How to Fix Bluetooth Pairing in Mac OS X Lion Issues


We’ve been having some issues with Bluetooth pairing in Mac OS X Lion. Connecting our Bluetooth headset caused a kernel panic. Since then, we just kept having issues with the Bluetooth headset, Apple keyboard and mouse. Shutting down, powering off BT devices and rebooting everything through Bluetooth Explorer (instructions below). That worked perfectly for us, and things have been fine since. However, it may not work for everyone.

It’s easy to think that this is a problem caused by the Lion install and that  some users think that reinstalling Lion is the answer. Please, hold off on that. You will waste several hours of your valuable time, and it’s very likely that you won’t even have to do that.  We searched around and found a few things that may help out others. Hit the jump to read on:

Pairing After Sleep

One common problem we read about was Bluetooth pairing after sleep. Some users found that after their computer woke from sleep, their device (such as a Bluetooth mouse) would not pair up without opening up the settings and turning Bluetooth on and off.)

One user found that what worked for them was to open their Bluetooth preferences (either through the System Preferences or through the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar) and go to Advanced (bottom-right co.

BT PRefs

Then you can select “Allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer.”

Allow BT to Wake


Credit: @Peaz2.0

If that doesn’t work, move onto these. This may help you. It’s a few steps, but it’s much faster than a clean install:

1. Make sure you have bluetooth built in and the device has batteries installed. If you are not sure if you have bluetooth then go to System Preferences under the Apple Logo and determine if you have a Bluetooth Preferences Pane. If not then you may not have bluetooth or it may be absent due to a Power Management Issue. If you suspect you should have bluetooth and it is not listed or if you are sure you do have bluetooth or have been using bluetooth all along and your batteries are new then move on to the next step:

2. Be sure it is not an issue with other “new”, “old” USB devices: Unplug all USB devices and restart. If the problem still exists then move on to the next step:

3. Repair your disk permissions. Go to Applications/ Utilities / and double click the DIsk Utility application. Once open select your start up disk and perform the Repair Permissions. Restart the computer. If the problem still exists then move on to the next step:

4. Delete the preferences file for Bluetooth. This is found either in the main Library folder or the Users Library folder. ~/Library/Preferences/ or ~/Library/Preferences/ Once deleted, restart the computer. If the problem still exists then move on to the next step:

5. Reset the PRAM on your device. Shutdown the computer and hold down the Command, Option, P, and R keys while Restarting your computer. If the problem still exists then move on to the next step:

6. Reset the Power Management System. Do this by shutting down your computer. Then unplug the Laptop. Take out the Battery. Hold the power button down for 5-10 seconds. Plug the Laptop back in and also the Battery. Restart the computer. Once bluetooth is established plug back in the USB devices. (Ed Note: THIS STEP WORKED FOR US)

This should fix the problem. Turning on the computer or shutting it down as well as changing Batteries and waking from sleep, et.c all access the Power Management System and may cause problems with the built-in bluetooth module. Reseting the system should fix this problem.

Credit: Tom McGrath at Apple Discussions


The last solution we know of that may work, requires Xcode, which all users can download at the Apple developer site (and licensed developers should already have on their systems).  Little trick if you do not have Xcode but know someone who does, just ask them to send that app to you:

1) Launch Bluetooth Explorer (a utility installed as Part of Xcode).

2) Select the “Modify Software & Device Configuration” from the Utilities Menu.

3) Keep the first four checkboxes checked (one of those will say “Full Factory Reset”)

4) Click “Perform Actions” on the lower-right portion of the window.

5) Reboot (the “Reboot Now” Button may work, it it doesn’t just go with a normal reboot)/

Hopefully that helps. Just re-pair your Bluetooth devices and things should be fine.


If anyone else is having this issue and finds their own fixes, feel free to let us know in the comments below.



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