Technology, Thoughts & Trinkets

Touring the digital through type

Solved: Bluetooth Devices Not Connecting to OSX

Apple Wireless KeyboardI’ve exclusively used Bluetooth devices to connect to my docked MacBook Pro for many, many months. It’s been a blissful period of time…one that came to a crashing halt this morning. After spending an aggravating period of time getting things working, I wanted to share with the Internet broadly (one) solution to getting both an Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard and Magic Mouse (re)paired with OS X. I will note that I first ‘lost’ my Magic Mouse, and after a restart of my computer subsequently was unable to pair my Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard.

Problem:

After months of blissful Bluetooth connectivity, I’ve awoken to discover that neither my Magic Mouse nor my Apple Bluetooth Keyboard are properly pairing. First my Magic Mouse failed to scroll, which led me to remove the Magic Mouse and attempt to pair it to my computer again. This attempt failed. I then rebooted my computer, and was still unable to pair my computer and Magic Mouse. After another restart, my Apple Bluetooth Keyboard was also unable to be be used as an input device with my computer. It is important to note that, while the Bluetooth Device Manager reported this failure to pair, both devices are reported as ‘connected’ under the Bluetooth icon in the OX X menu bar. Neither device, at this point, is responding to any input.

Solution:

  1. Delete com.apple.Bluetooth.plist. This file is found at HD/Library/Preferences.
  2. Turn off Bluetooth on your Mac. This is done by clicking the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar and selecting ‘Turn Bluetooth Off’.
  3. Unplug input-based USB devices (e.g. any USB mice, keyboards, Wacom tablets, etc).
  4. Shut down computer. Do *not* restart, but do a full shut down.
  5. Turn off your Bluetooth devices.
  6. Boot computer.
  7. Turn Bluetooth on.
  8. Begin pairing devices. This involves clicking: Bluetooth icon in menu bar >> Set up Bluetooth Device >>  Select Bluetooth device >> Follow on-screen instructions. In the case of your keyboard, I would suggest pressing the ‘Enter/Return’ button several times after entering the passphrase shown on your screen.

This should result in your devices being reconnected.

What May Have Provoked/Complicated My Problem:

Shortly before I had this issue with my Bluetooth devices, I updated my MagicPrefs app. This application is meant to give more complete functionality to your Magic Mouse, and to Apple’s new Magic Trackpad as well. Suspecting this might be driving my problem, I removed both applications by:

  1. Quitting MagicPrefs by clicking on its icon in the menu bar and selecting ‘Quit’.
  2. Drag MagicPrefs.app (found in your Applications folder) to the trash.
  3. Open the Preference pane, right-click on Magic Prefs and select ‘Remove MagicPrefs Preference Pane.’ Do the same for the Magic Menu item in the Preferences pane.

I removed these applications prior to the above written solution. This may, or may not, be required to resolve the Bluetooth pairing problem; I haven’t investigated any correlation between the MagicPrefs application and my problem, but felt it valuable to note this element of my troubleshooting process.

113 Comments

  1. This is A GREAT TIP !…. Thanks a lot, you have saved my day….

    • Thank you so much, I was dreading going to the apple store to have this figured out. You saved the day with this. I was at my witts end.

      • Happy to help!

        • Dear Christopher,
          Thanks for this tip, I’m sure it has helped a lot of people, but sadly not myself. My problem is that although my Bluetooth headphones pair up no problem, they have to be re-paired every time I wish to use them, my MacBook Pro seems to forget them. Any idea on how I improve its memory?
          Any help gratefully received.
          Regards
          Chris Howard

          • Christopher

            June 3, 2013 at 12:04 pm

            Hi Chris,

            The first thing that comes to mind is trying to delete the plist associated with your bluetooth settings and then, upon pairing things again, see if that helps (it’s worked for me in the past). I’ve also run into pairing issues when I’m (a) at an ‘odd’ angle from the bluetooth receiver in my mac (older macs seem worse than the newer ones) (b) when the batteries on the attached device run below 50%.

            Cheers,
            Chris

          • I have the same problem, but I found rebooting my Mac solves this (at least initially)… so I don’t have to re-pair (which is more work as a lot of configured applications forget about the device).

            Argh. I wish Apple would fix this! It seems to happen on quite a number of manufacturers of headphones, whereas my headphones work flawlessly with other devices.

          • I can’t even start up my mac as I can’t log in the passwords (keyboard wont connect), so how do I get to the menu bar? Im still stucked with a non-responding keyboad ???? Help

    • I’m a PhD student in Computer Science….but I couldn’t connect my mouse after changing batteries!! So embarrasing! Your advice was extremely helpful. Thank you.

      • OK, this did not work for me.
        the basics: MacBook Pro 2011 10.6.8 and 10.10.5 (2 partitions) iPad 4 (9.3.5), iPhone 5 9.3.5 Bluetooth Keyboard with 3 batteries (been using rechargeable batteries just fine for years, went and got three different sets of Alkaline batteries. (Connected Magic mouse to see charge and they are 99%))

        I have trashed bluetooth ,plist, repaired permissions, zapped PRAM, SCM reset, opened in Safe Mode,

        My keyboard is seen by all the devices. The iPad and iPhone both “know” its name. The Macbook which was never paired only get that which is 00-1d-4f-a6-7c-91 (if that helps)

        I have tried taking out batteries and pressing the power button on the keyboard (this actually worked once years ago. It will “reset” and get rid of any residual electricity trapped in the keyboard), fresh batteries, start bluetooth, pair device, sees keyboard but pairing fails.

        I have done soft restarts on phone and ipad and they can see the keyboard and even knows its name, have done forget this device on both.

        So everyone can see the keyboard, which to me means the keyboard and bluetooth are working. Keyboard goes into flashing mode (discoverable-pairing mode)

        and fails
        I am ready for any suggestions

    • Thanks Christopher, you legend!

  2. thank you man, I was really mad about it. Have deleted that file, disconnected bluetooth, shut down the mac, disconnected USB keyboard and USB mouse (microsoft ones, hehehe), restarted the computer, the Keyboard works normally not the mouse, this was found and paired automatically, I’ve only had to click “continue” and Whoala!! keyboard and mouse working again. THANKS

  3. Thanks for your advice Christopher. I have linked to this post on my blog: http://haizdesign.com/blog/mac-osx/bluetooth-support-stops-on-imac/

  4. You are AWESOME! What an easy fix. Thanks so much for posting.

  5. Instant repair!! Thank you so so much! Saved me a long wait at the apple store!

  6. Worked for me! I will direct anyone with a similar issue (lot of mac using friends) to your site.

  7. Thank so much!

  8. Thank you!! You are awesome!!

  9. Great easy fix. Right to the point. Thanks!

  10. Tried everything without success but this suggestion worked for me!

  11. Jerry Hildebrand

    March 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Thanks, Christopher! Followed your procedure and, voila, it worked like a charm. Now that the magic mouse problem is solved, I could use some advice on why my iMac intel (late 2009), with Lion, is constantly freezing and will not shut down unless the power button is held. Repair disk permissions seems to work, but eventually the freezing returns.

    • I have a Macbook Pro that has the same problem, and disk permissions always seem to resolve things. I *think* (note emphasis!) that it has to do with how Lion (and its predecessor) move into hibernation mode. I’m guessing that it’s not stepping the power down properly, which is leading to disk problems, which in turn means that the computer won’t shut off. Are you turning off the computer after each use, or letting the device got to sleep/hibernate?

  12. I get a message that says this configuration of mac osx and bluetooth software could be invalid or unsupported

  13. Nice! Excellent tip!

  14. Thanks!

    I had the same message as ck88 had, after losing mouse and keyboard after the battery went flat on the mouse.

    This walkthrough fixed it.

  15. Really appreciate it!!

  16. Thank you so much. This worked perfectly. I had a lousy morning as I had to use a mouse for over 4 hours (couldn’t delete the .plist file via ForkLift; finally remembered that even though I never use it, Finder still exists and deleted the file there). My day has improved significantly!

  17. MagicPrefs was causing me a very bad window focus problem, but that was several OS “upgrades” ago. I wouldn’t touch it personally.

    But I keep an alternate mouse (USB wireless) on my desk because I lose my Magic Mouse regularly when a) I turn it off to recharge the mobi rechargeable or b) I forget to recharge and have to insert batteries. It almost never reconnects on its own, so I have to put batteries into the other mouse, open System Prefs and reconnect the MM. It’s so annoying and I was just searching to see if I could put the MM icon either on the dock or the menubar just to cut down on some steps.

  18. Kristofer Selbekk

    November 27, 2012 at 3:46 am

    Thanks for a great and well-written guide. Made my bluetooth problems go away like that 😉 I love the internet, you can like… find everything here! =)

  19. That worked great! My bluetooth mouse & keyboard were working one second and then suddenly stopped… this was an easy fix. Thanks!

  20. Christopher,

    I owe you a beer. Knocked my mouse off the desk to the floor, no obvious damage but it no longer worked. Plugged in the old wired mouse and proceeded to order a new one; then realized the keyboard quit working, too. They showed up connected, but no pairing. Cleaned (Onyx), restarted, and restored the mini with no luck. Found this tip and hey hey, you made my day. Cancelled the order for the new mouse.

    Thanks a million.

    PS: I have a brewery in my basement, so I’m serious about the beer. ;>)

  21. Thanks for your post. For others looking for solutions to delayed OSX v10.8x desktop responsiveness on the keyboard and mouse. Christopher’s post corrected our situation.

    My wife’s new 2013 iMac with OSX Mt Lion started taking many minutes to boot to the desktop but once there for an additional 5 to 8 minutes both the keyboard and mouse were locked and non-responsive. This occurred even when bluetooth keyboard and mouse were replaced with wired versions. Very strange and frustrating. Our own troubleshooting and a call to Apple Care could not resolve the problem. I noticed in the system.log file references to “KCGErrorInvalidConnection… with cryptic references to bluetooth, which lead us to Christopher’s post. Following his procedure and reestablishing the iMac’s link to the bluetooth track pad and keyboard cleared both our slow boot and input device issues. System works fine now with wired or wireless input devices.

  22. You have saved me. Seriously. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what happened to my keyboard and mouse. I read way too many responses in various forums. None helped [especially the ones that were over my head :)]. This was easy to understand and it worked. Thanks so much!

  23. This is probably a ridiculous question but how does one “shut down” the computer with out the use of a mouse or keyboard (disconnected USB and shut off bluetooth first…)

    • Christopher

      March 20, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      Hi Cassie,

      You can either use a wired keyboard or mouse (if you have one) or could manually power off the Mac (using a long-press on the power button).

      ~Chris

  24. Bless you, this has been driving me mad for ages. Whenever my mouse batts died I needed a restart to reconnect it to my imac though this time neither the mouse nor keyboard connected on a restart and your solution sorted it out. Saved a lot of frustration on a very busy day, thanks eternally 🙂

    Nicola

  25. Ok, noob question. How do I turn Bluetooth back on without a USB connected mouse?

  26. Thank you – this was the only tip that worked for this issue for me.

  27. Hello Christopher

    I have had this problem of mouse not responding for about 4 to 6 minutes just like “Mark in Seattle” (Feb 19 2013). Tried your suggestion 3 times over – word to word – and still stuck up with same problem. What could be wrong ?

    Everything was OK till 2 days back when I upgraded to OSX 10.8.4. This problem is same whether use wireless mouse and keyboard or wires mouse and keyboard or any combination of the two. After initial hang up of 4 to 6 minutes, everything works fine.

    I am sure you or someone could help me without me having to re-install the OS X again.

    • Christopher

      June 25, 2013 at 10:41 am

      Hi @aditya – sorry for the delay. I’ve been away from a secured connection for a while.

      If you’re having a problem with both wired and wireless, then I’d suggest booting into recovery mode. If you can’t get that working – if you can’t even use the keyboard during the bootup phase – then I’m at a loss for where to go.

  28. Thanks! Worked like a charm!

  29. this is my only hope. I’ll give it a shot.

  30. I did everything your article said and gave me the runaround. I am so fed up with Apple. this is ridiculous. they should fix these issues and not us ourselves.

  31. Thanks a lot! Worked for my Bluetooth Keyboard and MacBookAir.

  32. Many thanks for this tip. This has been driving me mental for a couple of days…..I did not have the com.apple.Bluetooth.plist. file in my library preferences folder, I only had com.apple.BluetoothFileExhange.plist I deleted this one, and all working fine now

  33. Thank you! This happened out of the blue today without making any changes to the Powerbook Pro.

    Your fix worked perfect.

    It worked without deleting MagicPrefs.

  34. my dude, thank you for this walkthrough. I’ve combed these damn apple forums and nothing….then just as I’m frustrated to the point of almost tossing out my entire computer, I stumble upon this page, and voila, we have things working again. Cheers to you my brethren

  35. after 4 years this guide still works! thanks a bunch been struggling with this for the past three days!

  36. FIXED! You nailed it !! Thanks!

  37. This doesn’t work

  38. Thank you!

  39. well, thank you dude
    that Solution help me connect mm 450-x with out problems

  40. Thank you! helped me!

  41. I just bought a Cintiq Companion Hybrid. I attempted your suggestions, but when my tablet connects, it shows connected on the tablet, but in my system prefs, it says not connected, unless I tx a file, then it goes right back to not connected.

    Any ideas?

  42. I’m glad this is still up, four years after you posted it. Saved my ass after two hours of apple support forums, etc. Thanks!

  43. Solution worked 🙂
    Thanks a ton

  44. Thanks, it still works and so easy to do!

    This solution should be in Apples forums too. I spent many hours in despair, and I was already going to buy a new keyboard before I found this article.

  45. You sir , saved me so much of time and effort 🙂

    Thank you so much

  46. After reading solutions that ranged from OWC shielding fix to many others….this solution worked immediately for my 2012 mac mini. Thanks

  47. je jeongmindf

    April 1, 2015 at 2:19 am

    What a greate tip!!

    I’m looking for this info for three hours in all korean web site.
    But, I coundn’t find it.
    I found this page for one minute only in english site.

    Thanks so much Mr. Christopher and Google~

  48. You saved my day, thank you !

  49. That worked, thank you:)

  50. No good, I’m afraid. I’ve tried everything I can think of or find.

    My Mac Mini running OS 10.10.3 recognises my new Apple wireless keyboard but won’t pair to it. Looks like another long, tedious wait at the Mac store.

    Any further clues from anyone would be welcome.

  51. The problem seems to be in my Mac-Mini. The bluetooth keyboard will pair just fine. The Magic Mouse most of the time and the Magic Trackpad, not at all. It used to, but no longer. These devices will pair with both the desktop and the laptop, but not the Mini. Somewhere there was mention of a code for the trackpad, but I can’t bring up that screen again and don’t remember where I saw that in the first place. Oh, and the Mini will “see’ the device, just not connect with it.

  52. Happy to say that it totally soved my issue, even on our “legacy” Macbook. Thanks!

  53. Happy to say that it totally solved my issue, even on our “legacy” Macbook. Thanks!

  54. This just saved me a ton of frustration. Thank you!

  55. Excellent, worked! Thx!

    This one should be spread around on a few boards or something. .. or even added to the Apple support pages (in my dreams) …

  56. Thank you so much for this tip. It resolved my problem connecting my MC keyboard, MM and M Trackpad. However, I deleted not the exact file name mentioned here, instead I deleted the file com.apple.bluetoothFileExchange.plist instead the com.apple.bluetooth.plist only. I was hesitant to delete it at first but I just took my chance not to screw even more. Thankfully it worked and I successfully paired all of my devices back to normal.

    • yes this worked for me deleting com.apple.bluetoothFikeExchange.plist as I didn’t have com.apple.bluetooth.plist
      When I rebooted my Mac, I paired my keyboard back successfully

  57. WOW!

    I was really unhappy in last days, couldn’t connect my BT speaker anymore.. this is the only thing that seemed to help…

  58. Unfortunately with all the steps, upon turning Mac back on, I cannot figure out how to turn my bluetooth back on- I went into preferences, the button is grayed out & the icon in my toolbar says not available, etc.

    I tried to put the plist back, but it already has another one in there, from preferences- my guess. Not completely technically literate here 😉

    el capitan desktop mac 2008

    Any other advice? Thanks so much!

  59. Worked, thanks a lot. So when I was in the library file I noticed there are 100s of files com.apple etc. Can these all be deleted to make other things work better too or are some files necessary?

  60. Hi,
    I unable to connect my bluetooth speaker to my PC. The speaker is being discovered as a wireless speaker. I still can go ahead and add that as a bluetooth device. However, it does not play any sound. Could you please advise? Thanks much for your help in advance.
    Regards

  61. Thanks for solution, works now!

  62. THANK YOU SOOO MUCH for writing this article. It solved my problem.

  63. Hi guys,

    My com.apple.Bluetooth.plist is “locked” and I cannot delete it to follow these steps to connect my mouse. I’m feeling super frustrated at this point if anyone had any further guidance that would be amazing. 🙂

  64. I have a Motorola Whisper bluetooth that was pairing just fine with my Macbook Pro and then one day it stopped. It would connect but wouldn’t pair. Been driving me nuts for almost a week. Your instructions worked. I had to do it a few times but it finally worked. Thank you!!

  65. Christopher,
    Awesome info…Worked like magic!!!!!
    Your post is an absolute “sticky classic”…(I say as I’m bowing).

  66. hmmm… how do you get past the login prompt if your kybd is not connected – in case you don’t have a wired kybd handy?

  67. Worked. Thank you. Seriously.

  68. Hey Chris,
    I wish you had an ad in the sidebar of this page so you could get some recompense for these past SIX YEARS of saving our butts!! Thanks so much.

    Do you know WHY this problem arises, though, and why the solution works? I was curious.

    Thanks again!

  69. Step #4 Made all the difference. Thank you so much!!!! (Shut down computer. Do *not* restart, but do a full shut down.)

  70. Same problem here however, I cannot get past my logon screen in order to execute your solution. I didn’t do any updates lately.

  71. This was the only thing that fixed my MX Master Mouse from going ballistic connecting and re-connecting to my mac running macOS Sierra (unexpectedly for the first time) today. Thanks so much!

  72. I encountered a similar issue on OS X 10.10.5 wherein my AGPTEK bluetooth headset would intermittently fail to connect to my mac mini, and even when it successfully connected it wasn’t recognized as an audio sink. I was able to solve this problem without a shutdown/reboot cycle, as follows:
    1. Delete /Library/Preferences/com.apple.Bluetooth.plist (after making a backup copy)
    2. Power-off the headset
    2. Turn off Bluetooth/Turn on Bluetooth on the mac
    3. Open Bluetooth preferences, click the ‘x’ beside my AGPTEK headset’s entry under ‘devices’
    4. Power-on the headset
    5. Wait for mac’s Bluetooth scan to discover the headset, and then select pair

    I suspect step 3 might be all that was required, since this should facilitate a fresh pairing action as opposed to a re-pair.

  73. you smart .. thank you

  74. Thanks a lot! You saved my day!!!!!

  75. Saved me hours! Thank you! Before this I did try various tips that I found in other websites, including Apple’s, but none of them fixed it. Yours worked flawlessly.

  76. Mike Sutherland

    July 23, 2017 at 6:12 am

    HI Christopher,

    I was trying to set up my new bluetooth headphones to my macbook and followed your steps (along with many other different methods on various websites), but unfortunately now my mac isn’t even finding my phone (it did before), whereas my phone is finding both my mac and the new headphones without issue, so I know the problem lies firmly with the macbook. I am running the latest OSX. Any ideas how I can fix this?

    Thanking you in advance.
    Mike

  77. Thank you! This worked beautifully!

  78. Thanks Chris, got my bluetooth speakers back!!

  79. Thank you Christopher! Seven years later, your suggestion of deleting the bluetooth .plist fixed the problems I’ve been suffering with connections to a Logitech keyboard and mouse. Cheers!

  80. Good tip, worked for me. For what it’s worth, I didn’t need to do the full shut down and all that… deleting the file at /Library/Preferences/com.apple.Bluetooth.plist, turning off bluetooth, and pairing again worked just fine.

  81. Thank you Mr. Parsons. Just found your solution and after some struggling to find the aforementioned file (finder -> go->gotofile-> search~/library). It worked brilliantly. Happily reconnected. We owe you a pint!!

  82. Thanks! This worked for me. Delete the plist file, shutdown, boot, and add Hesh 2 Skull Candy bluetooth headphones.

    I didn’t have to re-add my keyboard and mouse — those just worked.

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