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I recently wanted to transfer some data from my smartphone to my laptop via bluetooth. This requires pairing the devices first. In the bluetooth options I could see all the other bluetooth devices in range. I picked the correct one and click initiate pairing. I then get some pin code shown on both devices and if it matches I can confirm the pairing.

What seemed odd (and inconvenient) to me is that I need to initiate the pairing on both devices in parallel. After clicking the button on one device it will try for a few seconds and I need to click initiate pairing on the other device as well within that time slot to get a successful pairing. This is not very user friendly. It would be much easier for me if after trying to initiate a pairing on one device I would get a popup message on the other one saying there is a bluetooth pairing attempt and asking me what to do with it.

Is there any added security benefit from the dual initiation requirement compared to a popup message on one device? The comparision of the pin number would stay the same. I suspect it was designed that way on purpose but I don't see what the advantage is.

I understand that I need to confirm the pairing on both devices. What I don't understand is the double initiation. I tell the smartphone to initiate a pairing with the laptop. The smartphone tries but so far the laptop does nothing and the smartphone will give up after a few seconds. To successfully pair them I need to also tell the laptop to initiate a pairing with the smartphone and do so while the smartphone is still trying. I was hoping the laptop would react to the pairing attempt from the smartphone and ask me what to do with it.

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  • Are you sure this is a design issue intended for security? Or is this just a consequence of the OS of either device not actively expecting connections? Do you really want your laptop to accept any connection from any device at any time? Are you sure you want to dismiss pairing requests every second while I spam your laptop with pairing requests until you just turn offf Bluetooth altogether ?
    – schroeder
    Sep 9, 2021 at 9:46
  • @schroeder I'm not sure I understand your thought process around closing this pending more details or clarity from the asker. I could perhaps understand closing it as off-topic, if you've concluded that it is not a security question, but otherwise the question of whether or not is indeed a security feature seems to be part of their question, and I'd personally consider that on-topic. As it stands, this seems like a reasonable question to me. Am I missing something? What clarity are you hoping that OP can provide that'll turn this into an answerable question?
    – Polynomial
    Sep 9, 2021 at 10:38
  • @Polynomial because what we have is "I'm inconvenienced, I assume it is because of security. What's the security angle?" when the answer is far more prosaic. It assumes security, not something more fundamental. So, I'm trying to give the asker a chance to provide a security angle instead of just closing as "off-topic" based on a faulty assumption.
    – schroeder
    Sep 9, 2021 at 10:44
  • @schroeder Ah, ok, that makes some sense. FWIW, I think I could provide a reasonable answer, presuming that the question's security angle is made sufficiently clear.
    – Polynomial
    Sep 9, 2021 at 10:54
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    @quarague it's not sloppy programming ... Are you sure you want to dismiss pairing requests every second while I spam your laptop with pairing requests until you just turn off Bluetooth altogether?
    – schroeder
    Sep 9, 2021 at 12:41

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