Most modern Macs have bluetooth. So, you should know how to use bluetooth on your Mac to pair all kinds of devices with it. It's a simple feature, but some parts can be confusing if you're not familiar.
Let's see how to enable bluetooth on your Mac and what to do after that. We're going to explore how to make sure your Mac supports Bluetooth, where to turn it on, and how to pair a new device.
Does my Mac have bluetooth?
All modern Mac computers (released around 2011) have built-in support for Bluetooth. You don't have to buy anything special to use Bluetooth on your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or iMac.
Just follow the steps below to turn on Bluetooth on your Mac and get started. If you don't see the relevant Bluetooth options in your System Preferences, you probably have an outdated Mac that doesn't have Bluetooth.
If so, you may be able to purchase an adapter that will add Bluetooth support to your computer. Most of them, however, are designed for Windows. So make sure you get one that is listed as compatible with macOS.
You should consider replacing your Mac if it is so old that it doesn't support Bluetooth.
How to enable bluetooth on Mac
It's not difficult to use bluetooth on your Mac. To switch on, open the Apple menu in the upper left corner of the screen and select System settings. In the window that appears, select Bluetooth.
On the left of the Bluetooth The control panel will show the bluetooth icon showing the status below. If it is called Bluetooth: Off, press the Turn on bluetooth Button to activate it.
That's all you need to turn on bluetooth on a Mac. While you're here, we encourage you to check those out Show Bluetooth in the menu bar Box if it is not already activated. This will bring up a bluetooth icon at the top of the screen that allows you to easily access bluetooth connections without having to go to that control panel every time.
How to connect bluetooth devices to your Mac
Now that you've enabled Bluetooth on your Mac, let's look at how to pair devices with it.
Before you can use a Bluetooth device with your Mac for the first time, you must pair it. If you've used bluetooth on other devices before, you should be familiar with the concept of Discoverability.
Since there are often many Bluetooth devices in close proximity, you will need to manually pair devices for your safety. This is only possible if the device is discoverable (also known as "pairing mode").
If you have Bluetooth If the Settings panel is open on your Mac, your computer will be discoverable.
Pairing new Bluetooth devices with your Mac
The details of the Bluetooth pairing process in macOS depend on the device you want to pair.
As with macOS, most other operating systems (including Windows 10, Android, and iOS) set themselves up as discoverable once you open the Bluetooth options page. For devices without a user interface such as bluetooth keyboards, mice, headphones, etc., the exact method of entering pairing mode will depend on the device.
Usually this involves holding the power Press the key for a few seconds or press a key combination. Please refer to the manual for more information.
Once your other device is in pairing mode, the name should appear under equipment in your Mac's bluetooth settings. Press the Connect Button next to the button you want to add.
For many Bluetooth devices, you have to confirm that a specified PIN matches on both devices. Make sure this is correct, especially if you are in a crowded area with lots of devices.
If you have to enter a PIN manually (usually only on older devices) it is likely a generic combination like 0000, 1111, or 1234.
Once that's done, you have successfully connected your Mac and the other device via Bluetooth. When they are on and within range of each other (approximately 30 feet), they will automatically connect.
If your devices don't connect automatically, you can always do so manually. All devices that you have previously paired are displayed in the Bluetooth settings field (as well as in the menu bar icon) equipment. Make sure the device is powered on and double-click the name to connect.
If it doesn't work, disconnect it from other paired computers first. Most bluetooth devices struggle when you try to use them with multiple devices at the same time, although the latest bluetooth standards combat this.
To remove a device, right-click in the device list and select Remove. Once you do this, the device will no longer connect automatically. You have to pair it again to use it.
Understanding the macOS Bluetooth icon
If you have activated the Bluetooth menu bar icon as mentioned above, the Bluetooth logo will always be displayed there. You can click it to quickly toggle between Bluetooth, connect to a device, or open the full settings panel.
The icon changes depending on the Bluetooth status. A simple icon indicates that Bluetooth is activated. When Bluetooth is disabled, the Bluetooth logo is crossed out.
In previous versions of macOS, the Bluetooth icon had other visual changes to convey useful information. Unfortunately, Apple removed these in macOS Big Sur.
In older versions of macOS, the Bluetooth icon was shown with three dots when at least one Bluetooth device is connected to your Mac. You may also see a zigzag line over the icon if there is a problem with bluetooth. If you see that, restart your Mac and try the Bluetooth troubleshooting below if you're still having issues.
Turn on Bluetooth on your Mac without a mouse or keyboard
Many people use a Bluetooth mouse and / or keyboard on their desktop Mac. As you can imagine, turning off Bluetooth suddenly can be an issue here as you will need these devices to access the Bluetooth menu.
Fortunately, on Macs without a trackpad, MacOS only turns off Bluetooth when you connect a USB mouse. In case something ever goes wrong, you can re-enable Bluetooth on your Mac with just a mouse or keyboard.
On a MacBook, you have the built-in keyboard and trackpad, so that's not a problem. However, on an iMac, you will need to connect a USB mouse or keyboard to do this.
To turn on Bluetooth without a mouse, press Cmd + Space to open Spotlight search. Search for Bluetooth file exchange and press return to start this utility. Once the app starts, a window will appear informing you that Bluetooth is disabled.
Beat return again to accept the option to turn on bluetooth. If you need to open the Bluetooth control panel, open Spotlight again and enter System settings, then look for Bluetooth Use the search box in this menu.
If you don't have a keyboard, just use your mouse to access the Bluetooth menu bar icon or the system preference panel.
If you don't have any USB devices on hand, the last thing to try is to unplug everything from your Mac except for the power cord. Then shut it down using the button on the back. Make sure your Bluetooth devices are charged, turned on, and restart your Mac.
This should trigger the Bluetooth setup wizard and reconnect your devices.
Advanced bluetooth settings for Mac
Finally, you should also know some additional Bluetooth settings. You can find them under the Advanced Button in the Bluetooth system settings area.
The first two options are used for coupling. As mentioned above, whenever you turn on your computer with no keyboard, mouse, or trackpad attached, your Mac will automatically open the Bluetooth setup panel. This way, you can easily put your Bluetooth accessory in pairing mode and connect.
Activate the third option if you want Bluetooth devices to activate the computer. When enabled, pressing a key on a keyboard or clicking a mouse button on a connected Bluetooth device wakes a computer in sleep mode.
Troubleshoot Mac Bluetooth Issues
Are you having bluetooth issues on your Mac? Note that the number of Bluetooth devices you can connect to a computer is practically limited. If you have more than three or four devices connected at the same time, the performance may be poor and you will not be able to add more devices. Try to only pair devices that you plan to use regularly.
Also, keep in mind that Bluetooth has a distance limit. This is usually around 30 feet, but it depends on the exact equipment you are using. Interference from other wireless devices or obstacles can also affect this area.
If you see a Bluetooth Not Available icon in your menu bar or if you are having other problems using Bluetooth on your Mac, there may be a hardware problem on your system. Follow our troubleshooting guide for Mac Bluetooth to get help with your problem.
Enjoy bluetooth on your Mac
Now that you know all there is to know about turning on Bluetooth on your Mac and using it. In most cases, a device should work fine after pairing. The convenience of using wireless devices and near-universal support make Bluetooth an attractive utility.
Can bluetooth be hacked? 7 tips to keep your bluetooth safe
Here's how bluetooth hacking takes place and what you can do to protect yourself right now.
About the author
(1677 articles published)
Ben is the Assistant Editor and Onboarding Manager at MakeUseOf. He left his IT job to write full-time in 2016 and has never looked back. For over six years he has been a professional writer covering technical tutorials, video game recommendations and more.
By Ben Stegner
Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up for our newsletter to receive tech tips, reviews, free e-books, and exclusive offers!
One more step …!
Please confirm your email address in the email we just sent you.