Here is a problem I have been having for a while, and I can't imagine I am the only one. I suspect there is a fairly simple solution that I have just not yet thought of:

I have two MacBooks that I often use at home (one for private, and for business). I have one external display, which I connect to either depending on whether I am working or doing something privately. I have a single set of bluetooth periphery (Apple bluetooth keyboard and mouse). I could buy a second one, but then they are cluttering up my fairly small desk for no good reason. It's easy to pair my keyboard and mouse to both computers, but hard to find a quick way to pair it to the one I currently want to use. Basically, if I turn on the mouse or keyboard it's pretty much nondeterministic which it actually gets connected to if both laptops sit on my desk. Given that I need "wake up on bluetooth" enabled at least on the work laptop for reasons that have to do with my office setup, it also matters little if the work laptop is sleeping in it's bag. Sometimes it gets woken up and connected to anyway.

What I am looking for is a fairly simple solution to decide which laptop to connect to at any given time. The following solutions I have pretty much ruled out, especially since I sometimes want to switch fairly rapidly:

  • Unpairing both devices after usage. Too awkward to do all the time.
  • Disabling "wake on bluetooth" on both laptops and making sure that the one I am not using is sleeping. As I wrote I need it for my office setup.
  • A hardware KVM. The ones I found seem to be of bad quality, and if possible I would like to avoid putting another piece of hardware on my desk.
  • A software KVM. Again, the ones I found seem to not work very well, but if you know a really good, simple one I may give it a shot.

What would be the easiest fix for me would be if I could tell my work laptop that it should only connect to these specific bluetooth devices (not all bluetooth devices, mind you) upon demand, but I could not find a way to do this on a per-device basis. However, if somebody has a better idea I am all ears. I am fairly confident with the terminal, so a slightly hackier solution does not scare me as long as it does not interfere with how all my other bluetooth devices operate.

  • See this relevant answer: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/327240/… There are mice/keyboards that support multiple devices and are switchable, but you still have to deal with video. I've never found software video switching reliable at all.
    – Allan
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 17:32
  • Just an idea... Buying an USB Bluetooth Adapter for Mac and shutting down original Bluetooth connections of your computers, handling the adaptor between them to be used only in the one you're using the devices, would be helpful? Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 4:43
  • I've had to switch to a wired keyboard and I just keep two Magic Trackpads. I don't use the macOS magic keyboard, so the "re-pair" trick doesn't work either.
    – Chris R
    Commented May 23, 2020 at 21:51

1 Answer 1


While this may not be quite what you're looking for, you can use a solution like Synergy to share the keyboard and mouse between both devices.

After installing the software on both computers, you could let your Bluetooth peripherals connect to either computer and the software will allow you to simply move the mouse off of one screen and onto the other.

  • I have already tried this. The problem is that most of the time only one computer is actually active. I would rather have a solution where the mouse/keyboard is just paired to one computer.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Jul 14, 2018 at 17:42

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .