Did zapping Bluetooth fix your Wi-Fi? Let's figure out why

Did zapping Bluetooth fix your Wi-Fi? Let's figure out why

Zapping your Bluetooth prefs can fix Wi-Fi wake from sleep problems for some Mavericks users. Let's figure out why

This past week I brought you a tip about fixing Wi-Fi wake from sleep issues on some Mavericks-equipped Macs. The fix involves deleting a file in your Mac's library folder.

Why it works is still beyond my understanding, but suffice it to say that it's fixed the problem for me, as well as for many of you. Now I'd like to take it to the next step to figure out why the problem is happening.

To understand what's going on, let's understand what we did: We've deleted the com.apple.bluetooth.plist file out of your Mac's Library directory. Files with the .plist suffix are preference lists — this one contains information about what devices are paired with your Mac using Bluetooth.

Apple's Wireless Keyboard, Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad all use Bluetooth, along with countless speakers, headsets, and input devices from third parties. The .plist file contains information about those Bluetooth devices you've connected to your Mac.

By deleting it, you've caused the Mac to create a new com.apple.bluetooth.plist file, which resets Bluetooth settings to their default state. That means that Bluetooth is kept on.

As you re-pair the devices you use with your Mac, be careful to see if one of them in particular seems to be setting off the wake from sleep problem I've previously discussed. And if there is one particular device causing the problem, let me know what it is here in the comments.

If you need a refresher, here's a link to my original tip.

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Peter Cohen

Mac Managing Editor of iMore and weekend Apple Product Professional at a local independent Apple reseller. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

More Posts



← Previously

Apple buys hydroelectric power station in Oregon to power data center

Next up →

Deal of the Day: Body Glove DropSuit Rugged Case for iPhone 5C

Reader comments

Did zapping Bluetooth fix your Wi-Fi? Let's figure out why


It seems to have worked for me. Though like Simeon said, just turning off Bluetooth always worked for me. Which is a pain because I love Knock.

Removing the file worked, until I re-paired my Philips Bluetooth headphones. My Wifi issues are now back. Not sure why those are causing a problem.

Seems my iPhone 5S on iOS 7.1 has the same/similar issue. Goes away when I turn Bluetooth off. The only things I've had Bluetooth on for was airdrop and to pair with a portable keyboard. The issue started after I got the keyboard (I use it with my iPad, have not seen the issue there rMini wifi only... Issue started on my phone when I tested it with my phone). Weird.
My buddy got a Bluetooth speaker for his 3GS and started having similar issue. He's running iOS 6 or earlier, don't remember.

Sent from the iMore App

It fixed the problem for me.

Here's my guess. Bluetooth 4.0 has a high speed transfer mode that is "wifi like" as you will recall. Since Bluetooth and Wifi are on the same chip for the RMBP, I expect that slow or non-existant wifi association is Bluetooth jumping the gun on the wifi radio and causing some kind of glitch when Bluetooth is initiaizing.

This issue was probably addressed in Mavericks, but only manfested itself in clean builds. By nuking the plist that was held over from Mountain Lion, Mavericks recreates the file with a polite set of initialization strings.

My two cents.

The problem has been around since Tiger, well before BT 4.0, across various kinds of systems. And, it has little to do, in my experience, with clean builds. It showed up most recently on my brand new, MacBook Air, right out of the box, as soon as I enabled BT. (Before I added my BT mouse, I'd used it for a couple of weeks with no problems).

One thing to note in helping track this down, is that there are all sorts of reasons WiFi might be flaky, and any such threads end up full of posts from people having every WiFi issue under the sun.

This particular issue is related to BT, and it's pretty consistent. You turn BT off, your WiFi is rock solid. You enable BT, and WiFi typically won't connect after wake. If you turn WiFi off and back on, it connects nearly instantly and is rock solid until the next sleep.

The fixes are 1) If it's searching after wake, just turn the WiFi off, then on. 2) Remember to turn BT off before sleep (which is only realistic for laptop users). Deleting the plist only seems to help for some segment of users, and typically just temporarily.

It works perfectly for me and still got all my Bluetooth devices connected and running.

Thanks, Peter.

With bluetooth off before putting my macbook pro to sleep and by turning it on it's "instant" wifi connection. I tried it a couple of times. With bluetooth on its 6-7 seconds before connection is established. I only have Magic Mouse on bluetooth installed.

Another fix I've tried it setting the service order in network preferences. Mine had wifi listed after Bluetooth so I moved wifi to first on the list. So far so good.

Sent from the iMore App

It worked for a day but then after re-pairing my Bose Sound Link speaker, the problem came back. That's the only Bluetooth device I have set up with my Mac.

On iMacs where the keyboard and mouse shipped with the Mac is required for certain actions, does deleting that file mess with that permanent pairing?

People have been reporting it over the years to Apple Feedback. I assume they have attempted to fix it, as it has gone away in various point revisions since Tiger, but it has always returned on other point revisions. And, while it seems to get 'fixed' for some segment of users, it seems to appear for others. The 10.9.2 update fixed it for me, but I've conversed with others for whom it showed up at 10.9.2.

My wifi its still randomly slow regardless of above tips :/ sometimes works perfectly and sometimes for hours my browser loads pages so slow!!!!!! its so freaking annoying!! :>

This appears to have worked for me. I kept the original plist file, and it shows references to several other laptops belonging to some of my customers. I never connected my MacBook Pro to any of these laptops either through Bluetooth, or over a network, so I'm confused about why these entries are in the plist file. When I bought my MacBook Pro w/retina display, I performed a data migration from a MacBook Pro mid-2011. The plist file came from the old MacBook Pro, and has barely been altered since the transfer.

It worked for me, thanks! I was having trouble re-connecting from sleep to a couple of WiFi networks (802.11n) -- I used to have to turn off WiFi then on again. Never had any problem re-connecting to my home WiFi network (802.11ac).

As soon as I paired my Bluetooth headphone (Sennheiser PX 210 BT) I started to get the same problem all over again.

Sent from the iMore App