A Guide to Fixing Bluetooth Connections on a Mac

Bluetooth symbol icon
Reading time: 6 Minutes

Bluetooth is one of the most reliable and convenient wireless technologies that are already built into your Mac devices. Because it does not consume so much battery life, it is widely used for third-party accessories, such as headsets, speakers, and mice.

Unfortunately, Bluetooth on Macs doesn’t always work properly, causing errors and problems to occur. In this guide, we’ll teach you why Bluetooth is not working on a Mac, how to fix Bluetooth issues on a Mac, and how to reset a Mac’s Bluetooth module to fix connection issues.

Switching on Bluetooth

Before we proceed, do you know where to find Bluetooth on your Mac? If not, fret not. You are not the only one who doesn’t know that. Believe it or not, some Mac users still do not know that the Bluetooth feature exists on their Mac.

This is how you turn on Bluetooth on a Mac and how you establish a Bluetooth connection:

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  1. Go to System Preferences -> Bluetooth.
  2. Toggle the Bluetooth switch on if it is off.
  3. You should now see a list of devices that are available to connect to. Click on the Bluetooth device you wish to connect to.
  4. Click the Connect button.

Adding Bluetooth to the Menu Bar

Now, if you want to conveniently access Bluetooth without having to go to System Preferences, you may add a Bluetooth shortcut to the menu bar. From there, you can check if the Bluetooth is on or off and see if there are any devices connected to it.

Here’s how you add Bluetooth to the menu bar:

  1. Go to System Preferences.
  2. Select Bluetooth.
  3. Tick the box beside the Show Bluetooth in menu bar

Connecting a Bluetooth Device to Your Mac

Regardless if it’s a keyboard, speaker, headphone, or trackpad, pairing a Bluetooth device with a Mac is easy as pie. As a matter of fact, if a Bluetooth device came with your Mac, it’s should already be paired. All that is left for you to do is to switch it on.

In case you bought a separate Bluetooth device, you will need to use a Lightning cable and pair it with your Mac. Here are the steps you should follow to connect a separate Bluetooth device with your Mac:

  1. Use a Lightning cable to connect the Bluetooth device with your Mac.
  2. Switch on the device.
  3. Go to System Preferences -> Bluetooth.
  4. Once the device is displayed on the list, it has been paired.

Common Bluetooth Connection Problems

Although it’s very convenient to use Bluetooth devices, there are times when you have trouble connecting them with your Mac. Don’t worry because we will discuss the common Bluetooth connection issues and their corresponding fixes.

1. Bluetooth Device Is Running Low on Battery

More often than not, if a Bluetooth device does not connect to your Mac, chances are, the battery is running low. In some similar cases, it will not connect as well because it is preserving battery life.

So, how do you know if your Bluetooth device has a low battery? Simply check the Bluetooth icon in your menu bar, and you will see a battery symbol on the device name. You may also go to System Preferences -> Bluetooth to check the charge level of the device.

2. Music Not Playing Through Bluetooth Speakers/Headphones

If you paired Bluetooth speakers or headphones with your Mac and you can’t hear anything, it is possible that the audio from your Mac is not routed through the Bluetooth device. Follow these steps to fix it:

  1. Go to System Preferences -> Sound -> Output.
  2. Choose the Bluetooth device you want the music to play through.
  3. Try playing a song again. You should now hear it through your Bluetooth device.

3. Bluetooth Keyboard/Mouse Not Working

Do you want to use a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse, but it’s not working? Here are the steps to follow to solve the problem:

  1. Switch on the Bluetooth device. If it is already switched on, turn it off and on again.
  2. Press any key on your keyboard or click the mouse and check if the Bluetooth device wakes up.
  3. If not, check if the device appears in System Preferences -> Bluetooth. If it’s not there, you might have to pair it with your Mac first.
  4. To pair it, plug in the Bluetooth device.
  5. Go back to System Preferences -> Mouse/Keyboard/Trackpad.
  6. Select Set Up Bluetooth Mouse/Keyboard/Trackpad.
  7. Your Mac should begin searching for your Bluetooth device.
  8. Once it sees the Bluetooth device, click on it, and it will be automatically added to the list.
  9. Try using your Bluetooth mouse/keyboard once again. It should be working now.

Other Ways to Troubleshoot Bluetooth Connection Problems

Once you have verified that your Bluetooth device is properly connected to your Mac, and you’ve already checked its battery is working fine, but still you are experiencing Bluetooth connection issues, here are some troubleshooting instructions to follow:

1. Check your distance.

Be sure you are close enough to your Mac. Bluetooth usually works within a 10-meter range. If your Bluetooth device is far away from your Mac, then you may experience connection problems.

2. Switch off and on your Bluetooth device.

Sometimes, switching off and on your Bluetooth device can immediately fix the problem. You can switch off Bluetooth by simply clicking the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar. If Bluetooth is not showing in the menu bar, go to System Preferences -> Bluetooth. Click Turn Bluetooth Off and then click Turn Bluetooth On again. If it still does not work, restart your Mac.

3. Remove the Bluetooth devices on your Mac’s list of paired devices.

If switching off and on your Bluetooth device does not work, one possible reason is there are too many Bluetooth devices paired with your Mac. Although you can connect up to seven Bluetooth devices to your Mac, you can still encounter problems once you go with more than four or five. That is because some Bluetooth devices are configured to use more data than others.

To remove a Bluetooth device from your Mac’s list of paired devices, follow these steps:

  1. Go to System Preferences -> Bluetooth.
  2. Check if the Bluetooth device is on the list. If it is there, click the x button beside it to remove it.
  3. Restart your Mac and wait for two to three minutes.
  4. Pair the Bluetooth device again.

In Conclusion

Your Bluetooth device should be working fine again after your trying the steps above. If it still does not work, then it is best that you contact AppleCare, see an Apple Genius at the iStore, or contact support for the Bluetooth accessory itself.

While this does not directly fix Bluetooth connection problems, installing Outbyte macAries can help prevent future issues with your Mac. So, the next time you use it, you are confident that your Mac performs at its best all the time.

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Vicrey Makapagal

Vic is a tech enthusiast who loves to be up-to-date with the latest and greatest technology in the world. He creates content that educates and helps users with their tech-related questions. Vic manages our website to ensure that our readers have a seamless experience while browsing. He excels in troubleshooting errors and resolving Windows issues for gaming and work purposes.

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