Get a Bluetooth Headset Working with a PowerBook

One of the coolest uses of Bluetooth so far, is undoubtedly the use of wireless headsets.  I have two that I use with my cell phone, and I use the all the time.  It has gotten so that I can’t stand using the phone without the wireless headset.  The freedom and mobility are second to none.

And since I have two Bluetooth headsets, I always intended to use one with my PowerBook.  A wireless headset would finally make the voice capabilities of iChat something useful to me.  Unfortunately that was easier said that done.  My PowerBook is a 1.25GHz Aluminum model and it has built-in Bluetooth support.  But every time I tried to pair my headset with the laptop, it failed.

I have tried several times, off and on, over the last couple of months.  Each time a received an error and the pairing failed.  In fact, several times I hit Google in search of a resolution to my problem.  Each time I failed to find a solution.

Enter Apple Bluetooth Firmware Updater v1.2.  It was actually released in November of 2004.  At which time it appeared in the Software Update control panel and I ran the update.  It simply failed to solve my problem.

Early this morning I tried the update again.  I ran the installer from the DMG image and when it finished, I rebooted my computer and tried to pair my headset again.  Once again, it failed!

Then I started looking at my computer a little more closely.  On a whim, I checked the Utilities directory and found an application called Bluetooth Firmware Updater that was dated today.  That is when it occurred to me that the installer on the DMG install image had simply installed the firmware flasher on my system.  It had NOT actually flashed the firmware!

Running the Bluetooth Firmware Updater application took about 6 minutes.  The instructions are very clear in stating that it is imperative that the computer not be shutdown while the update is in progress.

Once the update completed, I rebooted to be on the safe side.  Then I tried to pair my headset one more time.  Bingo!  First try!  The headset has worked perfectly ever since.

Now, here is my complaint.  I know I am not the only person who is having this issue with Bluetooth headsets.  In searching Google, I read about dozens of others.  Now I realized that the problem is not that people are not updating the Bluetooth firmware, but rather that they simply don’t realize that it is a two step process.  I think that most users don’t realize that they need to run a separate flash utility once the install from the disk image has completed.

There is simply no documentation to describe the process at all.  That is strictly the failing of Apple tech support.  And it is a big disappointment.  In the end there was a complicated solution to a simple problem.  This could have been avoided if there had been some form of documentation.

Simply put, the solution is to download the Bluetooth Firmware Updater 1.2 and run the installer on the disk image.  Then look for an application called Bluetooth Firmware Updater in the Utilities directory.  Once you run that updated, the Bluetooth firmware will finally be flashed.

I have written this post in an effort to help the next poor hapless soul who finds himself in the same situation.  Until Apple fixes the updated, this will be a problem for countless others.  Good luck!


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8 Responses to Get a Bluetooth Headset Working with a PowerBook
  1. stuntpilot Reply

    More than a year later I had the same problem and thank goog I found this entry.

    I have a PB g4 1,25 updated to 2mb ram. Tiger. Bluetooth Firmware Updater 1.2 Installed but the “real” update didnt work when I launched it from Applications-Utilities-B F Upd.

    On searching, I found Updater 1.2.1.

    On its page, Apple says you only need it for PPC but downloading it did it for me. When the Updater upacked and installed, it automatically started the “real” firmware updater.

    6 min later, voila, my non brand Bluethooth headset was found and installed.

  2. Anonymous Reply

    Thanks so much for this – I was very frustrated thinking that my brand new headset wasn’t going to work when I always keep my software up to date. I followed the instructions above and in the comments, and it accepted it.

  3. Daikuma Reply

    I am having a variation in this issue. My firmware version is 1.526, and yet my setup bluetooth device wizard refuses to support any sort of bluetooth headset. It says my hardware doesn’t support it, but I know of people with the same computer who have it working fine. What am I doing wrong?

  4. Anonymous Reply

    Thanks. I never would have figured that out if you hadn’t posted that

  5. Anon Reply

    Thanks for this post, you have saved many people a great deal of frustration and the expense of a wasted purchase.

  6. mvpittman Reply

    Thanks! I needed the update to get my MotoROKR S9 headphones working with my PowerBook.

    I’m only getting sound out of one ear, but I think I can work through that.

  7. vgrote Reply

    You saved my life! I gave my wife a headset for Skyping and the PowerBook refused to search for it.

    Ran the update and it works now!

  8. Conor Reply

    I recently got this in replacement of another headset and it is excellent. I love the practicality of flipping it open to start it. It can also connect to two phones simultaneously. The sound quality is the best of any bluetooth headset I have ever owned. It pairs and connects beautifully with my Sprint EVO and my Apple iPHone.

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