Whoops! Reconnect Your Bluetooth Keyboard And Mac After Logging Out [OS X Tips]



So, it happened that a friend of mine turned off Bluetooth on her Mac mini, and then turned it off for the evening. When she got up the next morning, her Bluetooth keyboard was on, as per usual, but she couldn’t log in on start up, as her Mac did not see her keyboard.

She was worried that she’d have to go borrow or buy a wired keyboard, plug it in, and enter her password, then turn Bluetooth on again to make her wireless keyboard work again.

Luckily, that’s not what had to happen. Here’s how we solved it.

When you turn on your Mac, it searches for a connected keyboard and/or mouse. If it can’t find any, it will ask you to connect them yourself, even if it’s a Bluetooth device.

The trick here is to get your Mac to forget that there are devices connected, so that it asks to pair the keyboard and mouse again.

All we needed to do was disconnect the wireless mouse, which has a little USB dongle that it connects to, and turn off the Bluetooth keyboard itself. Then we shut down the Mac mini all the way (restarts hadn’t worked), and then pressed the power button to get it to turn on.

As soon as we did all of that, boom, her Mac Mini asked her to connect the Bluetooth keyboard, then the wireless mouse. Once she powered up the keyboard, she was able to enter her password and be on her merry way. I asked her not to turn off Bluetooth before she shut the computer down again, just in case.

Have you ever had this happen to you? Do you have other solutions? How about other tips on Mac OS X software or hardware? Send us an email or hit us up on Twitter to let us know, or drop a comment below.

  • CoyoteDen

    If OS X detects no input devices, and Bluetooth is off, it will turn Bluetooth on and ask you to connect them.

    If that fails, holding Command+Option+P+R while powering on to reset the PRAM should default Bluetooth to on.

  • Vavatch

    If that fails, holding Command+Option+P+R while powering on to reset the PRAM should default Bluetooth to on.

    Wait a minute…

    So, Bluetooth is not on and it will not come on for whatever reason and thus cannot recognize the Bluetooth keyboard, so your proposed solution is to press some keys on the Bluetooth keyboard that the computer is not seeing to instruct it to reset, thus enabling Bluetooth so that it then sees the keyboard that it can’t see?

    I see a crack in your logic large enough for the moon to pass through.

    • Joy

      It works. I just did it. Actually, to be precise, I accidentally pressed Shift+Option+P+R because I read it wrong. But a screen did pop up and I clicked get help Online. Of course, once I saw it automatically turned on Bluetooth, I just restarted the computer. Everything is ay-okay now ;) Thank you Vavatch!

  • dwiandi

    if the mouse still connected, then login as guest, and reconnect the keyboard from there, after that, log in again to your username, nothing lost… this has just happened to me…

  • linskibear


    I have a problem like this. My iMac (server) is on the login screen (and there is only me and no guest facility) and the keyboard isn’t being detected. I can’t log in via my MacBook as it isn’t seeing the server and wont connect via Go/Connetc to Server/Recent servers etc. How do I make it see the damn thing again without having to trek off and get a wired keyboard? I am assuming the bluetooth is off somehow as I tried it out by connecting the MacBook and it works fine.