The Nikon D3500 has some wireless capabilities, but it’s not a full-featured wireless capability. It doesn’t have wifi, so you can’t use it to control the camera remotely, for example. But it does have Bluetooth, which you can use to download images from your camera to your phone wirelessly.
Chances are that if you’re on this page you’re trying to turn on Bluetooth on your Nikon D3500 but the Bluetooth option is grayed out.
The reason is that you can only activate and connect the D3500’s Bluetooth through the SnapBridge mobile app. Put another way, to use Bluetooth on the D3500, you have to establish the connection through the SnapBridge app, not through the Bluetooth menu item on the camera. Which is a somewhat counterintuitive approach compared to what we’re used to with most other Bluetooth devices.
How to Connect the Nikon D3500 to SnapBridge
On the camera’s menu, make sure that the Network Connection option is set to On and Airplane Mode is Off.
Setup > Network connection
Setup > Airplane Mode
You’ll need to download the SnapBridge app to your phone or tablet. Open the app.
On your camera, go to
Setup (the wrench/spanner icon) > Connect to smart device.
While there’s still plenty of room to improve user-friendliness, between the camera and phone the onscreen prompts offer a reasonably good explanation of what you need to do in each step, but the gist is that you first need to pair the D3500 to the phone (through the SnapBridge app) and confirm that the pairing code matches. Then it should take you to the main screen where you can download and view images from the camera or enable the auto-download functionality.
List of Paired Devices
You can find the list of paired Bluetooth devices under
Menu > Setup (the wrench icon) > Bluetooth > Paired Devices.
You can see whether Bluetooth is enabled on the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink information display on the back screen. To access it, press the Info button on the back of the camera. The Bluetooth icon is at the top left.
Things Worth Knowing
If you’re trying to connect your camera to the SnapBridge app, establish the connection directly through the SnapBridge app. That is, don’t establish the connection first through Bluetooth settings.
You can’t connect the camera to any random Bluetooth device, including, unfortunately, Bluetooth remotes or intervalometers.
You can put the D3500 into airplane mode, turning off wireless and Bluetooth connections. You can find that setting under
Menu > Setup (the wrench icon).
If your camera light stays on when you’ve turned it off, it’s likely that you have Bluetooth enabled and set to transmit data to a wireless device. The Bluetooth stays active even with the main camera power off. You can turn off that functionality by disabling the “Send while off” feature under
Setup > Bluetooth > Send while off. And you can turn off Bluetooth entirely by turning off the network connection (
Setup > Bluetooth > Network connection).
SnapBridge can be—how shall we put this—a little frustrating to use. It is not my favorite app, and it often takes far too long and too many tries to establish a connection. I haven’t found a magic solution that solves the connection issues in all cases, but some things to try are:
- Try again. It sounds obvious, but it often takes me 3 or 4 attempts to establish a connection successfully.
- Delete the SnapBridge app and reinstall it.
- Remove the camera’s connection from the phone’s Bluetooth memory.
- Reset the camera (be warned that you’ll lose most settings doing this).
You can find the relevant section of the Nikon D3500 manual here.
Where to Buy a Nikon D3500 DSLRThe D3500 is an excellent entry-point camera for getting started with DSLR photography. You can find them at Amazon and B&H Photo. You can also find them used at major used camera gear sellers such as KEH (which is where I often buy when I'm looking for used gear).
Nikon D3500 Tips
I've put together a number of resources related to the Nikon D3500.