Check the Battery Level of Bluetooth Devices Connected to a Mac
Most Bluetooth accessories don’t have battery indicators located on the device itself, and that includes the Apple Wireless Keyboard, Magic Mouse, and Magic Trackpad. Rather than waiting for the battery to run low, thereby causing the devices connection to weaken, stop registering movements, clicks, or certain behavior, you can choose to manually intervene by periodically checking the battery level of most Bluetooth devices connected to a Mac. This is done easily by looking in either the OS X Bluetooth management menu and Preference panel, we’ll show you how to do both.
Checking Bluetooth Device Battery Levels with the OS X Bluetooth Menu
This is by far the easiest method to quickly check on any connected devices battery level, though you will obviously need to have the Bluetooth menu enabled to be able to use this*.
- Pull down the Bluetooth menu bar located at the top of the Mac screen
- Locate the accessory to check battery life for under the “Devices” section of the menu list,then select that item to open it’s submenu and see the battery level
* If you don’t have the Bluetooth menu visible, you need to enable it through checking the box at > System Preferences > Bluetooth > “Show Bluetooth status in the menu bar”.
All connected Bluetooth accessories will show a Battery Level here as a percentage, though it won’t provide a time estimate of what’s remaining like the standard battery indicator for portable Macs would. Regardless, this is the absolute easiest and fastest way to check on a wireless bluetooth devices battery life. If you don’t want to use the Bluetooth menu bar management item for whatever reason, you can also rely on the System Preference panel though.
Seeing Bluetooth Device Battery Levels with System Preferences
The battery level of connected Bluetooth devices can also be checked in System Preferences. But there’s a catch: most devices are going to be found in different places. For example, you’ll have to look at “Keyboard” panel to see a Bluetooth keyboards battery level:
- Go to the Apple menu and go to “System Preferences”
- For Keyboards: go to “Keyboard” to see the battery level
- For Mouse: go to “Mouse” panel to see the remaining battery life
- For Trackpads: go to the “Trackpad preference panel to see remaining battery level
And then if you wanted to find another devices, like a trackpad, you’d need to visit the Trackpad system preference panel. If you use multiple Bluetooth devices this isn’t preferable, and you’ll be better off enabling the Bluetooth menu bar item and using that to check things instead.
Most Bluetooth devices are very power efficient and don’t have many demands, though things like headsets will drain faster than a keyboard. Regardless, it’s a good idea to have a set of good rechargeable batteries handy that work with whatever accessories you use frequently, because it’s never fun to have a device run out on you, and very low battery life can also be a reason why Bluetooth connection strength suffers. If you’re trying to figure out if that is an issue, check the battery life and monitor the signal to see if it improves with new batteries in place, oftentimes it will.
Thanks to Tim for the question and tip idea.