Where’d my Bluetooth go? OS X 10.5.6 ate it


apple-logobt-logoI had a bit of a scare this morning when I popped open my new MacBook to get started.  It was not sleeping, it was totally powered down which has never happened before.  I hit the power button and it started up from scratch normally and shortly was up and going normally.

Well, almost normally.  Everything was working except the Bluetooth mouse and keyboard which were not recognized.  A quick check found that the Bluetooth icon was no longer in the system menu bar where it always lives.

I fired up system preferences and there was no Bluetooth to be found under the Hardware setting where it lives.  With no Bluetooth setting under system preferences there is no way to restart the Bluetooth services so I was dead in the water as far as Bluetooth goes.

I went over to the Apple support forum and discovered that some folks are reporting the same problem since the latest OS X update, 10.5.6.  Systems that have been working fine are now having Bluetooth disappear with regularity under 10.5.6.

The solution offered in the support forum worked for me, at least so far.  Resetting the PRAM/ NVRAM restored Bluetooth capability and put it back in the system preferences where it should be.  I’ll have to keep an eye on it to see if this becomes a regular occurrence.  Here’s the simple instruction for resetting the PRAM should your Bluetooth go away:

  1. Shut down the computer.
  2. Locate the following keys on the keyboard: Command, Option, P, and R. You will need to hold these keys down simultaneously in step 4.
  3. Turn on the computer.
  4. Press and hold the Command-Option-P-R keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.
  5. Hold the keys down until the computer restarts and you hear the startup sound for the second time.
  6. Release the keys.



It is not helped for us. The solution was: Disk Utility / Choose the main volume (Macintosh HD), Tab: First Aid, and click to Repair permissions button there.

After completed, we shut down the machine, had a lunch then after the restart, Bluetooth came back and everything is OK.


Hey, I tried to reset the pram on my imac by doing what u said. Everything did what it was supposed to but then when I went I login it’s all frozen, like the wired keyboard doesn’t seem to be connect or the mouse…I can turn it off but then when I turn it on it does the same thing. What should I do??


This happened to me today – Bluetooth completely disappeared. I did the ctrl-alt=shift power button (SMC Reset) and everything was fine. Quite a scare though.


Haven’t encountered the disappearing BT problem, but since 10.5.5 have seen an issue with my Apple BT keyboard randomly disconnecting and reconnecting. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it, but it happens a couple of times a day. 10.5.6 did not change this behavior.

Alan Yeung

Thanks for this tip. I’m not sure it’s related, but I’ve been having trouble with Bluetooth on my first-generation MacBook for at least a year now… it also happens in Windows XP (disappears and reappears repeatedly), so I suspect it may be hardware related rather than what you’re seeing, but I’ll give this a shot.

BTW, when my Bluetooth is acting up, a side effect is that it will sometimes force the computer to awaken from sleep spontaneously. The console reports something on the USB bus is causing the system wakeup, but I’m not using any USB devices and the Bluetooth adapter is connected internally via the USB bus, so it’s got to be the problem.

Dave Zatz

I had Bluetooth problems on 10.5.5 and gave up on my BT Apple keyboard and Logitech mouse. Was hoping 10.5.6 resolved this but now I don’t feel so confident (haven’t tried yet). Also happy to see new touchpad drivers for Vista, though Ars reports they still have issues.


I have this happen every once in a while too. Have not installed the update, but what I do is to shutdown, pull the battery and then reboot.

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