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Initial Testing Shows Improved Bluetooth Shielding in 2014 Mac mini

mac mini rearWhile unboxing and tearing down our new 2014 Mac mini with a Fusion drive, we decided to do some initial testing on the model’s Bluetooth shielding.

We’ve covered before on the Rocket Yard that many 2012 Mac mini users using USB 3.0 devices had experienced random dropouts or even outright loss of the use of Bluetooth mice and keyboards. You can read more about the effect at this OWC Blog post. But to quickly recap, the cause is essentially the signal from USB 3.0 devices interfering with the 2.4GHz frequency of Bluetooth. (You can find more details via this white paper written by the USB Implementers Forum.)

Considering the ubiquity of users who have their USB 3.0 devices – such as the NewerTech miniStack – immediately next to or stacked on top of their minis, we came up with a remedy in the form of our Bluetooth Module Shielding Kit.

However, after testing the 2014 model, it appears that Apple has significantly improved its Bluetooth shielding on the new Mac mini. Our initial testing indicated an 11-foot increase in range from the 2012 model with the same set up.

  • 2012 Mac mini with questionably shielded (no shielding kit) USB 3.0 cable tested with a miniStack – 8 feet before connectivity issues began
  • 2014 Mac mini with questionably shielded (no shielding kit) USB 3.0 cable tested with a miniStack – 19 feet before connectivity issues began

We have not yet been able to test the 2014 Mac mini with an OWC Bluetooth Module Shielding Kit, but check back to the Rocket Yard for additional results in the near future.

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  • Regarding my comment from Aug. 1:
    Although the shield does help, I still experience issues with BT, particularly when USB disks are being accessed (e.g., for spotlight indexing or TM updates).

    The shield is just a floating piece of metal. I’ve thought about attaching it to ground, but haven’t thought it through, nor come up with the courage to actually do it.

    I think the reason the 2014 seems to be better than the 2012 (in the blog entry) is that the location of the Airport card moved to a different location in the box, so maybe the exact conditions to exhibit the issue have changed.

  • This is still giving severe issues.
    Connecting the Newertech Ministack to my 2014 MacMini or MacBook Pro means the WiFi drops out completely, and BT becomes very sketchy.

    Is there a cure ?

  • My personal experience with the 2014 mini is that it has more severe bluetooth interference than the 2012. My BT mouse and kbd are less than 3ft. away, and mouse movements are very choppy, and connections to both the mouse and kbd would sometimes drop.

    I installed the BT shield, and while it’s still early, the response seems much improved. (Note that the Airport card on the 2014 is located in a different spot than on the 2012. It’s where the memory sockets used to be.) I applied the shield, and then covered it with electrical tape. So far, so good.

  • This problem persists on my late 2014 new mac mini. When the USB port closest to the headphone jack is used (as with a thumb drive) my wireless apple mouse and logitech keyboard both drop out regularly and predictably. If the next closest to the center USB port is used there is occasional dropout. The two inner ports are OK. (My mouse and keyboard work fine with my desktop iMac.) I’m curious to see what you find when you test the new mini.

  • I have been having this issue with my 2013 iMac & Mini as well. Both the wireless Apple keyboard & mouse very frequently lose connectivity, though the CPUs are less than 8″ away. Is there a solution? My immediate solution was to move the Apple gear to my MacBook and use 3rd party KB & mouse on others. Works much better.

    • Can you suggest a better wireless keybooard and mouse as although the drop out is much improved than my 2012 mac mini I am still having some drop outs and connectivity problems. Very frustrating!!