Fixing Bluetooth Discovery Problems in OS X Yosemite
Some Mac users running OS X Yosemite have discovered Bluetooth to become unreliable, either dropping device connections constantly or even simply not discovering a working Bluetooth device. For example, some users who are trying to use a PS3 controller with the Mac in OS X Yosemite may find that the Mac is unable to locate the Bluetooth controller at all, despite being right next to the computer and properly following the configuration instructions.
An easy way to know if this is a Yosemite-specific issue for you is if the Bluetooth device worked fine prior to updating to OS X Yosemite, and the Bluetooth preference panel shows nothing despite there being various devices readily available in the area:
While general Bluetooth disconnection issues can be caused by a variety of things, from low battery to poor signal quality, this particular instance where Bluetooth hardware is outright not detected appears to be specific to OS X Yosemite and Bluetooth, and the resolution is somewhat unusual, but also fairly easy:
- Disconnect all USB devices from the Mac (anything connected to a USB port, unplug it)
- Shut down the Mac and leave it turned off for 2 minutes
- Boot the Mac again as usual, then reconnect all of the USB devices again
- Try again to sync the Bluetooth device(s) with the Mac through the System Preference panel of OS X
I know those troubleshooting directions sound a little bizarre, but those are actually Apple recommendations for fixing the Bluetooth discovery problem with OS X Yosemite, and it almost always works!
If you’re still running into Bluetooth problems after trying the weird USB disconnection two minute protocol, resetting the Mac SMC may help as well as simply turning Bluetooth OFF and back ON again through the OS X preference panel.
Presumably the Yosemite and Bluetooth problem will be resolved in an upcoming OS X 10.10 system update, so be sure to update OS X when new versions become available.