Mac mini 2018 Bluetooth issues?

harriska2

macrumors 65816
Mar 16, 2011
1,172
588
Oregon
Today, Nov 4th, is the day I decided to finally migrate from the iMac to the 2018 Mini. Hours of fighting with both bluetooth mouse and keyboard. The keyboard eventually behaved with a code to pair, but the mouse would connect and ide, connect and die, just as so many in this thread have described. I logged in to tell you that I had an Anker USB hub on the mini (it has too few USB A connectors when you're migrating from a 2011 iMac!). After looking through the comments here, I removed the hub and the mouse now stays connected.

Probably the first thing to do is REMOVE USB HUB from the mini. It must have been broadcasting interference.

Except, it disconnected again just now! But it's much better than before.
I use a cheap USB 3 hub on my mini 2018 for a year now without issue mainly because I don’t use wifi or bluetooth. Still on Mojave 10.14.6. The powered hub runs 2 ten tb drives, a mouse/keyboard switcher, and some other things. I have a Magic Trackpad 2 that I keep connected and a usb dell keyboard (does apple have a gray small usb/bluetooth keyboard yet?)
 

LeeW

macrumors 65816
Feb 5, 2017
1,052
1,481
Glasgow, Scotland
Been having lots of random disconnects with Bluetooth recently, I installed a new WIFI/Bluetooth PCIe card in my PC recently, does anyone know if that could cause interference even if the PC is powered off?

I can't say specifically whether it started when I put this card in, I did it around the same time as I upgraded to Catalina so not sure what is causing it.

I thought the most likely cause is the new PC card but even when the PC is switched off it is still doing it.

The Mini sits like 6 inches from the mouse and keyboard so distance is not an issue.
 

LeeW

macrumors 65816
Feb 5, 2017
1,052
1,481
Glasgow, Scotland
lol, shocking really. When upgrading to Catalina I had all sorts of video issues like so many others, solved it by replacing both of my older USB-C to HDMI with newer, high-quality ones. Now I am having all sorts of Bluetooth issues.
 
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Winterflags

macrumors member
May 18, 2015
68
42
After much Bluetooth problems, at some point I seem to by luck have placed all my peripherals and devices (all my ports are maxed out) in an exact configuration so that the connection problems almost entirely disappeared. Then, I had to unplug and move something, upon which everything went haywire and Bluetooth connectivity turned into complete rubbish - the Mac Mini doesn't even work with the Magic Keyboard anymore. So there is a case to be made that you can by extreme trial & error find some kind of interference-minimizing configuration by testing all possible connections of devices AND their physical placement. Which probably is counted in the hundreds if not thousands of combinations. I tried to reconnect and place stuff in the exact same way as they were before, but it didn't work – so millimeter precision seems to be the game.

The other explanation I can think of is that Bluetooth somehow "learns" over time and gradually gets better to interpret its connected devices, and that this was the explanation for stuff starting to work previously. But I'm not aware of any such aspect of the technology.
 

Duncan68

macrumors 6502
Sep 22, 2018
319
235
I think the code that handles Bluetooth in macOS is very buggy. That, plus RFI from the USB3 ports causes all or most of the connection problems people have. Ever since I gave up using the USB3 ports, most of my problems went away. And yet, occasionally I will still lose connection on my Magic Keyboard or Trackpad 2, just much less than before.

These issues (along with the display issues) on the Mac mini are low priority for Apple, else they would've been fixed by now. The way they prioritize bug fixing, while I'm sure perfectly logical, is a ****show.
 

minras

macrumors newbie
Jul 12, 2008
2
1
Hi in my system all problems with mac mini (2018) bluetoth was gone when moved to 5GHz wifi, works with no problems, I think problem is that too much 2,4GHz radio mess around.
 
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LeeW

macrumors 65816
Feb 5, 2017
1,052
1,481
Glasgow, Scotland
Hi in my system all problems with mac mini (2018) bluetoth was gone when moved to 5GHz wifi, works with no problems, I think problem is that too much 2,4GHz radio mess around.
As it turns out that appears to have fixed my issues as well. I moved as many of my devices as possible from 2.4GHz to 5GHz and the issues appear to have disappeared. I had never really thought about doing that.

It was only when I considered how many devices are using 2.4GHz either for WIFI or Bluetooth that I thought it could be a fix:

iPad Pro
Apple Pencil
iPhone
Apple Watch
Air Pods Pro
Magic Mouse
Magic Keyboard
Surface Keyboard
MX Master 2S Mouse
Mac Mini
Amazon Echo
Plus a new PCI-E card with wifi/Bluetooth in the PC
Lenovo S940 laptop

Most of those are on at all times.

And that is before I add the rest of the family using up to another 9 devices through WIFI. Over 20 devices on the same range. Should not be an issue really but it could be enough devices to cause issues or just moving the WIFI on the mini to 5GHz has done enough.

At least it now appears fixed.
 

LeeW

macrumors 65816
Feb 5, 2017
1,052
1,481
Glasgow, Scotland
How does one make this change to 5Ghz?
How is your WIFI delivered? Has your ISP provided a router or are you using your own? Either way, it should have 5GHz enabled, all you should need to do is connect to the 5GHz rather than 2.4GHz.

Mine:

Screenshot 2019-11-16 at 12.57.10.png


I renamed my WIFI so yours won't look like that but any decent router should have 5GHz enabled, you may need to enable it in the router settings, usually by going to 192.168.0.1 in a browser.
 

Rogerdavidb

macrumors newbie
Dec 6, 2019
4
2
I just upgraded to a 2018 Mac mini and everything has been great...except for bluetooth. I first noticed with my Magic Trackpad - it will only consistently work when plugged in via a lightning cable. If I unplug the cable it connects fine, but it will randomly stop tracking and start back up in half a second or so, making it unusable. The same trackpad works fine with my MBP.

I then tried my Sennheiser BT headphones and the audio is choppy with the Mac mini visible line of sight within 3 feet of the headphones. I then tried my AirPods and they won't even stay connected, they just continuously drop then reconnect.

Has anyone experienced any similar issues? Could this have something to do with a USB hub I am using? I'm going to do some more testing and try unplugging things, but this is quite annoying to deal with from a $1800 machine in 2018. This was a completely fresh machine, no backups used when setting it up.
Realize this is an old thread but I had the same issue. I bought a USBC extension cable and a USBC to USB3 hub and moved all USB3 connections far away from the Mac Mini. ZERO bluetooth interference now.
- - Post merged: - -

 

Toonartist

macrumors 6502
Sep 19, 2017
288
163
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Today, Nov 4th, is the day I decided to finally migrate from the iMac to the 2018 Mini. Hours of fighting with both bluetooth mouse and keyboard. The keyboard eventually behaved with a code to pair, but the mouse would connect and ide, connect and die, just as so many in this thread have described. I logged in to tell you that I had an Anker USB hub on the mini (it has too few USB A connectors when you're migrating from a 2011 iMac!). After looking through the comments here, I removed the hub and the mouse now stays connected.

Probably the first thing to do is REMOVE USB HUB from the mini. It must have been broadcasting interference.

Except, it disconnected again just now! But it's much better than before.
I've just bought a Mac mini 2018 and was experiencing problems with the Magic Trackpad 2... it would randomly lag and sometime be nearly unusable. I hadn't noticed it when I first set it up, only later after attaching everything. I accidentally found that if my powered USB3 hub was detached I'd have no problems but they returned straight away when I reconnected it.

I've ordered a USB C / Thunderbolt hub to see if that works ok but there is definitely a problem with the powered usb 3 one I have.
 

Rogerdavidb

macrumors newbie
Dec 6, 2019
4
2
I've just bought a Mac mini 2018 and was experiencing problems with the Magic Trackpad 2... it would randomly lag and sometime be nearly unusable. I hadn't noticed it when I first set it up, only later after attaching everything. I accidentally found that if my powered USB3 hub was detached I'd have no problems but they returned straight away when I reconnected it.

I've ordered a USB C / Thunderbolt hub to see if that works ok but there is definitely a problem with the powered usb 3 one I have.
USB3 produces a frequency that emanates from the cables and interferes with Bluetooth. The Bluetooth radio is close to the USB3 ports on the 2018 mini. Buy a USB C to USB 3 hub and keep the USB 3 stuff farther away from the Mac Mini. Did this the other day and COMPLETELY fixed the disconnects from my magic keyboard, my magic mouse, and my tragic macpad - I mean magic trackpad ;-)
 
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Pepe4life

Suspended
Nov 15, 2018
396
3,408
Don’t let the Apple apologists fool you. Using a Bluetooth dongle is not a “solution”. And it’s ridiculous to think it’s okay for a computer at this price point to not have proper BT out of the box
 

Winterflags

macrumors member
May 18, 2015
68
42
Okay, I can confirm that getting a USB-C hub/dock and connecting USB-A peripherals to it seems to be the "best practice" solution.

I've had immense problems with the Mac Mini Bluetooth for almost a year, but after doing the above, my problems are gone. So I can add my testimony to the list of others who have offered the same solution.

I purchased the "Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock" and connected my USB-A hubs to it. It's a rather expensive item but it appears to have best met my needs with 2x Thunderbolt 3, 2x USB-C Gen 2, and 2x USB-A connections. Since before I also have the "CalDigit TS3Plus" which I can recommend if you're in the need for more USB-A connections in exchange for having one less USB-C Gen 2 connection as opposed to the Elgato – it also has a smaller footprint size and is cheaper. Both of these docks use the Thunderbolt 3 protocol for transfer with the Mac (not USB-C Gen 2 transfer).

I should also mention that I'm still able, without Bluetooth interruptions, to use a Logitech Wireless Mouse USB Dongle in at least one of the USB-A ports of the Mac Mini in tandem with the USB-C dock. That suggests to me that USB-A hubs in the USB-A ports of the Mac Mini are the primary cause of concern rather than small units like mouse dongles. I'm currently not using the outermost USB-A port of the Mac Mini.

It's a travesty by Apple to force users to get expensive docks in order to make Bluetooth work on the Mac Mini, since USB-A peripherals still are so common.

Edit: Well, it turns out the ”Elgato Thunderbolt 3 Pro Dock” wasn't so "Pro" after all – it doesn't detect my external RME Babyface Pro audio interface over USB-A. The CalDigit TS3Plus however detects it perfectly. The Elgato is going back and I'm getting another CalDigit.
 
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Rogerdavidb

macrumors newbie
Dec 6, 2019
4
2
I promise I am not incentivized to sell anything. I offer this up to you because buying an expensive computer AND A VERY EXPENSIVE apple bluetooth keyboard, trackpad and mouse and having them disconnect frequently, made my machine unusable and had me terribly frustrated. I would like to let you know that my solution to this problem was simple and relatively inexpensive about $32.00. I purchased a USB C Extension Cable (6ft) from Amazon, by Stouchi (Male to Female) so this is the extension cable to move the USB 3 hub farther from the Mac Mini; this was $13.90 - Plug USB C end to Mac Mini, and then then connect the USB3 hub a couple feet away. I then bought the Anker USBC Hub, Aluminum USB C Adapter with 4 USB 3.0 Ports for 17.99 from Amazon - mainly because the finish matches the Mac Mini space gray. I used a single 3M command strip to mount my cute little USB 3 hub to the back of my desk, several feet away from my Mac Mini. Again, not promoting any products in particular, just saying the solution can be relatively inexpensive and certainly very easy.
 

Toonartist

macrumors 6502
Sep 19, 2017
288
163
Newcastle Upon Tyne
USB3 produces a frequency that emanates from the cables and interferes with Bluetooth. The Bluetooth radio is close to the USB3 ports on the 2018 mini. Buy a USB C to USB 3 hub and keep the USB 3 stuff farther away from the Mac Mini. Did this the other day and COMPLETELY fixed the disconnects from my magic keyboard, my magic mouse, and my tragic macpad - I mean magic trackpad ;-)
I'll be getting a USB-C dock that has USB 3 sockets... do they cause the same problem or is it just USB3 hubs?
 

Zoey Micz

macrumors newbie
Dec 13, 2019
1
0
I purchased a 2018 mac mini 16 GB Ram and 500 GB SSD to replace my mid 2010 mac mini. 2018 Mac mini was delivered to my home on November 19, 2019. After 9 days of trouble shooting every day with Senior Apple tech support folks, it was returned for a replacement new mini. 2018 Mac Mini #2 was delivered on December 9 and sent back to Apple for a full refund on December 12, 2019.

Both 2018 MacMinis had bluetooth and wifi connection issues right out of the box. On #1 we reset PRAM, installed Catalina 4 times and then tried a downgrade to Mojave nothing fixed the connection issues. On #2 installed Catalina twice, reset PRAM, stopped using either USB 3 ports. Connected apple wired keyboard via thunderbolt port with an adaptor. The external drive and USB 3 hub were also connected via thunderbolt port. The external drive was moved two feet away from the mac mini. Disconnected everything but the wired apple keyboard. Nothing fixed the problem. The apple magic mouse would disconnect and reconnect like a light switch. My mac mini is connected to ethernet simultaneously with wifi. The wifi was unstable mostly it would not connect. We reset the router, contacted my internet service provider who did a reset remotely. Tried wrapping the mini in tinfoil. All the while this is going on two iPhones, an iPad, MacBook Pro, Acer windows laptop, Canon MX870 inkjet printer and Alexa dot are all running on wifi without a hiccup.

Life is short.. my 2010 Mac mini has 500 GB Sata HD (replaced twice) and 5 GB Ram it works flawlessly. I'm typing on it now. Apple Magic mouse and wifi have not disconnected even once. I could not find a 2015 or 2016 refurbished Mac mini so I bought a 2015 MacBook Pro yesterday.

I tip my hat to the fine people at Apple technical support they were all excellent. But I am so disappointed and frustrated with Apple for continuing to sell the 2018 Mac minis without fixing the bluetooth and wifi connection issues for over a year now. These issues are non existent in the older models. For almost $1800 CAD this adorable little computer should just work.
 
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c0ppo

macrumors 65816
Feb 11, 2013
1,432
2,667
Well, I own a mac mini 2018 for 9 months now. Until recently I had no issues at all. But to be honest, it wasn't used much.

Now I can't even connect via bluetooth at all. When I go into sys preferences and into bluetooth, application stops responding at all.

I've tried almost everything, from reseting pram and smc, deleting bluetooth.plist files, reseting bluetooth... Nothing helps. And this happened suddenly.

Only thing I haven't tried is reinstall. I will try that next week, since I need mac mini for small Xcode project that needs to be finished by tomorrow.

If reinstall doesn't help, my mini is going to repair. If it does help, I will sell it ASAP. Will purchase MBP 13 from 2014/15, nowdays I can find them for cheap.

Already moved away from MBP, and mini is my last Apple device. It's a shame what Apple has become :(
 

stradify

macrumors member
Jul 4, 2015
84
27
USA
Just bought a 2018 Mac Mini i3 and like a lot of you I was unable to get it to recognize my BT input devices.
I ended up having to use a Dell wired mouse in order to get through the initial setup. It then took a long time for the MM to finally recognize my Magic Keyboard but eventually it found it.
Using Bluetooth>Connect, either from the menu bar or from system preferences made no difference and didn't result in a connection. What did work was connecting the BT device from its unique system preference in System Preferences. For Magic Mouse select the Mouse preference and click Turn on Bluetooth. The same will work for the Trackpad or Keyboard preference window.
 
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Heat_Fan89

macrumors 6502a
Feb 23, 2016
535
450
Bluetooth issues have reared its ugly head once again. My Magic Trackpad 2 loses connection unless it's plugged in. No company is perfect but I'm at a loss how a company who designs its own hardware and software could have these types of problems. My 2012 Mac mini, no bluetooth issues.
 

Pawel Nowak

macrumors newbie
Jan 8, 2020
1
0
I have mac mini for around 9 months. I didn't had issue with Wifi, but I had a lot of problems with bluetooth connection between Mac Mini and Magic Keyboard/Mouse (connection was freezed at least once per hour, but sometimes even every few minutes).

I was trying to resolve problem, I was looking at Console logs, etc. Finally i figured out that bluetooth is working much better after disabling option "Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices". It can be found in System Preferences > General page. Not sure if it helps only in my case, but you may try it.

What is funny i had similar problem on iMac 27 2011, but totally forgot about that.
 
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sdp77

macrumors newbie
Nov 10, 2019
14
2
I use one of the first magic Bluetooth keyboards on the market. Do the new ones behave differently, do they have a different firmware? Is the connection to the mini more stable?
 

HyperDown

macrumors newbie
Jan 8, 2020
1
0
Well, I want to share an alternative solution that works without standing Mac mini on its back or messing with cables or USB ports. This is also an update to my previous effort described to Aug 23, 2019 in this thread.

All you need is a $20 Bluetooth USB dongle. It has to be use chip that has built-in driver in macOS. I use StarTech USBBT1EDR4 dongle based on CSR8510 A10 chip that is supported out of the box. In general any USB dongle using CSR8510 should work for you. If you find other dongle working too, please share. NOTE: The device must be proper USB dongle, not UART via USB (see below why).

Once you got the dongle, it is easy to plug it in. But the tricky part is to TURN OFF existing broken built-in Bluetooth permanently so it remains off after reboot. After few attempts using private APIs, numerous reboots and studying assembly of Apple's Bluetooth drivers I finally found undocumented NVRAM setting. :D Here it is:

sudo nvram SkipIOBluetoothHostControllerUARTTransport=%01

It prevents UART transport based driver from probing the devices, which effectively disables built-in Mac mini Bluetooth that uses UART interface, but leaving USB transport enabled - which makes our USB dongle only one dongle in the system, thus default active one.

If this works for you too, please let me know. Now finally I can enjoy stutter free, butter smooth mouse action for extra $20. I hope you can too.

SIDE NOTES:

The nvram setting above is crucial, anything else will fail to work, e.g.
  1. Switching active Bluetooth host device via Bluetooth Explorer utility makes it active only until next reboot
  2. sudo nvram bluetoothHostControllerSwitchBehavior=always well known documented nvram setting - recommended in few places to make USB dongle default (active) Bluetooth host device, works only when you are plugging the dongle in while system is already running. When system is booted with USB dongle already plugged in then (at least here on 10.14.6) built-in dongle remains active. Additionally built-in dongle also often becomes active (again) after computer wake.
Nanoant's procedure worked great for me! Many thanks, Nanoant!

I have a late 2018 Mac Mini. The bluetooth was super flakey. I followed Nanoant's recommendation to disable the on-board bluetooth and use an external bluetooth module, now I'm a happy bluetooth user.