Pro tip: How to troubleshoot Bluetooth issues in OS X Yosemite

In today's wireless world, good connectivity is paramount. Here are some tips to help you stay connected in OS X Yosemite.

Image: Apple

If you're a long-time Apple user, you've no doubt noticed the gradual moves the company has made to eliminate wires from the Mac user experience.

From the the release of the wireless mouse and keyboard in the early 2000s to the lack of an onboard Ethernet port on the Macbook Air, it's clear that Apple is pursuing a specific aesthetic and experience. For the most part, the wireless works great, but sometimes it hits a snag.

As with most software, the bigger bugs tend to rear their heads with the release of a new OS version. With the release of Apple's OS X Yosemite, there were a list of small issues that came with it, many of which had to do with Bluetooth.

"Whether your keyboard won't connect or your mouse lags, there's a fix.

There's no way to say for certain what underlying issues are causing these problems, but there are some common troubleshooting tips you can use to try and remedy the situation. Let's start with the simplest solution -- turning it off and back on."

Under the system preferences tab, click "Bluetooth" on the third row down. Once in Bluetooth, you should have the option to turn Bluetooth off. After disabling Bluetooth, turn it back on again, wait for your peripherals to reconnect and see if that solves your problem.


If this doesn't solve your problems, you should consider resetting the parameter random access memory (PRAM) on your machine. The PRAM holds a host of settings and values, and resetting it can clear out any problems it might be holding onto.

To reset the PRAM, start by shutting down your Mac. Then, hold down the Cmd+Option+P+R keys as you reboot the machine. Continue holding those keys until you hear the computer chime twice, and then you can release them.


Another seemingly strange, troubleshooting tip that was recommended by Apple support involves USB devices connected to your Mac. Start by disconnecting all USB devices connected to your machine and shut your machine down. Leave your Mac turned off for two minutes and then boot the machine and plug all of your USB devices back in.

Next, open your system preferences tab again and click "Bluetooth" again. Under the "Devices" column on the right hand side you should see your Bluetooth devices listed. Click the "Pair" button to the right of the device name to try to pair the devices again.


One last thing you can try is resetting your machine's System Management Controller (SMC). The SMC manages many hardware settings and power settings on your Mac, so it doesn't seem like it would fix Bluetooth issues, but some users have reported success with this tactic.

Much like the PRAM reset, you'll start by fully shutting down your machine. Now, at this point, the steps differ if you are working with a modern Macbook without a removable battery, a Macbook with a removable battery, or a desktop machine such as an iMac or a Mac Mini.

We'll start with the steps for Macbook without a removable battery.

Once your Macbook is powered down, plug in your power adapter. Using the built-in keyboard, not a bluetooth connected one, hold down the Shift+Control+Option keys on the left side of the keyboard and the Power button at the same time. It is important that you use the keys on the left side, and that all keys, including the power button, are held down simultaneously.


After you've held them down for a second or two, you can release the keys. Nothing visible will happen to indicate that the SMC was reset. After you release the keys, you can boot the machine up as normal.

For Macbooks with a removable battery, you'll want to disconnect the power adapter after shutting down and then remove the battery. With the adapter and battery removed, press the power button down and hold it for five seconds. After releasing the power button, reconnect the adapter and the battery and boot the machine up as normal.

The iMac and "desktop" machines are the simplest to reset the SMC. After shutting down your iMac, unplug the power cord and wait about 15 seconds. After you plug the cord back in, wait five or more seconds and then boot the machine as normal.

Hopefully these tips will get your Bluetooth back to normal.

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