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How to Fix Bluetooth Not Working on a Mac

Authored by:
Support.com Tech Pro Team
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Introduction

This guide will walk you though troubleshooting Bluetooth issues with your Mac.

Before your start:

  • Make sure the Bluetooth accessory you are using is compatible with the device you're attempting to use it with.
  • Make sure your device is charged.

Some Bluetooth devices will not work while charging. Please refer to your user manual for more information.

1 Power Cycle

  1. Turn off both your Bluetooth accessory and the device you are pairing it with.
  2. Leave them powered off for 10 seconds.
  3. Turn both devices back on.

? Are you trying to pair your Bluetooth device to your computer?

  1. Yes
  2. No, I've already paired it

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This guide will walk you though troubleshooting Bluetooth issues with your Mac.

Before your start:

  • Make sure the Bluetooth accessory you are using is compatible with the device you're attempting to use it with.
  • Make sure your device is charged.

Some Bluetooth devices will not work while charging. Please refer to your user manual for more information.

  1. Turn off both your Bluetooth accessory and the device you are pairing it with.
  2. Leave them powered off for 10 seconds.
  3. Turn both devices back on.

Please place your device into pairing mode.

This process will vary depending on what kind of device you have. Refer to your device's documentation for specifics on how to accomplish this.

Depending on the device you are attempting to add, the screens you see may be slightly different than the ones depicted here.

  1. Set the Bluetooth accessory in pairing/discovery mode.

    This process will vary depending on what kind of device you have. Refer to your device's documentation for specifics on how to accomplish this.

  2. Click the System Preferences icon.
    System Prefrences icon.
  3. Click the Bluetooth icon.
    Screenshot of macOS system prefrences with Bluetooth highlighted
  4. Bluetooth properties will open.
  5. Ensure that Bluetooth status reads Bluetooth: On. If it is off, click Turn Bluetooth On to enable it.
    screenshot of macOS bluetooth system prefrences with the on off button highlighted
  6. Available Bluetooth devices will begin to appear in the list.
  7. Locate the device you wish to pair in the list and click Pair.
    screenshot of macOS bluetooth system Preferences highlighting an unpaired Bluetooth device with the pair button on the right
  8. Once connected, the device will display Connected within the device list. It is now available to your Mac to output audio to.
    screenshot of macOS bluetooth system Preferences with a connected bluetooth device highlighted

The device needs to be within a reasonable range in order to connect.

  • In general, to pair and use a Bluetooth device (like a speaker, headset or smartwatch), the device needs to be within 10 feet of your computer or other device.
  • Some medium and higher-power devices can be farther, up to about 30 feet, but this tends to be for larger devices that plug in or have very large batteries, such as another computer, media streaming device, or a plug-in speaker system.
    Diagram of Recommended Bluetooth Distance

Try moving the Bluetooth device closer if you have trouble.

Try using another device that has worked in the past (if available).
  1. Open the Apple menu and then click on System Preferences.
    Apple menu with System Preferences selected. Screenshot.
  2. Click on Bluetooth.
    System Preferences with Bluetooth selected. Screenshot.

  3. Click Turn Bluetooth Off.
    Bluetooth radio toggled OFF. Screenshot.
  1. Open the Apple menu and then click on System Preferences.
    Apple menu with System Preferences selected. Screenshot.

  2. Click on Bluetooth.
    System Preferences with Bluetooth selected. Screenshot.

  3. Click Turn Bluetooth On.
    Bluetooth radio Enabled. Screenshot.
  1. Open the Apple menu and then click on System Preferences.
    Apple menu with System Preferences selected. Screenshot.

  2. Click on Bluetooth.
    System preferences with Bluetooth selected. Screenshot.

  3. Verify that the Show Bluetooth in menu bar has a check next to it.
    Bluetooth settings with Show Bluetooth in menu bar enabled. Screenshot.

  4. Click on the Bluetooth icon on the top right of your screen while holding Shift and Option keys down on your keyboard. Now, go to the Debug Menu and select Reset the Bluetooth module.
    Bluetooth menu with Reset Bluetooth module selected. Screenshot.