Bluetooth is a technology that most people forget about until it stops working. For example, you might feel like everything is working fine until your AirPods decide not to connect. In most cases, this is a relatively straightforward solution. But it can be a little tricky at times.
One of the most frustrating problems is when Bluetooth is not available on your Mac. At least it seems so, but can you really be sure?
Without a clear indication of what's going wrong, troubleshooting Bluetooth on your Mac can be like a walk in the dark.
We are here to help.
1. Bluetooth not available? Restart your Mac
Yes, that's the step you keep hearing about, but there is a reason for it. In most cases, restarting will solve a number of problems with your Mac – including Bluetooth issues.
Restart your Mac by going to. walk Apple> restart from the menu bar to fix almost any bluetooth problem, especially those where the bluetooth module has crashed and you are experiencing an unresponsive system. According to Apple, removing USB devices can also help, so give it a try too.
Before you go any further, be sure to check out our introduction to using Bluetooth on macOS to make sure you understand how it works.
2. Check your Mac's Bluetooth device settings
To connect to your Mac, your Bluetooth device must be turned on and have a certain amount of battery charge. This may sound obvious, but it's worth checking out before going out of your way to fix a problem that doesn't really exist. If you haven't already paired this device, make sure you get it right (and that it is visible to your Mac).
If you're trying to get a bluetooth speaker or other audio device to work and have it already paired and are wondering why you can't hear anything, make sure it's under. is selected as the primary output System Preferences> Sound> Output.
The same applies to Bluetooth headsets with a microphone: head to Entrance Tab and select your Bluetooth device there. Your Mac should remember your choices the next time you connect a wireless audio device.
You can also click. click volume in the menu bar and select your audio device there. If you don't see the button on your menu bar, you may need to enable it. Go to System Preferences> Sound> Output, then choose Show volume in menu bar at the bottom of the window.
3. Deactivate and reactivate Bluetooth
To reset Bluetooth without restarting your entire Mac, go to System settings> Bluetooth and click Turn off bluetooth. You can also toggle Bluetooth by clicking the menu bar icon – click Turn on bluetooth try again.
If you're having trouble using AirDrop on your Mac, toggling this setting can often solve your problem.
You can also try killing the bluetooth process entirely, although it is not always effective. to open terminal and enter:
sudo pkill blued
Then enter your admin password and press return. This should kill and restart the background process so you can try again.
4. Pair your Bluetooth device with your Mac again
If you've paired your Bluetooth device in the past, you can also tell your Mac to forget about it and restart. Under currently you can view all currently paired Bluetooth devices System settings> Bluetooth.
Find what is causing you problems, select it, and then click that X followed by Remove get rid of it.
You will now need to pair the device again, which mostly means holding down a button on the device until a light flashes. Refer to the device manual if you are not sure.
5. Reset your PRAM or SMC
While it's a more complicated process, resetting your Mac's PRAM or SMC is one of the most recommended fixes for a whole host of problems.
The system management controller (SMC) is far less to blame for Bluetooth than the PRAM or NVRAM. However, resetting both of them can't hurt as an underlying issue could still be causing your Mac to have Bluetooth issues.
People often do both steps at the same time, which is why they're listed here together. Our detailed guide will teach you how to reset your PRAM and SMC to complete the process, no matter what type of Mac you have.
6. Delete some important PLIST files
Your Mac stores information about Bluetooth devices in two files on your hard drive: one for you personally and another that is shared by all users of your Mac. Deleting these files is often recommended when you run into Bluetooth issues as it forces macOS to create new files when your computer restarts.
Both files are PLIST Files used throughout macOS to store application data in XML format. To delete and recreate these files:
Ctrl-click finder and choose Go to folder.
Tap or paste / Library / Settings.
Look for a file named com.apple.Bluetooth.plist and drag it to the trash.
Choose Go to folder again and tap or paste ~ / Library / Preferences / ByHost.
Look for a file that starts with com.apple.Bluetooth followed by numbers and letters (ending in .plist) and drag it to the trash.
Disconnect all USB devices and shut down your computer.
Turn off your Bluetooth devices and restart your Mac.
Enable bluetooth on your devices and try to connect again.
7. Reset your Mac's bluetooth module
As a last resort, you can try to reset your bluetooth module to factory settings. This means that you will lose all existing paired connections. If you are still having problems after trying all of the above steps, this is a small price to pay to get your device working again.
If you don't see a Bluetooth icon in the menu bar, go to System settings> Bluetooth and check Show Bluetooth in the menu bar. Now press Shift + Option and click on the Bluetooth symbol in the menu bar. Select from the menu that appears Debug> Reset Bluetooth Module. You can now try to pair your devices again.
One final tip here is to re-pair your devices in order of importance. You don't want to just pair your headphones to find out, for example, that the mouse and keyboard you rely on are still having issues. Once you have the essential hardware connected, you can focus on other problems.
Most problems should go away after deleting system files, resetting PRAM, and resetting your Mac's bluetooth module to factory settings. If you're still having issues, your Mac is likely having hardware issues, although you might want to try reinstalling macOS as well.
The best option is to buy a dedicated USB Bluetooth adapter and use that one instead. Older Apple computers are more likely to have problems than newer ones, so the price of a repair is often not worth it compared to the price of a USB dongle. The Hideez Key USB Smart Bluetooth 4.0 dongle is cheap and should do the job.
How to fix your Mac's bluetooth
And that's all folks. Hopefully one of these methods solved the bluetooth problem for you. If you recently bought your Mac and it is still under warranty, or if you bought AppleCare with your Mac, you should make an appointment with Apple. A technician will look into the problem and fix it for free. This could indicate a more extensive hardware problem with your system, so it's worth trying.
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About the author
(120 published articles)
Kris Wouk is a musician, writer and whatever it is called when someone is making videos for the web. He's been a tech enthusiast for as long as he can remember, has definitely favorite operating systems and devices, but still uses as many others as possible to keep up-to-date.
By Kris Wouk
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