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Bluetooth Quick Assist

Having issues with your Apple Wireless Keyboard or Mouse? Do you need help syncing a Bluetooth phone or hand-held device with your Mac?

Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology that lets you connect computers, input devices, mobile phones, and handheld devices to each other without cables. To use a Bluetooth device with your computer, your Mac must have either a built-in Bluetooth module or a compatible USB Bluetooth adapter connected.

What do you need help with?

Syncing Bluetooth devices with your Mac

  1. Make sure that your computer has Bluetooth
    Make sure that your computer has Bluetooth built-in or that a compatible Bluetooth adapter is connected. Open System Preferences (from the Apple menu, choose System Preferences), then choose Bluetooth from the View menu.
     
  2. Turn on Bluetooth
    In Bluetooth preferences, select the "On" checkbox (for earlier Mac OS X versions, click the Settings tab, then click Bluetooth Power: On). Make sure that you also enable Bluetooth on your device, too; refer to your device's documentation for instructions. If you want your Mac to be discoverable, select that option as well.
     
  3. Set up a new device
    To set up a Bluetooth device, click “Set Up New Device” (in earlier Mac OS X versions, click the Devices tab in Bluetooth, then click "Set Up New Device"). Follow the onscreen instructions to set up your device.

    To set up an Apple Wireless Keyboard and Mouse in earlier Mac OS X versions, open System Preferences, click Keyboard & Mouse, click the Bluetooth tab, and then click “Set Up New Device” to open the Bluetooth Setup Assistant. Follow the onscreen instructions to set up your keyboard and mouse.

Additional Bluetooth help

Built-in Mac Help provides step-by-step instructions about how to do many activities on your computer. For additional Bluetooth help, in the Finder choose Mac Help from the Help menu and then type Bluetooth in the search field in the upper-right corner.

Top troubleshooting tips

  1. Make sure that you have Bluetooth
    Make sure that your computer has Bluetooth built-in or that a compatible Bluetooth adapter is connected. Open System Preferences (from the Apple menu, choose System Preferences), then choose Bluetooth from the View menu. If you're using a USB Bluetooth adapter, make sure that you connect it directly to a USB port on your computer—not to a port on your keyboard, display, or USB hub.
     
  2. Check your device's system requirements
    Make sure that your computer meets your Bluetooth device's system requirements—visit the device manufacturer's website for details. This also applies to a USB Bluetooth adapter, if you use one.
     
  3. Make sure that Bluetooth and your device are turned on
    To check your computer's Bluetooth status, choose System Preferences from the Apple menu, then click Bluetooth. In Bluetooth preferences, make sure "On" is selected (in earlier Mac OS X versions, click the Settings tab, then click the Bluetooth On button to turn on Bluetooth). Check your device to make sure that it's also powered on. If you're trying to pair a Bluetooth phone or PDA, make sure that Bluetooth is active and that the device is “discoverable” (consult your product manual if you're unsure about how to change these settings on your device).
     
  4. Verify that you've set up your device with your computer
    If you're trying to pair a phone or handheld device with your computer, open System Preferences and click Bluetooth (and click the Devices tab in earlier Mac OS X versions). You should see your device listed. If not, follow the instructions for Syncing Bluetooth devices with your Mac above. To set up an Apple Wireless Keyboard and Mouse in earlier Mac OS X versions, open System Preferences, click Keyboard & Mouse, click the Bluetooth tab, and then click “Set Up New Device” to open the Bluetooth Setup Assistant. Follow the onscreen instructions to set up your keyboard and mouse. Some older versions of Mac OS X, include Bluetooth Setup Assistant in the Utilities folder (/Applications/Utilities) to help with pairing issues.
     
  5. Recharge or replace your Bluetooth device's battery
    If your Bluetooth device's battery is low, you may experience connection issues. Depending on the type of device you have, try charging your battery (if your device has a rechargeable battery) or replacing disposable batteries with fresh ones.
     
  6. Download and install the latest software for the device
    Some Bluetooth devices require you to install software before you can use them with your Mac. Make sure that you've installed any required software or that you're using the latest software available for the device on your computer. Check the device manufacturer's website for the latest updates and more information. For help with syncing a Palm OS device with your Mac over Bluetooth, see iSync 2: How to sync a Palm OS device over Bluetooth.
     
  7. Check for a Bluetooth update
    To check for new software, choose Software Update from the Apple menu (make sure that your computer is connected to the Internet). If newer Apple Bluetooth software exists, Software Update will prompt you to install it. To install an update, select the checkbox next to the software name and then click Install.
     
  8. Reduce potential signal interference
    Because Bluetooth works by transmitting signals through the air, some things can interfere with connections. Avoid situations in which metal objects come between your device and computer. Don't put your computer under a metal desk or in a metal cabinet. Keep your computer away from cordless phone base stations, microwave ovens, and other electrical devices that operate on a 2.4 GHz bandwidth. Make sure that your device and computer aren't more than 30 feet apart from each other.
     
  9. Restart your computer
    Sometimes a simple restart of your Mac is all it takes to get things running smoothly again. You may also want to try resetting your computer's PRAM and NVRAM.
     
  10. Reset your Bluetooth device
    Try turning your device off and then on again. If that doesn't resolve the issue, see if you can reset your device—refer to the documentation that came with your device for instructions.
     

Still having issues?

If the tips above don't resolve your issue, here are some other things to try:

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Feb 2, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Feb 2, 2013
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