How to restart Bluetooth (blued) on a Mac

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!

46 thoughts on “How to restart Bluetooth (blued) on a Mac

  1. How can I type in my admin password if my keyboard isn’t paired??? This is the reason I am trying to force quit blued.

    • This guide is for quitting the blued process on a laptop, which has a built in keyboard.

      Only way I can think of to type without a keyboard would be to use the Keyboard viewer and press the keys with your cursor.

  2. Thanks so much!!!! Just a quick addition, by default activity monitor only shows the processes which are started by the user i.e. My Processes, you would want to change that to All Processes. Thanks again!!!

    Awesome!!

  3. Thank you !

    My bluetooth keyboard and mouse suddenly couldn’t connect this morning after the MAC woke up from sleep mode.

    Fortunately I could kill blued and enter the admin password because Desktop Sharing was enabled on the MAC.

    Saved me a reboot and re-opening all my apps and windows.

  4. I have a similar problem of Bluetooth turning itself off. When I tried your solution, I couldn’t find a process called blued at all. Any suggestions?

  5. Thanks for posting, I’d read a bunch of useless tips on the OSX support site, but this got my bluetooth working again right away.

  6. Thanks for blogging this! Much better than a reboot and PRAM reset.

    For those who always have Terminal open like I do, you can easily kill/restart the process with “sudo pkill blued”. This does the same thing but saves you from running and looking around in Activity Monitor. You will likely be prompted for your password as with most administrative actions.

  7. I can not do this process because my “blued” is not there, and i know that i did use bluetooth till couple days ago, and now its gone, its nowhere, cant use anymore my headset that i did use 2 days ago, same with my phone, now its gone, and in the -About MacBook-MoreInfo- in the Hardware Section the Bluetooth its there but when i click in the right window says, “no information found”..plz help me on this, soon as u can. Thank you

  8. Thanks! I would not have found this myself. For future reference, some folks might like the command line equivalent. First find the process (equivalent of your steps 1 & 2):

    $ ps -ef | grep blued
    0 49 1 0 0:04.29 ?? 0:06.26 /usr/sbin/blued
    502 84725 84717 0 0:00.00 ttys000 0:00.00 grep blued

    I see that it is process ID 49. Then kill process 49 (equivalent of your steps 3, 4, & 5).

    $ sudo kill -9 49
    Password:

    Woo hoo!

  9. If you can’t find the blued process – make sure you are looking at ALL processes in the drop down menu. Not just your user processes.

  10. I’ve just tried this a half-dozen times, using both “Quit” and “Force Quit”, and neither works. It goes through the motions, asking me for my Admin password, which I give it. But “blued” never disappears from the Activity Monitor (CPU or Disk Activity). It’s on, and it bloody well insists on staying on. Which is highly annoying because I’ve used bluetooth pairing with my system exactly twice since purchasing it in 2009.

  11. Did nothing for me. tried force quitting blued, tried killing it in terminal. My bluetooth hasn’t completely froze but it responds slowly, doesnt let me use any bluetooth accessory or let me turn off bluetooth. Running ML on my early 2011 MB Pro. Please mail me at lars.nilsen88@gmail.com if you have another solution!

  12. I’ve had the exact same problem for many months and this is definitely a bug related to the Macbook Air’s battery and disconnecting bluetooth devices by itself. Mine would happen every time the MBA battery would get below 40%.
    But I also would get other weird affects of the cursor jumping around the screen and the bluetooth keyboard randomly disconnecting and re-connecting itself.
    Thanks a million for the post.

  13. This solved the problem, but also the way you explained how to implement the process was much clearer than one usually finds in tutorials, and the language wasn’t hyped or stressful which it often is. Clear, lucid and 100% effective.
    Thanks and happy Christmas. SW

  14. Hi Isaac, if you can help me this would be great: I’m trying to fix a Macbook running 10.4.11 Tiger. Problem is I can’t click anything. Cursor moves but the Dock won’t come up at mouse-over, and hot corners are all reset. I put someone else’s USB Flash drive in my Mac last night and this morning the mouse is not working. Not a hardware problem, same results with USB mouse. When I put the Flash drive in, I remember seeing some kind of Bluetooth prompt but I don’t remember what it was or what it did. Any ideas how I can reset everything related to Bluetooth from Terminal? thanks if you can help, I love your page.

    • Hey – I’m by no means a computer expert, in fact the reason I write these articles is mostly to remind myself on how I solved the problem last time I ran into it!

      However if the hot corners and the dock stopped working simultaneously I’d assume Finder had some problems reading the USB key. First thing I would try would be to restart Finder, easiest way to do that would be to press Option+Command+Esc to bring up the Force Quit menu. Select Finder, press “relaunch” (you can’t ever quit Finder altogether”. If that doesn’t do it, I’d probably try restarting the dock itself. You can find it in the Activity Monitor if you search for “dock”. You can also do it from the Terminal by typing “killall -KILL Dock”. Here are some other neat terminal commands for when Finder-related processes stop working that I just found: http://www.thxbye.de/mac/mac-restarting-the-mac-os-x-dock-finder-spaces-or-menubar.html

  15. thanks. I just SOLVED IT!!!!

    it was a double-whammy. My mouse button was stuck down, not from the swollen battery thing, but probably just from a mechanical bump in transit.

    AND, the bluetooth app on that PC flash drive I put in, also screwed up a bunch of my prefs, making me think it was not a hardware issue.

    the clue was that when I tried to do a clean install, the DVD would eject itself before I could do anything. somewhere in an unrelated thread I saw that “you can hold the mouse button down at startup to eject the disc.”

    ***FIX***
    I held my fingernail down on the mouse button and scraped it back and forth like you do with a coin on a scratch-off ticket. White 2007 Macbook on Tiger.

    NOTE: now the cursor randomly jumps elsewhere in the middle of typing!!!

    thanks for the response, I hope this helps someone else.

  16. Oh my goodness, thank you so much! I’ve been trying to figure this out for over an hour, I’m so happy I stumbled upon this page. I was a bit disheartened when I couldn’t find “Blued” in my processes list, thankfully I saw that someone had the same issue and it was resolved when I selected the “All Processes” list rather than “My Processes”. Now my bluetooth is working fine. Thank you!

  17. Thanks so much, i have not been able to turn on my bluetooth for wow about 6mths or so (i only use it to transfer photos form time to time) problem fixed Yipppeeee!!

  18. Great help !

    just select >>All processes<< in the activity monitor at the top. Then you'll see the blued appear.

    Shut the basterd down
    enter your admin password and suddenly the bluetooth is on again !

    Thank

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