AMITIAE - day xx month 2014

System Preferences in OS X 10.10, Yosemite: Bluetooth

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers

In any major update to OS X there are expected to be some changes to specific System Preferences, while others are unchanged. With OS X 10.10, Mavericks, the Bluetooth Preferences panel, which is for setting up and connecting Bluetooth devices settings and the way Bluetooth pairing operates, have seen no changes, apart from the cosmetic updates common to all panels.

Bluetooth devices exchange data over short distances under standards of the Bluetooth SIG organisation. The Bluetooth standard, originally put forward by Ericsson, later became a standard under IEEE (802.15.1). This is now maintained by the Bluetooth SIG. The name "Bluetooth" was originally the name of a Danish king - Harald Bluetooth - who was a uniting force.

The Bluetooth Preferences panel is in two parts. The left side has a logo (itself made up of Harald Bluetooth's initials) and an indication of the On/Off state of the Bluetooth installed on the computer. Below is a button marked "Turn Bluetooth On". When Bluetooth is active, the button changes (Turn Bluetooth Off) and text below shows that the computer is discoverable by other devices and the name that would be used.

iPhone paired via Bluetooth

The main panel displays names (and icons) for any devices paired with the computer with the current state of the connection. When the panel is open and Bluetooth active, a spinning icon indicates that the computer is searching for compatible devices. When the cursor is run over a paired device, an X appears to the left so that the device may be removed from the list. When this is pressed a panel asking for confirmation of the deletion appears, adding that "You have to pair this device again if you want to use it later."

Below the panel is a checkbox that places a Bluetooth icon in the menubar. This provides a menu that allows some controls of the device, including file transfers. To the right of the checkbox is an "Advanced" button. Pressing this opens a panel with 3 checkboxes:

  • Open Bluetooth Setup Assistant at startup if no keyboard is detected;
  • Open Bluetooth Setup Assistant at startup if no mouse or trackpad is detected; and
  • Allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer.


Bluetooth Setup Assistant is not in the Applications or Utilities folders. This is now in the System folder. The process operates automatically when a suitable device a connection. A panel appears and the user is asked to verify to confirm that pairing was desired.


Any devices discovered by scanning are shown in the list with a Pair button to the right. Pressing this will initiate pairing: to complete a pairing a panel on the target device is used to confirm acceptance.

See Also:

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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