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I recently created an account for a friend to log into my Mac (macOS 10.14). In that account, they enabled iCloud and other typical options.

Since then, that person's iOS devices (iPhone, iPad) will periodically connect to the Mac using Bluetooth. It will appear in the Bluetooth menu in the Menu Bar. It will be bold, indicating it's connected.

When the device is connected, especially if the device is not close by but is for example in another room, it interferes with the Bluetooth devices I'm actively using, a mouse, keyboard, and Air Pods. Interference with the airpods is particularly annoying because it will garble the audio and sometimes cause the air pods to drop off. I suspect it may also be causing unnecessary battery drain on the devices.

Because the unauthorized device is connected, I can use the Bluetooth menu to Disconnect the device, at which point the interference stops, but then the device reconnects again, sometimes right away, sometimes minutes later.

The issue doesn't happen reliably. I can't recreate it. It seems the right confluence of factors needs to be happening for the device to connect and interfere with the communication. Because the issue only started after the update to Mojave and the enrollment of my friend's account, I suspect one of those factors is key, most likely the latter.

I've worked with Apple Support on this issue and we've first confirmed a few things:

  • the device is not present in the bluetooth devices (nor vice versa)
  • the device is not listed in the wifi settings
  • the device is not present in iTunes

We've also started a couple of troubleshooting steps:

  • Paired then unpaired the device
  • Run NVRAM reset

I've also confirmed:

  • Neither of the devices are listed in the /Library/Preferences/com.apple.Bluetooth.plist except for in the DeviceCache section.

Interestingly, both devices appear by name many times in the DeviceCache, all with different Bluetooth addresses (93 times and 170 times).

I'm going to continue investigating, but if anyone has a clue how to proceed with troubleshooting this issue - how to prevent those devices from interfering with basic usage on the mac, I'm open to suggestions.

Follow up: Pairing and unpairing and NVRAM reset had no impact. It continues and pair silently.

Edit: My next troubleshooting step is to delete the Bluetooth preferences file (/Library/Preferences/com.apple.Bluetooth.plist) and reboot. Doing so did unpair all devices, but did not correct the issue.

Edit: I did some other troubleshooting steps with Apple. They had me log in to the friend's account and delete the devices from Bluetooth. I forget exactly what we did, but it did not solve the issue.

I've since deleted the friend's account and rebooted the machine, but that also hasn't remedied the issue.

  • Have you added your Apple ID under iCloud preference pane in your friends account on macOS? – Nimesh Neema Nov 10 '18 at 12:36
  • @NimeshNeema I have not. Only my friend's Apple ID appears there. – Jason R. Coombs Nov 10 '18 at 12:37
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This is happening with my new (2017) MacBook Air + wife's iPhone 8. She had a local account on the Air, signed into iCloud.

Signing her out of iCloud on the Air did not fix anything.

We removed the Air from her iCloud account via her phone, and all seems well now.

This was very annoying because my AirPods would start to have a "stadium" stereo effect every time her phone paired to the laptop.

  • Interesting. I’m 60% sure we had tried that action to no avail. – Jason R. Coombs Mar 3 at 15:20
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    Just double-checked and found the friend’s iCloud account still has a reference to the laptop, so that was not something we attempted. Yet the problem has since subsided, presumably following some delay after deleting the account. – Jason R. Coombs Mar 3 at 15:29
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Ultimately, we ended up deleting my friend’s account from the laptop. The problem persisted for a short time after that and then went away days or weeks later.

  • So continuity was likely attempting to re-pair the devices and getting that out of the mix would make sense that the intended pairing with then be more stable or perform better. – bmike Mar 3 at 16:15

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