Once I adopted Macs as my everyday workstations, I hoped Bluetooth connectivity issues were a problem of the past. I was wrong. Occasionally, Bluetooth problems arise. Here are the steps I recently followed troubleshooting intermittent connectivity issues on my Mac.
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The problem arose with a beloved Logitech MX Master 3 for Mac mouse that began intermittently disconnecting from my Intel-powered 13-inch 2020 MacBook Pro. The mouse would become nonresponsive. Though I received no “connection lost” message on the Mac, the pointer did not respond to movement nor did clicks register. The problem would typically correct itself within four or five seconds. Still, the problem proved interruptive and almost always resulted in my becoming confused and frustrated, as clicks didn’t execute commands and the mouse pointer shot to new and unexpected screen locations.
Starting to troubleshoot the mouse issues
I began by following fundamental guidance. I disabled and re-enabled Bluetooth on the Mac by opening System Preferences, clicking Bluetooth and clicking the Turn Bluetooth Off button. Then I disabled and re-enabled the mouse using its sliding power button. I also fully charged the mouse.
No joy. The problem persisted.
Next, I removed the mouse’s Bluetooth profile on the Mac by opening the Mac’s Bluetooth preferences, highlighting the mouse entry and clicking the corresponding encircled X, as shown in Figure A.
After re-connecting the mouse (by holding down its settings button until the numeral setting began rapidly blinking and clicking Connect within the Mac’s Bluetooth preferences), the problem disappeared. But only for a short period. Soon the connection issues returned.
So, I tried starting from scratch. I uninstalled the Logitech Options software and again removed the mouse’s Bluetooth entry. After ensuring no macOS updates or fixes were available, I rebooted the Mac for good measure, then reinstalled Logitech’s software, ensuring I was working with the most current release, and re-connected the mouse.
The problem disappeared for 20 minutes or so, but again reappeared.
Digging deeper: Trying a different Mac
Those are the steps that typically restore proper connectivity. If you try those solutions but still encounter trouble, it’s time to dig deeper.
My next step was to use the mouse with a different Mac. I also use an Apple M1-powered Mac, so I set the laptop up in the same location using the same mouse. And guess what: No problems. Throughout a heavy morning and afternoon of computer use, the Logitech device and MacBook Pro performed flawlessly.
While not the solution, the experience demonstrated the Logitech mouse was performing properly. Based on the experiment, I could reasonably conclude neither the mouse’s electronics nor its Bluetooth radio were responsible for the intermittent issues.
Also, because I used the mouse within the same environment and in the same conditions—with an iMac and its wireless mouse and keyboard located just inches away—I could dismiss concerns the mouse’s Bluetooth signal was a victim of crossover or attenuation.
Perplexed, I returned to using the apparently malfunctioning MacBook Pro. Only this time I connected a different Logitech Bluetooth mouse, an older MX Master 2S model. After a few minutes of proper operation, that mouse also malfunctioned, returning to proper operation shortly thereafter.
Because the problems arose after installing the macOS Monterey 12.3.1 update, it’s possible a conflict was introduced with the update that’s preventing the Intel-powered MacBook Pro from properly communicating with external Bluetooth mice. But such an explanation is inauspicious for two reasons. First, Apple’s developers have an encouraging record of not usually introducing new problems. Second, simple internet searches fail to surface other complaints.
Having nothing to lose, I continued digging. Anecdotal evidence suggests you can delete the Mac’s Bluetooth Property List by using Finder to navigate to the Macintosh HD, double-clicking Library and then the Preferences folder and deleting the com.apple.Bluetooth.plist file, as shown in Figure B. Some claim this step eliminates issues, so I deleted the file and rebooted the Mac.
Trial and error sometimes works
In my case, the step appears to have worked. For now, I’m working with fingers crossed. While I, and likely you, both prefer definitive resolutions, sometimes troubleshooting and resolving intermittent issues such as this requires persistent trial-and-error efforts. Here’s hoping this problem’s licked.