Unable to share files between Mac and Android phone via Bluetooth? Here’s how to fix it

You can easily use Bluetooth to send files from an Android phone to a Mac and vice versa. However, if transferring images, videos, music, documents, etc., between your Android device and your Mac fails, follow these troubleshooting steps to fix this common issue and get your file sharing up and running again.

Bluetooth file sharing between Mac and Android

The solutions here work for Samsung, Xiaomi, OnePlus, Nothing, Motorola, Oppo, Vivo, Lenovo, Pixel, Nokia, Lava, Asus, Tecno, Realme, Redmi, Pocco, Huawei, Honor, Infinix, or any other Android phone. But since Android phones come with different UIs (User Interface), skins, and brand customizations, you may have to use the Settings app search box to find the appropriate options.

Note: Bluetooth on iPhone is limited to connecting to devices such as wireless headphones and keyboard or internally communicating with other Apple devices like Mac, iPad, or HomePod. You cannot send or receive files via Bluetooth between your Android phone and iPhone/iPad. But Bluetooth on Mac has no such restrictions and can be used for file transfer with Android phones and tablets.

Bluetooth file transfer issues

Here are some of the problems you may face while transferring images, music, videos, PDFs, documents, contact files, zip, or other data between your Android phone and Mac via Bluetooth:

  • You can’t pair your Android phone and Mac using Bluetooth.
  • You’re able to follow the initial file transfer steps, but the sharing eventually fails.
  • You don’t get the incoming Bluetooth file transfer request on your Android phone or Mac, and thus you can’t choose to receive the files.
  • Bluetooth File Exchange app on Mac stays stuck on the ‘Connecting to the device…‘ screen.

Connecting to the device message in Bluetooth File Exchange app on Mac

How to share files between your Android phone and Mac

The process to share files between your Android phone and Mac using Bluetooth is pretty standard as any other device. Our dedicated tutorial tells you about five free methods to transfer files from Mac to Android and Android to Mac, but here is a quick summary of the Bluetooth method:

  1. Enable Bluetooth on Android phone and Mac.
  2. Go to phone Settings and Mac System Settings > Bluetooth and pair the devices.
  3. On Android: Open Gallery, Files, or another such app and tap the share option for a file. Next, select Bluetooth as the sharing medium, and tap your Mac’s name.
  4. On Mac: Open the Bluetooth File Exchange app, select the files you want to transfer, and choose your Android phone from the list of previously paired devices.
  5. Hit Accept, Ok, or Confirm if you see a notification or popup asking you to validate and initiate the transfer.

Incoming Bluetooth File Transfer popup on Mac

Go through the solutions below if Bluetooth file transfer fails between your Mac and Android device even after following the above steps correctly.

Keep your Android phone and Mac nearby

Bluetooth has a limited range, so make sure the Android phone and Mac are within 33 feet or 10 meters of each other.

Turn on Bluetooth Sharing on Mac

This is the most important solution when everything is set up correctly, yet the file is not sent from your Android phone to your Mac.

Bluetooth Sharing is turned off by default. Follow these steps to enable it:

  1. Open System Settings on Mac and select General.
  2. Click Sharing.
  3. Turn on the switch next to Bluetooth Sharing.

Bluetooth Sharing enabled in Mac System Settings

Now, try sharing the file from the Android phone again, and it will most likely be successful.

Choose to accept or decline the incoming file transfer request

You may not get the usual Incoming File Transfer popup on your Mac when you transfer something via Bluetooth from a previously known/connected Android phone. But if you want the control to decline or accept a Bluetooth file transfer request, here’s how to enable it:

  1. Go to Mac’s System Settings > General > Sharing.
  2. Click the info button ⓘ next to the Bluetooth Sharing switch.
  3. Click the drop-down menu for ‘When receiving items‘ and select Ask What to Do.
  4. Finally, hit Done.

Bluetooth Sharing settings on Mac

From now on, when a device tries to send you a file via Bluetooth, you’ll see a popup with Decline and Accept buttons. If that transfer request has multiple files, you can check the ‘Accept all‘ button to receive them all without clicking Accept each time.

Accept, Decline, and Accept all options for Bluetooth incoming file sharing on Mac

Toggle Bluetooth on and off

Turning off Bluetooth and turning it back on should refresh it and ensure the file transfer is successful.

On the Android phone, go to Settings > Bluetooth and turn it off. Next, wait for 15 seconds before turning it back on.

Disable and enable Bluetooth on Android phone

On MacBook or Mac with a wired connected keyboard, mouse, and trackpad, go to System Settings > Bluetooth and turn it off.

Note: Skip this if you use a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse with your iMac, Mac mini, Mac Studio, or Mac Pro, as turning off Bluetooth will disconnect your essential peripherals.

Wait until the ongoing transfer is complete

Suppose you’re already sending a file from your Mac to an Android phone. Now, if you initiate a file transfer from Android to Mac, one of these things will happen:

  • Bluetooth file transfer from Android to Mac will begin after the ongoing transfer finishes.
  • File transfer will fail.

So, to avoid the possibility of failure, it’s better to initiate a new Bluetooth file transfer only after the current one has ended.

Unlock your phone and Mac

You may not see the Bluetooth file transfer request alerts on your phone or Mac if they are locked. So, unlock the receiving device and wait for the notification or popup to appear, and accept the incoming file transfer request.

Open the Bluetooth File Exchange app on Mac

Sometimes, simply opening the Bluetooth File Exchange app on Mac may help if transferring files from Android to your Apple computer fails without showing any Bluetooth popup or message.

Bluetooth File Exchange app on Mac

Restart your Android phone and Mac

If Bluetooth file transfer still fails, go ahead and turn off your Android phone and turn it back on. On Mac, click the Apple icon  and choose Restart.

Turn off Bluetooth tethering

If you’re sharing your Android phone’s internet via Bluetooth, go to the Settings app > Personal Hotspot, Bluetooth, or More and turn off Bluetooth tethering. This should avoid any obstacle that could have been blocking Bluetooth file transfer.

Turn off Bluetooth tethering on Android phone

Try disconnecting other devices connected to your phone’s Bluetooth

Your Android phone can connect to multiple Bluetooth devices simultaneously, and so can your Mac. However, on rare occasions disconnecting a few or a specific active Bluetooth device from your Android phone may help.

Forget and reconnect Bluetooth devices

If none of the above solutions help, go ahead and forget your Mac from your Android phone’s settings or your Android phone from your Mac’s System Settings. Here’s how to do that:

On Android phone

  1. Open Settings and go to Bluetooth.
  2. You will see your Mac under the Paired Devices or Previously Paired section. Tap your Mac’s name or an arrow next to it.
  3. Hit Unpair.

Unpair paired Mac from Bluetooth settings on Android phone

On Mac

  1. Go to System Settings and click Bluetooth.
  2. Click the information icon ⓘ next to your Android phone’s name and choose Forget This Device > Forget Device.

Forget Android phone from Mac Bluetooth settings

After you have forgotten, unpaired, or removed a device, restart your phone and computer and go to Bluetooth settings to pair them again. Now, you can re-initiate the file transfer, and it will hopefully be successful.

Update your phone and Mac

At times, running an outdated version of the operating system may have unfixed bugs causing all sorts of problems. Go to your device settings and update to the newest supported OS version.

Reset your Android phone’s network settings

Resetting your phone’s network settings will mainly affect Wi-Fi, cellular, and Bluetooth. This should hopefully fix the Bluetooth issues you’re having on your phone and ensure it can transmit files to other devices.

  1. Open the Settings app and search for reset network settings, network settings reset, or some similar name. You may also find it in More, Network, or another comparable sub-section.
  2. Tap Reset settings and follow along.
  3. Once the reset completes, restart your phone.
  4. Pair your Mac with your Android phone using Bluetooth and try sending or receiving the files again.

Reset network settings on Android phone

Clear Bluetooth cache or all data on Android phone

  1. Open the Settings app on your phone and go to Apps > Manage apps.
  2. Tap Bluetooth.
  3. Go to Storage and hit Clear cache. If you don’t see the option to clear the cache, tap Clear data and choose Clear cache or Clear all data.
  4. Restart your phone.
  5. Now, go to its Bluetooth settings and pair it with your Mac and try sending the file.

Clear Bluetooth cache and data on Android phone

Reset your Mac’s Bluetooth

Sometimes, the problem may be your Mac itself. Resetting your Mac’s Bluetooth module should help eliminate such issues.

Last option: Factory reset your phone or try other sharing methods

Finally, if nothing helps, back up your phone or its most important data (photos, videos, call recordings, chat backups, music, etc.) and then completely erase your device.

The steps to erase your Android phone will differ depending on the manufacturer. On my Xiaomi phone, it’s under Settings > About phone > Backup & reset > Factory data reset.

Erase your Android phone and factory reset it

If you don’t want to erase your phone or don’t have the proper technical how-to, I recommend using other ways to transfer files from Android to Mac. Bluetooth sharing is very slow anyways, and you will be better off using alternate methods to send and receive files.

Original Article