OS X Mavericks: Fixing wireless keyboard/mouse connections

I've experienced unexplained connection drops when using an Apple wireless keyboard and/or mouse with my Mac. I looked into this and found others experiencing similar challenges, so I've gathered a few suggestions that may help.

OS X Mavericks: Fixing wireless keyboard/mouse connections

The symptoms

Symptoms vary, but they seem to include:

  • When you wake your Mac from sleep your Bluetooth mouse and/or keyboard may no longer be connected to your computer.
  • During normal use, you may find one of your input devices becomes disconnected from your Mac for no clear reason. This is the problem I have.
  • Connection may be unpredictable, for example the machine may wake from sleep when you tap the Space bar, but text entry for your login may fail.

Not every user is affected. It is not possible to estimate how many people are impacted. Further assistance is available here.

What to do

There are numerous quick steps you can attempt to address this problem.

  • First, check the battery level -- sometimes it helps to put fresh batteries in your device.
  • In some cases simply turning off the keyboard and holding the button down for 5 seconds may force the Mac to reconnect.

These steps may not work. Apple hosts additional Bluetooth troubleshooting information here.

To use your Mac you can also try:

Some tricks

If your mouse is working and your keyboard isn't, or if you have a wired mouse you can connect for the task it's possible to manually reconnect your device(s) by accessing System Preferences>Bluetooth. When Bluetooth Settings appear some users report their devices begin working again, otherwise you can re-enable the connection in the pane.

If your keyboard is working and your mouse isn't, type Command + Space to invoke Spotlight. Type "Bluetooth" and use the down (cursor) arrow to select System Preferences>Bluetooth, then tap Enter. This sometimes activates the connection.

Resetting PRAM/NVRAM

Some reports claim the Bluetooth problem can be overcome by resetting PRAM and NVRAM, though this doesn't apparently work for everyone.

  • Shut down your Mac
  • Locate the Command, Option, P and R keys on your keyboard
  • Switch on your Mac
  • Press and hold the Command, Option, P and R keys before the gray screen appears
  • Keep these keys depressed until the Mac restarts and you hear the StartUp sound for a second time
  • Release the keys
  • Some settings, (eg. volume, time zone, startup disc) will need to be reconfigured subsequent to reset.

Repair the pair

You can see which devices your system is paired with in System Profiler (Tip: Hold down the Option key when you select the Apple Menu and you will be able to select System Information directly rather than needing to enter About This Mac in order to access System Information). Select 'System Report' on the next screen. Is your device listed among those included in the Bluetooth section?

You can create a fresh pairing for your device.

  • First enter System Preferences>Bluetooth then delete your existing paired device(s) in the list. 
  • Restart your Mac and follow these instructions to pair your devices once again. NB: You should switch off your device and remove and reinsert the batteries before you begin the repairing. Follow the instructions and your device should be in discovery mode next time it you switch it on.
  • If these steps fail, try again but be sure to keep the power button depressed when it enters discovery mode and you should eventually be given the pairing passcode. More here.

I hope one or more of these steps helps Mavericks users who may be suffering connection problems using a wireless keyboard or mouse with their Mac.

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