Fixing a “Bluetooth Not Available” Error on a Mac

Feb 17, 2014 - 42 Comments

Bluetooth not available shown in menu bar item on a Mac Some Mac users may encounter an apparently random disappearance of Bluetooth functionality, often after rebooting or updating OS X. The first obvious indicator is that no Bluetooth hardware works, be it a keyboard, mouse, headset, or otherwise, and when attempting to visit the Bluetooth menu of OS X a “Bluetooth: Not Available” error is displayed while the menu bar items icon has a squiggly strike through it.

Bluetooth "No information found" in hardware System Profiler Investigating further, the Apple System Profiler will show “No information found” when drilled down by Hardware > Bluetooth. This suggests a more complicated issue than when a Bluetooth device repeatedly or randomly disconnects from a Mac, which is usually resolved by toggling the functionality off/on or changing a devices batteries.

After working through this issue, you’ll find the Not Available error can usually be resolved with a fairly simple process of dumping the Bluetooth preferences and pairing the device to the Mac again, though sometimes a hardware specific SMC reset may be necessary as well.

1: Trash Bluetooth Preferences & Shutdown the Mac

First up, delete the Bluetooth plist file and have the Mac create a new one:

  1. Close System Preferences and/or any app that was trying to use or configure any Bluetooth device with the Mac
  2. From the OS X Finder, hit Command+Shift+G to summon Go To Folder and enter the following path:
  3. /Library/Preferences/

  4. Locate the file named “” and delete it (you may see a too, if so delete that as well) – this is a system folder so you will need to authenticate with an admin user
  5. Delete the Bluetooth preferences plist file

  6. Head to the Apple menu and choose “Shut Down” to power down the Mac
  7. Wait a minute or so before booting the Mac again
  8. Head to the Bluetooth menu or System Preference panel to resync your hardware

(Note this is /Library/Preferences/ not ~/Library/Preferences/)

This presumably fixes the issue if it’s just a matter of a corrupted plist file. Yes, shut down the Mac and keep it turned off for about a minute, do not simply reboot. Why shutting it down versus rebooting works here isn’t entirely clear, but after googling around a bit that seems to be a universally experienced situation.

With the Mac up and running again, Bluetooth should now be working as normal and the “Not available” message should be gone from the Bluetooth menu, System Preference panel, and System Profiler utility. If not, you can try the next step to reset the Mac SMC.

2: Reset SMC & Power Functions

Don’t jump straight to this without trashing the Bluetooth preference plist file first, there are reports that users had to perform both actions to get Bluetooth hardware functioning again.

Resetting the System Management Controller dumps many core hardware settings and power functions, and often works to resolve some of the random hardware issues that can pop up on all sorts of Macs.

The exact process of resetting the SMC is slightly different per hardware, thus the MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, iMac, and Mac Mini all have slight variations to complete the process. Rather than repeat the full list here, head over to read our guide here or follow Apple’s instructions to get the job done.

After booting the Mac, re-enable Bluetooth and pair the device(s) as usual.

Bluetooth Still Not Available? Still No Bluetooth Hardware Found?

If you’ve trashed the plist and reset the SMC to find Bluetooth still not functioning on the Mac, you may have an actual hardware issue. This is fairly rare and usually doesn’t happen at random, but it can occur after a computer or hardware has been dropped or had water contact. Regardless, if you’re still having problems, it’s time to go the official route and contact Apple Support or head to the Genius Bar, they’ll be able to run some lower level diagnostics tests to make a determination of what’s going on and get things situated again.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting


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  1. George says:


    In a desktop machine, how can I manage the procedures without a wired mouse ?.

    • PH says:

      You could go through the Bluetooth plist preference deletion and reboot process entirely with the keyboard: Spotlight to open finder, Command+Shift+G to get to the directory path, keyboard to locate the file, command+delete to trash it, hold power button to shut down the Mac.

  2. dragster says:

    is a bug of osx 10.9.2

  3. Killing the preference file worked.

    I have been getting lots of things crashing with 10.9.2


  4. Ian Watts says:

    On a MBA 5,2 running 10.9.2, I got this error when starting from sleep. Shutting down, making a cup of coffee then restarting seemed to work, without deleting the plist file. Maybe that is worth a try just avoid having to reconnect all your bluetooth devices. It was a full cream cappuccino.


  5. Mike says:

    Deleting the plist and restarting fixed my issue. Thanks for the post!


  6. Deleting both plist and plist.lockfile worked for me too (MacBook Air OS X 10.9.2). Thanks!

  7. gary says:

    thanks, the 1st option works! thanks

  8. Mike says:

    The first option worked for me also. Shutting down vs. restarting was the key.

  9. Robert says:

    My ‘’ doesn’t even show up in Library/Preferences!

    Any suggestions?


  10. Milo says:

    My Bluetooth had completely disappeared. Mid 2012 MacBook Pro. Tried ALL of the suggested fixes. None worked. This morning disconnected the Airport/Bluetooth cable from the main board (as well as the battery) for about 2 minutes. Reconnected both cables and bluetooth is back!

  11. Piotr Kundu says:

    Removing the *.plist files worked like a charm!
    Thanks a lot.

  12. Paco says:

    Hi, I have this “not available” problem but just in mavericks, if i come back to snow leopard bluetooth come to life again, furthermore, bluetooth works perfectly on mavericks installation, just disappears when i restart after installation. I imagine this excludes the hardware problem… doesn’t it? i’ve tried all things you say and nothing seems to work for me…

    • fnarvel says:

      I second that, Bluetooth was perfectly fine in snow leopard as well as lion n mountain lion
      but ever since I installed Mavericks bluetooth has vanished and whatever i do i just cannot get it back. I tried all the possible solutions available in hundreds of threads but all failed. So I guess thats a massive issue (Bug) which only APPLE can solve. till then there is no choice but to downgrade and be content.

  13. Amit says:

    Thanks… the first part worked well for me.

  14. Viennaeagle says:

    Thanks!! Removing the plist worked for me!

  15. Andy603 says:

    Thanks! It did work after I removed the plist

  16. ya. says:

    Hey ! I removed the plist and shotted down my macbook pro mid 2012. when I turned it on again the bluetooth was still disconnecting from my device after 3 second. I realized that the plist file is getting back even though i deleted it and I am emptying my trash. I am wondering if you guys can still find the plist file back in the preference folder. Thanks

  17. Mark says:

    Just wanted to say thank you for the directions on “Bluetooth not available”.It worked as smooth as silk.

  18. Jess says:

    Thank you! This solved my issue completely and simply, I appreciate you sharing this advice!

  19. DCProud says:

    Two mouse-clicks up!

  20. Eduardo says:

    Option 1 worked for me like a charm. Wondering what the root cause might be…

  21. Thank you so much for posting this. After an hour of troubleshooting, I am back up and running again!

  22. Newtomac says:

    Trashing the files only worked for me.

  23. Tony Palm says:

    Thanks very much ! This helped after an hour of frustration!
    After the reboot everything was magically working !

  24. Shelley says:

    Thank you! Had difficulty after the Yosemite upgrade. Removed those two bluetooth files, rebooted and Blue tooth reconnected.

  25. Peter Harris says:

    I’ve just had this happen on a 1 day old iMac 5k Retina running OS X 10.10.1. Just rebooting seemed to fix it

  26. Peter Harris says:

    It’s happened again. Both times it occurred when I ran the Brother p-touch label printer utility. I will report to Brother

  27. Vince says:

    Thank you this has been really helpful.

  28. Leti says:

    I have a mac 10.5.8, bluetooth was working perfectly yesterday but is now showing as unavailable even though my mobile phone picks it up…..
    I will try your solutions but turning it off hasn’t worked, its still showing as unavailable on the menu bar. grrrrrrr

  29. Martin Clark says:

    Fixed my issue, thank you!

  30. mssimiliano bolognini says:

    finally now it works ! thank you very much!

  31. mitch boysen says:

    sorry if these questions are obvious but can this error be a result of water damage to your mac? and if so is it fixable?

  32. Ray says:

    For my late 2011 MACbook pro, only deleting the .plist file didn’t work; but doing both plist delete and SMC reset together worked like a charm.

    By the way, before this “bluetooth not available” problem occurred, I had been constantly having trouble with my Apple Magic Mouse; as I was losing connection to my mouse.

    Right now, it looks as if that problem got resolved somehow too

    • Ray says:

      It’s quite interesting (and disappointing) that after two days the bluetooth not available problem occurred again, and this time none of the aforementioned methods help. I’ve practically lost my bluetooth right now :(

  33. LordJim says:

    I assume that solution to the Bluetooth problem is related to other installed kernel level drivers that came with some user installed software. In my case it was TP-Link USB Printer Controller. After update I had to allow installing software from other sources (again) in Security and after restart Bluetooth started working, together with Printer software. Hope this help others facing the problem.

  34. JoseB says:

    Thank you for your guidance on it…it worked! Very appreciated!

  35. Noah says:

    You don’t need to restart or delete anything! The thing that worked for me was going into bluetooth preferences and unpicking show bluetooth in menu bar then re ticking again!

  36. gaston says:

    Solution 1 Worked for me!

    Yosemite – Macbook Air late 2012

  37. desaroxx says:

    Thank you. Step 1 worked like a charm!

  38. Chanan says:

    Thank you very much!

  39. Constance says:

    I have to reboot every day. I now have a sub mouse connected to my MacBook Pro so I can reboot in the morning. The Bluetooth mouse and keyboard work fine all day after that. It’s frustrating when I never have had to reboot an apple every day before. Has Microsoft taken over apple?

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