How to Turn on Bluetooth on a Mac

Enable Bluetooth via System Preferences or by asking your Mac to turn it on

What to Know

  • Apple menu > System Preferences > Bluetooth > Turn Bluetooth On to enable Bluetooth.
  • Alternatively, click Control Center on Menu Bar and click Bluetooth
  • If you don't have a working mouse, say 'Hey Siri, turn Bluetooth on'.

This article explains how to turn on Bluetooth on a Mac. It looks at three ways to do so including how to enable Bluetooth without a mouse or keyboard; it also touches upon how to pair a new device, and what to do if it won't work.

How to Turn On Bluetooth on Your Mac

Most Macs come with Bluetooth enabled these days. However, if your device is the exception or it's been disabled, here's how to turn on Bluetooth on your Mac.

  1. On your Mac, click the Apple icon on the menu bar.

    Mac Desktop with Apple icon highlighted on Menu Bar.
  2. Click System Preferences.

    Apple Desktop with System Preferences highlighted.
  3. Click Bluetooth.

    Mac System Preferences with Bluetooth highlighted.
  4. Click Turn Bluetooth On.

    Mac Bluetooth settings with Turn Bluetooth On highlighted.
  5. Bluetooth is now enabled and ready to pair with devices.

How to Turn On Bluetooth on Your Mac Without a Mouse or Keyboard

If Bluetooth has been disabled and you need it to use your mouse or keyboard, you can use a USB mouse or keyboard instead to access your Mac and re-enable Bluetooth. If you don't have one, here's how to enable Bluetooth using your voice.

While your Mac is switched on, say "Hey Siri, turn on Bluetooth." Bluetooth will be enabled, and your mouse and keyboard will reconnect shortly.

You'll need to have already enabled Siri on your Mac.

How to Turn On Bluetooth Using Control Center

It's also possible to switch on Bluetooth using the Control Center on the menu bar. Here's what to do.

  1. On the menu bar, click Control Center.

    Mac Desktop with Control Center highlighted.
  2. Click Bluetooth to switch it on.

    Bluetooth toggle in Mac Control Center highlighted.
  3. Bluetooth is now enabled.

How to Pair a New Device

Once Bluetooth is enabled, you'll need to pair new devices. Here's how to pair a new device.

  1. From the Bluetooth section within System Preferences, wait for the device to appear on the list.

    The device needs to be switched on and be in pairing mode. You'll need to read the instructions that came with the device you are looking to pair, but typically there's a physical button you'll hold for a moment in order to put the device into pairing mode.

  2. Click Connect.

  3. Wait for the device to connect.

    Some devices will need you to enter a PIN that is displayed on your Mac.

  4. The device is now paired with your Mac.

What to Do When Bluetooth Won’t Work

If Bluetooth won't work on your Mac even after following these steps, it can be for fairly simple reasons. Here's a quick overview of how to troubleshoot the issue.

  • Check your device is switched on. Your Mac can only see and use a device if it's switched on. Check that your mouse, keyboard, or other device has sufficient battery life and is currently working.
  • Check your device is in pairing mode. If you're trying to pair a new device to your Mac, check it's in pairing mode by following the instructions for the item.
  • Make sure you're close enough. Bluetooth has a distance limit. This varies depending on the age of your device and the version of Bluetooth it uses, but on average, assume it has a range of about 30 feet.
  • Restart your Mac and Bluetooth. Restarting your Mac, the device in question, or repairing the two can often fix many Bluetooth connectivity issues.
  • Why won't Bluetooth turn off on my Mac?

    If Bluetooth won't turn off, update to the latest version of macOS. A bug in older versions can cause this issue, but this was fixed in later updates.

  • Why did Bluetooth suddenly stop working on my Mac?

    If Bluetooth suddenly stops working on Mac, the cause is likely a corrupt Bluetooth preference list (.plist file). Delete the Bluetooth preference list and restart your Mac.

  • How do I connect AirPods to my Mac?

    To connect AirPods to your Mac, turn on Bluetooth, press and hold the Setup button on the Airpods case, then select Connect in Bluetooth preferences. To change the audio output, go to the volume menu and choose your AirPods.

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