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mac: The strangeness that is M1 Mac Bluetooth

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Ok, here is a very mysterious problem for you, with an M1 MacBook Pro, I suddenly could not connect my Bluetooth keyboards. For full context, I use three different (yikes!) mechanical keyboards with Bluetooth depending on my mood. Two are AnnePro2 with Gateron Blue and Kailh Box White switches and then I have a Keychron K6 with Gazzew Boba U4T Thocky keys.

The main symptom is that these keyboards would refuse to connect so I tried the typical fixes but none of these worked:

  1. Make sure all the keyboards are fully charged. Turn them off and on.
  2. Turn off and on the Bluetooth and then restart the Mac.
  3. I would just get the searching icon in Bluetooth preferences.
  4. So the connect and reconnect means nothing is connected!

Then the more serious stuff:

  1. Kill the Bluetooth daemon sudo pkill bluetoothd and then restart. This didn't help, the devices were just not reported.
  2. Go to /Library/Preferences/ or rm -rf com.apple.Bluetooth.*. Remove that files and restart. This didn't help and I notice that once I did this, the files are *not* rebuilt automatically, they just disappear so it must be used. Note that you can actually hack away on it to prevent auto-pairing
  3. Go to ~/Library/Preferences and delete anything with Bluetooth in the name but there is nothing there either.
  4. There is something in about another set of files in ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost but there is nothing there
  5. Start ObinsKit and connect the AnnePro2 to it and then try to clear the Bluetooth binding and reset the keyboard. Both of these report failed. So much for OEM software.
  6. Try to reset the NVRAM and PRAM, but these are no longer present on an M1 Mac.
  7. Try to reboot to safe mode to see if it will work, but M1 Macs don't have a safe mode anymore.

I think somehow with the M1 Mac there is something that remembers this stuff but I can't find it, so to soldier on, I just tried random things to get the Mac to remember, but it is definitely remembering old connections so the net is that the AnnePro2 keyboards you have to use the old connection and keep trying it and for Keychron, the switch seems to help. Sigh and read on...

Remembering old connections somewhere locks keyboards to ports

Here is what I found out. That by randomly holding down the FN2 and then the Bluetooth port, that is FN2-4 for port 4, it would connect. What I discovered is that there must be something that is deeply remembering what the old Bluetooth connections are even though I had deleted the Bluetooth, when after randomly trying over and over, the same funky name I gave the Bluetooth device appeared.

I was surprised by this since I had removed the connection, so somewhere there is a preference in the M1 Mac that is not deleted. I'm hoping that the upcoming new Ventura will hopefully fix this.

Also, I had the opposite problem with the Keycrhon, I had it set to Port 1, but by changing it to Bluetooth connection 2 with FN1-W, suddenly it was visible again with the same funky name I had created. Very strange.

I really don't want to do a reinstall and I promise I won't touch these again.

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