Bluetooth

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'Bluetooth' How Tos

How to Enable the Optimal Audio Codec for Your Bluetooth Headphones in macOS

How good your digital music sounds often comes down to which file format it's encoded in. Be that as it may, every Mac audio setup is only as strong as it's weakest link, and if your Bluetooth connection isn't up to scratch, even the best BT headphones will fail to deliver a decent wireless listening experience. By design, all Bluetooth devices support the low-power SBC audio compression codec as standard. Fortunately, modern Macs also support AAC (Apple's preferred iTunes codec) and aptX, which Android devices often use. These two codecs offer higher quality audio and generally lower latency than SBC, which is why most third-party wireless headphones on the market support one or the other, and sometimes both. Yet for whatever reason, despite their AAC/aptX support, some headphones fall back to the bog-standard SBC codec when connected to a Mac. This can lead to a particularly underwhelming audio experience, not to mention latency-related sync issues, which will be a distinct concern if you use your headphones while gaming or watching movies. Thankfully, it's possible to force macOS to connect to your headphones using one of the two superior codecs. In this article, we'll show you how to do so using Apple's Bluetooth Explorer utility. (And if you're comfortable opening a Terminal window, we've included a couple of commands at the end that do the same thing.) But first, it's worth checking which codecs your brand of headphones actually supports: Look for codec logos on the box, and make sure to check for references to codecs in the manual and any

How to Reset Your Mac's Bluetooth Module to Fix Connection Issues

Bluetooth is what your Mac uses to connect to wireless devices like keyboards, mice, trackpads, speakers, and other peripherals. Generally, it's a reliable technology. At some point however, the chances are you'll run into difficulty establishing a Bluetooth connection with one or more of your devices. Most problems can be fixed by unpairing and repairing the Bluetooth device, changing its batteries, rebooting your Mac, or performing an SMC reset. But if none of these methods work, you can always try resetting your Mac's Bluetooth module. Here's how to do it in macOS using the hidden Bluetooth Debug menu. How to Reset Your Mac's Bluetooth Module Before proceeding, bear in mind that if your setup relies exclusively on Bluetooth for communicating with your keyboard and mouse, then you're going to temporarily lose connection to them using the following methods, so you might want to have a backup wired input device option just in case. Holding the Shift + Option (Alt) keys on your Mac's keyboard, click the Bluetooth symbol in the top-right corner of the macOS menu bar. (If you don't see it there, you need to check Show Bluetooth in menu bar in System Preferences -> Bluetooth.) Locate the revealed Debug submenu and hover your mouse cursor over it. Click Reset the Bluetooth module. Now, restart your Mac.You'll notice a couple of other potentially useful options in the Debug submenu. Factory reset all connected Apple devices does exactly what it says – forces any Apple-branded Bluetooth accessories back to the default settings they came with out of the box. It's

'Bluetooth' Articles

EFF Says iOS 11's Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Toggles in Control Center Are Misleading and Compromise Security

Apple recently confirmed that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are not fully disabled when toggled off in Control Center on iOS 11, and the change has generated some fresh criticism from a prominent non-profit digital rights group. For background, when Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are toggled off, an iPhone or iPad on iOS 11 merely disconnects from a Wi-Fi network and Bluetooth accessories. The actual Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios in the device remain activated. Moreover, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth automatically reenable at 5:00 a.m. local time each day, or if the device is restarted. iOS 11 works this way so that Wi-Fi and Bluetooth continue to be available for AirDrop, AirPlay, Apple Pencil, Apple Watch, Location Services, and Continuity features like Handoff and Instant Hotspot. As a result of the change, the Electronic Frontier Foundation believes that iOS 11 compromises users' security. In a critical article, the EFF said the toggles are "misleading" and "bad for user security."When a phone is designed to behave in a way other than what the UI suggests, it results in both security and privacy problems. A user has no visual or textual clues to understand the device's behavior, which can result in a loss of trust in operating system designers to faithfully communicate what’s going on. Since users rely on the operating system as the bedrock for most security and privacy decisions, no matter what app or connected device they may be using, this trust is fundamental.The EFF said the "loophole in connectivity" can potentially leave users open to new attacks, and it linked to a white paper

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Aren't Fully Disabled When Toggled Off in Control Center on iOS 11

Apple has confirmed that Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are not fully disabled when toggled off in Control Center on iOS 11. Even when toggled off in Control Center on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 11 and later, a new support document says Bluetooth and Wi-Fi will continue to be available for AirDrop, AirPlay, Apple Pencil, Apple Watch, Location Services, and Continuity features like Handoff and Instant Hotspot. Toggling off Bluetooth or Wi-Fi in Control Center only disconnects accessories now, rather than disabling connectivity entirely. If Bluetooth is turned off, the iOS device can't be connected to any Bluetooth accessories until one of these conditions is met: You turn on Bluetooth in Control Center. You connect to a Bluetooth accessory in Settings > Bluetooth. It's 5 a.m. local time. You restart your device. While Wi-Fi is disabled, auto-join for any nearby Wi-Fi networks will also be disabled until one of these conditions is met: You turn on Wi-Fi in Control Center. You connect to a Wi-Fi network in Settings > Wi-Fi. You walk or drive to a new location. It's 5 a.m. local time. You restart your device. Apple made this change in the iOS 11 beta, and it gained more attention after the software was publicly released yesterday. iOS 11 users can still completely disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for all networks and devices by toggling them off in the Settings app. Apple says users should try to keep Wi-Fi and Bluetooth turned on for the best experience on an iOS device. (Thanks, FlunkedFlank!)

Bluetooth LE Standard Gains Mesh Networking for Improved Smart Home Connectivity

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group today announced that its Bluetooth technology has been updated with support for mesh networking, designed to create large-scale device networks by connecting multiple Bluetooth devices to one another. Bluetooth calls these "many-to-many" connections, which can support just a handful of devices or up to thousands. In a home setting, the mesh feature will be useful for connecting smart home devices to one another to establish a network that spans an entire house, with no areas that are out of range. Mesh networks are an improvement over single-point connections because a Bluetooth signal can be transmitted from device to device, reaching further distances. Some products, like the ZigBee-based Philips Hue line of lights, already use mesh networking techniques that are similar to what's being implemented today. Bluetooth mesh also has many commercial uses, because it creates a reliable network with no single point of failure, it can scale to support thousands of nodes, it supports multi-vendor interoperability, and it offers industrial-grade security. Bluetooth SIG believes Bluetooth mesh will be essential for commercial building and factory automation. "By adding support for mesh networking, the Bluetooth member community is continuing a long history of focused innovation to help new, up-and-coming markets flourish," said Mark Powell, executive director for Bluetooth SIG, Inc. "In the same way the connected device market experienced rapid growth after the introduction of Bluetooth Low Energy, we believe Bluetooth mesh

Bluetooth 5 With 4x Longer Range and 2x Faster Speed is Officially Approved

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group today announced that the Bluetooth 5 standard has been officially adopted, which means manufacturers are now able to build it into their devices. The next-generation Bluetooth standard offers longer range, faster speed, a larger broadcast message capacity, and better interoperability with other wireless technologies. Compared to existing Bluetooth 4.2 protocol, Bluetooth 5 offers four times the range, two times the speed, and eight times the broadcast message capacity, bringing whole home coverage and more reliable connections between connected devices. "This means whole-home and building coverage, as well as new use cases for outdoor, industrial, and commercial applications will be a reality. With the launch of Bluetooth 5, we continue to evolve to meet the needs of IoT developers and consumers while staying true to what Bluetooth is at its core: the global wireless standard for simple, secure, connectivity."With the debut of Bluetooth 5, SIG's Bluetooth naming convention will drop all references to version and point number going forward, simplifying marketing. Devices that adopt Bluetooth 5 will be available within two to six months, meaning the next-generation products Apple plans to debut in 2017, including the iPhone 8, may offer Bluetooth 5

iPhone 7 and BMW Owners Experiencing Bluetooth Audio Issues

Over the past two weeks, an increasing number of iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users have experienced Bluetooth audio issues in vehicles. The majority of users experiencing problems appear to be BMW owners, regardless of model, but other vehicle brands such as Hyundai and Kia appear to be involved in limited cases. The issues range from audio cutting out to connectivity issues with infotainment systems. BMW users in particular report being able to stream music for about 5-10 seconds, at which point the ConnectedDrive system freezes. Fixing the system requires restarting the iPhone, but the issue reemerges once the connection is reestablished. MacRumors reader YachtMac posted in our discussion forums:My iPhone 7 Plus with iOS 10.0.2 will not stream audio for more than a few seconds in a BMW 4 series with the latest multimedia software. I have researched the issue and others with BMWs and other makes seem to be experiencing the same or similar streaming issues. Moreover, once the fault occurs the mobile telephone connection then becomes flakey as well. The only thing I can do is to disable the audio streaming option in order to have a phone that works in the car as a phone.Apple Support Communities member Chandy911 echoed the same problem:I just upgraded to an iPhone 7 Plus running iOS 10.0.1 and I am having issues playing music through Bluetooth on BMW ConnectedDrive. I've upgraded the BMW software on my car to the latest version from BMW's website, but I still get disconnected on Bluetooth after about 5-10 seconds after playing music. I've tried to restore the phone

Griffin's New iTrip Clip Adapter Makes Wired Headphones Work Wirelessly

Just days before Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 7 without a headphone jack, Griffin Technology has introduced a new iTrip Clip clippable adapter that enables any pair of wired headphones with a 3.5mm jack to function as wireless headphones via Bluetooth. To use the iTrip Clip with Apple's wired EarPods, for example, an iPhone user would simply plug the headphones into the adapter and pair the accessory with the smartphone via Bluetooth 4.1. The self-powered adapter also works with AUX cables for Bluetooth audio in the car. iTrip Clip has play/pause, volume, and track controls, and a built-in mic that can be used to make phone calls or Siri voice commands. The adapter's rechargeable 800 mAh battery lasts up to 6 hours for music playback or 180 hours in standby. A micro-USB charging cable is included in the box. iTrip Clip will be available in September for

Woz Laments No Headphone Jack on iPhone 7, Sees USB-C as Future of Audio

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has predicted a consumer backlash if Apple drops the headphone jack in the upcoming iPhone 7 in favor of an all-in-one Lightning connector for audio output, charging, and accessory connectivity. "If it's missing the 3.5mm earphone jack, that's going to tick off a lot of people," claimed Woz, speaking to The Australian Financial Review. "I would not use Bluetooth – I don't like wireless," he said. "I have cars where you can plug in the music, or go through Bluetooth, and Bluetooth just sounds so flat for the same music." With Apple widely expected to drop the headphone jack in next month's iPhone 7, rumors indicate the company will include Lightning-equipped EarPods in the box, as well as a Lightning-to-jack adapter to allow users like Woz to connect their existing wired earphones to the device. "Mine have custom ear implants, they fit in so comfortably, I can sleep on them and everything. And they only come out with one kind of jack, so I'll have to go through the adapter," he said. Asked what would have to change for him to consider using wireless in the future, Woz added: "If there's a Bluetooth 2 that has higher bandwidth and better quality, that sounds like real music, I would use it. But we'll see." Bluetooth 5, announced in June, is expected to be faster, with longer range and a higher transfer rate, but when the standard will be ready for adoption remains unclear. While the consensus is that Apple will remove the headphone jack in favor of Lightning, Intel continues to position USB-C as the open standard of the

Bluetooth Headphone Revenue Overtakes Non-Bluetooth Ahead of iPhone 7 Launch

As the launch of the iPhone 7 approaches, Bluetooth headphone purchases are on the rise, according to new data shared by NPD Group. In June, Bluetooth headphone revenue overtook non-Bluetooth for the first time, accounting for 54 percent of headphone dollar sales and 17 percent of unit sales in the United States. The overall headphone category saw seven percent year-over-year growth in pure dollar sales during the first half of 2016, but Bluetooth headphones saw double-digit growth during the same time period. A solid cost decrease helped spur Bluetooth headphone sales, with average selling prices down 5 percent. Nearly 30 percent of Bluetooth headphones sold during 1H 2016 were less than or equal to $50."Promotions and new product introductions have helped spur the growth we are seeing in Bluetooth headphones," said Ben Arnold, executive director, industry analyst for The NPD Group. "Consumers are already embracing a wireless future and if, as rumored, the headphone jack is removed from the next iPhone, we expect this will continue to drive market share of the Bluetooth category."Apple's Beats brand and LG dominated the Bluetooth headphone market during the first half of the year, accounting for approximately 65 percent of dollar sales. Bose, Jaybird, and Skullcandy were the other manufacturers to make it into the top five brands, in that order. With the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple plans to eliminate the headphone jack, requiring consumers to rely on Lightning adapters, Bluetooth-enabled wireless headphones, or headphones that include a Lightning

Apple Releases First Software Update for Brand New 12-Inch MacBook

Less than two hours after announcing the new 12-inch MacBook, which has yet to become available for purchase online, Apple has released the first software update for the notebook. Apple's website says the Bluetooth update for the 12-inch MacBook (Early 2016) improves compatibility with third-party Bluetooth devices, and is recommended for all users. The software update is a 157.8MB download and requires OS X El Capitan

CES 2016: Braven Unveils New Rugged Bluetooth Speakers and Portable Battery for iPhone and iPad

Braven has announced a pair of new Bluetooth speakers and a portable backup battery for iPhone and iPad at CES 2016. The trio of rugged accessories are designed to withstand drops, sand, snow, dirt, dust and water, making them ideal for outdoor activities ranging from camping and hiking to rafting and rock climbing. The Braven BRV-BLADE LE is a rugged portable Bluetooth speaker that features an IPX7 waterproof rating, aircraft-grade aluminum casing, shockproof ABS construction, built-in 4,000mAh power bank, microphone for hands-free calls and more. The speaker will be available for $199.99 in Q2 of 2016. The Braven BRV-XXL is another rugged portable Bluetooth speaker with an IPX 5 waterproof rating and a tank-like design crafted from aircraft grade aluminum and shockproof ABS. The speaker delivers 14 hours of music playback and has a large 15,600mAh built-in battery for charging smartphones and tablets. The BRV-XXL also has NFC, on-board volume and audio controls and a 3.5mm microphone input, and is similarly designed for the outdoors with drop, sand, dirt and dust protection, tie-down loops and a carry strap with a built-in bottle opener. The Braven BRV-XXL will be available for purchase for $349.99 in Q1 of 2016. Braven claims its BRV-BANK PRO LE is the world's first ultra-rugged, smart modular backup battery. The portable charging accessory has an IPX7 waterproof rating and features a built-in 300-lumen LED flashlight, aircraft-grade aluminum housing and Bluetooth SMART support for controlling the battery with Braven's iOS app. The BRV-BANK PRO LE has

Apple Named Promoter Member of Bluetooth SIG

Apple has become a promoting member of the Bluetooth SIG (Special Interest Group) alongside existing promoters Ericsson, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Nokia, and Toshiba, giving the company the ability to vote on Bluetooth SIG corporate matters and allowing the iPhone maker to hold a continual seat on the SIG Board of Directors. “Apple has long been a key participant in the Bluetooth ecosystem,” said Toby Nixon, chairman of the Bluetooth SIG Board of Directors. “Since 2011, the company has provided guidance and knowledge to the Bluetooth SIG through its participation as an Associate Board Member. We’re excited to welcome Apple to its new role in the organization and on the SIG board.”Bluetooth SIG provides companies with the opportunity to influence the direction of Bluetooth technology, with promoter members having greater input towards the strategic and technological directions of Bluetooth. Apple uses Bluetooth in a number of products and services ranging from Mac, iPhone and iPad to AirDrop, Continuity and