Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MBP keeps connecting to mysterious, nameless, not-paired Bluetooth device?

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Original poster
Aug 15, 2001
6,327
594
The Cool Part of CA, USA
I've been having a chronic problem with my Logitech mouse, after digging in with Big Sur I've found what looks like the cause, but it makes no sense: My 2018 MBP keeps connecting to a phantom Bluetooth device.

The MBP is paired with two things: A set of AirPods Pro and an MX Master 2S. Nothing weird there.

But periodically, a third device will pop up and connect. Its name is just an address (which is apparently random), and there's no identifying information in System Information:
60-b8-8e-84-28-50:
Address: 60-B8-8E-84-28-50
Random Address: Yes
Resolvable Address: Yes
Services:
Paired: No
Configured: No
Connected: Yes
Bluetooth Core Spec: 1.0b
Class of Device: Low Energy
AFH: On
AFH Map: 3f00c0fd19
RSSI: -41
Role: Peripheral
Connection Mode: Active Mode
Interval: 0 ms
The RSSI is VERY low, so I've got to assume it's a strong signal, and it isn't even close to the RSSI of my mouse, so it's not that acting up (the BT version also doesn't match).

After a few seconds to a minute, the mystery device will vanish, or sometimes stay in the Bluetooth control panel and not connected. It isn't paired, but it DOES connect, and when it happens it seems to glitch out my mouse for several seconds. I've tried manually disconnecting during the brief period it's connected, which once or twice worked, but it just pops up under a different ID later and connects again.

I've used a scanner app on my phone to poke around other devices in the room, and nothing matches. It doesn't appear to be my iPhone or my wife's, it doesn't seem to be the AppleTV remote, it isn't the AppleTV itself, I don't think it's my watch, and that's all the bluetooth devices within 20' of here that I'm aware of and are powered on. There's a Wii, but the controllers don't have batteries in them, and a iOS controller, but it's powered off.

What the heck is this thing? Why is it connecting even though it's not paired? Suggestions for getting it to un-auto-connect?
 
Last edited:

Kenny99

macrumors member
Jan 28, 2018
71
12
ST. Louis, Mo.
Check the About this MAC > System Report > Bluetooth to see what Devices are connecting. Also check System preferences panel and the System Report to look for strange entries. Hold down the Option Key while selecting the Bluetooth icon in the Command line at the top of the page.
 
Comment

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Original poster
Aug 15, 2001
6,327
594
The Cool Part of CA, USA
Check the About this MAC > System Report > Bluetooth to see what Devices are connecting. Also check System preferences panel and the System Report to look for strange entries. Hold down the Option Key while selecting the Bluetooth icon in the Command line at the top of the page.
The quoted text in my post is what System Report > Bluetooth is the entirety of the entry for the mystery device during the brief period it's connected. (Technically, a mystery device; I can't be 100% certain that there isn't more than one since the address changes, but it could be randomized, but they all behave identically.)

The only two other devices in System Report are my Logitech mouse and AirPods Pro (the former connected, the latter not since they're not in use, both paired, named, and with the expected selection of info).

Holding down option and clicking the Bluetooth menu item doesn't provide any info that System Report doesn't also.

Fundamentally, even if I can identify what the source is, I can't figure out why a device that isn't paired--per System Report--would be connecting at all, and for that matter why, when it's connected, it renders my mouse useless even though the mouse is still reporting connected.
 
Comment

Kenny99

macrumors member
Jan 28, 2018
71
12
ST. Louis, Mo.
Sorry that's all I have. Only thing I can think of are ANY other items in your home generating their own connections, Toys, Robot Vacuums, Security devices, In/Out Door Weather Systems, Thermostat, Fire/ Smoke Alarms, etc. Sense all you're seeing is a MAC address.
Hope this bumps your Question back to the top.

KenK
 
Comment

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Original poster
Aug 15, 2001
6,327
594
The Cool Part of CA, USA
After a fair amount of experimentation over the weekend, I may have pinned it down, pending further observation.

It appears that when an iPhone running iOS 14 tries to connect to a MBP, this is what it does. I picked up on this by discovering that trying to manually connect with my own iPhone generated identical behavior. It appears that my wife's iPhone was somehow configured to connect automatically, so when she would use it or it would wake up for some reason, it would briefly connect.

This would explain why there's so little information presented--iOS is presumably intentionally obfuscating everything to prevent illicit tracking.

Which still leaves me with multiple confusing mysteries:

The biggest one being, why would this kill my Bluetooth mouse completely? It certainly shouldn't--isn't non-interference kind of a super-fundamental part of the whole Bluetooth protocol?

A second mystery is why her phone was set to automatically connect to my MBP, since it shouldn't have been configured to automatically connect to anything, but that could have been user error at some point along the line.

I'm also now a bit confused that there's no way to disable discoverability on Big Sur--couldn't you turn that off before without entirely disabling Bluetooth?
 
Comment

nokiauk

macrumors member
Apr 14, 2005
60
0
Scotland
I've been getting this as well, only recently (last 2 weeks or so), been running Big Sur beta for a while with no issues until now. Don't have any other BT devices nearby at all. Can be quite intermittent.
 
Comment

Honza1

macrumors 6502a
Nov 30, 2013
641
247
US
I wonder if this is related to Apple devices always talking together... Read here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT210400#enablefindmy the tiny note on :

To see your device even when it's offline, turn on Find My network.*

* The Find My network is an encrypted, anonymous network of millions of Apple devices that can help you locate your device.

My understanding (limited) is, that Apple devices talk to each other (encrypted) and this is how they can pass to servers info on device location even, when that specific device does not have network connection. Kind of messenger service which Apple designed. The idea is that if someone steals your notebook and switches off wifi/network to prevent it from sending location to Apple servers, if there is another Apple device (e.g. phone) nearby, it will be used to relay info to the servers anyway.
I believe the exchange of data between devices is Bluetooth. I do not think we can do anything about this and that this should be safe. May be someone understands this better...
 
Comment

galmiklos

macrumors member
Feb 20, 2021
30
9
I have a 2020 MBP with a Magic Mouse 2, and the mouse keeps disconnecting quite frequently. I have a case open with Apple support, but they didn't mention this as a possible cause, although I once showed the mysterious bluetooth devices in the list to an advisor when she was looking at my screen remotely, but she pretty much disregarded it.

To me it seems it is indeed the cause of my problem. I was watching the list of devices in Bluetooth Settings, and I could see a new device popping up, and at the same time my mouse becoming unresponsive. And I did this a few times, with the same result, so it seems to be the culprit.

Is there a fix? As far as I can see above, it sounds like this is just something we have to live with? As I pointed it out to Apple support, it is ridiculous, that a $2500 laptop with a $100 mouse does this, while none of my other laptops with bluetooth mice (for third the price) have any problem. Shame on Apple!
 
Comment

Marty_Macfly

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2020
529
123
Hi Guys,

This sounds pretty irritating, hope you all get it sorted.

How about turning off "Find my MAC"? Just to see if that will stop this intermittent glitch with Bluetooth devices. It hasn't been mentioned above as a potential fix to try, and may at least point the way for a proper long term fix from Apple.


Looking at the options on "Find my Mac" - they look like full remote access is possible, even if the Mac has its WIFI and BLUETOOTH connectivity all turn't off. Gosh, really?!




1613833408008.png



Best wishes
Martin
 
Comment

galmiklos

macrumors member
Feb 20, 2021
30
9
In my opinion, turning off the Find My network on the MacBook will not help. As far as I understand the concept, that setting controls if your Mac tries to connect to other Apple devices in the vicinity. It is all the Apple devices around you that need the Find My network disabled--I don't think we have control over participating in Find My network. Which of course raises the question, if I consented to allow everyone with an Apple device around me to try to connect to my iPhone for instance, generating internet traffic, which could be from my limited mobile internet plan.

But yes, I thought of that, and just disabled Find My network on my iPhone, that is usually in my pocket, and I am obviously in arms reach from my MacBook. So far I didn't see any mysterious bluetooth devices popping up in the Bluetooth Settings list.

However, this cannot be the solution. I would have to ask all the people to turn their Find My network off next time I want to use my MacBook while enjoying a coffee in a coffee shop. Not to mention, how can Apple expect me to turn a security feature off on my iPhone, just so that it wouldn't have problem with my MacBook!?

I'm thinking if there's a case here for a class action lawsuit...
 
Comment

galmiklos

macrumors member
Feb 20, 2021
30
9
Just an update on the testing. I turned Find My network off on all my iPhones, and iPads, and for a while it looked like the mouse stayed connected, but after a while I again had an incident. Perhaps someone was walking by, in front of my house. The study window looks right on the sidewalk across a small front yard.

I managed to record that incident.

This is when the mysterious device appears, and the mouse becomes unresponsive.



This is when the mouse reconnects.



(Please, note the time stamps, the incident took a little less than a minute)

I saved the system logs too. I am new to MacOS, so I am not sure if I am interpreting the messages correctly, but the bluetoothd shows a line with a USB vendor ID, right around my mouse became unresponsive.

1613842574429.png


That vendor ID (0x5AC) is Apple, if I'm not mistaken. And of course, I am not sure if it's at all relevant, after all it's about a USB vendor ID, but reported by bluetoothd.
 
Comment

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Original poster
Aug 15, 2001
6,327
594
The Cool Part of CA, USA
In my opinion, turning off the Find My network on the MacBook will not help. As far as I understand the concept, that setting controls if your Mac tries to connect to other Apple devices in the vicinity.
The language isn't all that clear, but the on/off message says "participating in..." so it certainly makes it sound like disabling that option will both stop your device from sending its location to other devices AND stop it from receiving incoming connections from other devices. I couldn't find any documentation explicitly confirming that, though.

In any case, I tried turning it off on both phones and the Mac in question, and it did not seem to help much if at all. The only possible "foreign" devices that could be in bluetooth range would be one neighbor's house, so if indeed it will still accept incoming connections even with it disabled it's hypothetically possible that's the source.

Of note, I've now seen the same thing happen at least a couple of times on an iMac running 10.15 elsewhere in the house, but in this case it blocked connection to an Apple keyboard rather than a 3rd party bluetooth device. A docked work MBP running 10.14 with the same model keyboard one room over, in contrast, has never once lost connection in a year of daily use.

This makes me virtually certain it isn't just Find My Network, or if it is it's some extremely rare misbehavior thereof--if this were common, literally every recent-model iMac user who also has an iPhone, or is in range of someone who does, would be complaining about their keyboard losing connection constantly. Forums and reviews would be flooded with "my keyboard/mouse/trackpad keeps disconnecting!" complaints. And that simply isn't the case, so it can't be "normal".

It does seem to have improved somewhat recently, but I don't know whether that's due to a software update, a neighbor changing behavior, or just coincidence.
 
Comment

Makosuke

macrumors 603
Original poster
Aug 15, 2001
6,327
594
The Cool Part of CA, USA
Just an update on the testing. I turned Find My network off on all my iPhones, and iPads, and for a while it looked like the mouse stayed connected, but after a while I again had an incident. Perhaps someone was walking by, in front of my house. The study window looks right on the sidewalk across a small front yard.

I managed to record that incident.

I really appreciate you recording it; your videos look identical to when it happens to me, so it's great to have a reference for "this is what it looks like".

That vendor ID (0x5AC) is Apple, if I'm not mistaken. And of course, I am not sure if it's at all relevant, after all it's about a USB vendor ID, but reported by bluetoothd.
Yes, that's the same vendor ID I got, and I confirmed that it's Apple. The address string is of course meaningless, since Apple devices randomize that for security/privacy reasons.
 
Comment

galmiklos

macrumors member
Feb 20, 2021
30
9
@Makosuke ,as a good measure, I turned Find My network off on my MacBook too, as well as on all the Apple devices I found in the house, but just as in your case, it didn't make much difference, if any.

After the 4th call, Apple support finally asked for logs, but all they "found" was that I have 3rd party software installed on my MacBook and that may cause problems. WHAT!!!??? Let me quote my response to that here.

Has engineering found any indication any of these 3rd party software causing the bluetooth to disconnect? Or was it just an answer to avoid having to really try to understand my problem? I am very disappointed.

In any case, so far I uninstalled Forticlient, Oracle Virtual Box, and the Logitech mouse software (although Logitech doesn't even use bluetooth, but their own dongle), but the magic mouse keeps disconnecting.

I also installed a "clean" Big Sur 11.2 on a separate volume (as requested), but the magic mouse kept disconnecting even then.

But even if that would have shown that an operating system without any software can function as expected (meaning the mouse stops disconnecting), I am not sure what you would be trying to say with that. That I can have a $2500 laptop with a $100 mouse, but I cannot use it for other than admiring the beauty of the OS, because I am not allowed to have 3rd party software, because that has the potential to break a bluetooth connection to a mouse? My Lenovo laptop with a Lenovo bluetooth mouse can do it for about third that much money, and I have about ten times as much 3rd party software installed there.

BTW, if this is really the message from Apple, that a 3rd party software can break a bluetooth mouse connection, I would prefer returning my MacBook Pro with the Magic Mouse for a full refund. Sadly, I only can do that with the mouse, as I'm out of the 3 month period Costco allows electronics to be returned.

I have already wasted countless hours of my not free time with troubleshooting a ridiculously basic problem, and it's still not resolved. Unacceptable!

:-(

I regret so much that after decades of using Windows and Linux I finally felt like I am old enough to allow myself a little luxury, so that I wouldn't have to troubleshoot the tool I work with, and caved and purchased a MacBook Pro. BIG MISTAKE!
 
Comment

Marty_Macfly

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2020
529
123
Hi Guys again,

This sounds bit of a nightmare.
I've double read the posts above, and the only thing stated as tried is: Turn't off the "Find my network".



How you tried fully turning off "Find my Mac"? I.e. Unticking the box below?



1613920863345.png




As I say, I've double read the posts above and the only thing confirmed as tried is turn't off the "Find my network." I presume this means in the "Options" against "Find my Mac". As shown in screenshot below:


1613920984886.png





Fully turning off the "Find my Mac" in the parent screen would not be a permanent fix, but it would at least be something to try. Hope that helps, and hope you get it sorted.



Best wishes
Martin
 
Last edited:
Comment

Marty_Macfly

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2020
529
123
OK, let's try that, then. I turned Find My Mac off. Stand by for test results.

Hi G,

I must say, thanks for taking the time on reporting this issue onto this forum.


Benefits to me at least:

1. I had no idea that the "find my Mac / iPhone / Ipad" does what it does, even with WIFI Bluetooth etc all turn't off!

2. I was toying with idea of bluetooth keyboard - totally put off now.

3. The way you are approaching the fix is pretty cool!


Best wishes
Martin
 
Comment

galmiklos

macrumors member
Feb 20, 2021
30
9
Well, turning off Find My Mac didn't help, it took less than 10 minutes, and I already had a "magic mouse disconnect" incident. Remember, I have Find My network off on all my Apple devices too, but of course I don't know about my neighbors.

I had another idea. What if it's the magic mouse itself trying to report its location through bluetooth? Remember, I once tried connecting my Lenovo bluetooth mouse to my MacBook, and even that kept disconnecting. But now I remember, I also had the magic mouse connected to my Lenovo laptop at the same time. What if it kept trying to report its location through the MacBook's bluetooth, and caused the Lenovo mouse disconnect? Sadly, not. I just tried connecting my Lenovo mouse again, while I kept the magic mouse off (little switch on the back in off position), but the Lenovo mouse got disconnected again.

My next test will be to try to fabricate a faraday cage large enough to have the MacBook and the magic mouse in it, and see what happens. I just have to find a dense enough metal wire mesh. What's the wavelength of a 2.4GHz signal again? ;-)
 
  • Haha
Reactions: Marty_Macfly
Comment

Marty_Macfly

macrumors 6502a
Apr 26, 2020
529
123
Next possible step, try a enternal bluetooth dongle?

Has been reported on this forum this can help with crap BT connection on some MacBooks.
 
Comment

galmiklos

macrumors member
Feb 20, 2021
30
9
If it's really a "crap BT connection on some MacBooks", I would rather have my money back. Who wants a $2500 laptop with badly designed BT? But from what we've seen so far it doesn't look like a hardware issue to me. I can now safely say any BT mouse disconnects when that mysterious BT device connects. And we've also seen that the "mysterious BT device" is always an Apple device (vendor ID 0x5AC). Not that it's not equally bad design...
 
Comment

neutrino23

macrumors 68000
Feb 14, 2003
1,782
279
SF Bay area
I’ve read through this and I have a comment. It seems unlikely that the additional device connecting to the MB would interfere with the mouse. I tried using a BT scanner app and have found dozens of BT devices around the house. We have a number of iPhones, iPads, AirPods and other gadgets. I’m using a Magic Mouse with a 2019 iMac and haven’t seen any problems (I get it, that doesn’t help you, sorry).

Maybe it is the other way around. Maybe the iPhone is for some reason trying to connect to the mouse which is causing the interference? Maybe reset the mouse and reconnect to the MB (you probably already tried this). Watch the BT panel on the iPhone when it gets near the mouse. Does the mouse ID appear? Can you borrow another Magic Mouse and see if that fixes things? It would seem more likely that the trouble would arise from an inexpensive accessory.
 
Comment

galmiklos

macrumors member
Feb 20, 2021
30
9
I just tested an idea. I turned off all BT mice, and was looking at the device list in BT settings. Nothing popped up. Just for good measure, I turned on a few random BT devices, and they showed up as expected, with their proper names. But not the mysterious ones I was expecting. So, it seems the mouse indeed plays a role in what's happening. And everything else seems to be just find in the house.

I also was thinking about buying an iMac (that I would obviously return later), and see how its BT keyboard and mouse works in my environment.

And of course, even if I wouldn't build a Faraday cage, I can drive out to the country, and see what happens, when there is nothing around me.

About perhaps the magic mouse interfering with an iPhone, I also had a Lenovo BT mouse connected to the MB once, and it was equally disconnecting. Or is it possible an iPhone can hijack any BT mouse? Sounds weird, but at this point I wouldn't dismiss anything. I'll check that, too.
 
Comment

galmiklos

macrumors member
Feb 20, 2021
30
9
The moment I pressed "Post reply", a "mysterious" device appeared in the device list in BT settings. :) So, it is indeed something around me trying to connect, independent from any mouse.
 
Comment

galmiklos

macrumors member
Feb 20, 2021
30
9
Although in an earlier post I was showing that "USB" message with an Apple vendor ID, I found something else.

Yes, a few mysterious devices popped up while no mouse (or no BT device for that matter) was connected.

1613936210058.png


I had the console on, and saw a few interesting messages related to that address.

1613936322322.png


And a little later.

1613936389900.png


That second message I am showing above says "isAppleDevice = 0".

There's only one BT device around me to my knowledge that is not turned off. My Garmin watch. Could that be the culprit? @Makosuke, don't you by chance have a Garmin Fenix smart watch on your arm?
 

Attachments

  • 1613936293406.png
    1613936293406.png
    174.4 KB · Views: 8
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.