BLE devices based on Nordic SoftDevice stack not working properly with Big Sur

Number:rdar://FB9323989 Date Originated:07/14/2021
Status:Open Resolved:
Product:macOS Product Version:11.0
Classification: Reproducible:Yes
macOS cannot find (or discovers after a lot of time) BLE devices based on Nordic Semiconductor’s SoftDevice stack, while other platforms (iOS, Android, Windows), can discover and connect to these devices without major issues. In previous macOS versions (Catalina) SoftDevices-based applications were working as expected. Resetting the Bluetooth settings, SMC and NVRAM did nothing.
In the rare case where the device is discovered and the connection is established, the device services and characteristics are discovered after a lot of time, most of the time failing due to connection timeout.

None of the installed apps on my machine can successfully connect to these devices (System Prefs Bluetooth pane, Bluetility, BlueSee, MATLAB, Python)

To reproduce the problem, you can try to use any SoftDevice-based development board with an example BLE application. Probably the most popular ones are the Arduino Nano 33 BLE or the Nordic NRF52-DK


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