Bluetooth gives you the freedom to use devices like keyboards and headphones wirelessly, but it isn’t always reliable. If you run into any issues with Bluetooth in macOS, you can follow these steps to troubleshoot them.
Basic First Steps
Before you head to the Apple Store or start thinking about replacements, follow some of these more common troubleshooting steps first. Many times, the most basic steps can resolve a Bluetooth connectivity issue.
Check the Pairing Status
A good first step is to make sure your device is paired and connected correctly to your Mac. To check, head to the Bluetooth settings menu. Click the Launchpad icon in the Dock, and then click System Preferences > Bluetooth.
Reconnect Your Bluetooth Device
If your device isn’t connected to your Mac, turn off your Bluetooth device, and then turn it on again to see if it reconnects. This is also a good time to check the battery level on your device, too. If it doesn’t have sufficient power to function, take the necessary steps to resolve this.
If your device has enough power but doesn’t reconnect automatically, click the Launchpad icon on the Dock. From there, head to System Preferences > Bluetooth, and then click “Connect” next to your device.
If you see the Bluetooth icon in your menu bar, you can also use that to connect (or reconnect) your Bluetooth device.
To show the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar, select the checkbox next to “Show Bluetooth in Menu Bar” in the Bluetooth settings menu.
Each paired device has an entry in the Bluetooth menu on the menu bar. To disconnect your device, hover over its name, and then click “Disconnect.” Click “Connect” to reconnect.
Restart Your Bluetooth Radio
If your device won’t reconnect, you can restart the Bluetooth radio in your Mac. To do so, click the Launchpad icon in the Dock and head to System Preferences > Bluetooth.
Next, click “Turn Bluetooth Off,” and then click “Turn Bluetooth On.”
If it’s enabled, you can also do this from the Bluetooth settings menu on the menu bar. Just click the Bluetooth icon, click “Turn Bluetooth Off,” and then click “Turn Bluetooth On” to restart it.
Remove Your Bluetooth Device
If none of the previous steps work, you can try removing the troublesome Bluetooth device from your Mac completely before you consider more drastic steps.
To do so, click the Launchpad icon in the Dock and go to System Preferences > Bluetooth. Right-click your device, and then click “Remove.”
After the device is removed, you can attempt to re-pair it. First, though, make sure the device is configured correctly. For example, you might have to set up a Bluetooth keyboard to get the correct keys to work.
Factory Reset Any Attached Apple Devices
Apple hardware tends to work best with other Apple devices, but that doesn’t mean accessories like Airpods will always work perfectly with macOS.
It might seem drastic, but you might consider resetting your Airpods or other Apple peripherals if you’re unable to restore or stabilize Bluetooth connectivity. This might be harder to do with an iPhone, but it’s a simple process for smaller devices (like Airpods).
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Rather than perform this action for each device, you can do it on all connected Apple devices in the Bluetooth debug menu.
The Bluetooth icon has to be visible in the menu bar to do this, so we’ll start there.
Enable the Bluetooth Icon in the Menu Bar
If you don’t see the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar, click the Launchpad icon in the Dock, and then navigate to System Preferences > Bluetooth.
Click the checkbox next to “Show Bluetooth in Menu Bar” to enable it.
Enter Bluetooth Debug Menu and Factory Reset Apple Devices
When the Bluetooth icon is visible in the menu bar, press and hold Shift+Option and click the Bluetooth icon. The Bluetooth menu appears and includes an additional “Debug” menu and other hidden connection information.
Click “Debug,” and then click “Factory Reset All Connected Apple Devices.” This will only work if your Bluetooth device is currently connected to your Mac; if it’s not, follow the reset instructions for that device instead.
Accept the warning and click “OK” to begin resetting all connected Apple devices.
When the factory reset process is complete on all your devices, you’ll have to re-pair and reconnect them in the Bluetooth settings menu, either from the System Preferences menu or the menu bar.
Remove All Bluetooth Devices or Reset the Bluetooth Module
From the Debug options, you can also remove all Bluetooth devices from the Bluetooth configuration or reset the macOS Bluetooth module entirely.
Again, to do this, the Bluetooth icon must be visible on the menu bar. If it isn’t, click the Launchpad icon in the Dock and navigate to System Preferences > Bluetooth. From there, click the checkbox next to “Show Bluetooth in Menu Bar,” and the icon should appear.
Press Shift+Option and click the now-visible Bluetooth icon to access the Debug menu.
Remove All Bluetooth Devices
In the Debug menu, click “Remove All Devices” to remove all Bluetooth devices saved in the macOS Bluetooth configuration.
Click “Remove” to confirm the action.
Reset the Bluetooth Module
You can also reset the Bluetooth module entirely from the Debug menu. This will wipe the Bluetooth configuration, reset the Bluetooth hardware, and disconnect any connected Bluetooth devices.
Click “Reset the Bluetooth Module” to begin.
Click “OK” to confirm.
After the process completes, restart your Mac and reconnect your devices. If you use a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse, be sure to reconnect these before you restart your Mac.
Check the System Log
The steps above should help you resolve many common issues. However, if you continue to have problems, you can check the system log to get some more information.
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It can help you narrow down potential conflicts or issues with your Bluetooth hardware or devices. To access the log, use Spotlight.
Press Command+Space, type “Console” in the text box, and then press Enter. You can also click the Search icon in the menu bar to launch Spotlight. Click the “Console” option when it appears.
Click the “Reports” entries on the left to look through the System Log. You can also type “Bluetooth” in the search bar at the top to bring up any relevant entries.
You can’t cure a problem directly from the system log, but it could help you diagnose a deeper issue with settings or hardware.