Bluetooth is as fantastic as it is finicky. It enables our devices to communicate with each other wirelessly, empowering us to both walk away from our computers while still listening to music, or type on our keyboards without worrying about wires. But it isn’t perfect, and it isn’t perfect often. If your experience is like mine, your Bluetooth devices fail to work properly on your Mac on a frequent enough basis that it’s a pain in the ass. Luckily, there’s a quick—albeit hidden—fix that can help in a pinch.
First, have you turned it on and off again?
It’s a cliché for a reason. Turning your Bluetooth device on and off again is sometimes all the troubleshooting you need to flush out a weird issue. 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, placing the device back in its charging case and taking them out again can achieve the same.
Don’t forget about your Mac itself. Shutting down your computer and turning it back on can solve Bluetooth issues, too. If a power cycle doesn’t fix things, sometimes unpairing your devices from your Mac and setting them up as new can jostle things back into place. We have a guide on resetting your AirPods in such a case.
However, you might not need to go through the annoying process of unpairing and re-paring Bluetooth devices to your Mac, nor do you need another article telling you to turn your devices off and on again, do you? Instead, here’s another reset option Apple doesn’t tend to advertise, similar to the Mac’s secret reset buttons.
Reset the Bluetooth module
Resetting your Mac’s Bluetooth module might be the solution to your nagging Bluetooth issue. This reset is like an on/off switch for the part of your Mac that handles Bluetooth connections. If there’s something wrong with it, a reset will restore it to working order, (hopefully) allowing your devices to communicate clearly with your Mac.
The only thing to remember with this strategy is it will knock out all Bluetooth connections momentarily. That means, 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’s usually back 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, open Terminal. Next, copy and paste sudo pkill bluetoothd into the Terminal window, then hit Enter on your keyboard. Enter your password when prompted, hit Enter again, then restart your Mac. When your Mac boots back up, the Bluetooth module will be reset.
How to reset the Bluetooth module in macOS Big Sur and earlier
For those of us rocking Macs pre-Monterey, there’s a simpler way to reset the Bluetooth module. To start, hold down 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 the Bluetooth module, then restart your computer.
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