Turning on Bluetooth on Your Mac and Pairing New Devices

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Turning on Bluetooth on Your Mac and Pairing New Devices
Turning on Bluetooth on Your Mac and Pairing New Devices

Because Bluetooth is built into all new Macs, you should know how to utilize it to couple various devices with it. It’s a basic feature, although certain aspects may be unfamiliar to you.

Let’s take a look at how to enable Bluetooth on your Mac and what to do next. We’ll look at how to check whether your Mac supports Bluetooth, where to enable it, and how to link a new device.

Does My Mac Have Bluetooth?

Bluetooth capability is incorporated into all recent Mac computers (launched in 2011 or later). Bluetooth on your MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, or iMac does not need any further purchases.

Simply follow the instructions below to activate Bluetooth on your Mac and get started. If you don’t see any Bluetooth settings in your System Preferences panel, you’re probably using an old Mac that doesn’t support Bluetooth.

In this instance, you may be able to buy a Bluetooth adaptor for your PC. However, the majority of them are made for Windows, so make sure you pick one that is marked as macOS compatible.

If your Mac is so ancient that it doesn’t support Bluetooth, you should consider replacing it. One of the numerous issues with older devices like these is the absence of Bluetooth connectivity.

How to Turn On Bluetooth on Mac

Bluetooth is simple to use on your Mac, but you must first activate it. To enable Bluetooth, go to the Apple menu in the upper-left corner of the screen and choose System Preferences. Select Bluetooth from the resulting popup.

The Bluetooth icon is located on the left side of the Bluetooth panel, with its current status shown underneath. If Bluetooth is turned off, click the Turn Bluetooth On button to activate it. That’s all it takes to enable Bluetooth on a Mac. While you’re here, tick the Show Bluetooth in menu bar box if it isn’t already checked. This will add a Bluetooth icon at the top of your screen, enabling you to access Bluetooth connections without having to go into this panel every time.

Now that you’ve enabled Bluetooth on your Mac, let’s look at how to connect devices to it.

How to Connect Bluetooth Devices to Your Mac

You must link a Bluetooth device with your Mac before you may use it for the first time. If you’ve ever used Bluetooth on another device, you’re probably acquainted with the idea of discoverability.

Because several Bluetooth devices are often found in close vicinity, you must manually couple devices for your security. This is only possible if the gadget is discoverable (also known as being in “pairing mode”).

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Your PC is discoverable when you access the Bluetooth settings panel on your Mac, as described above.

The intricacies of the Bluetooth connection procedure in macOS are determined by the device to be paired.

Pairing New Bluetooth Devices to Your Mac

When you enter the Bluetooth settings page, most other operating systems (including Windows, Android, and iOS) set themselves as discoverable, just like macOS. The specific technique to enter pairing mode for devices without a user interface, such as Bluetooth keyboards, mouse, headphones, and similar, depends on the device.

Typically, this entails holding down the Power button for a few seconds or tapping a combination of buttons. For further information, see the user manual for your device.

Once your second device is in pairing mode, its name should display under Devices in your Mac’s Bluetooth settings. Connect the one you wish to add by clicking the Connect button next to it.

Many Bluetooth devices need you to confirm that a given PIN matches on both devices. Check that this is true, particularly if you are in a busy place with many devices.

If you have to manually enter a PIN (typically only with older devices), it is generally a basic combination like 0000, 1111, or 1234.

You’ve now successfully associated your Mac and the second device through Bluetooth. When they’re both switched on and within 30 feet of each other, they’ll instantly connect. As a result, you don’t have to go through the pairing procedure every time you want to utilize the same device.

If your gadgets do not connect automatically, you may always connect them manually. Any previously associated devices appear under Devices in the Bluetooth settings panel (as well as the menu bar icon shortcut). To connect to a device, make sure it is turned on and then double-click its name.

If this does not work, then detach the linked device from any other paired PCs. Most Bluetooth devices will have troubles when used with numerous devices at the same time, while the current Bluetooth standards are striving to address this.

To remove a device from the list, right-click it and choose Remove. After you do this, the device will no longer connect automatically; you will need to pair it again before you can use it.

If you’ve activated the Bluetooth menu bar icon, as previously suggested, you’ll always see the Bluetooth logo there. You may use it to rapidly turn on or off Bluetooth, connect to a device, or view the entire settings panel.

Understanding the macOS Bluetooth Icon

The symbol will vary depending on the condition of Bluetooth. A simple indicator indicates that Bluetooth is switched on. Meanwhile, if Bluetooth is switched off, the Bluetooth logo will have a slash across it.

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Other graphic modifications were made to the Bluetooth icon in previous versions of macOS to transmit relevant information. Unfortunately, Apple eliminated them with the release of macOS Big Sur.

When you have at least one Bluetooth device connected to your Mac, you’ll see the Bluetooth symbol with three dots above it on previous versions of macOS. When there is a Bluetooth issue, you may also notice a zigzag line above the symbol. If you notice this, restart your Mac, and then go through Bluetooth troubleshooting (detailed below).

For a desktop Mac, many users utilize a Bluetooth mouse and/or keyboard. As you would expect, having Bluetooth unexpectedly switched off might cause issues here since you require those devices to access the Bluetooth menu.

Turning On Bluetooth on Your Mac Without a Mouse or Keyboard

Fortunately, macOS does not disable Bluetooth on Macs without a trackpad until a USB mouse is connected. If your Mac does not recognize a keyboard or mouse, it should display the Bluetooth Setup Assistant. However, if anything goes wrong with those tools, you may re-enable Bluetooth on your Mac using just a mouse or a keyboard.

Because a MacBook has a built-in keyboard and trackpad, this isn’t a problem. On an iMac, though, you’ll need to attach a USB mouse or keyboard to do this.

To enable Bluetooth without using a mouse, launch Spotlight search by pressing Cmd + Space. To open Bluetooth File Exchange, search for it and hit Return. When you run the app, a popup will appear informing you that Bluetooth is disabled.

Return to accept the request to enable Bluetooth. If you need to access the Bluetooth panel, open Spotlight again and enter System Preferences, then use the search box in that menu to look for Bluetooth.

If you don’t have a keyboard nearby, use your mouse to go to the Bluetooth menu bar icon or System Preferences panel.

If you don’t have any USB devices available, detach everything from your Mac except the power wire as a final resort. Then, using the actual power button, turn it off. Check that your Bluetooth devices are charged and switched on before restarting your Mac. This should launch the Bluetooth setup process and reconnect your devices. If it still doesn’t work, check additional Mac mouse repair suggestions.

macOS used to have a few more Bluetooth settings. However, as with macOS Monterey, they are no longer accessible. If you’re on macOS Big Sur or earlier, have a look at these extra Bluetooth settings. They are accessible through the Advanced button in the Bluetooth System Preferences panel.

The first two settings in Open Bluetooth Setup Assistant are for pairing ease. As previously stated, they cause your Mac to launch the Bluetooth Setup screen immediately if you power on your computer without a keyboard, mouse, or trackpad attached. This enables you to simply pair and connect your Bluetooth equipment without having to fumble through settings.

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Advanced Bluetooth Settings (for Older macOS Versions)

If you want Bluetooth devices to wake your computer, choose the third option, Allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer. With it enabled, pushing a key on a keyboard or clicking a mouse button on a linked Bluetooth device will wake up a sleeping computer.

Do you have Bluetooth issues on your Mac? Remember that there is a practical limit to the number of Bluetooth devices that can be connected to a PC. If you connect more than three or four devices at once, you may have poor performance and will be unable to add more devices. Only couple devices that you want to use often.

Also, keep in mind that Bluetooth has a range restriction. This is usually approximately 30 feet, however it varies depending on the devices you’re utilizing. This range may also be affected by interference from other wireless devices or barriers.

Troubleshooting Mac Bluetooth Issues

If you see the “unavailable” Bluetooth symbol in your menu bar or have other issues while utilizing Bluetooth on your Mac, your system may be experiencing a hardware malfunction. To obtain assistance with your issue, see our Mac Bluetooth troubleshooting guide.

You now understand how to enable Bluetooth on your Mac and how to utilize it. In most circumstances, once you pair a device, it should connect and function normally. Bluetooth is an appealing utility due to the ease of use of wireless devices and near-universal compatibility.

If you see the “unavailable” Bluetooth icon in your menu bar or run into other problems using Bluetooth on your Mac, your system may have a hardware issue. Follow our Mac Bluetooth troubleshooting guide to get help with your problem.

Enjoy Bluetooth on Your Mac

Now you know everything about turning on Bluetooth on your Mac and how to use it. In most cases, after you pair a device, it should connect and work without much trouble. The convenience of using wireless devices and near-universal support makes Bluetooth an attractive utility.

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