So you’re experiencing Bluetooth issues on your Mac and wondering what to do about it. Well, this article not only addresses how to solve the Bluetooth problems on Mac OS, but we also provide various ways of doing it. First, let’s begin with a short introduction.
Related: Fix Bluetooth problems on Windows 10 PC.
Bluetooth on Mac
As a wireless technology, the Bluetooth on Mac is designed to change how we transmit data to all Apple devices as well as other third party accessories. These include a keyboard, mouse, speaker, etc. Also most of the continuity features like continuity camera and handoff needs a stable Bluetooth connection for functioning.
There is just one problem; it doesn’t always serve this purpose. For one reason or another, this wireless technology is a bit flaky on Apple’s laptops and paring with third-party accessories can be a challenge. But there are ways out.
1. Turn it Off and On Again
While turning your Bluetooth off only to switch it back on again may seem like a waste of time. We assure you that it isn’t. This method has not only been effective in the past, but it’s simple and pretty straightforward.
Click on the Apple logo on the menu bar and select “System Preferences…”. Next, Click on the “Bluetooth” icon to access its dedicated preferences page.
Finally, click on the “Turn Bluetooth Off” button to switch off. Again, click on the “Turn Bluetooth On” button to toggle the wireless technology on.
If you don’t see the Bluetooth icon on the top menu bar, enable “Show Bluetooth in menu bar” checkbox. This will add the icon on the top menu bar for quick access.
Reboot your Mac and try to pair with the iPhone or third party accessory. Still not working? Consider the next method.
2. Check Bluetooth Connection Status
After ensuring the Bluetooth is switched on your Mac, the next step is to check whether your Mac is connected to the Bluetooth device or not. On Bluetooth preferences section, you should see the list of devices. And the connected device will show the status as “Connected”.
You can also check the icon on the status bar is showing three dots to indicate that the Mac is connected to a Bluetooth device. Click on the Bluetooth icon and check the device status is showing as “Connected”.
|Bluetooth icon||On but no devices connected|
|With three dots in center||Connected to a device|
|Icon with battery flash||Connected Bluetooth device is running on low power|
|Dimmed icon||Turned off|
|Icon with wave in center||Not available|
So when you are connected to a device, ensure that the icon on the menu bar shows Bluetooth icon with three dots.
3. Check Interferences
Bluetooth Special Interest Group (Bluetooth SIG) manages the technology, standards and licensing of Bluetooth. Being a wireless technology, it can easily interfere with other devices that operate with 2.4GHz frequency. So ensure to follow the below points if you have difficulty in connecting to a device.
- Move the device and Mac away from microwave ovens and other electronic devices.
- Keep the device in accessible place without any metal blocks between Mac and the device.
- Ensure to have the device within 10 meters or 30 feet to have stable Bluetooth connection.
4. Remove All USB Devices
Restart your Mac and check the Bluetooth is available on Mac.
5. Remove and Reconnect the Device
When the device is not connected, the status will show as “Not Connected” in preferences section. You can also click on the Bluetooth icon on the menu bar and see the device still shows as “Connect”. If you are not able to connect, first remove the device from the list and then try to reconnect again.
- Open Bluetooth preferences section.
- Right click or control + click on the device.
- Select “Remove” from the option.
- Confirm the removal of the device.
- Now you will see the device with “Connect” button. Click on the “Connect” button and connect again.
6. Unpair Device from Other Connected Device
Sometimes, the device you are trying to connect may already connected to another device. For example, your Bluetooth speaker is connected to your iPhone. Now that it will not connect when you are trying to connect the same speaker on your Mac.
Though you will not see any notifications, you can’t connect to the speaker since it was already paired with another device. In such case, first unpair the device from your iPhone and try connecting from your Mac.
7. Check Device Support
All modern Bluetooth equipments support connecting to your Mac. However there could be other reasons on the device that may prevent from connecting.
- Switch off and on the device again.
- Charge the device to have sufficient power.
- Disable power saving or other settings that prevent network to go in sleep mode.
- Device is not already connected to another device like your iPhone.
Generally, the device will indicate that you have Bluetooth connection. For example, the LED light will glow on mouse and keyboards. Your speaker may announce when you connect to Bluetooth. So ensure that your device is working and connected properly before trying to troubleshoot your Mac.
8. Delete Bluetooth Preferences Files
It’s possible for your Mac to experience system errors and this could lead to a corrupt file. Hence, issues with the Bluetooth connection may arise as a result of this. And the only way to fix such a problem is to delete the corrupt file. How can you do this, you ask?
- Press “Command + Spacebar” to access Spotlight, then type or paste /Library/Preferences.
- Press the return key to access the folder in Finder.
- From the list of files, locate apple.Bluetooth.plist
- Press “Command + Delete” to permanently delete or right click on it and select “Move to Trash”.
Mac will regenerate preference file when you try to connect to Bluetooth again. Now check that you have stable connection.
9. Delete Device History File
Mac also has another preferences file to store all your connected and paired Bluetooth devices. There are possibilities that the file might be corrupted and preventing you to connect to the previously connected device. You can try deleting the corrupt file by following the steps outlined below.
- Press “Command + Spacebar” again to access Spotlight Search and paste ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost.
- Next, press the return key to access the folder “ByHost” folder in Finder.
- Locate apple.Bluetooth.—— file from the list of files.
- Highlight the file and press “Command + Delete” to permanently or right click on it and choose “Move to Trash” option. Alternatively, you can rename the file or backup to another location before deleting.
- Reboot your Mac and connect the try using the Bluetooth again.
Note that the “——” represents a random combination of numbers and letter that’s different for each Mac user. You should connect and then pair the devices again. That said, if your Bluetooth is still not working correctly after deleting the corrupt file, then try the next option.
10. Reset Your Mac’s Bluetooth Module
The Bluetooth icon must be on your menu bar to use this method. Otherwise, open the Bluetooth settings from System Preferences and tick Show Bluetooth in Menu Bar. Next, follow the steps outlined below to reset the Bluetooth module on your Mac.
- Hold down the “Option + Shift” keys and click on the Bluetooth icon on the Menu Bar. You’ll notice the additional options.
- Select the “Debug” option and click on Remove all Devices. This should unpair all previously connected accessories from your Mac.
- Now, repeat the first step and select the “Debug” option.
- This time, click the “Reset Bluetooth Module”.
- That’s it, your Mac’s Bluetooth module should reset and start working correctly. Reconnect all accessories again.
11. Reset NVRAM or PRAM
Non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM) or parameter random access memory (PRAM) holds information of some settings. This information is retained even when you power off the Mac. Trying to reset NVRAM/PRAM can help in resolving issues.
- Shut down and restart your Mac.
- Press and hold “Option + Command + P + R” shortcut keys for around 20 seconds.
- You can release the keys after hearing the startup sound on older Macs or after seeing the Apple logo second time on newer Macs.
- Mac will restart again and check whether Bluetooth is working now.