How to Fix Bluetooth Not Available on Mac Featured Image

How to Fix Bluetooth Not Available on Mac: 12 Best Ways

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Last updated: August 26, 2023

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Ever tried to jam out to your favorite song, only to discover your Bluetooth headphones won’t connect to your Mac? Or been in the middle of an important presentation, and your Bluetooth mouse decides to play hide and seek? Welcome to the occasionally maddening world of wireless tech!

While Macs are renowned for their reliability, they too have moments of rebellion. But before you throw your Mac out of the window (please, don’t!), check out the user-friendly solutions to fix Bluetooth not available on Mac issue that I’ve rounded up in this guide.

Before We Begin

Not always, but sometimes, system junk and cache files interfere with your Bluetooth connectivity. So, it’s better to clear system junk regularly using a trusted tool like MacKeeper. Its Safe Cleanup feature can help you get rid of cache and junk files on your Mac in just one click.

Why Is Bluetooth Not Available on Your Mac?

If you’re encountering a “Bluetooth Not Available” message on your Mac, there could be several reasons behind it. Here are some of the most common culprits:

  • 🔄 System glitches: Sometimes, temporary system glitches can cause Bluetooth to malfunction. This is often resolved by simply restarting your Mac or resetting the Bluetooth module.
  • 🔧 Outdated software: Running an outdated macOS or having old Bluetooth drivers can lead to connectivity issues.
  • 📡 Hardware interference: Devices like wireless routers, cordless phones, or even other Bluetooth devices can cause signal interference, leading to connection problems.
  • 🚫 Hardware failure: In rare cases, the Bluetooth hardware inside your Mac may be faulty or damaged, which could cause it to stop working.
  • 🏘️ Distance and obstacles: The Bluetooth range is typically limited to around 30 feet (9 meters) without obstacles. Physical barriers, such as walls or being too far from the device you’re trying to connect to, can lead to issues.
  • 🔌 Too many connected devices: Bluetooth has a limit on the number of devices it can handle at once. If you’re near or at this limit, it might cause problems.
  • 🗂️ Corrupted files: Sometimes, system or preference files related to Bluetooth might become corrupted, leading to a “Bluetooth Not Available” message.

How to Quickly Fix Bluetooth Not Available on Mac Error

Bluetooth connectivity is essential if you rely on wireless devices like keyboards, mice, and headphones. But what should you do when you see the dreaded “Bluetooth Not Available” error on your Mac? Thankfully, there are plenty of solutions to help you regain your wireless connections.

Before I bring out the big guns, let’s try simple troubleshooting to fix Bluetooth not available on Mac.

1. Turn Bluetooth Off and Back On

The simplest fix to establish a Bluetooth connection on a Mac is often to toggle Bluetooth off and back on.

If you’re wondering how to turn on Bluetooth on Mac, the steps vary slightly, depending on your macOS version. Below, I’ve shared the steps for the latest and older macOS versions.

If you’re using macOS Ventura, Monterey, or Big Sur:

  1. Click the Control Center icon in the top-right corner of the menu bar.
click control center in the menu bar
  1. In the Control Center, click the Bluetooth icon to turn it off.
click bluetooth in control center
  1. Wait a few seconds, then click the Bluetooth icon again to turn it back on.

If you’re using macOS Catalina or earlier:

  1. Go to System Preferences.
  2. Click the Bluetooth app icon.
  3. Select Turn Bluetooth Off.
  4. Wait for a few seconds, then select Turn Bluetooth On.

This should fix the Bluetooth connectivity issue in most cases. But if it doesn’t, proceed with the next solutions.

2. Disconnect All USB Devices

USB devices can sometimes interfere with Bluetooth connectivity. This is particularly true for older Macs or those with many connected devices. Removing all USB devices (e.g., external hard drives, flash drives) can often resolve the issue and get Bluetooth working again.

Follow these steps to disconnect USB devices from your Mac:

  1. Start by identifying all the USB devices currently connected to your Mac. This might include external hard drives, flash drives, printers, cameras, or other peripherals.
  2. For devices like external hard drives, it’s important to eject them properly to avoid data loss. To do this, click the Eject icon next to the device’s name in Finder, or right-click the device on your Desktop and select Eject.
  3. Physically remove the USB devices from your Mac’s ports.
  4. Once you have removed all USB devices, restart your Mac. Click the Apple menu, select Restart, and wait for your Mac to boot up again.
click the apple icon and select restart

If you can now see and connect to Bluetooth devices after restarting, one of the USB devices might have been causing interference.

Start reconnecting your USB devices one at a time. After connecting each device, check the Bluetooth function again. If the Bluetooth problem resurfaces after connecting a particular device, that device might be the culprit.

3. Restart Your Mac

A simple restart can resolve many issues, including Bluetooth connectivity problems. Here’s how to restart your Mac:

  1. Click the Apple menu.
  2. Select Restart.
click the apple icon and select restart
  1. Wait for your Mac to boot up again.

4. Turn Off All Other Bluetooth Devices

Other Bluetooth devices in your vicinity can sometimes interfere with your Mac’s Bluetooth connectivity, causing pairing issues or preventing it from discovering devices. Turning off these devices can minimize the risk of interference and potentially resolve the problem.

Here’s how to do that:

  1. Check how many Bluetooth devices are within your Mac’s range. This includes your devices, such as headphones, smartwatches, or other computers, as well as devices belonging to others, like shared office equipment.
  2. For your devices, go through each one and turn off Bluetooth. This is usually done through a device’s settings or by pressing a physical switch.
  3. If you’re in a shared space, consider politely asking others to temporarily turn off their Bluetooth devices.
  4. With other Bluetooth devices turned off, check your Mac’s Bluetooth functionality. Click the Bluetooth icon in the Control Center and see if you can discover and connect to devices.
click bluetooth in control center
  1. Start turning your Bluetooth devices back on, one at a time.
  2. After each one, test your Mac’s Bluetooth function. If the problem recurs after a particular device is turned on, that device might be causing the interference.

More Ways to Fix the Bluetooth Not Working on Mac Issue

If the quick fixes above haven’t resolved your Bluetooth problems, you can still take several more advanced troubleshooting steps. These solutions address various potential causes, from software conflicts to hardware issues.

While they might require a little more effort and technical know-how, they can effectively resolve even stubborn Bluetooth connectivity issues. Let’s dive right in.

1. Delete the Bluetooth .plist Files

Corrupted Bluetooth configuration files might be the cause of your issue. To delete them:

Your Mac’s Bluetooth settings and configurations are stored in .plist files. Sometimes, these files can become corrupted or out-of-date, leading to Bluetooth connectivity issues. By deleting these files, you can effectively reset your Bluetooth settings, which may resolve the Bluetooth not available on Mac error.

Here’s how to delete the Bluetooth .plist files on Mac:

  1. Open Finder and press Command ⌘ + Shift ⇧ + G.
macbook pro command shift g keys
  1. In the Go to Folder window, type the following path and press Enter:
/Library/Preferences/
type library preferences path in the window
  1. Find and delete the files named com.apple.Bluetooth.plist and com.apple.Bluetooth.plist.lockfile.
delete the files com apple bluetooth plist and com apple bluetooth plist lockfile
  1. Restart your Mac.

2. Check Your Mac’s Bluetooth Device Settings

If your Mac’s Bluetooth still isn’t working, checking your Bluetooth device settings is crucial. Follow the steps below to make sure your Bluetooth device is connected properly and has the correct settings:

  1. Confirm your Bluetooth device is powered on and has an adequate battery charge. If not, turn it on or charge it.
  2. Ensure your Bluetooth device is correctly paired with your Mac. If you haven’t paired it before, consult the device’s user manual for instructions.
  3. Make sure your Bluetooth device is set to discoverable mode, so your Mac can detect it.

For Bluetooth Speaker

If you’re connecting a Bluetooth speaker or other audio device, follow these steps:

  1. Open System Settings from the Apple menu.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Select Sound.
  2. Go to the Output tab.
select sound and go to the output tab
  1. Choose your Bluetooth device from the list.

For Bluetooth Headsets/Microphones

For Bluetooth headsets with microphones, follow these steps:

  1. Open System Settings from the Apple menu.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Select Sound.
  2. Go to the Input tab.
select sound and go to the input tab
  1. Choose your Bluetooth device from the list.

Choose the Correct Audio Device

  1. Click the Control Center icon in the menu bar.
click control center in the menu bar
  1. Click the small > icon on the Sound slider.
click the icon on the sound slider
  1. Select your Bluetooth audio device from the list.
select your bluetooth audio device from the list
  1. Try using your Bluetooth device and see if it’s working as expected.

3. Forget and Re-pair Your Bluetooth Device With Your Mac

Bluetooth connectivity issues on your Mac can sometimes be resolved by forgetting and re-pairing your Bluetooth device. This process resets the connection between your Mac and the device, which can help resolve any connection glitches or conflicts that may have arisen.

How to Reconnect a Bluetooth Device to Mac

  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click Bluetooth.
  2. Right-click the problematic device and choose Forget.
click the problematic device and choose forget
  1. Re-pair the device by turning it on and selecting it in the Bluetooth settings.

4. Reset the Bluetooth Module

If you’re still experiencing Bluetooth issues on your Mac, resetting the Bluetooth module could be a solution. This will restart the Bluetooth hardware and clear any temporary data causing connectivity problems.

Please note that doing this will temporarily disconnect any Bluetooth devices you have connected.

The steps to reset the Bluetooth module vary depending on your macOS version. Below, I’ve shared the steps for the most recent and older macOS versions.

Reset Bluetooth on macOS Ventura and Monterey

The only way to reset Bluetooth on macOS Ventura and Monterey is via Terminal. Here’s how to use Terminal to reset Bluetooth on your Mac:

  1. Open Terminal from Applications > Utilities.
launch terminal from utilities
  1. Type the following command and press Enter:
sudo pkill bluetoothd
type the command sudo pkill bluetoothd and press enter
  1. Enter your admin password when prompted.

Reset Bluetooth on macOS Big Sur

  1. Click the Control Center icon in the menu bar.
  2. Hold down the Shift ⇧ + Option ⌥ keys and click the word Bluetooth.
  3. Select Reset the Bluetooth module.

Reset Bluetooth on macOS Catalina or Earlier

If you’re using macOS Catalina or an earlier version, you can use the Debug menu to troubleshoot Bluetooth problems. Follow these steps to access it:

  1. Open System Preferences and select Bluetooth.
  2. Check the box for Show Bluetooth in menu bar.
  3. Press and hold the Shift ⇧ and Option ⌥ keys on your keyboard.
  4. While holding down these keys, click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar.
  5. Hover your cursor over the Debug option in the dropdown menu and you’ll find three options: Reset the Bluetooth module, Factory reset all Apple devices, and Remove all devices.

I recommend trying each option sequentially. After selecting Reset the Bluetooth module, try connecting your Bluetooth devices to see if the issue persists.

5. Remove Your System Junk

Sometimes, the system cache can conflict with settings and programs, including Bluetooth, affecting their normal functioning. You can use a system cleaner tool, like MacKeeper, to remove junk files causing system conflicts.

Here’s how to use MacKeeper to clear junk files on your Mac:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
  2. Once done, open MacKeeper and select Safe Cleanup in the left sidebar.
click safe cleanup under the cleaning section
  1. Click Start Scan.
click start scan in safe cleanup
  1. Select files from the scan results to remove unnecessary cache items from your system. You can also click the Check All checkbox.
select junk files to remove or click check all
  1. Click Clean Junk Files.
tap clean junk files
  1. You will receive confirmation that the cleaning process has been completed successfully. Click Rescan to scan your Mac again.
click rescan in safe cleanup

What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

Besides cleaning cache files on your Mac, MacKeeper can remove login items, delete duplicate files, and free up your Mac’s RAM. Check out my detailed MacKeeper review to learn about these features.

6. Update Your macOS

Keeping your macOS updated is essential for optimal performance and security. Bluetooth issues can sometimes arise due to software glitches or compatibility problems, which are often resolved in newer macOS versions.

Updating your operating system can benefit from the latest bug fixes and improvements, which may include a solution to your Bluetooth connectivity issues. Here’s how to update your macOS on Mac:

  1. Click the Apple menu and select System Settings.
click the apple icon and select system settings
  1. Click General and select Software Update.
click general and select software update
  1. Install any available updates by clicking the Update Now button.
click the update now button

7. Reset the SMC

The SMC is responsible for low-level hardware functions such as battery management, thermal management, and, importantly, Bluetooth and other system hardware components.

Resetting the System Management Controller (SMC) can resolve hardware-related issues on your Mac, including Bluetooth connectivity problems. Follow these steps to reset the SMC on your Mac:

Before performing any troubleshooting steps that involve resetting hardware settings, it’s always a good idea to back up your data.

For Macs With Non-Removable Batteries

  1. Shut down your Mac.
click the apple icon and select shut down
  1. Plug in the power adapter to your Mac and to a power source.
  2. Press the left Shift ⇧ + Control ^ + Option ⌥ and power button keys on the keyboard simultaneously for 10 seconds.
macbook air power shift control option keys
  1. Release all the keys and the power button at the same time.
  2. Press the power button again to turn on your Mac.

For Macs With Removable Batteries

  1. Shut down your Mac.
click the apple icon and select shut down
  1. Disconnect the power adapter.
  2. Remove the battery.
remove macs battery
  1. Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.
press and hold the power button on your mac
  1. Reconnect the battery and power adapter.
reinstall macs battery
  1. Press the power button to turn on your Mac.
press and hold the power button on your mac

After resetting the SMC, turn on your Mac and check if your Bluetooth connectivity issues have been resolved.

Resetting the SMC should only be done when other troubleshooting steps haven’t worked, as it affects low-level hardware settings.

8. Reset Your PRAM/NVRAM

PRAM/NVRAM stores information related to system settings, such as display resolution, audio volume, and Bluetooth configurations. By resetting PRAM/NVRAM, you can clear any corrupted settings and restore them to default values.

Here’s how to reset the NVRAM/PRAM on your Mac:

As a precaution, back up your Mac data before performing any hardware resets.

  1. Click the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your screen and select Shut Down.
click the apple icon and select shut down
  1. Once your Mac is completely shut down, press the power button to turn it back on.
macbook air touch id
  1. Immediately after pressing the power button, hold down the Option ⌥ + Command ⌘ + P + R keys on your keyboard simultaneously.
macbook air option command p r keys
  1. Continue holding down the keys for about 20 seconds.
  2. During this time, your Mac may appear to restart, which is normal.
  3. After 20 seconds, release the keys. Your Mac will continue starting up normally.
  4. Open the Bluetooth settings on your Mac and test your Bluetooth devices to see if the connectivity issues have been resolved.

It’s essential to note that resetting PRAM/NVRAM affects specific system settings, and you may need to reconfigure them after the reset.

Connect Bluetooth Devices With Your Mac

Bluetooth issues on a Mac can be frustrating, but you can try several solutions, from simple fixes, such as restarting your device or resetting the Bluetooth module, to more advanced troubleshooting steps, like updating your operating system or resetting the SMC and PRAM/NVRAM.

Here are some more tips for you:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is Bluetooth not available on my Mac?

    Bluetooth may not be available on your Mac for various reasons, including software glitches, interference from other devices, or incorrect settings. Troubleshooting steps such as restarting your Mac, resetting the Bluetooth module, or updating macOS can help resolve Bluetooth connectivity issues.

  2. How to restart Bluetooth on Mac without using mouse or keyboard?

    To restart Bluetooth on a Mac without using a mouse or keyboard, you can use Voice Control. Enable Voice Control in System Settings, then give commands to navigate to the Bluetooth settings and toggle it off and on. This allows you to control Bluetooth using only your voice.

  3. Do I need to download Bluetooth drivers on Mac?

    You generally don’t need to download Bluetooth drivers on Mac, as macOS has built-in Bluetooth device support. However, you may need additional drivers or software for some third-party peripherals. Always check the device manufacturer’s website or documentation for specific installation instructions and driver requirements.

Hashir Ibrahim

Author

I'm Hashir, a tech journalist with a decade of experience. My work has been featured in some of the top tech publications like MakeUseOf and MakeTechEasier. I have a bachelor's degree in IT, a master's in cybersecurity, and extensive knowledge of Apple hardware, specifically MacBooks. As the senior writer at MacBook Journal, I write in depth guides that help you solve any issues you have with your mac and unbiased reviews that help you make the right buying decisions.

Ojash

Reviewer

Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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