Bluetooth 5: everything you need to know

Bluetooth hero
Bluetooth 5.0 is coming.

The group in charge of Bluetooth development has announced that the 5 specification of the technology is going to be unveiled next week, on the 16 June. Shortly afterwards, it should start finding its way into your phones, laptops and car stereos.

We'll have to wait until the launch event to get the full rundown on what Bluetooth 5 can do, but some details of the new wireless transmission standard have already leaked out.

Here's 5 things you need to know about the new technology.

1. It's going to be faster

No surprises here, Bluetooth 5 will be twice as fast as Bluetooth 4.2 LE, say its developers - that means a maximum throughput of 2Mbps by our quick maths. You're not likely to get up to those speeds out in the real world but it should still be a significant speed jump.

2. It's going to work from further away

The other major improvement is a quadrupling of the range from earlier versions, so theoretically you could be 1000+ feet (300+ metres) or so away from your Bluetooth speaker and still beam a song to it. The exact distance limits depend on the hardware you're using.

3. It will be more 'location aware'

Bluetooth 5 is going to add extra navigational features so the technology can be more easily used in indoor beacons and similar location-aware devices - basically enabling you to use Bluetooth technology to find your way around a shopping centre, for example.

4. It's ready for the Internet of Things

The IoT buzz isn't going away and nor is Bluetooth - version 5 of the standard will include various under-the-hood tweaks and optimisations to provide better performance and draw less power when installed in smart home kit dotted around the home.

5. You might need new devices

Unlike some Bluetooth upgrades, this one might require new chips (although old kit will work with Bluetooth 5, you won't get the extra performance and features). Get ready for the flagship phones of 2017 to all come with Bluetooth 5 installed inside.

Here's our full rumour round-up for the upcoming iPhone 7:

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.