Sharing files between OS X systems with Bluetooth

In these instructions for sharing files between Apple OS X systems via Bluetooth, I will be sharing files between two MacBook Pro laptops, the first running OS X 10.8.5 (Mountain Lion) named GSOD000962737L and the second running OS X 10.10.5 (Yosemite). To enable Bluetooth file sharing on Mac systems running Apple's OS X operating system, e.g., MacBook Pro laptops, take the following steps:

First System

  1. Click on the Apple icon at the upper, left-hand corner of the screen and select System Preferences.
  2. Click on Sharing.

    System Preferences

  3. If the lock icon at the lower, left-hand corner of the Sharing window shows a locked padlock, click on it and provide the credentials for an account with administrator access to change it to an unlocked padlock icon.


  4. Enable Bluetooth Sharing by clicking on it to check the check box next to it.

    Sharing Locked

  5. By default, when receiving items from another system, you will be prompted as to how to deal with them. You can change the behavior by changing the value for "When receiving items", if you wish. The following choices are available:

    System Preferences

    The choices for "When other devices beowse are as follows:

    When Bluetooth Sharing is turned on, if you click on Bluetooth under System Preferences, you should see "On" and "Discoverable" checked and you should also see any other systems accessible by Bluetooth displayed; you will see "Not Connected" beneath other systems that are accessible via Bluetooth

    Bluetooth on and discoverable

Second System

For this example, the second system is another MacBook Pro laptop running OS X Yosemite named GSSLA15122293. I'll take the following steps on it.
  1. Go to System Preferences and click on Bluetooth. If Bluetooth is off, click on the Turn Bluetooth On button.

    System Preferences

    When Bluetooth sharing is enabled on the system, you should see the device for which you just enabled Bluetooth sharing when you click on Bluetooth under System Settings.

    Bluetooth Device Found

    After a few seconds, you should see a Pair button appear next to it.

    Bluetooth Device Pair

  2. In the example above, I can see the GSOD000962737L system on which I enabled Bluetooth sharing in the steps above. So I can then click on the Pair button next to it. When I do so, a code will be displayed that can be used for the pairing on the other device.

    Awaiting Bluetooth 
Pairing Acceptance

    A similar window will appear on the other system where I will need to accept the pairing request by clicking on the Yes button on that window to accept the pairing. You only have a few seconds to respond. When the systems are connected by Bluetooth, the status of the other system will show "Connected" in the Bluetooth window.

    Connected by Bluetooth

Once I'm connected, I can send a file from the second system, GSSLA15122293, in this case by double-clicking on GSOD000962737L in the list of Bluetooth devices. I will then see a Select File to Send window appear where I can select the file to transmit to the other system.

Bluetooth - Select file to send

If I want to browse files on the GSOD000962737L system, I can right-click on its entry in the other system's list of Bluetooth devices and choose Browse Files on Device.

Bluetooth - Browse
files on device

On the other system, I will be prompted as to whether I will allow browsing to the Public folder, if I have the default settings.

Bluetooth - allow browsing

If I agree to allow browsing on that system, I will then see the contents of the Public folder for the account, i.e., ~/Public. I can drag files and folders from that directory to a Finder window on the other system by positioning the Bluetooth File Exchange window and Finder window on the screen so that I can see both. The file transfer speeds I've experienced between the two example MacBook Pro laptops have been between 8 to 14 Kbs.


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