Check Bluetooth Signal Strength in Mac OS X
If your Bluetooth device connections seem flakey, or if your Apple wireless keyboard or Magic Mouse isn’t as responsive as you think it should be, there’s an easy way to check Bluetooth signal strength and then make adjustments accordingly.
- Open System Preferences from the Apple menu and click “Bluetooth”
- Press and hold the Option key to reveal signal strength for the device
The lower the number shown as the signal, the better the connection, just like measuring wireless signals in the hidden awesome OS X Wi-Fi tool. For example, -20 is a much stronger signal than -90, but don’t feel bad if you can’t get a very low signal. In the screenshot above a bluetooth enabled iPhone was right next to a MacBook and got -38.
For input devices in particular, a weak Bluetooth signal can mean less responsive control, and for data devices, a weak signal could mean extremely slow transfer speeds if not failed connections. One very important thing to pay attention to: batteries can directly impact the signal strength of Bluetooth devices, so if your Apple wireless keyboard or magic trackpad is right next to your Mac but the connection strength is terrible, you may want to double-check the batteries and swap them out. Unsurprisingly, having a good set of rechargeables is ideal for Bluetooth users.
You’ll need OS X Lion or Mountain Lion for this feature to be available, earlier versions do not seem to support it.