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The Mac Pro First Generation is an Intel Xeon-based workstation computer manufactured by Apple Inc. The first generation model includes the machines from 2006 through 2008.

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Upgrade bluetooth on Mid 2012 Mac Pro?

So I bought a refurbished Mac Pro 2012 and discovered that it's not Airdrop compatible (specs are below).

I actually thought all 2012 models were fine ( ? ) but otherwise is it possible to upgrade the wireless/bluetooth chip to a newer one?

My old 2008 Mac (years ago) came without one and I spent an hour or so fitting it for wireless after buying the kit on eBay so I'm thinking maybe I can swap out the chip in this 2012 Mac for a newer model that's compatible with LE support (and thus Airdrop)

Name: Mac Pro

  • Address: 8c-2d-aa-2c-1e-b3
  • Bluetooth Low Energy Supported: No
  • Handoff Supported: No
  • Instant Hot Spot Supported: No
  • Manufacturer: Broadcom
  • Transport: USB
  • Chipset: 2046
  • Firmware Version: v208 c518
  • Bluetooth Power: On
  • Discoverable: Off
  • Connectable: No
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The actual bluetooth works fine, I've been using my bluetooth headphones with it fine. I think it's just the wrong firmware. The advert said "Bluetooth 2.1 + Enhanced Data Rate" and the firmware says "v208 c518" but I think I need a newer chip like your "BCM43xx 1.0" - as I said it was refurbished and I suppose it had a general bluetooth chip put in rather than one that necessarily worked with the more modern AirDrop standard.

Presumably I need to buy a new bluetooth/wireless chip and install it, at least I can eBay the existing one though. If there's any ideas for a specific card or ebay/etc links then that would be great.


@danj knows more about these than I do.


I upgraded a 2008 Mac Pro (sierra) with a tiny BCM94360cdax card and HandOff is supported and Airdrop. You have to connect 3 wifi antennas to J0, J2, J3 and Bluetooth antenna to J1. Don't forget to reboot twice to enable Apple bluetooth drivers


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You'll need to replace the Airport board to one that supports Hand Off if that is what you are looking for.

Here's one supplier with the needed adapter: Apple AirPort board to mini PCIe adapter for Mac Pro (2009-2012) and you'll still need the Airport board its self: Apple BroadCom - BCM94331CD (802.11 a/b/g/n with Bluetooth 4.0

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Thanks Dan

Ok, so it's a $80 upgrade then to get a new one that slots into a PCI slot. I suppose I'll get it then. I must just be unlucky enough to have picked up one of the few 2012 units that came with the older bluetooth chip.

I see online there's a bunch of hacks to get it to use a $10 dongle but an equal amount of people saying that doesn't work but you at least seem to sound like you know what you're talking about!

It just seems a shame you can't just click out the old chip and put in a new one, As I said, years ago my 2008 Mac didn't come with wireless/bluetooth but you could buy the chips online and fit them yourself. I'd hoped I could just upgrade the chip in this one but it's been about a decade since Apple let you upgrade things yourself.

Otherwise thanks so much,



No need to desolder any chips here. The parts are easily swapped out.


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The 2012 should have come with a

Standard AirPort: 802.11a/b/g/n

802.11a/b/g/n Standard Bluetooth: 2.1+EDR

My 2009 MacPro has a:

AirPort Extreme (0x14E4, 0x8E)

Firmware Version: Broadcom BCM43xx 1.0 (

Check to see if it's just not plugged in. (the wires are pictured on the MacRumors link below) inside the plastic panel.

How Does AirDrop Work?

To use AirDrop, both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi must be turned on. AirDrop uses Bluetooth to locate other AirDrop-enabled devices nearby and uses the faster Wi-Fi network to transfer the files. Because AirDrop uses Bluetooth, it adheres to a common Bluetooth range, which requires devices to be within 33 feet/10 meters of each other.

When AirDrop is enabled, it triggers Bluetooth to look for other AirDrop-enabled iOS devices that are in the area. This process is similar to pairing your iPhone with your car’s Bluetooth system. The devices “advertise” that they are open for business, and if they are within range of each other, then they start the connection process. Once the connection is made, a simple device-to-device Wi-Fi link, called Wi-Fi Direct, is created between the two. The Wi-Fi Direct link can be created even if you are in the middle of nowhere, without a Wi-Fi network. So, you get the fast file transfer speed of Wi-Fi without a router or an internet connection.

Here's some great info on doing the upgrade:

Personally I have not upgraded mine because I am using a hardwired Apple Airport Extreme Router A1521 802.11 ac, so I don't need one for my Apple TVs.

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