We rely on Bluetooth for more and more devices, and while the wireless standard is very convenient, it can be really frustrating when our peripherals don’t work consistently. Read along for five tips and tricks to fix Mac Bluetooth issues, including resetting your Bluetooth module and ways to remove interference.
Bluetooth issues aren’t anything new, but there has been a recent wave of more Bluetooth problems with the first Apple Silicon M1 Macs and macOS Big Sur. Notably, Bluetooth reliability should have been improved for Mac users with macOS 11.2.
But whether you’ve got a new M1 Mac or are having trouble with Bluetooth on an Intel one, we’ll cover multiple approaches to fix Mac Bluetooth issues.
How to fix Mac Bluetooth issues
Software update, power cycle, unpair
You’ve probably tried these steps, but if not, start here:
- Check if macOS is up to date ( > About This Mac > Software Update…)
- Make sure your Bluetooth device is charged
- Turn off your Bluetooth device and back on again, you can do the same with Bluetooth on your Mac (click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar – top right of your Mac’s screen)
- You can also unpair a Bluetooth device and re-pair to see if there’s an improvement (Bluetooth in the menu bar > Bluetooth preferences > hover over a device > click the “x” icon > choose “Remove”)
- Reboot your Mac
Apple notes in a support document that if you’re seeing intermittent Bluetooth issues, it’s good to check for interference. Tips include:
- Bring your Mac and Bluetooth devices closer together
- Remove other devices like phones, cameras, power cables, etc. that might be on your desk or nearby
- Move some WiFi devices to 5GHz since Bluetooth and WiFi both use 2.4GHz
- Move USB/Thunderbolt hubs further away from your Mac and Bluetooth devices (and don’t place them on top of your Mac)
- Turn off USB devices that aren’t in use
- Finally, don’t have materials between your Mac and Bluetooth devices like metal, concrete
Reset your Mac’s Bluetooth module
If you’re still having trouble with Bluetooth issues, you can reset your Mac’s Bluetooth Module:
- While holding option + shift on your keyboard, click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar
- Click “Reset the Bluetooth module”
- On the confirmation prompt, choose “OK”
- Your Bluetooth devices will disconnect for a moment as the module resets and should automatically reconnect
Here’s how this looks:
Remove all devices + reset Bluetooth module
If that didn’t work, you can remove all of your Bluetooth devices and then reset the module (keep in mind you’ll need to re-pair all of your Bluetooth devices after this):
- Hold option + shift on your keyboard and click the Bluetooth icon again
- This time, choose “Remove all devices” > click OK
- Do option + shift on Bluetooth in the menu bar again > click “Reset the Bluetooth module”
- Re-pair your Bluetooth device(s)
Have a dongle?
This isn’t always an ideal solution depending on your setup, but if your Bluetooth device came with a USB dongle for a direct connection, that often eliminates any Bluetooth issues you’re seeing.
The most common devices to come with USB dongles are third-party mouse and keyboards.