Mac Bluetooth Not Working? Fix

Bluetooth has become an important part of our lives. However, it is a reliable technology. It is rare but sometimes you may have Bluetooth problems. Several Mac users have reported that they occasionally encounter a random loss of Bluetooth functionality. Users further have said that the Bluetooth menu displays a “Bluetooth: Not Available” error (see image below). You may run into problems by establishing a Bluetooth connection or using a Bluetooth accessory. And this will cause your Bluetooth devices and accessories to stop working.  And furthermore, several macOS and iOS services (AirDrop, Handoff, Continuity, Universal Clipboard, etc) will not work properly if you are having issues with Bluetooth.

Bluetooth Not Available

Bluetooth technology lets you wirelessly connect various hardware (keyboard, mouse, trackpad, headset, etc) to your Mac by associating them with your computer (also called pairing). Once paired, your Mac connects to these tools if Bluetooth is working.

This article explains what you can do to troubleshoot when Bluetooth is not working.

Here is what you can do when Bluetooth is not working

Bluetooth settings can be accessed by going to System Preferences > Bluetooth

See also: How to fix macOS Catalina Bluetooth problems

Please try each step until your issue is resolved. After each step, check to see if Bluetooth is working.

Please also note that performing some of the methods below will cause you to temporarily lose connection to your connected devices (e.g., keyboard, mouse, etc). So you may want to use a wired device.

See also: Unable to turn on Bluetooth

If you do now see the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar, go to System Preferences > Bluetooth and check the “Show Bluetooth in menu bar”.

  1. You may think that Bluetooth seems to be not working because your Bluetooth device stopped working. It is simply that your device battery is running very low if it uses battery. Make sure that your Bluetooth accessories has enough battery life. You may want to change the batteries or charge the device.
  2. Make sure that the Bluetooth device is turned on.
  3. Make sure that your Bluetooth device and Mac are close to each other.
  4. Ensure that your Mac is up to date.
  5. Restart your Mac. Simply restarting your Mac may fix your problem. You can restart your Mac by selecting Restart from the Apple menu.
  6. Disable and enable Bluetooth. Disable Bluetooth and wait several seconds and then turn it on. You can do so by clicking the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar. As stated above, If you cannot see the Bluetooth icon, then go to System Preferences, click Bluetooth, then select “Show Bluetooth in the menu bar.”
  7. Remove all USB devices (mouse, keyboard, etc) and then reboot your Mac and then reconnect them.
  8. Remove current Bluetooth preferences then reboot your Mac. Here is how:
    1. Close any app that is trying to use Bluetooth device with your Mac
    2. In Finder, press the Command+Shift+G keys together. This will reveal the “Go to the folder:” window, then enter the following and hit go.
    3. /Library/Preferences/ (not ~/Library/Preferences/)library preferences bluetooth preferences
    4. Try the find the “com.apple.Bluetooth.plist” and “com.apple.Bluetooth.plist.lockfile” files. And delete these files. These files could be corrupted and cause problems. You may be asked for an admin password. (if you want, copy these files to somewhere else as a backup before removing).
    5. Restart your Mac.
  9. Reset your Mac’s SMC. This is done differently depending on the Mac models. Apple’s documentation explains how this is done.
  10. Reset your Mac’s Bluetooth module. Here is how:
    1. Press and hold the Shift + Option (Alt) keys
    2. While holding these keys, in the menu bar, click the Bluetooth icon
    3. Click Debug
    4. Click Reset the Bluetooth module (see the image below)reset the Bluetooth module
    5. Then reboot your Mac.
  11. Restart your Mac in Safe Mode. Safe Mode may fix your problem. To boot your Mac in Safe Mode, follow the steps below:
    1. Turn off your Mac.
    2. Turn on your Mac and immediately press and hold the Shift key.
    3. Release the Shift key when you see the login screen.
    4. Login.
    5. Your Mac is now in Safe Mode. If you are not sure if your Mac is in Safe Mode, see this article. Test your Bluetooth now. Is it working?
    6. In either case (working or not), restart your Mac normally. Doing so will exit Safe Mode. Meaning restart your Mac, but do not press and hold any key.
    7. When your Mac is turned on, test Bluetooth again. Is it working now?

If none of the methods above work, you may want to contact Apple support. You may also want to make a Genius Bar reservation.

See also: iPhone Not Connecting To a Car Stereo Using Bluetooth

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University.

Thank you for choosing to leave a comment.

Please note the following:

  • All comments are moderated.
  • Your email will NOT be published nor shared.
  • All SPAM comments will be deleted.
  • Please see our comment policy page for more info.

8 thoughts on “Mac Bluetooth Not Working? Fix”

  1. Hi everyone. If nothing listed above helped you, here is another solution I found.

    Just install the Windows 10 via the bootcamp assistant. On Windows 10, update the bluetooth drivers from the list of pre-set windows drivers (it’s an option when you click “Update manually”)

    Try to pair device(s) in windows. It should work.

    Than, reboot to macOS. Bluetooth works again.

    DO NOT DELETE WINDOWS. The problem may occur again and again. Just reboot to WIndows, pair any device, and boot into a macos again

    Reply
    • I am experiencing a very unusual problem. My bluetooth window indicates that the “device (SONY SRS-XB31 speaker) is connected”. The speaker peeps once confirming the pairing. And yet, the sound remains tied to the computer!!
      I have tried disconnecting and turning the speaker off/on, but nothing works.

      Any ideas?

      Reply
  2. My error was on an early 2015 Macbook Pro. Turns out I had to turn off Handoff in the System Preferences.

    Saved me buying a new laptop as replacing the bluetooth/wifi card and using dongles did not help.

    Reply
    • This fixed my issue!!! Thank you so much, I have an older mac as well and have never been able to use the bluetooth until now.

      Reply
  3. The issue here is the only way to fix that is reset your computer, because on my situation I use an iMac, and how I could debug if I can’t use my mouse – lol… that’s a seriously issue form Apple Developers… OSX isn’t friendly with keyboard navigation (well on top bar).

    Reply

Leave a Comment