Reset Bluetooth

Sometimes the Bluetooth system software on the host computer becomes stuck, confused, or in a bad state. This can cause Blinka bleio programs to stop working. Often a simple fix is just to turn Bluetooth off and then back on, on the host computer.

Windows

There are two ways to cycle Bluetooth off and on in Windows. In Settings, find the Bluetooth setting page, and turn Bluetooth off and then back on:

Or, select the Notification area by clicking the Notification icon in the taskbar (1), and then toggle Bluetooth off and then back on (2):

MacOS

Go to System Preferences, and choose Bluetooth (1). Then toggle Bluetooth off and on (2). If you check the box that says "Show Bluetooth in menu bar" (3), you can toggle Bluetooth more quickly (4).

Linux and Raspberry Pi

Depending on which Linux distribution and desktop software you're using, there might be a Bluetooth item in the task bar or menu bar for your desktop that will allow to you cycle Bluetooth off and back on easily. For instance, the default Raspberry Pi desktop has a Bluetooth icon in the top menu bar; you can turn Bluetooth off and then back on from there.

If you don't have a desktop icon to use, you can cycle Bluetooth from the command line. For Raspberry Pi OS, Debian, and Ubuntu, type these commands into your shell:

rfkill block bluetooth
rfkill unblock bluetooth

You may find it convenient to create a script to do this. For instance, you can put these commands into a file called btcycle, make it executable, and put it in some directory on your PATH:

#!/bin/bash
# Cycle Bluetooth on and off to reset it.
rfkill block bluetooth
rfkill unblock bluetooth
 # Wait for bluetooth to come back on. You may need to change this delay.
sleep 1.5

This guide was first published on Oct 27, 2020. It was last updated on Oct 27, 2020.

This page (Troubleshooting) was last updated on Apr 13, 2021.

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