Some wireless keyboards come with small dongles to plug in; some can only be set up over Bluetooth, a short-range wireless protocol that involves pairing devices together. To set up a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse, you’ll need to pair it with your Mac. If you’re setting up a different Bluetooth device, like Bluetooth headphones, the setup is mostly the same.

If you have an iMac and don’t have your Bluetooth keyboard set up by default, or if your trackpad and keyboard are broken on your Macbook, you’ll need a wired keyboard or mouse to set up a Bluetooth keyboard, as you can’t set one up without at least one input device. If you only have a keyboard, you can still set up a Bluetooth mouse by using the Tab key in System Preferences to cycle between options.

To get started, you’ll first want to make sure that Bluetooth is turned on on your Mac and that your wireless device has charged batteries.

Pair Your Device

Open up your Bluetooth settings from the drop down in the top right of your menu bar, or by searching for it in Spotlight (Command+Space) or the System Preferences app.

You’ll have to enter “pairing mode” on the keyboard and mouse. This mode will probably be on by default if the device isn’t paired to anything, but there might be a sync button on the back or bottom. Some devices even require that you press the power button a few times.

Once the device is discoverable, it will show up in the list of Devices on your Mac with a “Pair” or “Connect” button next to it.

After you click the button, your Mac might ask to enter a pairing code on the keyboard. For other devices, you can usually you can click past this window, and the device will pair anyway.

Configuring Keyboard and Mouse Settings

If your keyboard or mouse isn’t behaving properly, you can configure the settings in System Preferences. Under “Keyboard,” you can adjust the key repeat and function key settings, or change your keyboard layout to something different. You can also pair a Bluetooth keyboard automatically from here.

Under “Mouse,” you can adjust the tracking speed, double-click speed, and scrolling speed of your mouse.

For both keyboard and mice, the manufacturer may have their own drivers and settings apps to configure device specific-settings like DPI, macros, and lighting effects—particularly on “gaming” mice. These include things like the Logitech Control Center, Corsair iCue, and Razer Synapse.

Image Credits: Peter Kotoff/ShutterStock

Profile Photo for Anthony Heddings Anthony Heddings
Anthony Heddings is the resident cloud engineer for LifeSavvy Media, a technical writer, programmer, and an expert at Amazon's AWS platform. He's written hundreds of articles for How-To Geek and CloudSavvy IT that have been read millions of times.
Read Full Bio »