Is there anything more frustrating than the ‘Bluetooth Not Available’ error signal on a Mac? Most people today have a love-hate relationship with their personal computer. It’s convenient and powerful, and then suddenly becomes next to worthless because one or another function stops operating properly.
The Bluetooth error message is one of the most dreaded signals Mac users run into. Let’s face it; most of us don’t have a clue what this error really means. The first thing you’re going to do is turn your device off and back on with the hope it somehow makes the issue go away.
When restarting the device doesn’t work, some people know to go to the System Profiler to learn more. The fact that re-starting doesn’t work probably means the Apple System Profiler will show “No information found.” Both of these factors usually mean it’s a serious issue with the system. Simple solutions like restarting, toggling the functionality, or changing the batteries aren’t effective for this issue like it is for repeated or random disconnects.
Delete PLIST Files
The problem occurs on Macs often after rebooting or updating OS X. Bluetooth functionality simply ceases to exist, including the mouse, keyboard, headset, or other hardware. The menacing error displays on the screen while the menu bar items icon displays with a squiggly line through it.
Bluetooth technology has evolved steadily and it one of the most useful wireless technologies available today. Still, things go wrong, including those issues that aren’t fast and easy to resolve. The macOS stores information about your Bluetooth device in two separate files on your hard drive. One is for your personal information and the other is for all users on your Mac. Both are PLIST files which store application data in XML format.
An Extensible Markup Language, or XML file, is used to annotate text or add additional info in the files. HTML files are types of XML files that you are probably more familiar with. Although the computer stores files using the HTML format, you only see the browser’s interpretation of the code used. XML is simply a more modern version that is also more flexible. Some problems with Bluetooth resulting from XML files came to light in earlier versions. If yours is an older model Mac, the problem could be related.
One of the first recommended steps when you encounter the ‘Bluetooth Not Available” message is to delete both of these files. This forces macOS to create new ones once you re-start the computer. Delete the files by following these steps:
Step 1: Open Finder and select Go˃Go to Folder from the menu
Step 2: Type in “Library/Preferences
Step 3: Find com.apple.Bluetooth.plist and drag it into the Trash
Step 4: From the Go˃Go to Folder, type Library/Preferences/ByHost
Step 5: Find com.apple.Bluetooth with additional numbers and letters ending with .plist following it. Drag this file into the Trash
Step 6: Disconnect/remove any USB devices installed in your computer
Step 7: Shut down the computer and turn off all your Bluetooth devices
Step 8: Wait a couple of minutes and re-start the Mac
Step 9: Enable Bluetooth on all your devices
Step 10: From the Bluetooth menu or the System Preference Panel, attempt to pair your devices again
If the ‘Bluetooth Not Available’ message still occurs, another option is to reset the module to its original factory settings. Unlike the previous method, this one will lose all existing pair connections. If there isn’t a Bluetooth icon in your menu bar, reset the module by doing the following:
- Go to System Preferences˃Bluetooth
- Check Show Bluetooth in the menu bar
- Hold down Shift + Option while you click on the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar causing a menu to pop-up
- Select Debug˃Reset the Bluetooth module
- Try to re-pair your devices. To do this, simply look for the device you want to connect to on the menu and click to add it
These efforts should resolve your issues. If they don’t, a final option is to re-install macOS. If yours has been in use for an extended period, the problem may be with the system’s performance.
What Is Bluetooth Anyway?
The term “Bluetooth” has become a part of our modern language. In spite of the familiarity of the name, many people don’t know exactly what it is or how it works.
Bluetooth is one of the most effective forms of wireless communication used today. It allows your various devices to connect and interact with one another. Printing out documents from your Mac doesn’t require hookups from the computer to the printer. A Bluetooth enabled printer allows you to print from your computer, smartphone, and any other devices.
You don’t have to have Wi-Fi or a cell network for your Bluetooth devices to work. As long as your devices are Bluetooth compatible and close enough together, they can communicate back and forth.
People are often familiar with Bluetooth even without realizing it. If your Mac works with a wireless keyboard, magic mouse, or Magic Trackpad, your devices already interact wirelessly with your computer.
Modern Macs already have Bluetooth built-in so it’s not something you have to decide you want installed. An Apple Mac allows you to connect as many as seven devices although the company recommends not using more than three or four at one time. Some types of devices commonly used include headsets, phones, printers, and speakers. Bluetooth headsets are needed to make the most of your music if you like to listen to videos or tracks online.
Before a new Bluetooth-enabled device will work with your Mac, you have to “pair” it with the computer. The device must be switched on and be in pairing mode, or Apple’s ‘discovery mode’. You should also make sure Bluetooth is enabled on your computer.
The Most Common Bluetooth Problem: Connectivity
As convenient as Bluetooth is for anyone who prefers not to get tangled up in wires on their computer, there are some common problems. The most common problem is with issues of connectivity.
A number of factors can cause Bluetooth not to connect to devices. If the ‘Bluetooth Not Available’ message occurs, it’s more likely to be one of the issues listed above. Sometimes there are other issues, some of which are easy to fix and others that require professional repairs.
Sometimes connectivity issues come from being too far apart in proximity to the device. The company claims that the system works up to 200 feet away from the computer but other factors can interfere and make the distance shorter. For instance, walls and other surfaces along with electrical interference can impact how well the signal gets to the device. Before assuming there’s a problem, make sure both devices are on, Bluetooth enabled, and within close proximity.
Sometimes the computer fails to find or recognize the device you are trying to use. To troubleshoot this issue, restart the device or try turning the Bluetooth function on and back on. Often, this is all it takes for the system to ‘find’ the missing device.
The ‘Bluetooth Not Available’ is to be considered a connectivity issue since the error display means you can’t connect a device to your Mac. It’s virtually impossible to pinpoint the actual issue causing the error message but the steps listed above usually take care of the problem. Older Mac models are more likely to have these problems as Apple has addressed some of the connectivity issues that caused problems early on. That doesn’t mean the problem has disappeared completely. The age of your computer and your coverage under Apple Care will determine what it costs to get the problem resolved.
Every Mac computer comes with a one-year limited warranty and the option to purchase Apple Care, the company’s extended warranty. The cost of coverage depends on the device you purchase. It can range from $99 to $349. The length of coverage also varies from one device to the next.
The coverage includes protection against manufacturer defects but not accidental damage. Apple Care sounds generous by offering an unlimited number of claims. It even carries over to the next owner if you transfer ownership to someone else. Still, there are a number of reasons that customers who pay for Apple Care are disappointed with the results.
For one, it can be difficult to determine that what is wrong with your computer is a manufacturing defect and not the result of something you did. When you can’t figure out the cause of the ‘Bluetooth Not Available’ error, how do you know what the cause is?
When customers first began to complain about iPhones that bent and stopped working, Apple failed to acknowledge that it was due to a manufacturing fault. If you aren’t sure about the cause of your computer’s issues, you could end up paying a high price to have it repaired.
The biggest problem is that these types of issues have a tendency to occur later rather than sooner. For anyone who decides not to pay the high cost of Apple Care, the fees can be high. Depending on the cost of your computer, it may seem like too high a price to pay for repair. Replacement might be a better option; but what if you run into the same issues again?
The majority of people who deal with Bluetooth connectivity problems won’t know the cause and they don’t have Apple Care or the company’s limited warranty. Many worry that taking the computer to a third-party repair shop for repairs isn’t a good idea. After all, the people at the Apple Store know everything about the products they make and sell. They have to know everything there is to know about repairing them; right?
The fact is that choosing a qualified, experienced third-party repair shop can save you time, worry, and money. In fact, the only time you should consider using the Apple Store is if your computer is still under warranty. You also want to talk to the store first to make sure the issue it is having is covered under your warranty.
Many people expect top-of-the-line repairs and service from the company who makes Apple products. What they often get instead are quick fixes and long waiting periods. Sometimes the company replaces devices instead of making the needed repairs. That’s why you should always save any data on your computer that you don’t want to lose on an external device before having any issue repaired.
Choosing a Third-Party Repair Shop for Your Mac
Third-party computer repairs offer a convenient and cost-effective alternative to paying top dollar at the Apple Store. Even if you have an older model computer that is displaying the ‘Bluetooth Not Available’ error message, they will repair the problem whenever possible instead of urging you to replace it with a new model.
Before having your Mac repaired, take the troubleshooting steps listed above to see if they fix that problem. Never attempt to do anything more than your technical experience allows. It’s better to have it evaluated by a pro than to risk causing more damage that could cost you a lot more money.
If your efforts don’t work and you decide to go to a third-party store, don’t just take it to the first one listed in your Google search. All repair services aren’t equal. Look for a reputable company that specializes in Mac repairs.
Sometimes computers can’t be fixed or the cost of repairs simply doesn’t make it practical. That’s when you want a repair company that doesn’t charge a high bench fee just for looking at your computer. Look for a reputable repair company that charges fair prices and doesn’t charge high fees if they can’t fix your computer.
If you have a ‘Bluetooth Not Available’ message on your Mac that won’t go away, contact San Diego Tech Experts for experienced Mac repairs. We have more than forty 5-star Google Reviews by our San Diego customers who are more than satisfied with our services. We are passionate about delivering a quality customer experience to each and every client. It is our primary goal to fix your device in a timely fashion and at a cost-effective price.