Wednesday, August 15, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Continued Mac Bluetooth Problems

Nick Heer:

I swear the Bluetooth drivers in MacOS went to hell somewhere around Sierra and haven’t recovered, even in Mojave. Both my Magic Trackpad 2 and old-style wireless keyboard lag. I know I’ve complained about this before but they are input devices, and ought to work perfectly.

Max Seelemann:

How can a Mac randomly forget it has Bluetooth? Overnight! During sleep mode! Even a restart did not help. Had to do a parameter reset? wtf.

I continue to have problems with spontaneous Bluetooth disconnections and with mouse lag that forces me to reboot. It does seem to help to either turn off Bluetooth on other Macs in the same room or to disable Handoff, but neither of those workarounds should be necessary. Everything worked fine for me until one of the early macOS 10.12.x updates.

Previously: macOS 10.13 High Sierra Released, My 2017 iMac, Sierra Bluetooth Problems and the Logitech K811 Keyboard.

Update (2018-08-15): When my Magic Mouse disconnects, I can often get it back by pressing the ToothFairy hotkey.

Update (2018-08-16): John Voorhees:

I started experiencing lag and disconnects about a month ago too and it’s maddening.

Dan Masters:

When I still I had my MacBook, I experienced similar issues with my AirPods as well.

Jake Bernstein:

Oh good it’s not just me.

Peter Cao:

While not as severe as described here (Magic accessories work perfectly, actually), but my BT audio devices have a tendency to cut in and out. Hoping this is getting worked on and gets fixed in Mojave!

Update (2018-08-17): Marco Arment:

I get frequent Bluetooth disconnections.

Doing everything right: Apple trackpad, Apple mouse. iMac first, then iMac Pro with another set of the same peripherals, never paired to another Mac.

Now they disconnect in space gray.

Been going on since around Sierra, like others report.

My only theory is that nobody important at Apple uses a Magic Mouse or Trackpad.

I have no other explanation for how bad it’s been, for how long, even on such high-end models.

Many people report similar issues in the replies to his tweet.

Update (2018-08-23): Colin Cornaby:

I wouldn’t call mine frequent, but they happen enough for me to notice and be annoyed by when they happen.

Update (2018-09-03): Nick Heer:

An update on this tweet: it’s actually even worse in Mojave. When I wake my computer, I have to wait a good minute or so before the keyboard is usable and does more than repeat the same (delayed) key twenty times.

22 Comments

I have a bluetooth speaker, and sometimes the Mac stops being able to connect to it when it's turned on. One thing I found that helps is to take my iPhone and try to share something (I usually use a web page) via AirDrop with the Mac. It sometimes takes two or three tries, but once AirDrop properly shows the Mac as an option, suddenly the computer will connect to the speaker.

Me too. High Sierra is the first version of macOS I've ever used which has trouble keeping a Bluetooth mouse connected.

Me a few minutes ago: Huh, I can't say I've had any issues. *attempts and fails multiple times to connect AirPods* Ah ok.

Bluetooth is one of those technologies that promised ease of use and completely frictionless connections, yet here we are 10+ years after its mass adoption and it is still REALLY buggy. The only great implementation I have seen is AirPods, and that is because Apple had to create a whole transport layer (which, naturally, is proprietary) to have it work so well.

If I were the Bluetooth consortium, I would come up with a new, rock-solid standard, brand it something really good (not just Bluetooth 4 or whatever the next version number is) and make it WORK. Enforce the standards, authenticate devices that follow the protocol perfectly, etc. It has so much promise but ugh, STILL a hot mess here in 2018.

@Eric Kind of like USB…

One newer standard is Bluetooth LE, which is mostly used for sensor type devices, with quite different APIs and user experience. Bluetooth LE mice do exist; I have one primarily for iOS usage, but it's impossibly flaky on the macOS. On Windows 10 (dual-booted on the exact same Mac hardware), the experience is terrific - it starts working within less than a second of me turning the mouse on, essentially instantaneous.

One of the issues when Bluetooth is flaky on the Mac is that you can't easily control your Mac remotely to reset things. I handle this in part by exposing my Mac's Bluetooth state through HomeKit, Homebridge and blueutil:

{
[...]
    "platforms": [
        {
            "platform": "cmdSwitch2",
            "name": "CMD Switch",
            "switches": [
[...]
                {
                        "name": "Mary Bluetooth",
                        "on_cmd": "/usr/local/bin/blueutil on",
                        "off_cmd": "/usr/local/bin/blueutil off",
                        "state_cmd": "/usr/local/bin/blueutil status | /usr/bin/grep -q 'Status: on'"
                }
            ]
        }
    ]
}

Note that VMware Fusion 10.1.3 has been released which supposedly resolves the issue of earlier versions sometimes causing USB devices to disconnect when exiting the app.

Definitely have had the "Air Pods" no longer connect to Macs if they were connected to an iPhone. Both my wife and I faced this with different computers and phones. Only started happening with the last update of OSX.

I have a magic mouse on my desk at home and another one one my desk at work. Almost every day when moving from one location to another I have to restart my 2017 Macbook Pro to get it to connect to the Magic Mouse at the new location. I've tried just restarting bluetooth, but that doesn't work - asking Mac OS to "Turn off bluetooth" results in nothing happening - bluetooth stays enabled, and not working. A full reboot is the only think I have found that fixes it (and I've tried everything, killing background processes, re-pairing all devices, resetting the NVRAM, resetting the bluetooth module, etc).

My 2018 iMac keeps dropping keyboard, mouse and AirPods blutooth connection. I have blutooth status in menu bar and noticed that macOS is connecting to my wife’s iphone while I am working on th iMac. However, when I check blutooth system preferences her phone is not listed as a connected device.

> it is still REALLY buggy

At this point, this is mainly a MacBook problem, as far as I can tell. I haven't had a bluetooth issue with my Android phones in years, even when using cheap 20$ bluetooth headsets, 10$ keychain fobs, 10$ bluetooth audio adaptors, etc.

I fixed all the Audio problems I was having with my AirPods by permanently connecting my Magic Track pad via USB. On two different iMa setups with Magic Keyboard, Mouse & AirPods if I also have a track pad connected via bluetooth audio playback is terrible - as soon as I connect the trackpad to USB/lighting all is great.

Had this problem, created a bug report, it was marked as a dupe.

The dupe was recently closed and as of the latest Mojave beta I no longer have this issue.

[…] High Sierra has well complained issues with bluetooth. My Logitech MX Master mouse also suffers from random disconnection. Today when I tried to disable […]

Vlad Ghitulescu

This could explain the lag-problems I had recently with my Microsoft Sculpt ergonomic Bluetooth-keyboard under High Sierra.

Adrian Bengtson

But is the Microsoft Sculpt keyboard really using Bluetooth? AFAIK it is using Microsofts USB dongle and their own proprietary wireless technology:

When I asked why it went with a proprietary wireless technology, Microsoft told me it found that Bluetooth imposed an unacceptable lags when Bluetooth devices wake back up after idle periods:

Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard uses a 2.4 GHz USB connection, which is better suited for desktop computing where a person may periodically step away from their computer. The 2.4 GHz USB connection instantly reconnects as soon as you touch the mouse.

Vlad Ghitulescu

I didn't know this.

However:

- the same keyboard worked flawlessly with my iMac until High Sierra
- the very same keyboard works flawlessly with my PC at work
- an identical Microsoft Sculpt keyboard, that works absolutely fine with the PC at work, doesn't work with the iMac & High Sierra at home.

Johan Bromander

This is weird. I have two identical MS Sculpt keyboard at two different offices (with separate USB Bluetooth dongle). Yesterday I was puzzled that the keyboard at my other office had stopped working and today I have the same problem at the main office. This can't be a coincidence. I use a MacBook Pro 2017 and haven't updated the OS in the last couple of weeks so I can't really say what made this happen.

Alberto Sánchez

I had the same problem with Magic Mouse and Keyboard disconnections, and solved by disabling Handoff.

I noticed that every time that Magic Mouse and Keyboard disconnect there was a hidden weird bluetooth connection: my wife's iPhone!
I say "hidden" because it is not shown in the Bluetooth preferences panel (System Preferences – Bluetooth) but in Menu bar on the top, by clicking on the Bluetooth icon (which can be enable from the previous panel). So, it is shown there that my wife's iPhone is connected, but actually it is not voluntarily paired! (it doesn't appear such a connection in the iPhone settings).

Anyway, the iPhone can be disconnected from the Mac (through the option from the icon) and the connection of the mouse and keyboard become stable, but... only temporary, as the iPhone keeps trying connecting (or Mac is trying iPhone to be connected). So, every time that these connections are automatically set, the mouse and the keyboard connection becomes unstable.

My wife has her own account in Sierra, so she loggin and found the same problem, but this time the device which makes this disconnection to happen is... my iPhone!

I don't know why these bluetooth connections are set (why by different accounts devices and not the own??), but it has to be related with Handoff, as if I disable it there is no problem at all with the bluetooth mouse and keyboard.

Vlad Ghitulescu

It hasn't solved my problem.

However I discovered there a BT Magic Mouse and an Apple BT keyboard.
Even after I've deleted them the problem with my both Sculpt keyboards still persist.

Had bluetooth problems since my Imac 2017 was new. Resetting bluetooth module and everything that is written on the internet trying to resolve Magic Mouse and keyboard disconnecting. Even contacted apple support and reinstalled the whole system. Nothing helps...:(

Yes It's really annoying why such a important function such as bluetooth becomes a nightmare on Mojave
My logitech bluetooth k380 and m337 mouse can't reconnect if the mac goes to sleep.

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