Take Your Bluetooth Device Management in OS X to the Next Level with the Option Key

Mac fans know that the Option key plays a huge role in revealing some of OS X's coolest capabilities. From navigating nested folders in Finder, to getting detailed Wi-Fi information, to accessing hidden menu options, just about every Mac owner has discovered some awesome new way to do something in OS X thanks to the Option key.

Continuing that theme, Mac Geek Gab listener Jules recently helped hosts John and Dave discover even more cool stuff that the Option key can do, and it all revolves around the Bluetooth menu.

With fewer physical ports available on each new revision of Macs, particularly the MacBooks, it's a safe bet that most Mac owners will pair a Bluetooth device or two to their Mac at some point. For basic pairing and device management, the Bluetooth icon in the OS X Menu Bar is sufficient.

os x bluetooth menu bar

By default, the Bluetooth menu provides access to a list of currently connected and paired devices, the ability to disconnect a particular device, and shortcuts to Bluetooth file sharing, Preferences, and the ability to disable Bluetooth on your Mac.

But press and hold the Option key (usually labeled Alt on Windows and universal keyboard designs), and a whole bunch of new information and capabilities becomes available to you.

os x bluetooth menu bar option key

The Option key reveals software and firmware versions of your Bluetooth chipset and devices, the physical address of your Mac's Bluetooth interface in addition to the physical addresses of each paired device, signal strength information in the form of an RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) value and, for Bluetooth speakers or headsets, the currently utilized multimedia codec.

os x bluetooth menu bar option key

This type of info not only speaks to our inner-geeks, but it can be valuable when troubleshooting a device, determining the source of Bluetooth interference, or measuring a device's maximum range based on signal strength calculations. It's also yet another example of why we love the Option key in OS X.

This tip was originally discussed on MGG 566: Mechanizing The Exorcism.