Quick Tip: What to do when Bluetooth Abandons your Mac

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Last week I was presenting to about 60 people and everything was going swimmingly. Keynote, which rarely fails, was spot on; the music playing through the bluetooth connected Supertooth Disco I had selected was perfect for the audience; it couldn’t have been going better. That was until the music stopped playing through the impressive wireless speaker and began playing through the tinny sounding speakers on my 15″ MacBook Pro.

Nearly all of us know of the finicky nature of Bluetooth, so I turned the speaker off and on, hoping a quick re-pairing would occur. But I was without luck. Even entering into pairing mode did not recover the connection. So in the remaining time I had during break, I looked at the bluetooth icon on the MBP. A strange new icon had replaced the when-connected regular icon. And when I selected it expecting to see this:

[image thanks to tech.ifelix.net]

Instead I simply saw the dropdown box read:

Bluetooth Unavailable

What?! I’ve never had that happen before! And, as you might expect, there was no time to solve it during break either.

Later that night at home, I’d hoped by rebooting the MBP, my bluetooth problem would abate, but nothing changed. Fortunately, I did discover a solution thanks to our friends at Mac-Forums!

If your bluetooth service is suddenly not available on your Mac, here is a fix:

01. Click on “Finder” in bottom left of your screen in the Dock
02. Click on your “Home” icon on the left (picture of a house)
03. Double-click on the “Library” folder
04. Double-click on “Preferences” folder
05. Delete file named “com.apple.Bluetooth.plist” (also delete any other item with “com.apple.Bluetooth…”, if any)
06. Shutdown your computer
07. Unplug all USB and Firewire devices
08. Unplug power cord
09. Remove battery (if it’s a Macbook or Macbook Pro)
10. Wait 1-2 min
11. Hold down power button for 10 sec with the battery out (if it’s a Macbook or Macbook Pro)
12. Insert battery (if it’s a Macbook or Macbook Pro)
13. Startup again
14. It should work!

I found two com.apple.Bluetooth… references so I deleted them both. And I am back to happily playing my tunes for my audiences.

 



  • Valerie

    It didnt work for me. What else do you suggest? I tried the SCm and PRAM reset and nothing works. How do i remove the battery of a macbook bro?? If i unscrew won’t it mess up my warranty?

    • Jay

      Valerie – at the time I wrote this, it was on a MacBook Pro that had a replaceable battery – and there’s a cover that can be unlocked to reveal the battery. If you’re referring to the new Retina MacBook Pro, it is sealed and cannot be accessed without voiding a warranty.

      This was the only experience I had that worked and can’t offer much more. Sorry, but good luck!

  • santiago

    Good! It worked. After a couple days trying various things, you came with the right solution. Thanks!

  • Lisa P

    Thank you sooo much, your step by step guide worked a treat. I was a bit scared at first to delete the file you mentioned, but then thought what the heck and now I’m back with bluetooth and a magic mouse that works. Cheers Lisa