Can’t Turn *OFF* Bluetooth on Mac OS X – FIXED

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[Jump to solution]

This was bugging me for quite some time, and although there are numerous posts on the web regarding this issue, nothing worked for me.

The problem I was having, was that Bluetooth was on, and couldn’t be turned off. In Bluetooth preferences in System Preferences the “Turn Bluetooth Off” button was greyed out and not selectable, and in the menu bar (sometimes called status bar), the option wasn’t there at all. Below are some screenshots of how it should look when everything’s working okay:

This is how it SHOULD look.
This is how it SHOULD look.
Turn Bluetooth Off didn't exist for such a long time :(
Turn Bluetooth Off didn’t exist for such a long time 🙁

 

This problem persisted through OS X 10.9 Mavericks to OS X 10.10 Yosemite, so at first I was concerned there was a problem with the Bluetooth radio in my computer.

As I say, there are plenty of posts on the web which come up when you search “can’t turn off bluetooth Mac“, and apparent fixes range from resetting the SMC, resetting PRAM, reinstalling kexts and changing .plist files, but nothing worked for me. I tried a lot of things.

So how did I fix it? Well, thankfully due to having OS X Yosemite on an external drive (for development testing while it was in beta) I could boot into that and see if Bluetooth worked properly there. Thankfully, it did, and that means that it’s not a problem with the Bluetooth radio in my Mac, rather a problem with my install. So I set about comparing all the Bluetooth related files hidden away I could find.

For some reason, on my faulty OS X install, in  /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ there was a file called com.apple.Bluetooth. In my working OS X install, this file didn’t exist. It was the only difference I could see, so I deleted it. After a restart, BEHOLD! The option to turn Bluetooth off re-appeared in both System Preferences and the menu bar.

Hopefully this helps others, as I found nothing to do with this on the web anywhere and there still seemed to be some people in forums that couldn’t fix theirs. Maybe this was the issue.

Kane Cheshire

Author: Kane Cheshire

I'm a software developer (and sort of designer) from Hertfordshire. I spend a lot of time learning, travelling and flying my drone. I made MacID. You can check out some of my favourite photographs from travelling at http://kane.codes. I'm also the creator and lover of Twicnic, an annual Twitter picnic event.

18 thoughts on “Can’t Turn *OFF* Bluetooth on Mac OS X – FIXED”

  1. Just want to say THANK YOU!

    I was going crazy here with this Bluetooth issue but after following your advice I can now control Bluetooth again! Have a lovely day 🙂

  2. You are awesome! I saw all of the other entries when I googled this issue and they all seemed too complicated for me and I was afraid I would damage my computer. I did what you said except mine was labeled “com.apple.bluetoothsharing” or something like that. I was so nervous I’d done the wrong thing until I restarted it and can finally turn Bluetooth off now! Thank you SO much! Hopefully, this means it will stop being so difficult about connecting to my wireless speakers!! I can’t thank you enough for this simple and safe fix!

  3. Wow… I’ve been looking for this solution for months.

    Amazing that Apple themselves have not been able to point out this simple 8 second fix for this.

    I dunno… maybe they should let you run the place for awhile!

    All the best

  4. Thank you for that, it was wrecking my head.
    By the way, the Bluetooth options weren’t actually greyed out for me (including on the Menu Bar) they just didn’t do anything.

    I looked in Library (global, not my user) > Preferences > and found com.apple.Bluetooth.plist and changed the name with a prefix of “BAK” (being cautious, just in case I needed the file back).
    Then I restarted and, just as you said, all was back working fine. My Magic mouse connected straight away.

    I’m running El Capitan on a 2015 MBP Retina I’ve seen this issue mentioned waaaaaayyy back in Google search results. Apple really should have this one tied down by now.

    Anyway, sincere thanks for blogging this one.

    John

  5. Just upgraded my old iMac to El Capitan, and was challenged with this problem. My Bluetooth.plist file was in Library/Preferences.

    Thanks!!

  6. Hi there!
    This problem was really driving me crazy !!
    I had the same problem as John McCormack so I did exactly what he did and now is working perfectly!
    Greetings!

  7. Straightforward, easy, efffective!
    THANK YOU Kane!!!!
    Actually I had to delete all 3 different com.apple.bluetoothsomething files I had in my folder.

  8. This is awesome, thanks! I was slightly panicking because the issue was taking a toll on my battery life but this fixed it in a jiff 🙂

  9. I just upgraded my aging laptop to 10.11.6 and found I couldn’t turn Bluetooth off or stop it being discoverable – crazy! So I found this page, restarted (nothing else) and Bluetooth is now off. Thank you VERY much Kane.

  10. Thank You so much. I updated my imac to osx 10.12.6 and after that blutooth stopped working. Didn’t detect mouse and keyboard. I tried so many things but the only thing that worked is deleting that file com.apple.Bluetooth from library.
    Problem solved!

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