Bluetooth is a wireless technology that uses short-wavelength ultra high frequency (UHF) radio waves to transmit data over short distances. It was invented by telecommunications company Ericsson in 1994, and it is used by millions of people around the world on a multitude of devices that include smartphones, speakers, desktop computers and, of course, laptops like your MacBook.
However, Bluetooth should not be confused with Wi-Fi, as they are two completely different wireless technologies. Bluetooth is ideal only for exchanging information between two devices that are near each other, such as your iPhone and your MacBook when placed on your desk. Wi-Fi, on the other hand, is best if you want a faster speeds and the ability to connect even at far distances.
The different uses of Bluetooth
One of the reasons for the popularity of Bluetooth is that it has a ton of applications. When it was first developed, Bluetooth was used primarily to transfer small files and images from one cellphone to another when traditional wired transfers were not an option.
Times have changed since then. Today, Bluetooth is used on almost any device spanning different types of media. In place of speakers with a 3.5mm jack, you can use high-fidelity portable Bluetooth speakers to listen to music. Want to watch a movie or a TV show on smartphone during your morning commute? You connect a wireless Bluetooth headset to your device.
You can also use a wide variety of Bluetooth devices with your MacBook such as keyboards, mice, and your iPhone.
Checking the Bluetooth on your MacBook
MacBooks are awesome laptops not only because of their design, but also because they have Bluetooth technology built into them. Check whether your MacBook has Bluetooth by looking for the Bluetooth icon () on your menu bar. If it’s there, then your MacBook has Bluetooth. Here’s how you can be sure if it’s installed:
- Click on the Apple icon at the top-left corner of your screen.
- Select System Preferences, then select Bluetooth.
- You’ll see options for enabling Bluetooth and making your MacBook discoverable, which means it’s properly installed.
- You can also click on the Apple icon, then select About This Mac.
- Select More Info.
- On the menu on the left under Hardware, select Bluetooth.
- You’ll see information on your MacBook’s version of Bluetooth.
Once you’ve verified your MacBook’s Bluetooth, you can start using it to connect to any Bluetooth and MacBook-compatible device.
Connecting Bluetooth devices to your Mac
Before attempting to connect any device, make sure that your Mac is discoverable. Otherwise, it won’t be detected by any Bluetooth device. To connect a device, follow these instructions:
- Enable Bluetooth on your MacBook.
- Go to the Apple menu by clicking on the Apple icon.
- Select System Preferences, then select Bluetooth
- Select the device you want to connect on the list, then click connect.
- If you are given the option to click Accept, do so.
You only need to connect the device one time. It will stay connected unless you remove it, which can be done as follows:
- Click on the Apple icon on the top-left corner of your screen to go to the Apple menu.
- Select System Preferences, then select Bluetooth.
- Hover your mouse pointer to the device you want to remove, wait for the “X” button that appears, and then click on it.
When you remove a bluetooth device, you’ll have to connect it again if you want to use it.
Troubleshooting your Mac’s Bluetooth
In cases where the Bluetooth device connected to your MacBook doesn’t function properly or stops working entirely, here are some steps you can take.
- Make sure you turned your Bluetooth on.
Double-check your Bluetooth connection by going to the Apple menu and selecting Bluetooth on System Preferences. A black Bluetooth icon means that it is turned on but no devices are connected.
- Turn the device off and on.
If your Bluetooth device isn’t detected by your MacBook, a simple fix you can try is turning the device off, waiting for 30 seconds, then turning it on again. If the are no major issues with the device, this usually does the trick.
- Charge the device.
Are you trying to connect wireless Bluetooth headphones but nothing happens? Your device might be low on battery, so all you need to do is charge the device and then try connecting it again.
- Remove interference caused by nearby devices.
One of the disadvantages of Bluetooth is other devices can interfere with its signal. This is because it shares the 2.4GHz ISM band with household items like cordless phones and microwave ovens.
To eliminate interference, try distancing yourself from the item that you think is causing it. You can also check out this detailed guide by Apple.
Now, that you’re all caught up on how to use your Mac’s Bluetooth, you can start using all sorts of Bluetooth devices.
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