Bluetooth is as fantastic as it is temperamental. It allows our devices to communicate with each other wirelessly, allowing us to both walk away from our computers while listening to music or type on our keyboards without worrying about wires. But it’s not perfect, and it’s not perfect often. If your experience is like mine, your Bluetooth devices don’t work properly on your Mac frequently enough to be a pain. Luckily, there is a quick, albeit hidden, solution that can help you out in a pinch.
First, did you turn it on and off again?
It’s a cliché for a reason. Turning your Bluetooth device on and off is sometimes all the troubleshooting you need to fix a weird problem. On Mac peripherals, like your keyboard, trackpad, or mouse, there’s an obvious power switch. On devices without an obvious on/off button, like AirPods, putting the device back in its charging case and removing it again can achieve the same result.
Don’t forget your Mac itself. Turning off your computer and turning it back on can fix Bluetooth issues, too. If a power cycle doesn’t fix the problems, sometimes unpairing your devices from your Mac and setting them up as new can set things right. We have a guide on how to reset your AirPods in this case.
However, you may not need to go through the tedious process of unpair and re-pair Bluetooth devices to your Mac, and you don’t need another article telling you to turn your devices off and on again, do you? Instead, here another one Apple reset option does not tend to advertise, like the Mac’s Secret Reset Buttons.
Reset Bluetooth module
Resetting your Mac’s Bluetooth module may be the solution to your persistent Bluetooth problem. This reset is like a on/off switch for the part of your Mac that handles Bluetooth connections. If there’s a problem, a reset will get it back to working order, (hopefully) allowing your devices to communicate clearly with your Mac.
The one thing to remember with this strategy is that it will temporarily remove all Bluetooth connections. This means that if you rely on a wireless keyboard and mouse to use your Mac, you won’t be able to do anything until Bluetooth comes back online. It usually returns within seconds, but don’t try this option until you know you won’t need to use your Mac for a minute.
In the past, this trick worked the same on all Macs. But Apple recently changed things up with last year’s macOS Monterey.
How to reset the Bluetooth module in macOS Monterey and later
To reset the Bluetooth module on a Mac running macOS 12 Monterey or macOS 13 Ventura, terminal open. Then copy and paste sudo pkill bluetooth in the terminal window, then press Walk in on your keyboard. Enter your password when prompted, tap Walk in again, then restart your Mac. When your Mac restarts, the Bluetooth module is reset.
How to Reset the Bluetooth Module in macOS Big Sur and Earlier
For those of us who use pre-Monterey Macs, there is an easier way to reset the Bluetooth module. To start, press and hold Shift + Option on your keyboard, then click the Bluetooth icon in your menu bar. You’ll see a host of hidden options that aren’t normally present in this menu; bring your mouse to Debug. When the menu expands, choose Reset Bluetooth modulethen restart your computer.