What Is Nearby Device Scanning?

You might have seen a feature on your phone before if you have an Android phone that is called nearby device scanning.

If you have never learned what nearby device scanning is, this is a feature that is used by your phone to easily set up a connection to any devices it can connect to that are nearby.

What Is Nearby Device Scanning?

This device could be other phones, or various smart devices. If there is a device that your phone can connect to that your phone has noticed, you will get a notification telling you.

You might be wondering how your phone does this. Nearby device scanning is done by using a lowered version of Bluetooth called Bluetooth Low Energy or Bluetooth LE.

This is a version of Bluetooth that is not as powerful, but it is able to detect devices. Contrary to popular belief, most phones will still have Bluetooth LE active, even when their main Bluetooth is turned off.

More On Nearby Device Scanning

So, now you know what nearby device scanning is, and how it works, the rest of this guide will give you more information about nearby device scanning, how to use it, and how to not use it if you do not want this feature turned on.

There is more than you would initially expect to learn about nearby device scanning, so keep reading to make sure that you are using this feature of your Android phone properly!

Should You Turn Off Nearby Device Scanning?

It is actually recommended that if you know how, that you should turn off nearby device scanning on your mobile.

While it can be a useful feature, there are plenty of reasons why you should keep it turned off if possible.

However, keeping nearby device scanning turned off is a personal choice, and you do not have to turn it off.

For example, knowing what devices you can connect to is occasionally useful, however, this is not a feature that you need constant access to and it can be distracting.

One of the main reasons people do not like having nearby device scanning turned on is because getting notifications constantly about devices you can connect to is annoying, and it can also lead to you accidentally connecting to a device you do not want to, and this is frustrating.

Also, while using Bluetooth LE with nearby device scanning is not a massive strain on your battery, it does affect the battery life a little, so turning it off can actually be something you want to do. 

Some Android users worry about having nearby device scanning always being a risk to their security on their phone.

This is not really the primary issue you can have with nearby device scanning being turned on, with the main focus being on the annoying notifications and the battery life drain, however, it can still be a concern.

For example, keeping your Bluetooth on can sometimes leave you open to hackers, especially if you are not using apps that have been updated and have the newest operating system on your phone.

All of this is why we recommend keeping nearby devices scanning off and only using it when you are actively trying to connect to something.

What Is Nearby Device Scanning?

How To Turn Off Nearby Device Scanning

You will actually find that with quite a lot of new Android phones that nearby device scanning is not kept turned on like it used to be, however, if you are not using a new phone, or if your new phone still has it turned on, and you want it off, follow these steps.

While these steps will work for most Android phones, some phones might have the menus slightly out of order, so try and follow this guide if possible.

Firstly, you will want to go into the settings on your phone. Once you are in settings you want to look for the connections section.

When you are in connections you want to find the more connection settings sub menu. Then when you are in this section you will find the dedicated nearby device settings section.

When you find this section you will be given the option to toggle this feature on or off.

Sometimes when you system reset or update your phone this feature could be reset, or if you are doing a factory reset, so make sure you check this feature after doing this (see also “How To Factory Reset Samsung Phone“).

How To Make Your Phone Invisible

When people find out about the nearby device scanning feature, they often want to be able to make their phone invisible so it can not be connected to and that it is not picked up by anyone who keeps nearby device scanning turned on.

Luckily, there are further steps you can take to ensure that this does not happen to you and you can make your phone invisible to other devices.

The feature is called nearby share on Android and it works similar to the AirDrop feature on Apple to share links and files to nearby devices, so here is how you turn this feature off.

Firstly, you will want to find your phone’s settings. Once you are in the settings you want to find the Google section of the settings.

In here you should find the device connections section, select this. Once you are in here you should find the Nearby Share section and this is what you want to select next.

When in here you want to find the section labelled Device Visibility. When you are in here, you can select either; all contacts, some contacts, or instead Hidden.

If you select Hidden your phone will stay hidden from all devices.

However, if you choose some contacts your phone will only be visible to the selected people or devices, this might be a preferable option if you use Nearby Share occasionally.


Hopefully this guide has given you all the information you need to ensure that you are using the nearby device scanning feature in the best way for you.

Make sure to turn it off if the notifications are bothering you!

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