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When I pair my bluetooth headphones (Bose QC 35) to my MBP running macOS Mojave, they sometimes disconnect a few seconds later. I try turning them off and on again, turning off bluetooth on my phone (in case it's competing for a connection or something), but none of that helps. The only solution I've found is to restart my computer which is really not ideal.

Ideally I'd like to find the cause of this, but it would also be really helpful to find a workaround. For example, is there some kind of driver I could try restarting without having restart my whole computer?

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  • Just a friendly reminder - if you have an answer or a troubleshooting step - make that an answer please. Comments are for clarifying the question and not for floating potential answers or actual answers. – bmike Dec 2 '18 at 22:24
  • @bmike, And if it turns out to be a completely incorrect answer? Should we delete it afterwards? – Iulian Onofrei Feb 7 '19 at 13:22
  • @IulianOnofrei that would be an excellent question on Ask Different Meta – bmike Feb 8 '19 at 1:18
  • I have the same problem on Catalina. Before upgrading to Catalina it was working fine. Ufter uğgrade there were glitches and now it started to disconnect after 15-20 seconds. – Olcay Ertaş Nov 11 '19 at 8:32
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    For additional information in trying to narrow down the issue, when mine "disconnects", it still shows as connected to my MacBook, but attempting to select it from the output devices list does nothing. The sound icon does a kind of searching animation, but that's it. discussions.apple.com/thread/250793838 – mix3d Nov 18 '19 at 18:55

15 Answers 15

34

Try resetting the Bluetooth module.

Shift-Option click the BT menu bar item > Debug > Reset the Bluetooth module.

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  • For me the reconnection of the headset from Bluetooth -> Bose QC35 -> Connect is enough. – onik Feb 20 '19 at 15:03
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    Didn't work on cataline with Sony WH-CH500 headphone. – Olcay Ertaş Nov 11 '19 at 8:34
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    On Catalina, it still disconnects after a longer timeout now, like 2 minutes. – Peter Nov 14 '19 at 9:56
  • Clicking Connect again on the device in the bluetooth application worked to resolve the issue for a single session, but if it went into idle or reconnected the device later the same issue would happen. Resetting the module had a more lasting effect. It still disconnects occasionally but much less often. – theferrit32 Aug 21 '20 at 16:57
  • Worked for me on Catalina. The only bluetooth device I have connected is my magic mouse. – RogerW Sep 18 '20 at 8:44
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I also had no success with the other answers mentioned here. Found this suggestion on Reddit to kill the coreaudiod process and it finally solved the problem without having to restart my computer.

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    Is there a way to know via system logs or something to know coreaudiod has to be killed so it can be automated? – drfence Sep 2 '20 at 22:44
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I found that Bluetooth actually works for all devices but for the audio ones. Rebooting the Bluetooth module didn't do anything, but killing coreaudiod solved my problem for good.

sudo kill -9 `ps ax | grep 'coreaudiod' | grep -v grep | awk '{print $1}'`
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I had the same problem after upgrading to Mac OSX Catalina with my Sennheiser HD 4.0 BT. I followed this guide and it worked for me.

  1. Delete /Library/Preferences/com.apple.Bluetooth.plist
  2. Clear PRAM according to Apple's instructions by rebooting and holding down Command + Option + P + R for roughly 20 seconds until either the second startup sound plays or Apple logo appears and disappears for a second time.
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  • 3
    Links may break, rendering your answer useless. Please edit the relevant parts of the linked page directly into your answer so it stands on it own. – nohillside Jan 29 '20 at 6:36
  • AirPod Pros were immediately disconnecting on reconnect. Only thing I could do was Pair again. Resetting BT module didn't work. Resetting the PRAM here did work for me. – nitsujri Apr 1 '20 at 8:33
  • This worked for me. thanks! – SyncMaster Jun 13 '20 at 5:39
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I tried all these things, but they didn't work. Eventually switched my wifi to 5GHz and the problem went away. Ref: Bluetooth and WiFi interfering with one another since Yosemite

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  • I have my wifi off and it's still not working. – O.rka Feb 21 '20 at 23:26
  • In my case this was very helpful. I have switched my fews WiFis to 5Ghz at home and issue disappeared on Macbook 2019. Approved answer to reset Bluetooth didn't help. So to summarise main problem is that Bluetooth uses almost same frequency band in 2.4GHz range as your WiFi at 2.4GHz (if not switched to 5GHz). – laimison Aug 20 '20 at 23:23
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None of the above mentioned worked for me, and then I tried this:

  • Go to System Preferences > Network > From the side pane, Delete Bluetooth PAN using the minus sign (-) at the bottom.
  • Then use the Plus Sign (+) to create a new one using the drop-down menu.

The system will re-apply profile settings and you should be good to go after that.

3

Had same issue while using Bowers&Wilkins PX7, couple of days everything was fine, then connected/disconnected hell started.

None of the provided solutions would solve issue for Bowers.

Turned out that a solution was from the other side: forgetting all devices from the headset itself restored the sound, hooray!

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  • This! To factory reset JBL speakers hold [+] and [|>] buttons till the speaker shuts down, then re-pair it again. – Benny K Jun 6 '20 at 14:54
  • Yes, this is the only thing that really helped! Thanks a lot! – mvp Jul 16 '20 at 18:32
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The Bose Connect app on iPhone is my go-to for this situation. Typically the issue is that my QC 35's are connecting to other devices (Apple TV, iPad, etc.) instead of my Mac and the app allows me to disconnect the headphones from that device and then connect them to my Mac (all from within the app!).

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1

What worked for me:

  • Hold Option + Shift
  • Click the Bluetooth menu bar icon
  • Go to Debug
  • Click Remove all devices

Reconnect your Bluetooth devices.

Bluetooth menu bar icon > Debug > Remove all Devices

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    Nope. Does not working. On MacOS Catalina, every 5 mins or so, the bluetooth always disconnected, even after removing all devices and then connecting that one device via bluetooth. The device stay connected, I still can see it in the Audio devices, I can select it as preferred output, but the Mac keeps playing the audio through default audio. I have to turn bluetooth off, turn it on again, and then reconnect to the device. And then 5 mins later, Mac will route the audio through default audio output again. – Chen Li Yong Mar 19 '20 at 5:55
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I know this is an old thread but this might be an answer to those that have already tried resetting the BT module, disconnecting and reconnecting all devices, factory resetting the devices, resetting the SMC.

To start with, I was completely outraged that all the bluetooth headsets that I own weren't disconnecting at all from the Windows machines that I own but ALWAYS were disconnecting from my Macs and when I was near my Mac with my iOS devices (3 iphones (1 x SE, 2 x 11 Pro) which are connected to 2 iWatches which I use for testing software I was a little inspired and moved all of my apple devices from my workspace area and had a pair of cheap BT headsets paired and connected with my Mac and they haven't disconnected at all in more than 24 hrs.

TL;DR: If you have keyboards or watches or other wireless BT devices connected to iOS devices (phones, tables, other) keep them away from the MacOS device you have connected with your headsets or headphones and I guarantee that they won't get disconnected.

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  • So the choice is BT keyboard/mouse combo or BT earphones? Wow cheers apple, I guess I have to buy airpods now. – mega_creamery Feb 2 at 16:47
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I have the same problem with momentum 3. There is no luck after resetting the BT module, disconnecting and reconnecting all devices. Then I power off it and power on, then the problem gone.

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In my case I had my headphones connected to charge via the keyboard despite the lack of power. I think this may have confused the blutooth as once I connected back to the keyboard and disconnected after the low power warning went away then it could connect as normal?

I hope this helps someone else.

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  • I think the error has something to do with the headphones connecting to charge via USB at some point. If anyone else can confirm let me know, but I seem to be able to re-create the error now at will. – Joseph Astrahan Feb 20 '19 at 6:07
  • The QC35 disconnects when charging. I don't have an USB-cable in mine except for actually charging. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Feb 12 '20 at 14:34
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Tried all of the options described here but none of them helped. My problem was that I tried to improve sound quality by modifying bluetooth audio options using Bluetooth explorer from additional tools for Xcode. Suddenly it stopped working after some update to Mac OS and the tool itself was crashing when I was trying to access it. Solution was to download additional tools for Xcode with lower version then 11.4 (version 9 worked for me) and then resetting it from there. Some more details here

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In Activity Monitor double click the bluetoothaudiod process and Force Quit it

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I restarted my computer and it worked.

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