Here’s a handy little AppleScript to switch the Bluetooth audio output device on a Mac.

Why do this? Well, partly because I can and it’s fun, but partly because I run a headless Mac Mini, and I’d rather not have to VNC into it just for something this trivial. Since AppleScript can be run from the command line via osascript, this little script can easily be triggered from SSH.

The next step is to make an iPhone-optimised web control panel for this and a couple of other equally simple tasks.

 set theDevice to "HT-CT260"

 tell application "System Events" to tell process “SystemUIServer"
      tell (first menu bar item of menu bar 1 whose value of attribute "AXDescription" is "Bluetooth")
           click
           delay 0.2
           tell menu item theDevice of front menu
                click
                delay 0.2
                try
                     click menu item "Connect" of menu theDevice
                     click menu item "Use as audio device" of menu theDevice
                end try
           end tell
      end tell
 end tell

 tell application "Finder" to activate

It wasn’t obvious how to do this, and then I had to do it twice, because I did the development on Mavericks, only to realise that the Bluetooth Preferences pane is different between Mavericks and Mountain Lion… The method above works on both versions though, so it’s all good.

If you need to do this sort of thing from scratch, the Accessibility Inspector in Xcode is your friend. I obviously started out trying to browse menu items off the Finder menu bar by using UI Elements directly in the AppleScript Editor. The problem is that this only gives the Apple menu and the basic menus (File, Edit, View, Go, Window and Help), none of the widget menus over to the right. Because they belong to SystemUIServer. Of course.

If you need to use this actual script, you’ll want to set the value of theDevice to your own device rather than “HT-CT260". I didn’t make this script to take inputs, so there’s no downside for me in hardcoding the value. Apart from that, it should be ready to go.