Transferring Files via Bluetooth Between BlackBerry and Mac's BlackBerry 101 Lecture Series
By Devin Kent on 2 Sep 2008 11:33 am EDT

Bluetooth is a relatively new technology used to wirelessy transfer small amounts of data over short distances. So far, it's been used mostly for wireless keyboards and mice, but more and more phones are taking advantage of the quick and easy setup to sync data or to transfer files (and of course for use with BT headsets!). While I won't be going into syncing today (that's a whole other kettle of fish), I would like to show you how to shuffle files back and forth if you're lucky enough to own a Bluetooth-capable BlackBerry and Mac. I'll be using Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, but the process in previous versions is very similar.

Setting Up

The first order of business is to go to to the Apple menu in the upper left corner of your screen, then select System Preferences. From there, select the Bluetooth pane under Hardware and make sure that Bluetooth is both On and Discoverable.

Bluetooth Preferences

On your BlackBerry, find and open the Set Up Bluetooth application. If you don't see it, your phone might not support Bluetooth or it might be hidden; open the menu on your home screen and select Show All Icons to make sure. If you find the Set Up Bluetooth application, select it and open the menu, then click on Hide Icon to unhide it. You can then select Show All Icons again to rehide them.

Set Up Bluetooth

When you first open the application, it will ask you to ensure that the Bluetooth device is in pairing mode, which is what we did when we set the Mac to be On and Discoverable. Hit OK, and it will search for available devices. Bluetooth is a short range technology, so make sure you're standing close to your Mac. Once it finishes searching, it will display a list of all the devices it found. Likely your computer will be the only one on the list. If you've named your computer it will show up as whatever you named it (for instance, I named mine Empyrean), otherwise it will be something like Devin Kent's Computer except, of course, with your name instead of mine.

Once you've selected your computer, it will ask you to enter a numeric passkey. The passkey can be whatever you want -- I normally use 1234 -- and it doesn't have to be secure because it's only ever used once. Put in a number, and you'll immediately see this dialog screen on your Mac:


Enter the same passkey that you entered on your BlackBerry and hit the Pair button. Congratulations, you've paired your phone and your Mac! To double check, head over to the Bluetooth preferences on your Mac and you should see your phone in the list on the left.

Phone List

And the same on your BlackBerry.

Berry List

If you don't see anything in the list, or if you get an error saying that pairing failed, just go the process one more time. The connection between the two only lasts for a very short while, so if you take too long to enter the passkey on your phone or on the Mac it will give up and disconnect.

From BlackBerry to Mac

Once you've successfully paired the two, it's time to start transferring files. Transferring from the BlackBerry to the Mac is very simple. Open the Media manager on your BlackBerry and find a picture or song or other file you want to transfer, then open the menu and select Send Using Bluetooth.


It will pop up a list of devices that you've paired with, so select your computer and wait. After thinking for a moment, it will tell you it's waiting for your computer, at which point you'll see something like this show up on your Mac:

File Transfer

Hit Accept and then, if you're anything at all like me, you can try to watch the phone and computer screen at the same time to see if the progress bars match up (I think that they do). When everything's done, the file will be in the Documents folder in your Home folder and both phone and Mac will say the transfer was successful.

From Mac to BlackBerry

Sending files from your Mac onto the BlackBerry is slightly trickier, but still a relatively simple process. On the BlackBerry, open your Media manager and select either Music, Ringtones, Video, or Pictures -- it does matter which, because the system will either put the file in the right place itself or ask you where to store it. Once you've selected one, open the menu and select Receive Using Bluetooth -- it's way down near the bottom of the list.

Receive Using

It will tell you it's waiting for a connection, so pop over to your Mac and find the file you want to send. Right-click or control-click on the file to open a contextual menu, then navigate down to the sub-menu called More. In that menu, there will either be a selection called Send "filename" to Bluetooth Device... or there will be another sub-menu called Send "filename" to... which will have your phone in the list.

Send File

Your BlackBerry will ask if you want to recieve the file and will prompt you for a location to save it. Pick a spot and your transfer will immediately start.

Unfortunately, this is the place where you're most likely to run into bugs. I almost never have a problem transferring files to the Mac, but transfers to the BlackBerry tend to stall about half the time, never to resume. Usually you can abort the transfer and just try again to fix it up. (Be sure to check that it didn't leave half a picture lying around somewhere.) Also, files will occasionally fail instantly with no error message. This usually means that your Berry doesn't have enough space remaining to store the file, so keep that in mind.


In addition to the above, you might run into a couple other problems. Occasionally after a transfer had stalled, you'll no longer be able to transfer files at all. The simplest solution is to turn Bluetooth off and then back on, on both the Mac and the BlackBerry; on the Mac, it's in the Bluetooth preference pane and on the BlackBerry there's an application on the home screen called Turn Bluetooth Off (or On if it's already off). If that doesn't fix it, delete the phone from the Mac and vice versa. On the Mac, simply click the little minus sign in the Bluetooth preferences while the BlackBerry is selected.


On the BlackBerry, open the Options application, select Bluetooth from the list, then open the menu while your computer is selected and select Delete Device.

Delete BlackBerry

Then re-pair the devices and try again.

Finally, if you have troubles during the pairing process, you can try to pair them from the Mac rather than the BlackBerry. It's a very similar process. First turn Bluetooth on for both the Mac and BlackBerry, then open the Options application on your BlackBerry and select Bluetooth. Open the menu and select Options from there, then make sure your phone is set to Discoverable.

Discoverable BlackBerry

Back on the Mac, open the Bluetooth preferences and click Set Up New Device or, if you've already got a device paired, the little plus sign on the bottom left. The Bluetooth Setup Assistant will open and walk you through the process. Hit Continue on the first screen, the make sure Mobile phone is selected on the second screen and hit Continue again.

Mobile Phone

The next screen will show a list of available devices, and hopefully your phone is one of them. Select it and press Continue again, then check your phone again: it should be asking you for a passkey. Once again, enter anything you can remember for the next 10 seconds, then enter the same thing on the Mac. Et voila, you should now be paired up and ready to transfer files.

If none of the above works, trying moving any cordless phones and any other mobile phones away from your computer, or bringing your BlackBerry closer. Bluetooth is based on radio waves and it might simply be a case of interference. Other than that, your best bet is to get one or both looked at by a service technician, because their antennae might be busted.

That's all, folks! You're not able to do much else with Bluetooth and the Mac. Neither PocketMac or The Missing Sync -- the Mac replacements for the BlackBerry Desktop Manager on PCs -- supports syncing over Bluetooth yet, so you're stuck with a USB cable for transferring your address book or calendar. Still, it's pretty useful for quickly transferring over all your pictures, or for uploading a new ringtone to spice up your BlackBerry.

Visit our Mac & BB Users Forum for more help!

Reader comments

Transferring Files via Bluetooth Between BlackBerry and Mac


Wow!! Very complete and great guide for transferring files between a Berry and a Mac. I will keep this one handy, for sure!

haha... sorry to pick on your opening paragraph... but I found it funny

You say "I'll be using Mac OS X 10.5 Tiger, but the process in previous versions is very similar."

Wouldn't that be OSX 10.5 Leopard ;)

Anyhow... when do you think a guide will be available for sycning via BlueTooth on your Mac. I have had many many people ask about this and I always use USB, not BlueTooth!

Hahah, good catch. I'll get that fixed ASAP, thanks. :)

As for the second part, as far as I know it's not possible to sync via Bluetooth on the Mac. I know PocketMac definitely doesn't support it, and I'm nearly certain The Missing Sync doesn't either. If you know of another option that does, I'm all ears!

That was my impression as well, but I thought it sounded like you were going to make another Blog Post sometime detailing how to sync with BlueTooth... which is why I was so intrigued ;)

I will definitely let you know if I ever figure something out, but PocketMac does not sync over BlueTooth and I am unsure about The Missing Sync (and frankly I do not care about Missing Sync because I am not gonna pay for it, bluetooth syncing or not! haha)

Once again, great Blog Post!

If you are lucky enough to have a PC with Bluetooth you can do all of this too. In fact, you can also use your Bluetooth to sync with your desktop Manager. then you don't even need to take your phone out of your pocket to sync up your calendar and tasks.

im sorta frozen (locked) out of my camera on my blackberry 8333 Vzw. when i tgo into the camera appt. it has the photo with a window vsaying 100% fail transfer failed

Restarting your BlackBerry should give you access to the camera app again, and you can try more transfers.

Just hold down the red end call button to shut it down.

As I said, Bluetooth is occasionally a little buggy still. :)

i followed all your instructions on how to transfer files from the blackberry to the mac but it doesn't seem to work for me. my blackberry and my mac are paired but every time i try and send a file it tells me that it "failed to find service" and it doesn't transfer. any idea what the problem may be?

Here's one thing to try: Open your System Preferences, then open the Sharing pane and make sure Bluetooth sharing is enabled (click the checkbox next to it). If it is, make sure in its options you have the "When receiving items" setting set to something other than "Never allow." I didn't include this in the article because it's usually set up correctly by default, or at least it was for me.

Brilliant tip, Devin - I had NO idea this was the cause of my woes, but I just followed that advice to set Bluetooth for sharing and bang, everything now works a treat! :>

I wasn't able to get my Bold and MacBook to swap files, even though they're paired, so when I saw this excellent tutorial I exclaimed a mighty "Hurrah!", thinking it would show me some silly thing I'd not done before. But while the devices are both paired, I am still getting the "filed to find service" message when trying to send a file. Grrrr!!!!

I followed all your instructions on how to transfer files from the blackberry to the mac but it doesn't seem to work for me. my blackberry and my mac are paired but every time i try and send a file it tells me that it "failed to find service" and it doesn't transfer. any idea what the problem may be?

My Bold can connecto my iMac in seconds and transfer any file I want. Fantastic!! Thank you very much.. This works great!

It's possible in theory but unfortunately I don't have another BlackBerry handy to test it.

But yes, as long as you can pair them you should be able to shuffle files around easily, in much the same way as going back and forth from the Mac or PC.

Hi, I am unable to send files from my computer to my phone for some reason. I can send them from my phone to computer, but my computer just says that "the device doesn't have the necessary services". I am using a macbook and it also on my bluetooth pull down menu (by the battery icon on the top right) my other bluetooth devices have a arrow next to them and it gives you the option to "send a file" or "browse device". My blackberry on the other-hand does not give me that option. What am I doing wrong?
Thanks so much!

Have you made sure to do the step where you have to select the "Receive using Bluetooth" option on the BlackBerry before sending the file from the Mac?

I'm having trouble too, they pair but on the mac, under Bluetooth System prefs, it connects for a second but then the green dot next to Connect turns red and changes to No. Tried everything suggested here, no luck.

I just got a blackberry bold and am using my macbook, with the bluetooth pairing. I read and went through all your instructions and it starts to load but then the bar immediately goes to 100% and says fails and so does the computer. How can I fix this?

Hi, I followed your instructions, but when you say to right click and then selcect "more", there is no "more" option for me. Nor is there a "send to" option. I'm use Tiger, I'm wondering if you have any solutions for me.

Also, when I click on the bluetooth icon in the menu bar and flick "send file" nothing happens. Am I doing something wrong? Do I need to download some software? No one seems to have the answers for me!


i had that same problem. i could send files from phone to mac but not the other way around.
i got it to work.
go into finder.
type in bluetooth.
it popped up a little icon that said.. "bluetooth....nge" or bluetooth file exchange.
click on it.
pick the file.
then, do the whole "receive using bluetooth on your phone.
send it..

So my usb port is broken and i am getting a new blackberry, however i cant transfer any contacts through the usb to the Mac because once again, it is broken. I tried to transfer wireless using the "transfer address book" in the bluetooth set up menu but it only transfers one number, or so it seems. I don't get many chances because the phone wont hold a charge.
any suggestions?

I ahve read all of the comments thinking i have finally found a solution but..alas i have not. i went to the share panel in the bluetooth menu and everyting is enabled. yet i still can not send files. when i click send file from the bluetooth menu near the time on the menu bar nothing happens. i can send files from my bb to my computer no problems. i dont know what to do? nothing seems to work. could it be because i am in china and no in the us that my bluetooth isnt working? but that doesnt make sense because i ca recieve on my computer. also, my roommate tried to send me a song and it didnt work either.

I tried the whole day to transfer files from my MAC to my STORM... wow thank you soooooooo MUCH!!!
Your instructions were clear and very easy to follow, not to mention it WORKED lol
After searching for an answer and the frustration, I got one.
I had to leave a comment =]

You have no idea how helpful this is; the fact that my lazy ass is even leaving a comment is super good news!

Again, thank you very much.

I am having trouble sending my contact list from my MacBookPro to my Blackberry 8900. I was able to send my contacts from my BlackBerry 8310 but I am having an Issue sending them to my new phone. If anyone is able to help please share! Thank you...

I can easily send from my bb8900 to my Mac, tried all the suggestions above to send from my Mac to my bb8900. I keep getting a connection failed error when I click on "Receive Using Bluetooth".


disable the firewall on your mac under system prefrences/security/firewall
once i did this all, all is well.

disable the firewall on your mac under system prefrences/security/firewall
once i did this all, all is well.
also make sure cd/dvd sharing is enabled under system prefrences/bluetooth/file sharing

I have the same problem as many others: this method works to transfer files from my Storm to my MacBook, but not the other way around. Transfers fail on my Mac with "Failed to establish connection to device," even though I can see a blue LED blip on the Storm when it tries to connect.

It took me a while but I figured this out on my own before finding this post. If I'd have found it sooner it would have saved me a lot of time. One thing I realized was I had to select "Receive Using Bluetooth" on my Bold before trying to transfer from my Mac. But, do I have to select "Receive Using Bluetooth" for each file that I transfer? It gets old very quickly.

Usually, I can figure these types of things out; I think I'm pretty tech-savvy :D
But, this took me almost 2 hours! I just recently got a Macbook and could not send my iTunes songs to my Storm and was getting extremely frustrated. I even searched online and found a bunch of lame articles.

Finally, I came across this, right when I had decided it wasn't meant to work out between my 2 favorite gadgets..... I already transferred an hours worth into my Storm :D
Thank you soooooooo much!! :D

i was struggling so much trying to send files from my mac to by bb and i kept wondering what the heck i was doing wrong... "send using bluetooth" was all i needed :]]]

thank you.

I had been getting "The device does not have the necessary services" errors for the longest time between my Storm 2 and MacBook Pro. The missing piece was setting the "Receive using Bluetooth" menu item. Your guide has me transferring ringtones and photos with little effort. Thanks!

i was totally cheesed and confused, but this totally helped!

plus some posts on the forum:

1. Go to your applications folder and click on MEDIA.
2. Scroll over to the Ring Tones icon and hit select.
3. Right click (Blackberry button)
4. Scroll dow to "Receive using Bluetooth".
5. A screen should pop up and state FILE TRANSFER.
6. Go to the Bluetooth icon in the upper right hand corner on the screen and click send file.
7. Select file will prompt you to choose a file for transfer. Hit send and Wa-La!
8. Hit accept and there you go! Music files transfered.

ty, ty!

Hello :)

I have been trying to do this and after being on the phone with Apple for 35 minutes we've come to the conclusion that everything is set up perfectly on the Mac OS X side of things for this but it still won't work.

The devices see each other but when the file starts to transfer I immediately get a prompt that says

"The file being sent to you could not be saved on your disk. Perhaps the receive folder is located on a locked volume. Try changing the destination folder and trying again."

Apple seems to think that the destination folder is chosen on the Blackberry, not the Mac. I can't find a way to do it on either.

Please help?

Thanks so much,
Raquel Riskin

SO, I set it up. The devices appear both on my phone and on my computer. But the little dot next to "Connected" goes from green/yes to red/no right away before I get the chance to send the file from my phone to my computer! I changed the preferences under "Sharing" to allow bluetooth and the options are set to "ask what to do" instead of "never allow" just as you said. Still, the stupid little red dot appears. Will throwing it against the wall help? Because that's just about what I'm ready to do. Please please please help!

i tried sending files from my blackberry over to mac but it says "File Transfer: Failed to Find Service' on the phone screen. I double checked if my mac's bluetooth was on and everything was okay.....Any help would be much appreciated.