How to Enable Bluetooth Without a Keyboard or Mouse on Mac
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where Bluetooth needs to be enabled on a Mac, but you don’t have a mouse or keyboard handy? This can pose a conundrum; in order to re-enable Bluetooth, you must use a Bluetooth mouse or keyboard… That may sound a little silly, but it’s a situation which can arise if you use a Bluetooth keyboard or Bluetooth mouse, and if Bluetooth gets disabled somehow. Since most desktop Mac usage scenarios utilize Bluetooth hardware, it’s not as rare as it may sound, and it can be challenging to enable the Bluetooth service and thus regain access to input devices on the Mac.
We’re going to show you how to tackle that situation in Mac OS, so that you can enable Bluetooth even if you can’t connect a Bluetooth mouse or Bluetooth keyboard to the computer to do so.
Keep in mind this is not a general Bluetooth troubleshooting guide, it’s aimed specifically at users who find the Bluetooth service to be disabled and they are therefore unable to use a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse on their Mac. If you need general Bluetooth troubleshooting steps, start with replacing the batteries of the devices, reset the Bluetooth hardware on Mac, and some other tips for resolving Bluetooth Not Available errors.
Also, remember that the latest Apple Magic Mouse 2 and Apple Wireless Keyboard 2 models both have a USB lightning port on them, which means they can be plugged in directly to the Mac to get around such a problem.
How to Enable Bluetooth on Mac Without a Mouse in Mac OS X
This demonstrates how to enable Bluetooth if you only can connect a keyboard to a Mac. This is common if your Mac uses a Bluetooth mouse or trackpad and somehow Bluetooth is disabled, where it can be extra challenging to get the service turned on again. Fortunately as long as you have a keyboard handy (USB or otherwise), plug it in and you can enable Bluetooth with just that keyboard by following these instructions:
- Connect a USB keyboard to the Mac (or use the built-in keyboard on a MacBook laptop)
- Hit Command+Spacebar to bring up Spotlight, then type in “Bluetooth File Exchange” and hit the Return key
- This launches the Bluetooth File Exchange app, which will immediately recognize that Bluetooth is turned off, simply hit the “Return” key again to choose the “Turn Bluetooth On” button
- Once Bluetooth is enabled, quit out of Bluetooth File Exchange app
You can also navigate to and through the Bluetooth settings with just the keyboard, but that’s quite a bit more complex than simply searching for the app which triggers the service enabler directly.
How to Enable Bluetooth Without a Keyboard in Mac OS X
Enabling Bluetooth when you don’t have a USB keyboard is easy since you can just use any USB Mouse or USB trackpad as usual to enable the service with the cursor:
- Pull down the Bluetooth menu item in Mac OS X and choose “Turn Bluetooth On”
If the Bluetooth menu item is also disabled, simply go to the Apple menu, choose System Preferences, Bluetooth, and turn the Bluetooth service on from there with the mouse.
Once Bluetooth has been enabled with the mouse, you can connect the Bluetooth keyboard as usual, along with any other devices.
How to Enable Bluetooth Without a Keyboard or Mouse in Mac OS X
This is a trickier situation, which is usually encountered if there is no USB keyboard or USB mouse available, and both the mouse and keyboard are Bluetooth instead. It’s usually iMac, Mac Mini, and Mac Pro users who encounter this experience, in which case the following steps are necessary:
- First thing first, be sure the Bluetooth keyboard and Bluetooth mouse have sufficient battery power and are turned on
- Disconnect all physical devices from the Mac, including any peripherals and anything except the power cable
- Reboot the Mac (or boot the Mac if it was shut down) using the physical hardware button located on the machine (it’s usually on the back on modern Macs)
- This will trigger the Bluetooth setup wizard and detect the Bluetooth devices and enable the service automatically, assuming they are within range and sufficiently charged
If for some reason the bluetooth setup wizard doesn’t trigger and the Mac boots up again with Bluetooth disabled, you’ll probably want to get your hands on either a USB mouse or USB keyboard and refer to the methods outlined above to enable Bluetooth with either just a mouse, or just a keyboard.