14 Replies Latest reply: Aug 30, 2008 10:17 PM by Barry Hemphill
scrabbledemon Level 1 (0 points)
I have a compatible Bluetooth adapter—Kensington—and I have a devil of a time keeping my wireless keyboard paired. My Mighty Mouse stays paired, but way too often Bluetooth doesn't even recognize that there is a wireless keyboard there, let alone pair it.

To get Bluetooth to "see" the keyboard, I have to pick it up off the keyboard tray and stand it up next to my iMac (Intel Core 2 Dual running 10.4.1). It "sees" the mouse, however, even though the mouse is right next to the keyboard on the tray.

In addition, there's an option in the Settings page of the Bluetooth Systems Preferences box that reads "Allow Bluetooth devices to wake this computer." But it's grayed out. The other three Settings are dark and checked: "Discoverable," "Open Bluetooth Setup Assistant when no input device is present," and "Show Bluetooth status in the menu bar."

This is all deeply frustrating, because any convenience I might have experienced by having a wireless keyboard is thwarted by all the problems.

Any ideas?

iMac Intel Core 2 Duo, Mac OS X (10.4.1), Kensington Bluetooth dongle
  • Barry Hemphill Level 8 (37,327 points)
    Hello scrabble:

    Welcome to Apple discussions.

    I hate to point fingers, but I do suspect that the external BT adapter is at the root of your problems. I have read that there are only one or two external BT devices that work well with Apple computers (which, I do not remember).

    Why are you using an external BT adapter if your profile is correct? The computer you list has a built-in BT device.

  • scrabbledemon Level 1 (0 points)

    Sorry for being so long in responding to your gracious reply.

    I'm a bit confused about the Bluetooth issue, clearly. My iMac does NOT have built-in Bluetooth. When I went to buy the wireless keyboard and mouse, the tech rep for the vendor asked me to check (told me how) and I saw that there was no Bluetooth icon in Hardware in System Preferences. That's why I bought the dongle. And since they were a third-party vendor that only sold Mac stuff, the dongle was supposed to be correct. And I went to the Apple site when I was having my initial problems, and they mentioned Kensington as one of the compatible ones, which then Kensington's site confirmed.

    So I'm just baffled. I don't want to buy a new dongle, but I will if it will solve the problem. I have to pair the damned keyboard even when I come out of sleep mode, and it still doesn't recognize the keyboard immediately (even when I lean the keyboard against the bottom of the iMac), so it is truly annoying.

    Any clarification about built-in Bluetooth (I couldn't find it noted on any descriptions of the iMac in a cursory search I just did) and more advice will be welcomed.

    Thanks so much,

  • Barry Hemphill Level 8 (37,327 points)
    Hi again (In was downstate near Camas):

    Now I am puzzled. I thought all Intel-based Macs had a built-in Bluetooth module (mine certainly does. I frankly cannot remember when Apple started making BT standard, but it has been while. On my G5 it was optional.

    Are you anywhere near an Apple store (I think you might be, if you are West of the Cascades)? Anyway, I would call any Apple store (rather than Applecare which might be a fee item) and have your serial number ready. Ask if your computer came with BT standard.

    If the answer is no, I would go back to where you bought the dongle, gently pound my fist on the counter, and ask them to either fix it or refund your money. I have never had a BT dongle nor have I had non-Apple BT external devices, so I have no experience there.

  • scrabbledemon Level 1 (0 points)
    I bought the iMac refurbished from an authorized, but small, dealer out of Olympia. He's also a Mac repair person. And I bought the dongle online when I bought the keyboard and mouse. So there's no real place to go.

    I haven't been in touch with the guy I bought it from, which in retrospect is kind of dumb of me. But he wasn't responsive with problems I had early in my ownership, and I basically didn't even think of him. I was pursuing these issues through other arenas (such as here).

    I'll email him and hope he responds. I have a phone number for him, but it's always been a direct-to-voice mail affair when I've called. These factors have likely contributed to my omitting him as a resource.

    I thank you for your guidance. If there's a resolution to this problem (even if it involves hardware flying through windows) I'll post it here.

    By the way, I have friends in Camas, and it's a lovely place to visit. I'm closer to Tacoma.
  • Barry Hemphill Level 8 (37,327 points)
    Hi again "neighbor" (I'm just South of Seattle):

    An additional thought if the seller does not respond. Try E-mailing the dongle manufacturer and Kensington to see if they have further guidance. Also, see if Kensington (or the dongle manufacturer) will replace the items under warranty - there could also be a defective item in the mix).

    Good luck. Post back when you get a chance. I am always curious how things work out.


    P.S. Nothing dumb at all about not thinking of something - I do it more frequently that I care to admit.
  • scrabbledemon Level 1 (0 points)

    I just this minute—six months after purchasing the keyboard, mouse, and adapter (as Kensington refers to it)—got my problem resolved. Maybe.

    I moved on to trying to get help from Kensington, and I made the mistake of using email support (actually cutting and pasting my question, because the keyboard wouldn't "discover" to be paired). It was the weekend, and there was no phone support available. After explaining my problem in excruciating (it took me an hour and a half with cut and paste) detail, I got a response saying that it was a pleasure helping me. But he didn't help me. This was the only response.

    So I wrote back, fairly irate (the keyboard had paired up), and then he responded apologetically and asked for the dongle's model number and serial number—both of which were included as information in the first communication!

    By this time it was Friday afternoon, I didn't have the opportunity to call Kensington, because they stop support calls at 4:30, though I can't understand this at all, since support calls go to India, clearly.

    So I reached someone by phone today, and after I explained the problem in detail, she asked me whether I used Vista or Windows something or other. I said (pretty excitedly, I'll admit), that I already told her I was using an iMac! Then I launched into an impassioned plea for her to admit it if she didn't know about Macs and to forward me to someone who did, and that I wouldn't hold it against her. I had already had such a frustrating experience, I explained, that I really wanted to make sure that the person who helped me knew about Macs and their operating systems. Well, somewhere during that, she hung up on me. Without a word.

    So I took a deep breath and called back and took a different approach with the next person, confirming right off that the woman who answered the call this time could answer questions regarding Apple products. She listened, asked some intelligent questions, and then matter-of-factly told me that the problem was with the Kensington adapter and that she'd send me a new one. Just like that.

    Now why it took such an act of Congress (or Parliament) to get an actual answer is beyond my understanding, because she also said, without embellishment, that the 33085 model adapter is discontinued and she'll be sending me a 33348 that will work properly.

    This may finally be the end of my sad story and sadder experiences. But really, is it so hard to actually know something and have information of a technical-support nature when your job is technical support? From my experiences, the answer would seem to be "yes."

    Thank you for your help and suggestions and for being a vessel to receive my words of frustration and vexation.

    So unless the same thing happens with the new dongle, I guess my problem can be marked "resolved."

    Take care,

    Roberta (AKA scabbledemon)
  • Barry Hemphill Level 8 (37,327 points)
    Hi Roberta (akascrabbledemon):

    Thanks for posting back with the description of your . I am always curious how problems are resolved (even if it was not my suggestion that "fixed" things). I have a puckish sense of humor so I suspect you know how much I enjoyed your most enjoyable description of events (although it was not funny to you, I bet). I admire your persistence. I think I would have resorted to the +"hardware flying through windows"+ solution!

    I hope (fervently) that the new dongle solves the problem.


  • scrabbledemon Level 1 (0 points)
    Okay, are you ready for this?

    I got my replacement Kensington dongle delivered today, and it has a booklet with comprehensive instructions of how to install the adapter when using Windows, complete with CD. And what does it say for Mac?

    "Visit www.apple.com for Bluetooth Software Driver and instructions for connecting devices."

    That's it. Nothing else, unless you count the same message in 10 other languages.

    So I went to www.apple.com and, with an uncomfortable feeling of deja vu, looked up Bluetooth Software Driver. Skip to the end of a frustrating 15 minutes, and I could not update my system with either the firmware or software updates. The Bluetooth software, I was told, is up to date.

    So, I hotswapped in the new dongle for the old, and neither the mouse nor the keyboard worked. Thinking this was a mistake, I shut down with the power button. And waited. And started up again. And nothing. And hotswapped in the old dongle, and I can function again (but with the old keyboard rigamarole).

    Maybe hotswapping wasn't a good idea, but that's what I did. But now I don't know what to do. I simply can't find anything on the Apple site about installing the dongle itself, just all the devices to work with it. Now I'm afraid to do anything.

    Barry! Help me! I feel like a complete moron. And it doesn't feel good.

    I look forward to your reply,

  • Barry Hemphill Level 8 (37,327 points)
    Hi Roberta:

    Since I have internal BT hardware in both my iMacs, I am (as you might surmise) speculating. I do know that Apple used to sell an external dongle (brand name escapes me (D-Link, maybe) but it was not Kensington). They stopped a couple of years ago - why, I do not know.

    Anyway, there are a couple of additional things you might try.

    Reset the PRAM:


    Reset the SMC:


    Both of those sometimes address "funny" behavior, but the external dongle throws a variable into the mix.

    I would also grit my teeth and contact Kensington again. After all, they do say that their device will work on a Mac.


    P.S. I could not find anything in the knowledge base articles relevant to BT dongles either. I suspect that is because Apple does not make them.
  • scrabbledemon Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for such a quick response. I hope it doesn't come to contacting Kensington again. I have a root canal I need to have first.

    I'll try the PRAM thing (which I actually know how to do!) first and then the SMC thing (which is new to me). But I'm going to have to gird my loins before I make the attempts.

    I'll let you know what happens. I may yet be able to check off that my problem has been resolved.

  • scrabbledemon Level 1 (0 points)

    This is too funny, in that way that you say funny but you don't really mean it.

    I can't reset the PRAM, because once I've shut down the computer, the keyboard won't work until I go through the rigamarole of pairing it.

    So, here I go having to call Kensington.

    I'll let you know what happens.

  • Barry Hemphill Level 8 (37,327 points)
    Hello R:

    That is funny in a non-funny way. I just got home from a 16 hour day running a polling place in the primary, so I may not be too coherent. I do agree that Kensington is the next step.

  • scrabbledemon Level 1 (0 points)

    I'll apparently do anything so that I don't have to call Kensington again. I actually have borrowed a wired keyboard and mouse from a friend in San Francisco (he sent them to me) so I could reset the PRAM and install the new dongle.

    The dongle is in, the wireless mouse and keyboard paired up as if they had eyes (maybe they do, in their way), and I'm almost hopeful.

    Strangely, for the past couple of days the date and time haven't shown up on my menu bar and I can't set them. The little color wheel just spins and spins, and I have to do a force quit. This is unrelated to the mouse and keyboard, but it's always something, isn't it? I never had this kind of trouble when I wrote everything on a typewriter.

    If things go well with the keyboard over the next couple of days, I'll let you know and call this problem resolved.

    I'd love to work at my polling place for the general, but I know I don't have the stamina to make it through the whole day. I wish they had a little flexibility about working at polling places, letting workers do shifts and having more workers at busy times, fewer when it's quiet. The elections system really needs some revamping.
  • Barry Hemphill Level 8 (37,327 points)
    Hello R:

    Extraordinary problems require extraordinary solutions (or something like that).

    Hopefully the PRAM reset worked permanently.

    The unrelated menu bar thing might be "fixed" by trashing a preference file and restarting:


    I remember when the first computer crawled up from the slime (circa 1958) and complicated all of our lives - irretrievably so!


    In our state (WA) the elections will be completely by mail in 2009. Only King and Pierce Counties still have +"real voting."+ WA will be like Oregon then - voting completely by mail or +"early/physically challenged"+ in designated locations. I will be unemployed (chuckle).