Served as the primary form of joints in aluminum structures, the bolted connection is of great necessity to be investigated. The bearing performance of aluminum alloy bolted connections was evaluated by test and finite element (FE) analysis. A total of 20 bolted connections were tested and the varying parameters incorporated screw diameter and end distance. The test results included the ultimate bearing capacities and relationship between applied load and bolt hole deformation. Numerical simulation for the test process was implemented; thereupon reliability and accuracy of the FE models could be validated by good agreement with test results. By virtue of the verified numerical model, elaborated analysis of principle variables including inner and outer plies, end distance, screw diameter, sheet thickness and so on was carried out. Compared to the current overly conservative design rules, a new design method that could make full use of the bearing capacity was proposed. The corresponding design value of bearing strength was also presented with reference to the recommended constructional provisions.