Blog Post

Mighty Mouse Problems

As I said in my post from the NYC Soho Apple Store, I went off to buy an Apple Mighty Mouse, and I’ve been using it for the last week. When I tried it out in the store, I was demonstrating the features to my wife and used it very ‘deliberately’; on reflection, perhaps I should have tried it for longer.

The mouse is beautiful object, and aside from the rollerball in the middle, you would be hard pressed to idenfity this as anything other than a single button mouse in the style of all single button mice before it.

In use, however, I’ve found it less than perfect. I’ve discovered a number of problems, all comparatively minor, but no less annoying, that have made me put the mouse to one side and go back to the Logitech cordless that goes with my keyboard.

First up, it’s got a wire. After 3 years of using a wireless mouse, going back to a wired unit is a bit of shock. For those already using wired mouse, there isn’t going to be a huge amount of difference, but I did find it quite restrictive. Of course, it also means you get a wire trailing across the desk…

The bigger problem though is the ‘buttons’, or lack of them. Theoretically there are four buttons, one left, one right, the ‘application switcher’ (underneath the rolling ball) and the ‘side’ buttons – I say buttons because there is one either side (which you can press individually), but really it’s only ‘button’ because you can only configure both buttons to do the same thing.

One of the bigger problems is the left and right buttons – it’s all too easy not to get a right-click (i.e. control-click), even when pressing on the right. Sometimes, even when you click on the left, you still get a right-click if the internal sensors pick up the pressure incorrectly. It doesn’t happen often, and I’m sure it’s more to do with my mouse movements than anything else, but for me it happens frequently enough to make it annoying when it doesn’t (or does) happen.

Even more annoying though is an feature that I can find no reference to and no way of controlling or disabling.

If you ‘click’ and move the rollerball up or down your browser (Firefox, Safari are the only ones I know it happens in) then the mouse takes you forward and back through your history.

This would be a great feature (and one I miss from a MS mouse with side buttons configured this way by default), if the effect wasn’t so damn sensitive that you can do it all to easily while simply scrolling in your browser. Press the ball just too much as you scroll, and suddenly you are flipping back. In most situations not an issue, but when, for example, doing a post in TAB or ComputerWorld, clicking ‘back’ can easily lose the post you were just composing. During a webstore visit it can lose settings or CC details.

That makes it a more major issue; but strangely I haven’t been able to find out any other examples of this happening on any of the boards (but please let me know if you’ve experienced so I can confirm my sanity).

Unfortunately, it’s annoying little things like this that make a product unusable. I love the side buttons, and I think the feel is superb. When it’s not affecting my browser experience, the 360 scrolling ball is superb, especially with photos (in Preview) or Photoshop.

Apple have, unfortunately, produced a product which looks great, but which fails to deliver. While heralded as the first multi-button Apple mouse, it isn’t, because it really doesn’t have multiple buttons. Instead, it’s a fudge, and one which could have so easily been solved if Apple had just swallowed years of tradition and procuded a proper multi-button mouse.

I’ve now gone back to my Logitech multi-button unit. It never gets the clicks wrong, and the scroll wheel, while not 360, doesn’t do anything funky with my browser while I’m using it.

114 Responses to “Mighty Mouse Problems”

  1. Al McCarley

    Btw on a related issue – am I just very unlucky or has anyone else experienced problems with the most of the various mac products they’ve bought over the years? I have to use them for work and as much as love using Apple stuff – I also get loads of problems.

    Is anyone brave enough to admit that although Apple appear to be ‘cool’, they consistantly get things wrong? I never hear of my colleages getting problems with their pc’s – they just work.

  2. Al McCarley

    This is my second Mighty Mouse. The first one arrive DOA. The scroll wheel doesn’t scroll down and I am accidentally clicking the right button when trying to click the left.

    I use a mac every day as a graphic designer and this just isn’t on.

    This should be a great mouse but I’m afraid it isn’t – Apple have really F**ked up here. Don’t buy one, there’s far too many peeps with bad experiences – just read the comments on this page.

    People who are desperately trying to like it are either die-hard Apple fans, lucky or just don’t live in the real world I’m afraid to say.

  3. binkibootstrap

    OK another attempt at fix… I reinstalled and then decided to disable the side buttons and have not had a failure for close on a month now… even the scroll ball is behaving! Mind you I am so conscious of a failure that I tend to be really gentle with the mouse now – great theory apple – though poor application :(

  4. I also have intermittent problems with the scroll ball, sometimes it doesn’t respond to scrolling down. Pushing slightly harder on the scroll ball helps mostly. Also, cleaning the ball with a soft cloth seems to help. I suspect there must be some build-up of dirt inside the mechanism for the scroll ball.

  5. ok had my mighty mouse for just shy of 30 days now. the last 6 times my scroll ball died the only solution was to press down hard on the ball and roll it in the direction it wasnt working in a few times, then it would come back to life. now down is just gone. doesnt matter if i unplug it or not. wow, thats great… because who would want to scroll down anyway… broken in less than 30 days…. thanks. you shouldve seen my girlfriends face when i told her that the gift she gave me a month ago no longer works. and i dont beat on it. (however with regards to the “right click” it took me 2 weeks to realize i must remove any contact except a finger tip for right click (STUPID) but since then i havent had any misclicks.)

  6. I have an intermittent problem with the scroll ball.
    Most of the time it works OK however occassionly it wil scroll up but not down and at other times it doesn’t scroll at all. Has anybody else experienced this?

  7. I completely agree with you: the mouse is amazing, in theory. However, using the scroll ball in any form forces you to go back and forth through your history. it is enough to make me consider losing the mouse all together – hopefully they create a fix soon

  8. I bought the mouse the first day that it was available in the gravis shop in germany Model Nr A1152

    and now the scroll ball only allows me to scroll up, not to the side and not down, since yesterday it only scrols up.

    That is the first mouse that fucked up, i never bevor fucked up any mouse.

  9. binkibootstrap

    scrap the above – within 10 minutes of submitting what I thought would help, I got complete button failure again!

    It seems to originate from either the side buttons use or the scroll button?

    Help please!

  10. It took a few days to get used to but now I love it EXCEPT that every so often I run into the same problem as MazzaK and binkibootstrap. I’ve been close to going back to my old mouse but I really love that scrollball too much………..
    Because I have big hands I found disabling the click function on the scrollball made for less mistakes.

  11. I have been using the MM for the last week and have had complete button failure happen on several occassions. It happens when I am moving quickly between windows and accidentally hit the scroll ball. I am left with a mouse which moves the cursor, but cannot open, close or select anything. I end up having to Force Quit all the running programs as it seems to affect the keyboard commands (Apple-Q) as well. This makes the MM, with all the other comments included, totally unuseable. I am taking it back to the dealer tomorrow!

  12. I have faced the accidental right-click, but on lloking when it happened it was when i was using my sausage like fingers to close to the middle as opposed to left or right, i have’nt had any issues with the scroll though

  13. I’ve experienced the back-button behaviour as well, which made me put the mighty mouse away too.

    But maybe it’s true that it’s only in Firefox… Have to check. But: I’ve tried to simply disable the button which for some reason doesn’t seem to work. Or maybe I’ve misunderstood something – you should be able to jsut simply turn it off, right?

  14. Ok, fair enough about the wirelessness, I was just curious about your reasons :)

    I was under the impression that you were saying that the mouse was unusable for everyone… I was wrong I guess.

    Anyway, just don’t stress about the right-click, you just have to do a simple association in your brain :) Think of it as a new futuristic mouse gesture. Also, you don’t have to keep your finger up in the air, just lift and click.

    The way you have to envision the MM is that it’s like a magic Apple Pro mouse. Imagine that you were “stuck” with a one button Apple pro mouse, and that you discovered that you can magically generate right clicks by lifting your finger from the left part. Same thing for the side buttons, they are “magic”, bonus buttons. The trackball, by itself, can make just about any mouse magic :)

    I love being able to do the main click with 2 or 3 fingers at the same time on the top shell, and I’m glad Apple designed the MM this way because nobody else would have done it. And this way, with a mouse that caters to a specific segment, they keep the third-party Mac mice market alive. Just like the original iMac lack of legacy ports gave a big boost to the third-party USB peripheral market, the Mighty Mouse will create demand for Mac compatible mice with like 4-6 “real” buttons and a scrollball.

    Also, if you didn’t understand why Apple only had one button mice before, you might have a hard time understanding the Mighty Mouse, because the two concepts are linked.

    Anyhow, I hope you get used to it quickly!

  15. Zoxo: Actually, I’ll admit, I can’t reproduce in Safari, although I’m sure I’ve experienced it because I first noticed it while away (I use Safari when mobile because I get better access to my webmail services than with Firefox due to another Firefox bug).

    The Firefox settings have fixed the problem – yay! – thanks for the tip (and thanks to Darkside for the link).

    As for your query: ‘explain how a wireless mouse is “so much nicer”. ‘, OK:

    1) I don’t have to worry about the length of the wire; sometimes I’ll sit back in chair (which tilts back) and move an extra 1-2 feet from it’s usual position; with a wired mouse this is a pain.

    2) I don’t have to worry about finding a conveniently close USB port or extension cable

    3) I don’t have to worry about the cable dragging or catching on the other things on desk

    I never, ever, said it affected my movements, but it does place some limits on where you can use it and how it interacts with the other things on your desk, that’s the very reason that wireless mice exist. With a wireless keyboard and mouse I have no wires for the first two feet of my desk space and that makes it much easier to deal with all other things on my desk.

    And finally, I never said the Mighty Mouse was useless to everybody, I just said that these issues (the clicking and the odd back behaviour) make it unusable for me.

    Now I’ve fixed that behaviour (thanks to you and Darkside) I’ll be trying the Mighty Mouse again (wire and all!).

  16. Are you sure this happens on Safari? It doesn’t for me.

    There is a bug in Firefox that cause exactly what you describe that can be fixed by changing two lines in the pref file.

    As far as I know, it cannot happen in Safari because it simply doesn’t include this feature. It’s a Firefox bug, not a mouse driver bug.

    I don’t have any problems with right-clicks on my Mighty Mouse. You have to lift your finger off the left part to do a right-click. My right finger usually rests on the scrollball so it’s already ready to do a right click, and when I want to left-click, I simply take my finger of the scrollball and do a left click (you don’t have to lift your right finger for a left click).

    Anyway it all sounds complicated, but I find it very natural, it only took me a few minutes to get used to it.

    You didn’t complain about the wire, but please explain how a wireless mouse is “so much nicer”. Aside from looking futuristic and cool, I really don’t see how a light mouse cable can affect your mouse movements. Seriously, I cannot feel any restriction on movement coming from the wire. So if you like to go through the pain of changing or charging mice batteries just so it looks cool, go for it, if that’s your thing…

    The Mighty Mouse is not for everyone, but it’s far from useless for many people, including me. In 2006, expect to see tons of third-party mice with trackballs to fulfill the demand for a more standard mouse with a scrollball.

  17. Vern: It doesn’t make any difference how I hold the mouse, sometimes it simply doesn’t register a click properly.

    James: I have the scroll-button configured for ‘Application Switcher’, which works fine if I deliberately click and scroll; it’s the accidental ‘half push’ and movement which causes the browser problem, which is of course all too-easy when all you want to do is scroll.

    This happens whatever I configure the scroll-button to do. What really worries me is that this is an undocumented feature, and it’s not clear whether it’s the main Apple Mouse driver causing the problem, or the browsers doing something funky with the extra mouse buttons provided. I’ve only noticed it in Safari/Firefox, it could be it doesn’t happen in the others…

    Ted: I didn’t ‘complain’ about the wire, I just mentioned that after 3 years of being wireless, going back to wires made me realize while wireless is so much nicer..

  18. I’ve been using the Mighty Mouse for two week now. I can’t see what the problem is. It really isn’t fair to complain about the wire. Besides the wireless version will be hear soon. Just wait for it. I know I will replace mine with a wireless one when it’s available. But this mouse is just great other than the wire. I do have large hands so I can only speak from my own experience, but this mouse is the best wired mouse I have ever used. It has style and functionality. All the buttons work great for me and the scroll ball is perfect! I don’t use the side buttons much but I never have on any other mouse either.

  19. James Bailey

    If you ‘click’ and move the rollerball up or down your browser then the mouse takes you forward and back through your history.

    This doesn’t happen for me. How do you have the mouse configured? I have button 3 for the scroller button. When I click and scroll I get scrolling as expected. If I middle click on a link I get a new tab again as expected.

  20. Wow! I was just wondering if anyone else was having the same problems I was having with the mouse. Now I know someone is.

    I love the design, but I too find that often times I accidently left click too near the center of the mouse, and it registers as a right click. My right clicks often don’t click at all. I thought maybe the internal sensor had come loose or something.

    I haven’t given up on it yet, but I’m looking around.