magic mouse troubles


possible solutions when the magic mouse is not working


This page is for everyone who encounters problems with Apple’s magic mouse. In my opinion, when it is working, the magic mouse is a great tool. However, when it doesn’t you can spend quite some time trouble shooting it. Because I found out there are a lot of reasons for the magic mouse not to function, I dedicated this web page to it: as a note for myself and as a possible help for other people.

What happens?

For some reason, the magic mouse quits working. You notice this because the pointer seems ‘frozen’, clicking will not work, you are not able to do anything with the mouse.

Sometimes the mouse will get back working after a few seconds (sometimes after 1 minute), especially if you click a few times. But other times it remains frozen, no matter what you try.

This searching for a solution can be challenging. First you have to find the right solution. But even then, you may discover that the solution you found only works for a limited period. This can be minutes, hours, days or even weeks. That fact makes problem shooting even more difficult. Most of the time it is an indication the problem is not really solved. And than the searching starts again.

Possible solutions

This is a list of possible solutions based on my own experimentation, searching the internet and participating in discussion forums.

Thus far, I found the following possible solutions. The first two solutions aren’t really about problems, but I found that they are already helpful for quite a lot of people.

1) Click the mouse to reactivate it

When the connection with the magic mouse is lost, a simple click will reconnect it again (and normally this will be indicated on you Mac screen).

2) Change the batteries

The batteries may be (almost) empty. Normally you will get several messages on your computer screen when the batteries get low, but sometimes this does not seem to be the case.

In some internet forums, users have reported that rechargeable batteries caused problems because these have a voltage of 1.2 volts. Replacing with (non-rechargeable) batteries of 1.5 volts solved the problem. You can try this and it may help in your situation, but I have used 1.2 volt batteries for a year now without any problems.

OK, that were two standard solutions. Let’s dig a bit further. Altough these are all more or less single solutions, sometimes it will also help if you try a combination of these. I’ll explain below.

3) Reset PRAM and SVRAM

This is a solution that Apple recommends on the support site. It seemed to solve my problem, but only the first time (it turned out my problem had a different cause).

See this link: Resetting PRAM and NVRAM

4) In bluetooth settings, mark your magic mouse as favourite

This seems to help for quite some people. To do this, click on the small wheel besides the + and - buttons.

5) Remove bluetooth plist and restart your Mac

Under you main HDD (mostly Macintosh HD), go to Library - Preferences. Delete the file Then restart your Mac. When restarting, OS-X will build the plist with default values again. Warning: bluetooth settings will be changed or lost. You may have to apply these settings again.

6) Shut down and unplug

Shut down your Mac and unplug the main current for at least 10 seconds. I don’t know what this does exactly, but my guess is that it kind off resets bluetooth. You can combine this solution with #5. As an extra, you can also press the powerbutton of your Mac for 5 seconds when it is unplugged: this will also reset something.

7) Remove the mouse from bluetooth

Under bluetooth settings, remove the mouse by clicking the ‘-’ (minus) button. This can be a bit tricky, because you can’t use the mouse after removing it. Be prepared to use your keyboard. Restart the Mac (one way of doing this is pressing ctrl-F2 or ctrl-fn-F2 and select Restart or Shutdown from the menu). At startup, OS-X will detect the mouse and add it to bluetooth again. You can combine this solution with #5 and/or #6.

8) Fix the position of the batteries

Albeit quite uncommon, this solution is helpful for a lot of people. It has to do with the batteries not making firm connection or are not seated correctly. One indication is if you lift the mouse a little and put it back (you may do this when normally moving the mouse). If the mouse looses connection, this might be your problem.

The solution is to put a piece of paper or a small card or something between the batteries, so that they connect more firmly and/or won’t relocate causing the connection problem.

9) Clean the contacts of the batteries

This looks a bit like the previous: the batteries make no firm contact. Cleaning the contacts (with alcohol or something) helps.

10) Extra screen or TV connected

The Magic Mouse sometimes behaves odd when an extra screen or a TV is connected.

11) Fix the position of the on/off switch

The on/off switch of the mouse may cause problems. When it is switched on, a slight movement may cause a power-interrupt, resulting in a disconnection. When the mouse is on, try moving the switch very slightly (to the off position). In my case I only had to tap it. Check if you can still move the mouse pointer. If you can’t, this might be your problem. This slight movement can happen when you normally move the mouse on a mousepad. Normally, if you push the switch back the mouse will reconnect. However, if your Mac is in sleep mode, the mouse won’t reconnect (most times restaring the Mac helps).

I had this problem with my Magic Mouse. As a temporary solution, I fixed the switch with some tape. Then I contacted Apple and my mouse was exchanged for a new one under AppleCare.

And finally some solutions mentioned by people. I haven’t tried these so I don’t now if they will work. But I thought I mention these because it could be a solution for you.

a) Move mouse away from wall and electric plugs etc.

To avoid electrical interference?

b) Reschedule Time Capsule back-ups

Time Capsule seems to interfere with the magic mouse?

c) WiFi interference

This seems to be a problem on older PowerMacs. The WiFi interferes with bluetooth, making the magic mouse working maliciously.

(under construction)