Read Cult of Mac’s latest posts on Bluetooth:

Belkin packs noise canceling and more in nicely priced earbuds


You get hybrid ANC and multipoint Bluetooth connectivity for $120.
You get hybrid ANC and multipoint Bluetooth connectivity for $120.
Photo: Belkin

Belkin is getting set to release new active noise-canceling (ANC) earbuds, and this time they pack in some premium features at a surprisingly affordable price point.

Belkin SoundForm Pulse earbuds will cost $119.99 and feature not only ANC, but multipoint Bluetooth connectivity and relatively long battery life. Available for preorder, they start shipping at the end of May.

If price is no object, this could be your next portable speaker


It costs more than a grand, but it's designed to last a lifetime.
It costs more than a grand, but it's designed to last a lifetime.
Photo: Bang & Olufsen

Esteemed Danish audio brand Bang & Olufsen unveiled its new portable Beosound A5 speaker Thursday. The pricey and powerful device’s design results from a collaboration with the Danish-Italian duo GamFratesi.

“Beosound A5 is our new high-end portable speaker which combines Bang & Olufsen’s long-standing approach to timeless design with our vision on sound for the future,” said VP of Product Marketing Michael Henriksson.

“We’re excited to collaborate with GamFratesi for the first time, to create two speaker designs that are rooted in a Scandinavian aesthetic with a distinct design signature on their own,” he added.

Boost desktop audio with the new all-in-one FiiO R7


The FiiO R7 is designed to be the centerpiece of your desktop audio from all sources.
The FiiO R7 is designed to be the centerpiece of your desktop audio from all sources.
Photo: FiiO

If you want to get the most out of your desktop audio — the sound you get from your computer, other devices, speakers, headphones, wireless earbuds and more — an interesting new jack-of-all-trades tool arrived on the last day of February.

That’s when FiiO quietly launched its R7 high-resolution audio player, streamer and headphone amplifier. It packs a lot of functionality into a small package you might expect to cost more than it does.

Bose busts out compact, affordable new soundbar with AirPlay 2


The new Bose Smart Soundbar 600 is only about 2 inches high.
The new Bose Smart Soundbar 600 is only about 2 inches high.
Photo: Bose

Bose took a further step into the compact, affordable soundbar market Monday with release of its new Smart Soundbar 600. It looks set to compete in a growing pool of home-theater audio products that don’t break the bank.

Featuring Dolby Atmos, Bose “TrueSpace” and AirPlay 2 technology, the slender speaker goes for $499, Bose said.

New AirPods Pro support personalized Spatial Audio and precision finding


They might look the same. but AirPods Pro bring powerful new features.
They might look the same. but AirPods Pro bring powerful new features.
Photo: Apple

At Apple’s ‘Far Out’ event, music lovers got a treat in the form of new AirPods Pro, Apple’s top wireless, noise-canceling earbuds — the first revision since their 2019 launch. The top-shelf buds keep the same design but gain support for personalized spatial audio, touch controls and precise location finding.

AirPods products are typically announced alongside new iPhones and Apple Watch models. Today was no exception, with their debut tying in with the new iPhone 14 and 14 Pro models, the new Apple Watch Series 8, SE and Ultra.

AirPods Pro 2 will be available for preorder on September 9 for a September 23 release date at $249.

AirPods Pro 2 and AirPods Max could employ powerful next-gen Bluetooth


AirPods Pro 2 could be among Apple's earphones that take advantage of the new Bluetooth standard.
AirPods Pro 2 could be among Apple's earphones that take advantage of the new Bluetooth standard.
Photo: Killian Bell / Cult of Mac

The standards body behind Bluetooth technology said Tuesday the next-gen version first promoted two years ago is finally here. With Bluetooth LE Audio now complete, new headphones like the upcoming AirPods Pro 2 and AirPods Max can incorporate an array of improvements.

Just to name a few, we can expect better sound, improved power efficiency and connectivity to an “unlimited” number of devices if Apple fully integrates the new standard.

Got vinyl? New turntable streams high-quality sound over Bluetooth.


Great record-player sound over Bluetooth? Yes, according to Cambridge Audio.
Great record-player sound over Bluetooth? Yes, according to Cambridge Audio.
Photo: Cambridge Audio

Cambridge Audio just released a new turntable that can play vinyl records the old-fashioned way or over Bluetooth, streaming audio wirelessly to speakers, headphones or amplifiers.

The new Alva ST follows the company’s Alva TT, which the world’s first aptX HD Bluetooth turntable.

And the Alva ST uses the same codec technology for high-quality sound — the kind that until recently could only be had through wires.

Bluetooth earbuds get more social with Auracast broadcast audio


Auracast will let many Bluetooth headphones share the same audio broadcast.
Photo: Bluetooth SIG

Bluetooth headphones are nearly ubiquitous, and an upcoming feature called Auracast will allow computers or phones to stream music to not just one Bluetooth receiver but all of them in the area.

While one goal of Bluetooth’s Auracast broadcast audio is to let people share their music with groups, it also has more practical uses.

Here comes the world’s first LDAC and aptX HD Bluetooth speaker


The Acro BE100's support for hi-res codecs and quality build may actually justify the high price.
The Acro BE100's support for hi-res codecs and quality build may actually justify the high price.
Photo: Astell&Kern

A world where Bluetooth rises above compression and delivers full-stream, hi-res, lossless audio remains in the future. But sound specialist Astell&Kern said it’s about the roll out the world’s first Bluetooth speaker with support for the rarefied LDAC and aptX HD codecs — which should at least allow for CD-quality wireless streaming.

The Acro BE100, Astell&Kern’s first Bluetooth speaker, goes on sale March 7, the company said. And it’s not just the codecs that make it special.

macOS 12.3 beta 2 seems to fix MacBook’s Bluetooth bug


Your MacBook should stop dying in its sleep.
Photo: Dmitry Chernyshov

Apple’s newest macOS 12.3 beta appears to eliminate a frustrating Bluetooth bug that causes excessive battery drain for many MacBook users.

The bug, introduced in macOS 12.2 late last month, continually wakes up a MacBook when it’s supposed to be asleep. That means the battery slowly drains while the computer’s not being used. Only disabling Bluetooth will prevent it for now.

How to fix macOS 12.2’s Bluetooth battery drain bug with one simple app


FluTooth app for macOS Bluetooth bug
FluTooth is effective and affordable.
Image: Jordi Bruin

Is your MacBook slowly dying in its sleep? It could be because of a frustrating Bluetooth bug in macOS 12.2 that’s causing severe battery drain for some users. But there’s no need to wait for Apple to fix it.

With the help of a simple (and incredibly affordable) app, you can automatically disable your MacBook’s Bluetooth connection when you close its lid — then enable it again when it’s reopened. We’ll show you how.

Apple staffs up to make its own wireless chips


An Apple 5G modem might look like this
Apple is hiring experts to design 5G, Wi-FI and Bluetooth chips for its computers.
Artists concept: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple is reportedly hiring at a new office in Irvine, California, where the company will make 5G modems and other wireless chips for future devices.

It’s the latest move by Apple to expand the number of critical components for its products that it produces in-house.

Bowers & Wilkins’ iconic Zeppelin wireless speaker flies again


Bower & Wilkins revamped its powerful Zeppelin wireless speaker for today's streamers.
Bower & Wilkins revamped its powerful Zeppelin wireless speaker for today's streamers.
Photo: Bower & Wilkins

UK-based audio specialist Bowers & Wilkins first released its Zeppelin speaker as an iPod dock in 2007. Following a couple of other iterations over the years — the most recent one released six years ago — the airship-shaped powerhouse is back, and refitted for the streaming age.

New Eos Bridge makes positioning instruments iOS-compatible


Eos Bridge gives almost any positioning instrument iOS Bluetooth compatibility.
Eos Bridge gives almost any positioning instrument iOS Bluetooth compatibility.
Photo: Eos Positioning Systems

Montreal-based Eos Positioning Systems, known for its Arrow Series GNSS receivers, has released Eos Bridge. The device clips on your belt and gives almost any positioning instrument iOS Bluetooth compatibility.

Just by way of background, GNSS stands for Global Navigation Satellite Systems. As such, it underlies the better-known Global Positioning System (GPS) used in the U.S. and elsewhere. GPS is one of five GNSS constellations in play around the world, and the oldest one. You can learn more here.

Easily manage Bluetooth devices inside Control Center [Pro tip]


Manage Bluetooth devices in Control Center
Managing wireless devices can be easy with Control Center.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

Control Center Pro Tips WeekWe want to help you master Control Center, one of the most powerful and underutilized features on Apple devices. Cult of Mac’s Control Center Pro Tips series will show you how to make the most of this useful toolbox on iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac.

Quickly connect to Bluetooth devices by using Control Center on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. You won’t need to fiddle around inside Settings or System Preferences — just a couple of taps is all it takes to start pairing.

We’ll show you how.

Apple helps Chipolo One Spot item tracker become a top AirTags rival


Chipolo One Spot launches June 2021. Price is unknown.
The Chipolo One Spot boasts an advantage over every other Bluetooth item tracker.
Photo: Chipolo

The upcoming Chipolo One Spot could rise to be a top Bluetooth item tracker. And if that happens, it’ll be with Apple’s help. The product will be one of the very first accessible through Apple’s Find My network, which means iPhone, Mac and iPad users can locate it without having to install any software from Chipolo.

The same is true of AirTags, Apple’s own much-rumored item tracker expected to be released soon.

Stylish smart sunglasses offer built-in Bluetooth speakers [Review]


Flows Bandwidth Bluetooth audio sunglasses review
Flows Bandwidth Bluetooth audio sunglasses pair well with an iPhone.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Flows Bandwidth’s Bluetooth audio sunglasses let you listen to podcasts or take calls without blocking out the world around you. Despite speakers built into the stems, the men’s or women’s versions look like any other sunglasses. But they keep you entertained on the go.

I’ve worn these smart glasses for weeks. Here’s why I like them.

macOS Big Sur 11.2 brings Mac Bluetooth fix


macOS 11.2, the latest version of Big Sur, includes a range of bug fixes.
Apple called special attention to a Bluetooth bug fix in its release notes for macOS 11.2.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Apple released macOS Big Sur 11.2 to the public Monday, bringing more reliable Bluetooth connections. That should warm the hearts of those using recently released Macs built around Apple’s first-generation M-series processor.

The Mac update brings other bug fixes as well, but the release notes make no mention of new features.

iOS 14.4 brings improvements to QR codes and Bluetooth audio


iOS 14.4 debuted to the general public on Tuesday.
iOS 14.4 isn’t a substantial update, but it does include new features.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple released iOS 14.4 to the general public on Tuesday, along with the iPad equivalent. According to their developer, these allow users to scan smaller QR codes, and to classify their various Bluetooth devices so audio notifications can be routed correctly.

It also closes a security hole that hackers might have actually used to break into iPhones.

Connect AirPods to almost anything with AirFly Pro [Review]


Twelve South AirFly Pro with AirPods Pro
Twelve South AirFly Pro is the perfect companion for AirPods Pro.
Photo: Twelve South

AirFly Pro can wirelessly connect your AirPods to a plane’s entertainment system. Or the machines at your gym. If it has a 3.5 mm audio jack, this Bluetooth adapter lets it communicate with your AirPods. Even two pairs at once.

And the same easily pocketable gizmo can connect your iPhone to a car stereo’s AUX port to play music off your iPhone.

I tested both these features — find out how well they work in this AirFly Pro review.

Some M1 Mac mini owners suffer Bluetooth connectivity problems


New M1 Mac mini gaming
This doesn't sound good.
Photo: Apple

Life hasn’t been as sweet as it should be for some M1 Mac mini owners. A number of users are being plagued by Bluetooth connectivity issues, which can cause wireless peripherals to frequently disconnect.

The number of complaints is growing online, and it seems the only real fix is to use a third-party Bluetooth adapter.

How to fix Wi-Fi and Bluetooth interference on a Mac


Fix Wi-Fi interference on a Mac
Don't settle for a slow and unstable connection.
Image: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

If your Mac is struggling to maintain a stable Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection, it could be because of wireless interference. The good thing is that there are many different things you can do to eliminate this problem.

In this guide, we’ll detail how you can identify wireless interference, and some of steps you can take to prevent it from causing problems in the future. The tips also can prove useful for iOS devices.

Access your Mac’s hidden Bluetooth debug menu


bluetooth keyboard mouse
Troubleshoot your Mac's Bluetooth connections.
Photo: Amy Hirschi/Unsplash

Got Bluetooth problems like a glitchy mouse or an unreliable keyboard? Maybe a screwy trackpad or poor headphone connection? Any of those problems could result from a glitch in your Mac’s Bluetooth radio. Maybe you’ve already tried everything — unpairing your devices, resetting them or even creating a pristine new user account on your Mac solely for troubleshooting purposes.

You may even know about the hidden Bluetooth menu that appears when you option-click on the Bluetooth menu bar icon. But did you know that there’s another, deeper, super-hidden menu with extra troubleshooting tools? There is. Here’s how to fix Bluetooth problems when nothing else seems to work.

Apple and Google team up to build COVID-19 contact tracing apps


Apple Google
Apple and Google join forces using Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Photo: Apple/Google

In a rare moment of collaboration, Apple and Google said Friday they have teamed up to create a contact-tracing program that uses smartphones to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The privacy-focused solution created by the companies will use anonymous Bluetooth “chirps” from phones as a way to tell where an infected person has been and who they’ve come in contact with.