Asya Karapetyan
Content marketer, who specializes in Mac how-to guides
June 28, 2022
12 minutes to read

Many Mac users experience Bluetooth connection issues on macOS, especially on macOS Monterey.

This article explains what to do when Bluetooth is not available on your Mac, how to open Bluetooth settings, and how to fix it when Bluetooth is not turning on your Mac.

 bluetooth wont turn on mac

Contents:

  1. How to turn on Bluetooth on a Mac.
  2. Why won’t Bluetooth turn on and how to fix it?
Tip – How to prevent issues on Mac, including problems with Bluetooth
Below, we will explain what to do when Bluetooth won’t turn on on your Mac. But first, we want to remind you that performing regular Mac system cleanup will help you to optimize your computer’s performance and protect it from system issues, including issues with your Bluetooth.

You can clean up your Mac and optimize its performance with the software application MacCleaner Pro. This program will help you to remove all junk files from your Mac with just a few clicks.

How to turn on Bluetooth on a Mac

All modern Mac computers have a built-in Bluetooth module. And this means that Bluetooth on your Mac should work without installing any additional software. When your wireless keyboard or Apple Magic Mouse is not connecting to your Mac, first check whether Bluetooth is turned on. Here is how:

  1. Open Mac System Preferences.
  2. Go to the Bluetooth section.
  3. Click the Turn Bluetooth On button.
turning bluetooth on

Once you turn on Bluetooth, your Mac will start looking for Bluetooth devices and show them in this window. Choose the one you need from the list provided → right-click on it and select Connect.

If the device is not displayed here, make sure that it is turned on and is within range of the Bluetooth module.

Bluetooth settings showing how to connect device

Another quick way to turn the Bluetooth on is to click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar and switch on the toggle button.

bluetooth in mac menu bar

If you don’t see the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar, you should open System Preferences → Bluetooth and enable the option to show its icon there.

When Bluetooth is turned on, you will see the list of available devices in the drop-down menu, and you can click it in the list to connect.

connecting devices via Bluetooth

Also, if you use Siri, you can give her a command to turn on Bluetooth on your Mac.


Why won’t Bluetooth turn on, and how to fix it?

The reasons why Bluetooth is not working can be divided into software and hardware problems. If your Bluetooth is turned on, but your Mac does not see the device, you need to check the following:

  • Check if the device is turned on. This sounds simple; however, you might have forgotten to turn the device on, or the power indicator may be broken.
  • Check if the device is charged. AirPods and other gadgets can ​​get discharged faster than you expect.
  • Check if your device works with other gadgets (phones, tablets, laptops) that support connection with Bluetooth.
  • Check if your Mac connects with other devices via Bluetooth.

If other devices and gadgets can connect and function stably, it’s a Bluetooth problem on your Mac. Follow the tips below to fix the problem when Bluetooth is not turning on your Mac.

1. Restart Bluetooth

Try to turn Bluetooth off and on. It sounds too simple; however, in many cases, this has helped users recover the connection with a device. Click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar and turn the toggle button on.

2. Reconnect USB devices

Try to disconnect all your devices and then reconnect them. Here is how to disconnect them:

  1. Click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar and select Preferences.
  2. Select a connected device and click the X icon. Do the same for all devices.
  3. Restart your Mac.
  4. Open Bluetooth Preferences again and connect your devices.
bluetooth preferences window showing how to disconnect device

3. ​​Clear the Bluetooth .plist files

You may not know about these files, and you may never have cared about that. But now you should know that macOS automatically creates so-called .plist files that help the system to manage Bluetooth connections with other devices. Remove these files and let the system update them. This might help you fix Bluetooth issues.

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Press the Cmd+Shift+G shortcut.
  3. In the search field, type ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost and press Return. Go to folder search field
  4. Here, find the com.apple.Bluetooth….plist file and remove it.
  5. Restart your Mac.
  6. Turn on Bluetooth. removing bluetooth plist files

Your system will automatically create a new Bluetooth .plist file and the issue should be solved.


Reset Bluetooth

Often, resetting the Bluetooth module can help you fix issues with the wireless connection to your devices. Depending on which macOS version you have, the steps to reset Bluetooth on your Mac are different.

Here is how to reset Bluetooth on macOS Monterey:

  1. Open a built-in Apple application called Terminal.
  2. Copy and paste the following command in its window:
    sudo pkill bluetoothd
  3. Press Return (Enter) on your keyboard.
  4. Enter your user password and press Return.
Terminal window showing a command to reset bluetooth

If you use an earlier version of macOS, resetting Bluetooth is much easier, and you don’t need the command line for it.

How to reset Bluetooth on macOS Big Sur and earlier versions:

  1. Press the Shift+Option keys and click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar.
  2. In the drop-down menu, click Reset the Bluetooth module.
  3. Confirm by clicking OK.
  4. Restart your Mac.
reset Bluetooth on macOS big sur After these steps, Bluetooth should be working on your Mac.

Check your system for software updates

System bugs are possible even on macOS. For example, many users have complained about Bluetooth errors on macOS Monterey, and Apple has already fixed this bug. Please ensure your system is up to date and, if needed, update your system.

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click Software Update.
  3. If you see information that a new version of macOS is available, click the Upgrade/Update button.

Reset NVRAM

NVRAM stands for nonvolatile random-access memory. It stores macOS settings for quick operation tasks. Resetting NVRAM can help you fix many software issues, including Mac Bluetooth problems. Follow the steps below:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Press the Power button and immediately press and hold these four keys on your keyboard at the same time: Option, Command, P, and R.
  3. After approximately 20 seconds, release the keys.

Your Mac will restart. Check the Bluetooth connection.

Reset SMC

SMC stands for system management controller, and it’s responsible for many system processes, including Bluetooth connections. Try resetting the SMC when Mac Bluetooth won’t turn on.

Note: This option is not supported on M1 Macs. Apple’s chip doesn’t have an SMC.

If you have a MacBook, do the following to reset the SMC:

  1. Disconnect everything but the power from your MacBook.
  2. Press Shift+Control+Option + the power button and hold for 10 seconds.

If you have an iMac, follow these steps to reset the SMC:

  1. Shut down your iMac.
  2. Press and hold the power button for 10 seconds.
  3. Restart your iMac.

The Mac computer will restart. Check if Bluetooth is working now.

Remove system junk files

As we mentioned above, junk files can cause system errors on your Mac. We recommend that you remove all junk, like caches, plugins, extensions, leftover files of previously deleted applications, and more. You can quickly find and remove all these files with MacCleaner Pro.

  1. Download and run MacCleaner Pro.
  2. Go to the Clean Up section.
  3. Select all unneeded junk files.
  4. Click to remove them and confirm the action.
  5. Then run App Cleaner & Uninstaller from MacCleaner Pro and remove application leftovers with this tool.
macCleaner Pro window

Conclusion

We hope these tips helped you fix your Bluetooth errors. Also, use MacCleaner Pro to periodically clean up all digital junk from your drive and optimize your Mac’s performance.

MacCleaner Pro шсщт

MacCleaner Pro

Сlean up your Mac from junk files

Supported systems: macOS 10.11 or later
Update v. 3.0.3 Nov 2022

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