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Let's say I have an IoT device in public that needs to be paid to be used, and people will pay and unlock the device with a mobile app. Is it possible to do so over bluetooth/bluetooth low energy without pairing to the device in settings?

For example, maybe the IoT device has a code printed on it, and the mobile software can use that code to unlock it over bluetooth, after it has been paid for. Does that make sense? Is there a better way to accomplish this?

I want to avoid going through the hassle of pairing in settings, and provide essentially a seamless pay-to-unlock feature.

Thank you, I appreciate any help in advance!

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Pairing is more often related to classic Bluetooth than Bluetooth Low Energy.

Mobiles phones (both Android and iOS) can talk to a BLE device without prior pairing.

However, on iOS you will need a app to be able to do that, you can’t do it from a web page. Chrome on Android and some other browser/OS combinations support Web Bluetooth, which may or may not fulfill your needs, depending on what they are.

With an app, you can freely discover BLE devices and connect to them without having to go through settings, though you may have issues with BLE being disabled.

Depending on your use case, QR codes or NFC tags may be a better alternative, especially if proximity is important. Or possibly a combination of QR/NFC and BLE.

I suppose many of the self-service bike or e-scooter rental systems use something close to that combination.

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  • Pairing using NFC/QR codes works with Bluetooth classic as well, it's known as Out of Band Pairing
    – hardillb
    Oct 12 '21 at 12:15

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