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Summary:

It’s not exactly the most scientific test ever conducted, but a very practical experiment conducted by Softpedia’s Filip Truta reveals that the new Apple Magic Mouse pales next to its predecessor in at least one significant way. That area of weakness is power management, and the […]

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It’s not exactly the most scientific test ever conducted, but a very practical experiment conducted by Softpedia’s Filip Truta reveals that the new Apple Magic Mouse pales next to its predecessor in at least one significant way. That area of weakness is power management, and the new slick interface device could be as much as 40 percent less efficient than the clumsy old Mighty Mouse.

Reports have been flooding in that the new mouse is a power-hungry little guy, both internally among staff here at TheAppleBlog and over at the Apple Discussion boards. At least one discussion thread deals with the problem that the Magic Mouse has when working in conjunction with the Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard. Apparently, using both together will result in significant battery drain in the latter.

On its own, the Magic Mouse is no energy superstar either. Many users report a much shorter battery life than they got with the Bluetooth Mighty Mouse. Truta was finding the same thing with his new pointing device, and so went about testing his theory to see what he found. Rather than timing the life of the batteries during regular continuous usage, as a lab might, Truta came up with an easy to perform exercise that you can try for yourself, too, so long as you’re in possession of both models of Apple mice.

The trick is to use a fresh set of batteries in the Magic Mouse until they run out of steam. Apple’s redesigned the mouse preferences pane to tell you when you need to change them, and even provides instructions on how to do so in case you can’t figure it out for yourself. Once the batteries are depleted, all you have to do is switch them back into your old Mighty Mouse.

Using this very simple method, Truta discovered that while the Magic Mouse saw the batteries as devoid of anymore usable energy, the Mighty Mouse would in fact report that the batteries weren’t even close to empty. In fact, his tests show that under the Bluetooth devices menu it would report as much as 41 percent battery remaining in the supposedly dead batteries. That’s not an insignificant margin by any count.

Battery issues aside, I sill love my Magic Mouse. I should qualify that by noting that I use it as the primary means of control for my home theater Mac mini, which means that I use it quite sparingly. I’m still using the same batteries I put in when I got it, which was almost immediately following its release. And my keyboard doesn’t seem to be running down with any unusual speed, either. But again, I almost never use them really, except to set up a movie or TV show or start a playlist in iTunes. I’m still planning on testing out Filip Truta method when the batteries do eventually run down, though. What are your experiences?

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  1. After 1.5 months with the 27″ iMac,

    Magic Mouse: 35%
    Keyboard: 92%

  2. My first set of batteries lasted over a month with daily use, and never turning off the mouse.

    Now I’m using the same rechargeable batteries that I used in my previous Logitech mouse. I did notice that they were a bit heavier than those included with Magic Mouse, but I’m used to it now. In a bit over 2 weeks they’ve decreased 30%. Not bad again for daily use and never turning the mouse off.

    Since I have 8 rechargeable batteries, I have no problem in switching them out every other month. All in all, I love the Might Mouse. Though, I do wish it had the zoom gesture.

  3. Leo’s hairpiece Monday, January 11, 2010

    Another Apple mouse that isn’t cutting it with the most basic of expectations? Say it isn’t so.

  4. Leo’s hairpiece Monday, January 11, 2010

    Rick, do you think it’s a matter of all the features being a drain… or is it power consumption overall? Just when I thought there would be a saving grace after the mighty mouse it still seems like my Logitech G7 is the ugly but ergonomic workhorse.

    1. Not sure what causes the extra drain.

      I still don’t see the big issue with investing a minimal amount in some rechargeable batteries and swapping them out every month (my original comment said every other, which is prob too generous). I’ve been using the same rechargeable batteries since 2006.

  5. My first set of batteries lasted 8 weeks (li-ion) and am now on my second set 10 days in and pref pane reports 100%, Had a Mighty mouse before and it got about 8 weeks per set of li-ions, so I’m happy!

  6. Since I got my new 21.5″ iMac new back in October:

    Magic Mouse: 77% second set of batteries
    Keyboard: 89% original batteries

    My mouse does use batteries quite quickly but nowhere as quick as some people are reporting.

  7. Is it so hard to buy a few rechargeable batteries?

    The new mouse has multi touch, that MUST take more power then having no multi touch.

  8. Received new 27″ iMac on Dec. 7 and am currently on my second set of batteries. Always on, never turn them off. Use 6-7 hours per day. Not unhappy with this performance. Ask me again in a year…

  9. For me, my wireless keyboard was going through a set of batteries about every four months.

    When I got the Magic Mouse there was 87% power left in the keyboard and 100% in the Magic Mouse.

    Five days later the keyboard is at 54% and the Mouse is at 75%. Not good at all. Looks like I will be changing the keyboard batteries almost weekly from now on.

    1. Almost weekly?? It seems more practical to change bi-weekly. If not, send me those 50% batteries you swap out of the keyboard!

  10. I have had my 27″ iMac Quad Core since December 1st.

    Here are my stats:

    I use it about 3 hours every day. For work and during leisure time.

    Magic Mouse = 67%
    Apple Wireless Keyboard = 100%

    If you do not believe this, I got this off System Preferences. So I am actually satisfied with the battery life of these two products.

  11. I have Magic Mouse + bluetooth keyboard and yes the batteries on the mouse don’t last as long as the previous bluetooth mouse, but it is ok. Maybe the software measuring the battery level could be tweaked a little.

    What people have to realise is that the Magic Mouse communicates alot more than the previous mouse and more ‘number crunching’ going on. For example, I use BetterTouchTool and use the Magic Mouse for gestures that previously I would use the keyboard for, the mouse gets use alot. Even simple scrolling uses more power than the previous mouse. Most of the surface of the Magic Mouse is multi-touch sensitive, there is plenty of processing going on.

    Maybe Apple shouldn’t of used the word Magic, as this may of led to some to expect the product to have performance that is unrealistic. :)

    There many factors at play here: software, bluetooth technology limitations, interference, hardware design, hardware limitations, bluetooth drivers etc.

    Can it be improved and be made better? Yes. Are some people affected more than others? Could be. Can Apple do something? Maybe. But for me, at this time, it is the best and most useful mouse I have used, well, once combined with something like BetterTouchTool. It a real world device, it’s not magic for me.

  12. @ Zac: point taken, but there is no reason why the Mouse should burn up the batteries in the keyboard in any case. My keyboard was at 57% last night, which is what i wrote in my earlier post. Today it’s 37%.

    Burning up 20% of your batteries in less than 24 hours is just crazy.

  13. i reverted to using my wired keyboard just because I can’t deal with charging the batteries so often…

  14. got my mouse since december always it on and used it 8 hour a day i pass 2 pack of battery. but i love this mouse work good

  15. Off-topic, but I’m most interested in the iMac theatre set-up that is mentioned in this article. I know it’s an old topic for most, but I’m always interested in how individuals go about setting themselves up.

  16. Oh no, I may have to change batteries more frequently than normal…oh the humanity! I would never have guessed a mouse that does about 3 times as many functions would use more battery power…

  17. Magic Mouse, Wired Apple Keyboard. Purchased Jan 4th 2010. Avg use probably 6 hours a day. Basic web, email use, also fair amount of running Plex in the evening (Apple remote) for video so mouse not used 100% of the time and today it shows 76%.

    Today Jan 12th, 8 days and down 24% and probably won’t see it go dead because of the Yellow tint on the screen is going to get returned. I’ll just keep swapping machines and never run out of battery!!

  18. I have a Magic Mouse. It replaced my Mighty Mouse.

    It does more things, I use it to do more things than I could do with the Mighty Mouse.

    I never have been able to comprehend the anal retentive personality that gets hungup over all this.

  19. Try two plus weeks!

    I changed the batteries twice, each time they lasted about two weeks!

    I was using Costco Kirkland batteries, so maybe that was it? But this mouse is power hungry little guy!

    Went back to using my wired mighty mouse.

    So much for their environmentally friendly mouse. This puppy could fill a landfill with batteries FAST.

    Apple needs to sell rechargeable batteries with it.

  20. that’s why they should have put a re-chargable lith-ion batter with usb out, so you can just plug your mouse in when it needs some charging, or keep it wired if it makes more sense… same with the keyboard

  21. 49% after one month, three days ago.
    Today: 2% !!!

    :-(

  22. Andrew Bednarz Sunday, January 17, 2010

    mine are lasting about a month, the same as for the mighty mouse in my experience. I use rechargables and swapping them out and keeping extras always charged is no drama.

  23. Batteries of my Magic Mouse lasts up to 3,5 months and I use it every day for at least 4 hours each day. I use rechargeable batteries – 2100mAh.

  24. Not sure if all of you have the same problem as mine.
    I got the message “Apple Wireless Mouse has a low battery” after 3 days I bought the mouse from apple shop.
    I just changed a new set of batteries, same message pop up.
    I gave this new set of batteries to my friend to try on her magic mouse, she didn’t have the same problem.
    Is it my magic mouse has some kind of problems or defects?

  25. Archibald Frasier Thursday, February 11, 2010

    Hmm. Well, I’ve only had my keyboard for a few days, and the mouse a day more, but after checking my levels, I see both are still at 100%. I plan on replacing mine with either lithiums or rechargable NIMH when these run out. I think this mouse is great.

  26. Such an energy sucker. I have the wireless mighty mouse as well as the magic mouse. My Magic mouse keeps telling me that it is low battery and I need to change it or it’ll turn off, which it did a couple of times. The batteries are reading 35%. So I take those batteries and pop it into the mighty mouse. Guess what the battery level reads, 87%. Pop it back to the magic mouse, still reads 35%. Had I tossed the batteries out, it would have been such a waste.

    Comparison with same batteries:
    Magic mouse 35%
    Mighty Mouse 87%

  27. I use Magic Mouse with my Mac Mini about 12 hours a day. Initial set of Energizer batteries lasted about 3 weeks. I have bought a set of 4 Energizer rechargeable batteries today, so we’ll see how they perform.

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