How to Pair Bluetooth Devices to a Mac

Introduction

Bluetooth is a wireless technology that makes short-range connections between devices (like your Mac, and a mouse or keyboard) at distances up to 10 meters (approximately 30 feet). This guide will assist you with pairing your Mac to Bluetooth accessories.

Most Mac computers come with Bluetooth technology built-in, however you should confirm before continuing. You can check to see if your computer supports Bluetooth:

  • Look for the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar. If the Bluetooth icon is present, your computer has Bluetooth.
    Screenshot of a Bluetooth icon.

? Does your Mac support Bluetooth?

  1. Yes
  2. No

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Bluetooth is a wireless technology that makes short-range connections between devices (like your Mac, and a mouse or keyboard) at distances up to 10 meters (approximately 30 feet). This guide will assist you with pairing your Mac to Bluetooth accessories.

Most Mac computers come with Bluetooth technology built-in, however you should confirm before continuing. You can check to see if your computer supports Bluetooth:

  • Look for the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar. If the Bluetooth icon is present, your computer has Bluetooth.
    Screenshot of a Bluetooth icon.

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.

  1. Set your device to pairing mode. The way you do this may differ from device to device.

    In many cases, you can place your device in pairing mode by having the device off, then pressing and holding the power button to start it up. Usually, after a few moments, it will indicate it is in pairing mode (flashing its indicator light, for example), and you can release the power button.

  2. On the menu bar, click the Apple menu, then System Preferences.
    macOS Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  3. Select Bluetooth.
    System Preferences with Bluetooth highlighted.
  4. Ensure that it says Bluetooth: On. Turn it on with the button if it isn't.
    Screenshot of the Bluetooth properties box. Annotation that shows how to turn the Bluetooth radio on.
  5. Your computer will search for any Bluetooth devices in range.
  6. Once your device is located, click Pair.
    Bluetooth properties box with directions to click the Pair button next to the device you wish to connect to.
  7. Once the pairing process is complete, your Mac will automatically connect to the device whenever it is in range.

The Bluetooth menu bar icon in the upper-right of your display displays the status of Bluetooth and connected devices:

  • Bluetooth is on, but there are no devices connected to your Mac.
    Screenshot of a Bluetooth icon.

  • Bluetooth is on and at least one wireless device is connected.
    Screenshot of a Bluetooth icon with 3 black horizontal dots.

  • At least one wireless device has a low battery. Click the Bluetooth icon to identify the affected device, then replace its batteries.
    Screenshot of the low-battery power icon.

  • Bluetooth is off. Click the Bluetooth icon using a wired mouse or trackpad or the built-in trackpad on your Mac notebook and select Turn Bluetooth On.
    Screenshot of a Bluetooth icon, greyed out to indicate the setting is off.

  • Bluetooth is offline and unavailable. Restart your Mac. If the Bluetooth status doesn’t change, disconnect all USB devices and restart your Mac again. If Bluetooth continues to show as unavailable, you might need to get your Mac serviced.
    Screenshot of a Bluetooth icon, with a horizontal zig-zag line going across.

It is important to ensure that your Bluetooth device is powered on with an adequate amount of battery life in order to complete the pairing process without interruption.

  • Ensure your Bluetooth device is powered on.
  • Check your Bluetooth device's battery power.
  • Charge the battery if necessary, or replace old or depleted batteries if need be.
  1. Turn off your Bluetooth device.
  2. Wait 10 to 15 seconds.
  3. Turn your Bluetooth device back on.

In most cases, pushing and holding the power button for 3 to 5 seconds will turn most Bluetooth devices on or off.

  1. From the menu bar across the top of the screen, select the Apple menu, then Restart...
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with Restart highlighted.
  1. Set your device to pairing mode. The way you do this may differ from device to device.

    In many cases, you can place your device in pairing mode by having the device off, then pressing and holding the power button to start it up. Usually, after a few moments, it will indicate it is in pairing mode (flashing its indicator light, for example), and you can release the power button.

  2. On the menu bar, click the Apple menu, then System Preferences.
    macOS Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  3. Select Bluetooth.
    System Preferences with Bluetooth highlighted.
  4. Ensure that it says Bluetooth: On. Turn it on with the button if it isn't.
    Screenshot of the Bluetooth properties box. Annotation that shows how to turn the Bluetooth radio on.
  5. Your computer will search for any Bluetooth devices in range.
  6. Once your device is located, click Pair.
    Bluetooth properties box with directions to click the Pair button next to the device you wish to connect to.
  7. Once the pairing process is complete, your Mac will automatically connect to the device whenever it is in range.
  1. Select the Apple menu, then App Store.
    macOS Mojave Apple Menu with App Store highlighted.
  2. You will now see the app store pull up. Select Updates.
    macOS 10.14 Mojave or LaterApp Store side bar with Updates highlighted.
    macOS 10.13 High Sierra or EarlierApp store menu bar with Updates highlighted.
Any version of macOS 10.7 (Lion) or older can check for available updates through the Apple Menu and Software Updates.
  1. Set your device to pairing mode. The way you do this may differ from device to device.

    In many cases, you can place your device in pairing mode by having the device off, then pressing and holding the power button to start it up. Usually, after a few moments, it will indicate it is in pairing mode (flashing its indicator light, for example), and you can release the power button.

  2. On the menu bar, click the Apple menu, then System Preferences.
    macOS Apple Menu with System Preferences highlighted.
  3. Select Bluetooth.
    System Preferences with Bluetooth highlighted.
  4. Ensure that it says Bluetooth: On. Turn it on with the button if it isn't.
    Screenshot of the Bluetooth properties box. Annotation that shows how to turn the Bluetooth radio on.
  5. Your computer will search for any Bluetooth devices in range.
  6. Once your device is located, click Pair.
    Bluetooth properties box with directions to click the Pair button next to the device you wish to connect to.
  7. Once the pairing process is complete, your Mac will automatically connect to the device whenever it is in range.
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