Mac mini 2018 Bluetooth - repairable?

etn

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 7, 2013
31
6
Hello,

my mac mini 2018 is, like many others, subject to bluetooth issues.
I am well aware of the numerous threads about this and possible workarounds.

I am debating bringing the mac to Apple for repair while it is still under warranty.
For those of you who had the mini repaired, dit it solve the issue?

If yes I'll take a chance, if not I won't bother (the computer works fine apart from that) and do the workarounds.

Thanks!
etn
 

Marinier

macrumors member
Apr 19, 2017
37
8
Ukraine, Kharkiv city
Hello,

my mac mini 2018 is, like many others, subject to bluetooth issues.
I am well aware of the numerous threads about this and possible workarounds.

I am debating bringing the mac to Apple for repair while it is still under warranty.
For those of you who had the mini repaired, dit it solve the issue?

If yes I'll take a chance, if not I won't bother (the computer works fine apart from that) and do the workarounds.

Thanks!
etn
Are you running Mojave and have issues or it is with Catalina?
 

etn

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 7, 2013
31
6
I am running Mojave.
With all workarounds described in various threads (no USB connected & Wifi off), Bluetooth works like a charm.
My only problem is that I often need USB. A more minor problem is that Night Shift relies on Wifi location services, not on the time zone set in the Date & Time preferences. I could probably live without Night Shift, although I like the feature.
 

ashleykaryl

macrumors 6502
Jul 22, 2011
283
68
UK
I have a new "2020" mini and not seen any of these Bluetooth issues. This is despite having a lot of connected cables, including four external drives and other peripherals. Are these Bluetooth issues related to the Apple mouse or also other items? I ask because I have a Tecknet mouse with a USB adaptor running over Bluetooth and it all works fine. I read somewhere that Apple quietly fixed the Bluetooth issues with the 2020 release.
 

etn

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 7, 2013
31
6
Thanks. Is my understanding correct that you are using a Bluetooth dongle connected to USB, i.e. not the built-in Bluetooth interface?

In my case, I have a Magic Trackpad 2 with built-in Bluetooth interface and a bluetooth keyboard. I have issues with the trackpad, although it is only maybe 50 cm away from the Mac Mini.

Here's what System Information says about the installed Bluetooth chip. Could you please check if your 2020 model is any different? (mine was bought in Nov 2018)
Code:
  Manufacturer:    Broadcom
  Transport:    UART
  Chipset:    4364B0
  Firmware Version:    v67 c4399
  Bluetooth Power:    On
  Discoverable:    Off
  Connectable:    Yes
  Auto Seek Pointing:    On
  Remote wake:    On
  Vendor ID:    0x05AC
  Product ID:    0x007B
  HCI Version:    5.0 (0x9)
  HCI Revision:    0x112F
  LMP Version:     (0x9)
  LMP Subversion:    0x2043
If Apple indeed fixed the Bluetooth issues in the 2020 release, it might be worth trying to bring my mac to Apple for repair, hoping for a 2020-model motherboard...

Thanks!
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
19,390
6,701
OP wrote:
"I am debating bringing the mac to Apple for repair while it is still under warranty.
For those of you who had the mini repaired, dit it solve the issue?"


I doubt that there is any "hardware repair" that is going to "fix" the issues you're having.

By design, bluetooth seems to be a relatively "weak signal" radio technology.
As such, it doesn't take much to "get in the way" of the bt signals.
Could be USB interference, etc.
Sometimes just a poorly-shield USB cable can introduce interference.

You'll probably have to fiddle around with your setup to improve performance.

OP also wrote:
"If Apple indeed fixed the Bluetooth issues in the 2020 release, it might be worth trying to bring my mac to Apple for repair, hoping for a 2020-model motherboard..."

Nothing was "changed" in the "2020" Mini from the 2018 original model EXCEPT the size of the SSDs. If I'm wrong, others will jump in and correct me.

My personal solution:
DON'T USE bluetooth.
I use a WIRED USB keyboard, and a Logitech wireless mouse that uses its own radio receiver (plugged into a USB port on my keyboard).
Not for everybody, but it works for me.
 

etn

macrumors member
Original poster
Feb 7, 2013
31
6
Agree with you that Bluetooth is a very poor interface!
I use a PC with a bluetooth mouse at work, the mouse stutters every time the OS is a bit busy. (fortunately not too often, I do not do anything taxing) Bluetooth interrupts seem better managed on macs & mac OS.
 

mr_hyde

macrumors newbie
Nov 3, 2018
27
10
Italy
I am not aware of which Bluetooth issue you speak of, but I did notice that my 2018 Mac mini has a much newer firmware version than the one you listed. See screenshot.
Same version (v87 c4409), mine is a 2018 mini bought in Nov. 2018 (if I Remember correctly). Don't know of this is relevant: mine is a i7 with 10gbit network, 512g SSD
 

ashleykaryl

macrumors 6502
Jul 22, 2011
283
68
UK
Only just seen the post above on 2018 vs 2020 Bluetooth specs. Here is what I have and there are some differences:

Manufacturer: Broadcom
Transport: UART
Chipset: 4364B0
Firmware Version: v87 c4409
Bluetooth Power: On
Discoverable: Off
Connectable: Yes
Auto Seek Pointing: On
Remote wake: On
Vendor ID: 0x05AC
Product ID: 0x007B
Bluetooth Core Spec: 5.0 (0x9)
HCI Revision: 0x1139
LMP Version: 5.0 (0x9)
LMP Subversion: 0x2057

The mouse connects to Bluetooth via a USB dongle, but not the headphones or Apple keyboard and no problems with anything.
 

MevetS

macrumors regular
Dec 27, 2018
100
49
Earth
If by 'repairable' you mean can Bluetooth be made to work then the answer is yes. For over a month now I have not had any Bluetooth issues at all (I don't actually know when the issues stopped). I'm typing this on a Satechi Bluetooth keyboard and using a first generation Apple Magic Trackpad. Note that when I first set up my 2018 Mac Mini I did have Bluetooth issues, with both the keyboard, trackpad, and an Apple Magic Mouse (I don't use the mouse because I prefer the trackpad, not because of any issues with the mouse). But no longer.

So how did I do it?

I don't know. Bummer right? But it wasn't because I sacrificed functionality.

Currently attached to my Mini are:

- Razor Core X with a Sapphire Pulse RX 580 (Thunderbolt)
--- Apple Cinema Display
----- Logitech USB webcam
----- Datacolor Spyder X display calibrator (USB)
--- Apple Cinema HD Display
----- Epson CX7400 printer (USB)
----- LaCie USB 3 harddrive
- OWC Thunderbay 4 Mini (Thunderbolt) with two SSD drives installed.
- OWC Mercury Elite Pro Quad (USB C) with four drives installed.
- Hoo Too USB 3 hub
--- Kinston USB 3 card reader (USB 3)
--- Epson Perfection 3200 Photo scanner (USB)
--- Twelve South Hirise USB phone stand/charger (USB)
----- Used to charge a iPhone XS (Bluetooth and WiFi are on on the phone)
--- 3 Western Digital USB 3 hard drives
- Satchi Mac Mini hub/stand
--- In said hub a San Disk USB 3.1 thumb drive (just happens to be there as I type this)
--- I connect other drives/devices on an as needed basis.
- Mi TV HDMI adapter plug (this allows me to use the eGPU without issue)
- M-Audio Speakers

Every port on the Mini is used. So it was not that I disconnected devices and stopped using WiFi.

What changed?

- I retired three old Firewire drives that were connected via a FireWire to Thunderbolt 2 dongle, then a Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt 3 dongle to the Mini. They were replaced by the OWC Thunderbay and by adding drives to the OWC Mercury Elite Pro Quad.

- Retiring the Firewire drives freed up a port on the Mini, and I was able to retire a four port USB C hub.

- Comcast replaced a failing cable modem with a newer model.

I am running macOS Catalina 10.15.4.

So while I can't give you a prescription for how to correct Mac Mini Bluetooth issues I can present an existence proof that it is possible to use Bluetooth without sacrificing using the ports on the Mini.

Obviously, your mileage will vary.

Good luck and I hope you get it sorted.
 

yellowhelicopter

macrumors newbie
Jun 5, 2020
17
10
Agree with you that Bluetooth is a very poor interface!
I use a PC with a bluetooth mouse at work, the mouse stutters every time the OS is a bit busy. (fortunately not too often, I do not do anything taxing) Bluetooth interrupts seem better managed on macs & mac OS.

BT is not 'a very poor interface'. It's Apple that is poor to design their computers properly, sometimes at least. BT (+Wifi) works perfectly fine on my PS4, not a single disconnect for years, no lags, lightning fast response, as well as it works just fine on MM2014 with usb devices connected. 2018/2020 models have poorly designed BT/Wifi connectivity, and Apple still don't want to acknowledge it. I'm wondering if they actually tested those minis properly before mass production, I don't think so.
 
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Ray2

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
690
148
My experience, for what its worth. I've been dealing with Mac BT issues since 2014 with an rMBP. Solved that with a remote IOGear 521 plugged into a wired Apple keyboard port. I also have a 2018 mini with the later Broadcom BT module. Its connected to a Dell Ultrasharp (about 3 feet away) with a built-in usb 3 hub. My mini experience:

Under Mojave:
- Connect the Dell's hub with a usb 2 cable. Use the usb A port on the outside. Eliminates any potential of interference at the mini or display end.
- I use an IOGear GBU521 dongle plugged into one of the Dell display's ports. Plugging the dongle into the keyboard works as well. If you don't have distant ports, use a usb 2 extension cable to get there.
- Run sudo nvram SkipIOBluetoothHostControllerUARTTransport=%01 to turn off the mini's internal BT module. (sudo nvram -d SkipIOBluetoothHostControllerUARTTransport to reset). Sys Prefs>Set-up BT Mouse, Remove the mouse. Restart. Re-pair mouse (may have changed to its default name).
- I use a Magic mouse, performs flawlessly. I use either a wired or wireless Apple keyboard, both operate flawlessly.
- I have nothing plugged into the inner usb 3 type A port. However, with the dongle, using it for a usb 3 external drive or hub is not a problem.
- If I set the mini to use the internal BT module with the above configuration: With no usb 3 drive or hub in the inner type A port, Magic Mouse is ok at best. Its useable but there's visible stutter and lag. With the usb 3 drive or hub in the inner type A port, BT is useless.
- I use 2 Thunderbolt ports for Thunderbolt and 2 for USB-C. One drive is immediately below the mini, the rest are dual Thunderbolt or USB-C enclosures about 3 feet away. Irrespective of configuration or placement, I don't experience any interference from the Thunderbolt ports.

Under Catalina:
This surprised me. With the exact same configuration as above, using both type A ports, the mini's BT is fine. No need for a dongle. However, I did not get along with Catalina (10.15.4 & .5) and returned to Mojave. The mini is primarily a server for whole house media and while disk management has materially improved with Catalina (DU actually works), Apple's continuing focus on security made connections with remote clients more of a process than it was worth.
 
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Boyd01

Moderator
Staff member
Feb 21, 2012
4,492
2,016
New Jersey Pine Barrens
According to System Information, my refurb 2018 Mini has the Broadcom 4364B0 Bluetooth chip. Have never used a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse with a Mac before, but decided to give it a try with this new Mini, to keep more physical ports free. And since there have been a few threads about bluetooth issues, I figured that Apple couldn't claim any future problems were the fault of my 3rd party peripherals. :)

I have some mixed feelings about this. First, when I start up the Mini it literally never accepts my password on the first try, evidently some characters aren't sent when the keyboard first wakes up. Is this normal? Have gotten in the habit of typing a few random characters, then clearing them first. This works and is only a minor annoyance. The Magic Mouse is OK, but I've tried these in the past and didn't especially like them. At times, I have noticed that it isn't entirely responsive. This is generally when something intensive is happening, like copying files from an external SSD. Perhaps this is the interference issue that others have mentioned?

I'm running Windows 10 in Parallels and the Magic Mouse works fine in Windows Explorer, but it's a disaster with the specialized GIS software that I use. The lack of a middle button is a major problem. Tried a couple third party apps that provide middle-click capability and wasn't happy. Too hard to find the "right place" to click, I only had about a 50% chanceof getting it right. And the lack of tactile scrollwheel feedback was an even bigger problem. I really need to zoom one wheel-click at a time, so I can wait for the software to catch up rendering a complex map. Just can't do that with a touch surface, I end up over-shooting.

Out of frustration, I plugged in my POS $15 Targus USB 3-button mouse and it works like a charm in Windows. So, I'm using the USB mouse more often now. At the times when the Magic Mouse "stutters" (as mentioned above), I find the USB mouse still works fine. I'm just not sure whether it is "interference" or if there is additional processing for a Bluetooth device that slows down when there's lots of I/O happening. Anyway, my Apple Space Grey keyboard and mouse look great and they work, but not sure that they were the best choice - not sure that Bluetooth was the right choice either.
 
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yellowhelicopter

macrumors newbie
Jun 5, 2020
17
10
I'm just not sure whether it is "interference" or if there is additional processing for a Bluetooth device that slows down when there's lots of I/O happening
It's interference and/or weak antenna/signal. Apparent design flaw by Apple. If Apple cared about its customers, it would recall the new models and issued fixed revisions instead, or would at least recognize the fault, but Apple pretend all is ok.
 
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Ray2

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
690
148
It's interference and/or weak antenna/signal. Apparent design flaw by Apple. If Apple cared about its customers, it would recall the new models and issued fixed revisions instead, or would at least recognize the fault, but Apple pretend all is ok.
Perhaps Apple should “recall” its entire MBP line since at least 2014 when I first started running into this problem. Dell may as well “recall” all of its models that are plagued by the same issue. Let’s not leave out “recalling” all USB 3 modules since they appear to be the cause. And last, let’s not leave out the FCC which continues to do an abysmal job of allocating spectrum for consumer use. Which, while we’re at it, may as well ”recall” consumers as well since we don’t seem to matter.

I don’t get it when I see posts like yours. You play the hand you’re dealt. The vast majority of people get it and seek their own solutions.
 

yellowhelicopter

macrumors newbie
Jun 5, 2020
17
10
Perhaps Apple should “recall” its entire MBP line since at least 2014 when I first started running into this problem. Dell may as well “recall” all of its models that are plagued by the same issue. Let’s not leave out “recalling” all USB 3 modules since they appear to be the cause. And last, let’s not leave out the FCC which continues to do an abysmal job of allocating spectrum for consumer use. Which, while we’re at it, may as well ”recall” consumers as well since we don’t seem to matter.

I don’t get it when I see posts like yours. You play the hand you’re dealt. The vast majority of people get it and seek their own solutions.

So why I have had zero issues with f.e. my PS4 BT and wifi connections and simultaneously connected usb drives? BT is firm as rock there, zero hickups, disconnects or slowdowns with remote controller. Perhaps because they actually properly test their products before releasing them...

BTW, much greater number of users complain about 2018 mac minis BT problems than ever before, and it indicates something is very wrong with its BT design.
 
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Ray2

macrumors 6502a
Jul 8, 2014
690
148
So why I have had zero issues with f.e. my PS4 BT and wifi connections and simultaneously connected usb drives? BT is firm as rock there, zero hickups, disconnects or slowdowns with remote controller. Perhaps because they actually properly test their products before releasing them...

BTW, much greater number of users complain about 2018 mac minis BT problems than ever before, and it indicates something is very wrong with its BT design.
It might have something to do with the fact the PS4 has 4 times (yes, four times) the cubic volume as a mini. 4 times is a whole lot of flexibility in electronics packaging.
 

yellowhelicopter

macrumors newbie
Jun 5, 2020
17
10
It might have something to do with the fact the PS4 has 4 times (yes, four times) the cubic volume as a mini. 4 times is a whole lot of flexibility in electronics packaging.
Yes. Buy it also means that some elements of MM18 are not properly designed while the same elements in PS4 are, namely BT connectivity.

Also, the very idea of using Intel's desktop CPU in such a tiny case is very questionable. Many machines reach 100C very quickly and throttle a lot.
 

Monotremata

macrumors newbie
Apr 11, 2019
18
2
Ontario, CA
Only had my i7 for about a week and a half now but no real issues here. I have a Logitech BT mouse that once in awhile will freeze up for a bit, but it hasn't messed with anything connected via USB so far. Is it only the A ports it messes with? I only have my old Pro keyboard connected to one of the A ports. The Logitech wifi dongle is plugged into the bottom of the keyboard too (just in case BT does die, I can switch over). Have a USB hub with 2 WD My Books, an Akai MPC, and a MOTU 828X interface connected to one TB port with an A->C adapter, and an Oyen Mobius enclosure with my audio and sample library drives on another TB port with USB C. Played with my new Mac and Logic Pro all week tracking a bunch of projects to the Oyen and not a single hiccup with the mouse, enclosure, anything.

Mine does have the newer BT firmware listed above as well. It a brand new i7 w/16GB, everything else is stock.
 
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