How can I set a Magic Trackpad (or, any other bluetooth device, I guess) into discovery mode, if it has already been paired to another mac?

Anything I find on google just mocks me.

  • 2
    Will this be when you are near the Mac it is already paired to? Aug 10, 2011 at 14:13
  • I guess you three are right: it was distant enough from the already-paired one that I didn't even consider it was connecting to it... I guess I was wrong.
    – o0'.
    Aug 11, 2011 at 12:48
  • It depends on the device and version, and Apple's naming doesn't help. For example, there is the Magic Keyboard for iPad the Magic Keyboard and the original Magic Keyboard with different forced pairing modes as one might have a switch and the other a power button. The nuclear option will always work, but each device has its own forced pairing mode which is easier to use. The trick is to find out the name of the device, and then find its forced pairing mode mechanism.
    – Senseful
    Mar 9 at 19:09

7 Answers 7


(I took the Magic Trackpad for example, but it applies to Apple Bluetooth keyboard and Magic Mouse as well)

When you start a Magic Trackpad, it announces itself over bluetooth :

  • If a Mac "hear" it and is paired with it, they connect each other and you can't use the Magic Trackpad with another Mac.
  • If no previously paired Mac are near the Magic Trackpad, it will be available to a new pairing.

So, one Magic Trackpad can be paired to multiple computers. When you start it, the first computer to connect to it gets it (first arrived, first served).

If you have two Macs next to each other (A & B), your Magic Trackpad paired to A and you want to pair it with B, you have four choices :

  • Unpair your Magic Trackpad from A
  • Disable bluetooth on A (this can be painful if you only have bluetooth input devices for A)
  • Take A or B far (±10 meters) from the other. Stop your Magic Trackpad and start it again near B.
  • Shutdown A

Once done, you can start a new pairing procedure on B.

I hope it answers your question.

(you can also stop and start again your Magic Trackpad while detecting new bluetooth devices on B and hope B will find it faster than A, but you'll probably need to make that several times before getting it to work)

  • 2
    Can't you just hold the power button while powering on to force the device into discovery mode? I agree it's better to not have another device paired, but I've been able to temporarily shift things in the past using a keyboard once with an iPad.
    – bmike
    Aug 15, 2011 at 20:03
  • I think it still can be "catched" by a paired Mac but I should try to be sure. Will post here if I do so.
    – olivier
    Aug 15, 2011 at 20:21
  • "Shutdown A" is probably the easiest and best option, and I guess you could put it on top of your list because it would work for most people. Moving desktop computers isn't very easy.
    – Jonny
    Mar 2, 2016 at 2:21
  • This answer seems to work. Thanks. A follow-up question, though. This answer hints that one Apple Mouse/Trackpad/Keyboard could be paired with multiple Mac Devices, and then later automatically connects to whoever would be active at that time. If that's really the case, then how many Devices can one Apple Mouse/Trackpad/Keyboard "memorize"? 2? 3? 5? 10?
    – RayLuo
    Feb 9, 2020 at 23:50
  • Option B (disabling Bluetooth on one Mac) doesn't work for me. I still need to re-pair it on the other. Then, if I successfully pair it with B, even if I turn off bluetooth on B, it will not reconnect back on A. It appears to try for a moment and then disappears from the Bluetooth device list. I then need to re-Pair it on A again. So it seems like even though it can "theoretically" be paired to both, as soon as you attempt to switch between them the device gets dropped.
    – Ike
    Apr 11, 2020 at 3:01

Regarding the Magic Mouse you can kick it into discovery mode by holding down the mouse button, switch the mouse on, keep on holding the mouse button until the green light starts blinking!

  • 1
    This is what I've been looking for - thanks! They should make this clear on the Apple website
    – SomaMan
    Sep 30, 2015 at 8:51
  • 2
    This is the correct answer. In an office of 70 people I can't go around asking how is paired to this mouse already. :) Dec 7, 2016 at 22:04
  • This is the answer I needed. Not sure why I didn't find it on Apple's support site.
    – Greg Brown
    Jun 11, 2018 at 22:04

I just did this. You put your trackpad or keyboard into discovery mode by holding the power key until the green light is blinking. The mac mini recognizes the trackpad almost immediately, and then walks you through the process of connecting your keyboard. Keyboard does not need to be in discovery mode, only needs to be powered on.

Took 2 min, very simple. Don't waste any money or space on a USB keyboard!


For the Magic Keyboard 2 (squarish, slider switch instead of power button)

Hold Command+W while powering on.

Thanks to TomOSeven!

For the original Magic Trackpad / Magic Keyboard (rounded with power button)

Follow these instructions:

  1. Turn off the trackpad by holding down the power button until the light goes out.
  2. Turn on the trackpad by pressing the power button, and keep the power button pressed until it is paired. The light on the mouse will start blinking, it will show up in Bluetooth Preferences, and you will be able to pair it almost immediately so long as you do not let go of the power button from the moment of turning it on until after the trackpad is paired.

MAGIC MOUSE 2 HAS A DISCOVERY MODE Here's how you do it:

  1. turn the mouse off
  2. press the click button and hold it pressed
  3. turn on the mouse
  4. go to mouse utility on the mac and search for a mouse. you will find it
  5. connect to the mouse
  6. release the click button

I don't think the magic trackpad (or the magic mouse) have a "discovery mode." Just make sure the bluetooth on the Mac it was previously paired to is off, then go about connecting it to the new Mac as normal.

Apple's support page on this

  • 1
    The devices should enter discovery mode as indicated by flashing of the green LED - you can force it by holding the power button longer when you turn it on - releasing when you see it flashing. +1 great article link
    – bmike
    Aug 15, 2011 at 20:01

The other answers apply to the original Magic Mouse. However, the Magic Mouse 2 (with the Lightning port for charging) does not have a green light or pairing mode. To pair an already-paired Magic Mouse 2, you will need to plug the mouse into the Lighting-to-USB cable and connect directly to the Mac.

(TIL that the connection must be DIRECTLY to the Mac and not via a hub such as a Thunderbolt Display.)

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