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I just got a new work laptop. I would like to seamlessly switch my bluetooth devices (headphones, magic keyboard, touchpad) between work / personal Macs without complex repairing.

Has anyone solved this problem?

Ideally, I would love it if my bluetooth devices just paired with the computer docked into my dongle that connects to my monitor / power. Like if there was some kind of USB bluetooth controller that exposed my bluetooth devices as USB devices to whatever was connected to it, that would be awesome. But I haven’t found anything like that. I’m curious if people have different solutions?

It would also be ideal if this could be used for other bluetooth devices, ie seamlessly switch headphones...

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    I was in a similar predicament and found no easy solution. I purchased a Matias wireless keyboard, and it can pair to 4 BT devices. Well worth the US$100. Available at Amazon . Satechi makes a wireless, back-lit BT keyboard which can pair three to 3 BT devices. Disclaimer: no ties, financial or otherwise, to Matias, Satechi or Amazon.
    – IconDaemon
    Oct 8 '20 at 12:17
  • OK, there are workarounds for keyboard (for instance MX Keys), and for headphone. But what about the Apple Magic Keyboard? Have someone find an alternative with multi device use?
    – HubTech
    Feb 15 at 6:34
  • Here is the script I use to switch my Magic Mouse and Magic Keyboard from one macbook to another (with password-less ssh access between the two) without touching the macbooks themselves: gist.github.com/blz777/57d897e7e10759abcff75a12a20799f1 The script still requires a power cycle of the devices (turn both switches off, wait a second, turn both switches back on). (Since both machines are connected to the same monitor, I also have to switch the monitor input to start working on the destination machine.) Mar 13 at 7:59
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The Apple Magic Keyboard does not have similar functionality.

If you want to quickly switch between devices, the best way to do so is to (at least temporarily) connect the keyboard to the Mac you want to use it with via a lightning cable.

Ideally, if you are swapping between them frequently, I would just leave a lightning cable connected to both, and plug it in to the computer you want to use.

Obviously not as slick as something that has a button to press to switch between devices, but it's the best way to switch between devices without buying new hardware.

Toothfairy

There is also a Mac app called Toothfairy which will let you connect/disconnect Bluetooth devices from your menu bar. $5 from the Mac App Store or part of Setapp.

Toothfairy is usually thought of as a tool to help with AirPods, but it works with all sorts of Bluetooth devices, including Magic Keyboard and Trackpad. A nice bonus is that it can show you the battery level of each device in the menu bar as well.

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  • I endorse both solutions. USB to lightning cables pair the magic keyboard instantly on macOS in my experience and Logitech devices with three ID and a button are magical as well.
    – bmike
    Oct 8 '20 at 20:10
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I would like to seamlessly switch my Bluetooth devices (headphones, magic keyboard, touch pad) between work / personal Macs without complex repairing.

Has anyone solved this problem?

Yes.

You purchase Bluetooth devices (keyboard, mouse, headset, etc.) that have multiple device support.

  • The Magic Keyboard, Mouse, and Trackpad are designed to be paired with a single computer (they make no reference to multiple device pairings). However, products like the Logitech MX series as well as the K380 (typing on it right now) can pair with up to 3 devices and switch with the press of a button.

  • Sennheiser headphones (my personal choice) can pair with up to 8 devices total and with 2 simultaneously. There are many other brands (Bose, Apple AirPods, Sony, etc.) that have this functionality.

There’s no software that is going to your initiate your Bluetooth devices to switch from one device to another - you can only imagine the security implications!

Bottom line, to easily switch between devices without complex the re-pairing as you describe, you need devices that support multiple pairings. If the device doesn’t support it, you’ll need to pair and unpair it each time.

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Software KVM solution such as Synergy, Across, others... But you would need permission from Work to install the software on the Work MacBook Pro.

That would work for the KB/Mouse/Trackpad but for the bluetooth headphones they would need to support multiple devices as Allen said.

Your employer may not like the idea of a software KVM. Your mileage may vary, depends on the employers IT / IT Security departments.

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I have a lightning cable connected to the hub that drives my external monitor. And connect my work or home laptops to my monitor. Then I can plug that lightning cable in to the magic keyboard and/or trackpad when I switch or when I need to charge the keyboard or trackpad. I don't switch all that often, so it is good enough.

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