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Why Apple’s Magic Mouse Is a Piece of Crap

[Update: Welcome MacSurfer readers to this little place in the internet I call home. I’m honored that you’ve chosen to visit! One thing I feel compelled to update about this post: User “Gopyvision” points out in the comments, correctly, that at the time I wrote this post, I didn’t understand how the “right-click” function on the mouse works. Essentially, if you have two fingers on the mouse surface, it does not matter where you press-down; the mouse will register it as a left-click, even if you are clicking on the right-most part of the mouse. I did not realize this before, but it definitely helps me to better use the mouse now. I do not, however, find this intuitive at all, and I find myself still longing for the solace of physical buttons….]

I started using my very first iMac about a month ago. There’s a lot to love about the slickness of Apple’s Snow Leopard operating system, not to mention the absolutely gorgeous, obnoxiously large 27″ screen. And while I have to use my PC to record my podcasts and do my work (my office Word template no longer functions on Macs), the iMac will be a good computer companion for quite some time to come.

But there’s one thing that I have to vent about: Apple’s Magic Mouse. I’ve never used anything other than a 2-button mouse until now, but I since the Magic Mouse came with the computer, I’ve been giving it a shot for the past month. Initially, I was a fan. But several weeks of usage later, I’ve concluded that while I love the idea of zooming in instantaneously and advancing through webpages without having to click on “Back” in my browsers, there are a number of places this thing falls short:

Ergonomics – Sure, it looks gorgeous from a photo on a computer screen, but put your hand down on one of these things and you’ll realize instantly that it does not conform to your hand, unlike virtually every other mouse designed by anyone. Moreover, you’ll find that the hand position necessary to do the swipe (i.e. hold down the mouse with your thumb and ring, swipe with middle and index) is incredibly unnatural.

I have personally found that due to the awkward positioning required to do the gestures, this mouse is developing bad habits in my general mouse hand positioning. It is very hard to move the mouse around with your thumb and ring finger pinching it, since the mouse itself has very low clearance (your thumb and ring finger often scrape the mousepad underneath). Thus, after a few weeks of using this thing, I’ve started pivoting my hand around my wrist on occasion, rather than moving the entire mouse. Experts will tell you, this is a terrible thing to do and it will eventually destroy my wrist if left unchecked.

False clicks – Steve Jobs notoriously has a hatred of buttons (note the button-less shirts he wears when he delivers keynotes, or the new iPod shuffles complete lack of any buttons whatsoever). One of the biggest issues with this mouse is the fact that the top one-piece casing actually hides two buttons (or at least, two virtual buttons). Unfortunately, because the piece of plastic is a huge, single piece, you can often have false left-clicks. In other words, I’ll be going to right-click on a link to copy it, or open it a new tab, or whatever, and find that since i’m pressing down on the mouse’s topside, it doesn’t register the right click and instead left-clicks on the actual link, taking me to someplace I never wanted to be. I hate you, Magic Mouse, for your lack of obedience, sophistication, and understanding.

Battery Life – I have been using this thing for the past three weeks and the included batteries crapped out today. Three weeks! So either they included some weak sauce batteries (I already spent $1000+ on the computer, so why shaft me there?) or this mouse eats up batteries faster than a mofo. Either way, I have to track down new or rechargeable batteries for this thing, a timesuck for a device that has already taken so, so much from me.


Conclusion: I’m going to try to sell this thing and pick up a Logitech. But enough about me, what have been your experiences with the Magic Mouse?

  • I liked the Mighty Mouse, and I love the Magic Mouse. My wrist rests on the table, I just move around the hand, which touches the mouse only with the thumb and the ringfinger. No problems here.

  • Hairy Goomer

    Bought our Magic Mice as soon as they were in stock at the Apple Store, and my wife, who uses her Mac at least 8 hours/day, loves the Magic Mouse. Likewise, I think it is the best mouse I've used. No problems.

  • Anonymous

    I've been using a mouse since I bought one for my Commodore 128! I gotta say the Magic Mouse is absolutely the best mouse ever. I keep two fingers on top and the ring finger and pinkie on the side, sort of dragging the pinkie along the desktop surface. No ergonomic issues whatever. Left and right clicking is only a matter of training your fingers (which you had to do when you first started using a mouse of whatever kind). And the scrolling is fantastic! Smooth, easy, and precise. You might want to give it just a bit longer before giving up.

  • gopyVision

    You seem confused about the virtual buttons. First of all, it doesn't help to say "topside", since no matter what, you're clicking on the topside of the mouse. That's all the clicks. Second, you can context click all up and down the side of the mouse you use for that (in your case, the right). But if there's another finger on the mouse, on the primary click's side, the mouse registers a primary click. Another finger, or a thumb (which most people rest on the side, which causes a problem for right-handers, which most people are) can get in the way.

    I have 'small' hands, but my thumb likes to linger toward the touch-sensitive part of the mouse, I guess, and I ran into this problem. I downloaded BetterTouchTool, and was having problems with accidentally triggering gestures. Then I discovered that BTT also lets you ignore the edges of the mouse. You should try it out (not affiliated, it's just the evolution of MultiClutch which I used to use, and it's free anyway). The reason I have 'faith' that Apple's drivers will get better is that the iPhone already (two years ago) does a pretty good of sorting out intent, going so far as to use the angle at which the finger hits the screen, and so the guys from FingerWorks seem pretty good at getting things right. As for right now, though I wish the built-in drivers were more flexible, BTT is no different than extensions in FireFox (except BTT is an app).

  • Looks like people disagree with you David, and unfortunately I'm with them. Fantastic mouse. Sorry bro

  • Anonymous

    I love mine. I have always hated the scroll wheel, so the new form factor works great for me. I also like how small the mouse feels in my hand. I was never a big fan of huge "ergonomic" mice like the Logitechs. I much prefer the small, smooth styling of the Magic Mouse.

    Also, I have had mine for about a month now and the battery seems fine. I have not herd of anyone else having battery issues.

    Obviously, it comes down to personal taste and preference. I herd a lot of crying regarding the iPhone keyboard, but find that I can type much faster than on a regular keyboard, as many others have found once they got used to it.

  • Anonymous

    "you'll realize instantly that it does not conform to your hand, unlike virtually every other mouse designed by anyone."

    Uhh…no. It conforms to your thumb and ring finger, like a mouse should. I've never understood how some people apparently palm the mouse in their hand. A mouse is supposed to be moved around with your thumb and ring finger, and clicked and scrolled with the two fingers in between.

    The magic mouse works great!

  • Anonymous

    "Either way, I have to track down new or rechargeable batteries for this thing, a timesuck for a device that has already taken so, so much from me."

    Huh? They're AA batteries! Track them down? Perhaps a safari to distant lands where there are no drugstores on every corner, big box stores galore? C'mon… get real. Depending on how you use the Magic Mouse will depend on battery life. I only turn mine off at night when I put my Mac to sleep, and I'm well into the 2nd month w/the original batteries, now at 40%. Turn off the features you don't use in the mouse preferences.

    I love my Magic Mouse, and I'm on the computer 8-12 hrs/day doing text editing as my profession, audio editing as a hobby.

  • Anonymous

    I was a little leery of the Magic Mouse when I first got it. I have some other mice where you basically just rest your hand on them. That's not what you do with this mouse. It'll be very uncomfortable for you if you do… and I guess that's what you're doing. The MM is very light, so it requires very little to move it around, and the functions on the top (clicking, scrolling) are similarly very light. I find it quite a pleasure.

    The trick is to not try and force something to be what it's not. I can certainly understand liking a Logitech mouse (that's what I use when I play games, because the Apple unified-top design doesn't let you press LMB and RMB simultaneously, and that's useful to do in some games).

    It's your blog of course, and you can type whatever you want. But I think you'll be happier with life in general if you don't overdramatize such trivial issues and make them sound like they've just ruined your life. You do realize that the Comic Store Guy in the Simpsons is supposed to be a joke, right? Worst. Mouse. Ever.

  • Anonymous

    Mac fanboys in denial as usual………

  • Anonymous

    Your comments are largely "spot-on" Mr. Chen. And, many other (200+ and counting) magic victims confirm your observations on the Apple store product 'blog' via 1-star reviews.

    Surprising, and yet increasingly typical on this hit-and-run-social-net-anonymity-thang, that many of your respondents herein disparage the aspect of your opinion-giving … and then proceed to do exactly the same thing.

  • Anonymous

    The product is OK for a wireless mouse, but as soon as you want precision it just isn't their. I'll stick with my usb optic.

  • Anonymous

    I use a magic mouse, and have had it since it hit the shelf. Im a Graphic Designer, and find the ability to use one finger to "Scroll" around in any direction just like the trackpad on my macbook pro to be extremely useful. And you don't right click with two fingers, you just click the right side of the mouse. You turn on the right click function in system preferences under mouse. I have to say it is the single best mouse I have ever used I have ever used.

  • I wonder if using Leopard instead of Snow Leopard also makes a difference. It turns out that BTT requires Snow Leopard.

  • I'm having trouble with mine. I hate the left/right click confusion thing. I hate having to hold my entire hand off the mouse in order to right click. I've been spoiled by Logitech's MX Revolution mouse. I'll download BTT and see if it helps.

  • Anonymous

    It's total crap under Bootcamp and Windows 7. Here's the scenario. I click on a pull down list on a web page. I move the mouse down to the submit button. While I'm doing this, my finger moves ever so slightly on the surface causing the pull down list to scroll madly through the options. By the time I get to the submit button, the option list selection has changed to who knows what. If course I'm unaware of this since I've been watching my mouse pointer as I guide it to the submit button. When I click, it goes to the completely wrong place leaving me confused as to why. It took me a while to figure out what twas going on. I switched back to Logitech. With it, I can *feel* when I'm clicking or scrolling.

  • Anonymous

    Hey you are right, windows 7 and this mouse is not working the way it should. In fact in osx it`s not working the way it should but thanks to the BTT software it`s at least fixable to some degree. No such luck in windows though as BTT only supports snow leopard since it`s created by this guy on his spare time. I guess it`s up to some other random user to in their spare time code something similar for windows, right apple?

  • WebDesigner

    Just got my 27" iMac (and MM) and spent my first real day of doing work on it after loading up all my programs. After about 3-4 hours of using my design software (Flash, PS, DW), I noticed that my thumb started bugging me as I was clicking away on the MM. I'm not man-handling the mouse just touching the side of it with my thumb and I'm definitely feeling the pinching on the skin of my thumb where the groove on the mouse is located. It's really annoying and wondering if I should ditch the magic mouse….

    I would love to hear if anyone else is experience this kind of issue….

    I do love the scrolling and the swipe features, but found that when using Flash it's very easy to accidentally scroll left or right about a 1000 frames in the wrong direction on the timeline. Kind of annoying also.

  • Anonymous

    for gaming and generally just wanting something by way of an additional button. i think any mac mouse is doomed to failure unless they sort out the rmb lmb issue!
    i do CAD in windows via bootcamp and am an avid gamer and i use the mouse extensively every button is needed including multi-clicking!
    theres lmb theres rmb theres mousewheel click but where is the extra function of rmb and lmb together?
    most (if not all) first person shooters have the scope equipped to the rmb while the lmb is the trigger,
    this means i can look through the scope with the rmb side but have to let it go when i want to take the shot! what good is a mouse that can only press one button at a time?
    its a deliberate step backwards for function over style. no gamer is going to like this mouse

  • analog_

    I agree with Dave on this, It's a piece of craply designed ergonomics. It slips and slides under my hand. I guess I like to rest my hands on a mouse instead of pushing it around with my thumb and pinky.

    Let's agree on this : it's definitly not gamer friendly in any way ever.

  • Ken

    I use the Magic Mouse with a WIRED keyboard on a MacPro and NEVER turn it off — and the batteries last and last. We also have a Magic Mouse AND wireLESS keyboard on a new iMac — and the batteries in the Magic Mouse seem to last only a few weeks or less. (Have gone to rechargeable, but this is only a workaround.) NOTE: the iMac wireless keyboard does not seem to have a battery problem – just the MM — although the computer is only about a month old (since Christmas) — still on orig batts in keyboard; am on 3rd set in mouse already. I think something is wrong. Will probably call Apple Support.

  • It's an ok mouse, but the tracking is so slow, I have it at max and I need more.
    I had the track pad which is excellent till you want to adjust virtual knobs in music softwear etc. For browsing and photo work it is god though.

    Overall though it needs to be lighter and I agree it is uncomfortable in the hand to some degree.
    Also why the big click ? i hate mice with big click buttons, my logitech before hardly made a noise and hardly any pressure was needed.

    Apple can't design mice for s$%t they never have been able to bc they try and reinvent the wheel lol.

    However the trck pad is excellent in most cases and makes the mous look antiquated, unless you you need fine rotary movements for softsynths etc.

  • It's useless when used with most mapping sites such as Google Maps, Live Ships etc.. It seems to have a mind of its own and trombones in and out at the slightest touch. I have to switch the scrolling off. However if you use it on iPhoto with the two finger swipe enabled it will happily erase the caption you put in previously! Very frustrating. I daren't use it in World of Warcraft after I caused wipes because it targeted bosses on its own. Funny but it works ok apart from these problems.

  • I agree with the OP, this mouse is probably the worst I've used in my life. My main gripe is that the bloody thing is so uncomfortable in the hand, not matter how you try to hold it. The trackpad on my MacBook Pro is a nice piece of kit, shame the same cant be said of this mouse.

  • The battery life sucks.There's no getting around it. Mine lasts about a month before I have to replace them. I'm okay with all the other features, but often times I'm using my inferior wacom tablet mouse simply because I keep running out of batteries.

    The battery life on the keyboard lasts forever. I've had my iMac for 3 months now, but the battery life is at 100%. I just replaced the batteries in the mouse last week and now it's at 85%,

  • i have a magic mouse and i hate it. it seems that the laser is completely incompatible with ANY surface and the tracking is wonky and all over the place. The sensitivity is also very strange and I cannot get used to it.

    If I wanted to use a program such as Microsoft Paint, (do macs have an equivalent program?) and draw a straight line, it would be impossible because this piece of shit mouse wobbles the cursor all about on the screen rediculously…. i am makaing myself angry just thinking about it so ill stop now. I cant explain how bad it is.

  • Al

    Everytime I restart my computer I have to manually adjust the bluetooth to reconnect with the magic mouse using my old usb mouse, is this normal? If someone knows a way to have magic mouse automatically reconnect every time I restart the computer, please post something. Keep in mind I have already tried changing bluetooth configurations every which way and have restarted a hundred times and still have the same results, Are all bluetooth devices like this? THANKS!

    Other than that, the mouse is great though.

    (PPC G5, 1.6 GHz, OS 10.5.8) External bluetooth receiver through USB

  • my magic mouse slips under my hand as well and near impossible to use without this happening… what is the best solution for people with this issue? I'd love to hear what others buy as a replacement.

    in Austin

  • i've also lost the love for it. first few weeks i was lovin it. Now however i have come to my apple dazed senses. I have to perswade it to connect every time i go to use it. waking it up from a deep almost dead sleep everytime. I took it to the genius bar at my closest apple shop and he said nothing wrong with it. He also advised i dont have to turn it off when i pack it away. Ha if i did that i would be going through 2 batteries a week. It is a very energy hungry device. all apple heads should beware. It is pretty and very apple but surly there is a more dependable ergonomic efficient alternative out there

  • I love the Imac, but never liked the magic mouse. I think it's OK for basic tasks including internet, but it lacks precision in many ways.
    I work drawing blueprints and with 3D modeling, and this mouse is way too heavy for moving it around 10 hours a day non stop. On the other hand the lack of a scrolling wheel really makes it hard for precise zooming wich hurts your hand in time. By the way, when I say precision, I mean PRECISION. It just doesn't cut it.
    So….when it comes to simple activities and fun interaction with an object, this mouse is no less than perfect. But when it comes to really working with it, with presicion, this mouse is pretty, but dumb.

  • Also, nobody needs a mouse to do all these things anyway. That's why there are touchscreens. The magic mouse is like a blind touchscreen.

  • halit yilmaz

    I hate even the 2016 model (latest as of April 2017)

    It just causes confusion and alot of nonesense… And it gets sticky after a while. It fails in every sense… Apple Magic Mouse 2 sucks worse…

  • New Mac user coming from PC / Linux world. Love my 2017 MBP (I understand there’s a lot of heated opinions on it) but the Mac external keyboard and mouse (I have the Magic Mouse 2) are crap, the mouse especially, for the reasons you’ve outlined above (except battery … seems to last a good long while). The ergos are terrible … the mouse is actually uncomfortable to use, and you have to make sure not to touch the button area when not actively clicking. Couldn’t figure out my web pages and docs seemed to crawl about… was b/c my finger was lightly grazing the “button”.

    Replaced the Mac keyboard with a Logitech K811 (I was using the K810 on my previous PC laptop) and will be going back to my old Logitech bluetooth mouse as well.

  • April Miller

    I literally just googled “Why is the magic mouse a piece of crap” because misery loves company, and your article came up number 1! I hate this thing. The charging port is on the bottom, so if my battery dies, I have to plug in and the mouse is useless until it’s recharged. About 3 months ago, the optical sensor stopped working properly (I’ve done all the cleaning and calibration tutorials), so I find myself using my track pad instead of my mouse. As a graphic designer, this is a nightmare. And everyone talks about Apple’s amazing design. Not in this case!