Fix Bluetooth in OS X Yosemite

I love OS X. It’s an incredibly reliable operating system and it’s usually a joy to operate. Unfortunately, since upgrading from OS X Mavericks to Yosemite I had been plagued with Bluetooth connectivity problems:

  • My Apple keyboard would randomly disconnect from the computer. Once this happened, it became impossible to reconnect it again without restarting. Turning the keyboard off and on again wouldn’t fix it.
  • My Magic Mouse’s tracking motion would randomly become jerky and stuttering. This would last for 2 or 3 minutes and then return to normal. Turning the mouse off and on again wouldn’t fix it.
  • Devices that I hadn’t added would show up in Bluetooth Preferences as being permanently “remembered.” Whenever I would try to “forget” these devices and closed the Preferences window, they would immediately show up again after opening Bluetooth Preferences.
  • My mouse and keyboard also showed up in Preferences and could not be “forgotten.” Same as above, as soon as I removed them and closed Preferences, they would appear when I immediately opened Preferences again.

These problems were incredibly frustrating. I did a lot of research trying to determine how best to resolve them. None of the solutions I found worked. These included:

  • Replacing the batteries in the Bluetooth device
  • Disabling and re-enabling Bluetooth
  • Clearing the PRAM
  • Resetting the SMC
  • Restarting the computer (this temporarily fixed the problems but they always came back)

However, I believe I’ve finally fixed these strange connectivity problems for good. A couple of days ago I moved the following files to my Desktop and restarted:

  • /Library/Preferences/*
  • ~/Library/Preferences/*
  • ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/*

It’s important to move (not copy) the files. This forces Yosemite to re-create the files on reboot. (I could have just deleted the files but I wanted to keep them around as backups in case something went wrong.) Since doing this, my Bluetooth devices have been happily connecting and disconnecting appropriately and I have no more stuck devices in my Preferences.

2 thoughts on “Fix Bluetooth in OS X Yosemite

  1. Sounds like your bluetooth preference files got corrupted somewhere in the upgrade process. Personally I never use bluetooth mice or keyboards because I’ve found them to be less reliable than 2.4Ghz based equipment. Of course with 2.4GHz gear one does need a dongle device but with Logitech’s mini receiver it’s really not so bad. I’ve got their K750 solar wireless keyboard and MX mouse and absolutely love both. Oh and the receiver works for both mouse and keyboard so only one is required. The only problem I have is the mouse does not come in white like my keyboard so they’re not matching but in terms of functionality I having found anything better.

  2. Thanks for this. Worked a treat for a bluetooth speaker that had gone incommunicado.

    My new heuristic for searching for MacOS jankiness cures : ” plist”

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