Why Use Bluetooth BLE vs HID vs SPP vs MFi?

Bluetooth Pairing Modes

Bluetooth LE (BLE), SPP, HID are all Bluetooth profiles (sometimes called “pairing modes”). Why use Bluetooth BLE? On iOS there is MFi mode which is SPP with Apple restrictions, so only approved devices can connect to iOS devices. The main usability difference between the Bluetooth BLE & HID/SPP/MFi, is the pairing process. With Bluetooth HID you must pair with the wireless device via host operating system Bluetooth settings app. With BLE, you can directly and immediately connect from the desired app – and MUCH faster. You can use apps such as SerialMagic Gears, SerialMagic Keys, or Cloud-In-Hand Mobile Grid, iScanBrowser, Cloud-In-Hand stratus-io Time & Attendance. Unlike Bluetooth SPP (which isn’t supported on iOS devices unless the device is MFi certified; iPhones and iPads use Apple’s proprietary profile Bluetooth iAP/MFi instead), the process for pairing via BLE is the same on iOS and Android applications. 

Why use Bluetooth BLE for wireless devices

Bluetooth LE Is commonly known as BLE. This option requires your device to have Bluetooth 4.0 or later. BLE is designed to optimize energy consumption and speed to work with extremely low power applications. Using BLE you also get a much better user experience. BLE skips* the need to pair through the host device’s Bluetooth settings app. You see in video below BLE connection is 30 times faster than with HID.

Bluetooth HID (Human Interface Device) is designed for you to use the Bluetooth wireless device as keyboard. This mode requires no application, as Android, iOS, MacOS, Windows see the device as a keyboard. There our many downsides to HID, contact serialio to discuss your solution needs.

Bluetooth SPP (Serial Port Profile) is intended to replace RS-232 cables (or other serial communication interfaces). SPP is great when you need to for send and receive bursts of data/information between two devices. Bluetooth SPP often also works with apps designed to work with physical COM ports on Windows hosts.

*Pairing is still needed on Windows & MacOS hosts. NOT on iOS & Android hosts.