. Using the search box, type “Settings.”

After typing “Settings” in the search box, a few results will appear. Locate the app with the gear icon that is labeled “Settings” and click on it with the mouse. You’ll then see Ubuntu’s settings area.

Inside of the settings area, look to the sidebar on the left. Then, find “Bluetooth” in the list and click on it with the mouse to open up Ubuntu’s Bluetooth settings.

In the Bluetooth settings in Ubuntu, find the slider at the top-right section of the window, and click it. Selecting this slider will put your Ubuntu PC’s Bluetooth radio into “Airplane mode,” similar to a smartphone or tablet. You will not be able to use Bluetooth with the slider set to off.

To turn the Bluetooth connectivity back on in Ubuntu, click the slider back into the on position.

Ubuntu flavors

Not every Ubuntu user is running the Gnome Shell version of the operating system. There is also Ubuntu Mate, Xubuntu, Kubuntu,  and the list goes on. Here’s how to disable the Bluetooth temporarily on those distributions.

Kubuntu

On KDE Plasma 5, locate the Bluetooth icon in the system tray, and click on it with the mouse. Selecting it will reveal the Bluetooth menu. From here, un-check the Bluetooth box to disable Bluetooth temporarily.

Xubuntu/Ubuntu Mate/Lubuntu

In XFCE4, Mate or Lubuntu, find the Bluetooth icon in the system tray and click it with the mouse to reveal the menu options. Then, look inside of the menu options for the disable button to temporarily disable Bluetooth.

Alternatively, double-click on the Bluetooth icon to bring up the Bluetooth manager app. From there, you can mess with the settings and turn off the Bluetooth radio.

Method 2: temporarily disable via CLI

The command-line is an excellent way to temporarily disable Bluetooth on Ubuntu, as it can be done quickly, with a single command. To start, open up a terminal window. You can launch a terminal window on Ubuntu by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard. Then, once the terminal is ready to use, make use of the sudo -s command to elevate from your user to the root account.

sudo -s

When you’ve got access to the root account, you’re ready to temporarily disabling Bluetooth via the CLI. Using the systemctl command, shut down the Bluetooth service with the stop function.

systemctl stop bluetooth

The systemctl stop command should be enough to shut the Bluetooth service on your Ubuntu PC. However, if nothing happens, you can make use of the -f modifier, which forces it to shut down.

systemctl stop bluetooth -f

Alternatively, replace stop with kill, and Bluetooth will stop working on Ubuntu. When you reboot your PC, you will have access to Bluetooth again.

Method 3: permanently disable via CLI

Bluetooth, like any other service on Ubuntu, runs with the help of systemd, the init system. In method 3, we went over how to use this tool to temporarily stop the bluetooth.service file so that Ubuntu’s Bluetooth feature would stop. However, this isn’t a permanent solution. If you want something that persists across reboots, you must make use of the systemctl disable command.

To permanently disable Bluetooth on your Ubuntu PC, launch a terminal window and gain access to the root account by using the sudo -s command.

sudo -s

Then, with access to the root account, use systemctl disable on the bluetooth.service file to tell Ubuntu, you no longer want Bluetooth to work.

systemctl disable bluetooth.service

Feel free to use the force feature if it refuses to disable:

systemctl disable bluetooth.service --force

Once the service file has been disabled with systemctl disable, reboot your Ubuntu PC. When you log back in, Bluetooth will be shut off.

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