How to restart Bluetooth (blued) on a Mac

Update February 2016: If you’re on Mac OS X El Capitan or newer, please follow these steps to reset your bluetooth module instead.

Update March 2016: If you’re getting the “Bluetooth Not Available” error, please follow this guide instead: Bluetooth Not Available Mac OS X Problem

apple-bluetooth-illustration-old Sometimes when my computer runs out of battery, and Bluetooth devices are still connected, I can’t reconnect the devices when the computer is alive again. It seems to be a bug in OS X 10.6 that, besides not letting you reconnect the devices, also makes it impossible to restart the Bluetooth service (which otherwise is the first thing to try if you ever have problems with connected devices).

In the menu bar it looks like you can’t turn off bluetooth, if you dig deeper and go into System Preferences you’ll find that BT is actually turned off and from there the checkbox to turn it on again won’t accept your clicks.

After getting annoyed by this over and over again for the past few months or so, and with no OS X updates fixing the problem, I finally uncovered a simple way to force power cycle the process which seems to temporarily fix the problem for me. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Open the Activity Monitor (Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor).
  2. Find the process called blued and select it. (Tip: sorting using the Process Name column makes this much easier to find.)
  3. With blued selected, click the Quit Process button at the top.
  4. A dialogue comes up asking you to confirm the action. Press Force Quit. Since this process is run by the “root” user, you will most likely have to enter the Administrator password to continue.
  5. Done! The process quits, and immediately starts itself again. You should now be able to turn Bluetooth on/off again, as well as connect your devices.

This was a guide on how to restart the Bluetooth process (“blued”) using the Activity Monitor in OS X Snow Leopard. I like to write these small basic tutorials for things I’ve had problems with myself, but then found a work-around for.

Do you have a better way of doing this? Let me know in the comments!