Revive Your Mighty Mouse Scroll Ball

68 Comments

I’ve mentioned this quite a few times before, but my place of employment is a Mac shop. Being a Mac shop we have dozens of Mighty “Mice” lying around. At first I did not really like the Mighty Mouse, but after using one for a few days, I came to love it. The only flaw I have found so far is that the scroll ball always stops working after a few months because of dirt build up on the sensors.

Luckily, I have found a few methods to revive your Mighty Mouse scroll ball.

  1. Push hard on the ball itself and scroll around
  2. Wipe the scroll ball with a Wet One or an alcohol prep pad while scrolling around (Anything quick drying should do the trick – just don’t get it too wet)
  3. Combine methods 1 and 2

There is nothing more annoying than having a broken scroll ball. Hopefully this trick helps all you frustrated Mighty Mouse users out there!

Have you found any tricks that have worked well for you?

68 Comments

Ramacher

Whichever method you use (wet ones, alcohol pad, damp cloth, etc) make sure its not too wet!

The apple store instructed me to lay down a alcohol pad and push the ball down onto it moving it in different directions. I did that and later noticed that clicking down on the ball wasn’t working. Rather than taking it in for a warranty replacement i decided to open it up.

I found that liquid had gotten inside and damaged the part that detects the clicking of the ball.

SO just a heads up i guess. Other than that, great tips.

Aristotelis

For me the upside down trick works very good, especially when I use the black piece of cloth that apple includes with every mac. Works even better if you spray on it some cleaning class spray

Craigiebaby

I’m on my fourth MM now – all have had to be replaced because of the scroll ball.
I’ve tried all methods of cleaning (don’t work) & if you take it apart – well… lets just say it’s never quite the same again.

Luckily – work pays for the new ones… : )

Kevin

To all you posting up above about the mouse not registering right-clicking, it’s not a defect, it’s the way the mouse was engineered. Because of the pressure sensors on the left click spot, whenever there is a finger there, it will register it was a right click. You have to actually lift your finger off that side of the mouse for clicks on the right to register as a right-click. Try it.

John Pash

I’ve tried anything and everything to clean my mouse balls (I have two mice). What I’ve found that while the paper trick and the rubbing it on your leg trick and the compressed air trick do sometimes work, but are not a long term solution. You MUST take it apart at some time. The amount of gunk, oil and fibers clogging those tiny little magnet wheels could be rolled up and shaped into a mouse (the fuzzy kind). It was absolutely disgusting. And I’m not the type of person who has sweaty hands or eats at my computer. In fact, I’m a bit of a clean freak. So get out those razor blade and super glue and get ready for a long evening of squinting and cursing. But remember, the first time is the worst. It gets easier by the 5th operation.

Ben Drucker

I found cleaning with a microfiber cloth by putting a lot of pressure on the scroll ball and rubbing it back and forth kept the Mighty Mouse working, as long as I did it every one or two weeks. Sometimes I’d use some rubbing alchohol. After about 6 months, that didn’t even work. I took the mouse apart using some online instructions. The magnets around the scroll ball were so completely covered in dirt that they just looked like brown clumps, and none of the magnet was visible. I totally cleaned the magnets and the scroll ball, haphazardly put the mouse back together, and voila, it worked. It’s really not the scroll ball that’s getting the dirtiest, it’s the magnets. I guess when they are covered in ernough dirt they don’t work correctly.

I had to do this every 3 months to keep the scroll ball working. Eventually I got tired of it and bought a refurbished Logitech MX Revolution which cost me $40 at the time (They now run $60). I am much happier with the Logitech mouse, and my Mighty Mouse has now been sitting in a drawer for a few months.

Jeff

I have returned five or six Mighty Mouseâ„¢s for this very reason; Apple has always been great to replace it for free. However, the last time I called, I was given their *official* fix for this problem: denim.

You heard me right. Apple’s official response to the “dead scrollball” problem is to turn the mouse upside down and rub it briskly on a pair of jeans. And you know what? They’re right. :-)

Ian

I used the paper method on two MM’s. In the end, I had to do it on a daily basis as It’d stop working over night for some reason.

Finally, on one of them, I totally screwed the mouse ball. It sat semi-depressed inside of its closure. Wouldn’t respond to scrolling or clicking.

I threw it away and purchased a (very ugly, non mac-like) Logitech scroll wheel mouse.

If you do use the paper method, this could happen to you too!

Jugger Grimrodd

The “turn the mouse upside down and roll” trick has worked for me every time. It’s a solid product design with one flaw – Apple didn’t make it “Snack Proof”.

Damn my Cheezie/chip addiction!

Brian

Wow! Adam, thank you so much. I took a hard paper cover on the outside a magazine ( you know the type that ask you to resubscribe) and it works like a charm again. I thought it would never work again. Thank you! Thank you!

Ben

Wow! Thanks all for your comments, especially Adam. I chose a pad of softer paper and scrolled back and forth and around. Pressing really hard caused the dirt to reveal itself and now my ball scrolls good as new in all directions. No need to buy compressed air nor deconstruction tools. Yay!

Jay

I tried a bunch of things incl. opening up the mouse and hand cleaning the scroll ball.

Best fix for me is using a can of compressed air. Push down the button and a few nice blows of air and my MM works like a charm. I do have to repeat every couple of months though. But since it’s only a 1 minute job, it sure beats opening it up and dicking around with those damn small parts inside ;-)

Adam R.T. Smith

Sick – I’ve been having this issue for a while.. totally thought it was never going to scroll downwards again! Nothing I tried worked… even the upside down on the paper thing.

After reading these comments – I tried again… and stuck with it this time, figuring it was this, which I felt like might break it at times, or get a new one. It took me a good 5 minutes of moving the mouse all over the place, upside-down scrollball to paper, before it started to work… just a bit, then more, then more… then good as new…

Thanks for this! I never knew how much I used the scrollball until it stopped working!

gp

This worked for a while too on my MM, but after some months it was not enough. I’ve changed it with a new one, and still the same problem. Being frustrated, i’ve broken it all (now it is without the “ears” :( ) but i can open it everytime and do a well, deep cleaning iike any old mouse.

The big issue I have since always is that it is still too sensible to my finger “energy”: just put my finger very next to the cover (without touching it) and it starts clicking nevrotically. But it is just the sound, it does not anything on the computer. This seems to happen when the weather out is very dry – i guess, because I still have to figure out why it happens. It is so irritating, you cannot understand how sometimes i hate this mouse… but the feeling using it (when it reacts normally) is so good that I have still to find a better mouse.

Jamie Huskisson

@Josh – I wasn’t implying it, more of a joke. I’m just trying to say that a separate purchase isn’t necessary to clean the track ball :) Paper and some upside down madness always does the trick.

Being in the UK I’ve never heard of Wet Ones.

Karsten

i also tried all of these but didn’t find any of them any satisfying. The only thing that helped was to open the mouse and clean the 4 scrollwheels manually. Doing this i realized that they were just to dirty for the other solutions to do the trick. However, if you clean the scrollwheels, please be careful when dealing with the “wires” inside. i had one of mine cut of somehow. i had to replace the mouse back then.

Karsten

Alex Muller

I’ve tried compressed air, a knife, pushing and rolling, and I still find myself having to re-clean it every couple of weeks. Major pain.

Alex

@Ben

Don’t forget a scalpel with a long blade.
The ring around the underside is chemically glued to the mouse on more than eight points.
That was kinda tricky.
I’d suggest u try the sable brush and compressed air way first.

Jalopy

i keep a 2″ sable brush by my mouse’s side. when things get sticky, i brush around and under the ball. works better and more consistently than the ‘paper’ trick, and doesn’t introduce any liquids.

Ben

Other than the tape idea, I’ve tried all of these solutions and my MM still fails or struggles incredibly to scroll down, especially without clicking. Scrolling up never fails and is smooth as ever. Any other ideas would be appreciated. (Perhaps I need to get myself a nylon pry tool and open up.)

Doug

@Brett: Mine does that too. It’s a real pain particularly in X11 stuff which doesn’t register the Crtl + left click.

The scroller stopped going upwards after about 4 weeks with mine – not too impressed about that. Hopefully some vigorous cleaning will do the trick.

Alex

I combined the method described by Jamie Huskisson with using a microfiber cloth and water.
The paper stuff to got most of the dirt off of the scroll ball, then the slightly damp cloth did the rest of the job.

The thing is, I never had to do this with my own Mighty Mouse, even though I bought it right after it was released.
My scroll ball has always worked perfectly.
The one I cleaned this way was my little sisters mouse.

With the MM of a friend of mine it was more difficult.
I actually had to disassemble the MM completely, to get it properly cleaned.
It was a bit tricky, but it worked out fine, and you can barely see that it was opened.

Josh Pigford

@Jamie: Haha, are you implying that Wet Ones paid us to post this? If so, that’s ridiculous. I wasn’t aware that we shouldn’t post tips that require you to purchase something like a common household cleaning product. But what do I know. :)

Brett

My gripe with the mighty mouse isn’t the trackball – it’s the right click button. Unless I press down the actual SIDE of the mouse, it registers a left click. Anywhere on the top of the mouse, no matter how far to the right of the trackball is a left-click. Defect?

Jamie Huskisson

You know what’s free, doesn’t involve product placement and does a better job quicker?

Turn the mighty mouse upside down, scroll it around on a piece of paper for 5-10 seconds pushing hard and you’re done.

Easy, simple, free.

Emily

Thanks! I just spent ages trying everything I could think of to fix my scroll ball, and was about ready to give up and replace the damn thing… This worked perfectly though!

Saved me from buying a new mouse, and didn’t cost anything but a very faint brown spot on my homework :)

CheshireDad

After reviewing numerous ideas on the web, this solution was the one I tired first.
It worked perfectly the first time! THANK YOU!!!!

Valerie

Ahhhh…. finally I can scroll again! I used your suggestion of alcohol on a cotton pad and scrolled the mouse upside down on paper. This dislodged the crud that was causing my mousing nightmare. Scrolling around on paper alone wasn’t enough to do the trick for my stubborn mouse. Thanks for the fix!

Douggro

Mahvelous! The upside-down paper-scrolling revived the scrollball after other methods failed. Grazie!!

Ludwig

Works perfect, Now I can relax my scroll finger.
It really starts hurting when the stupid ball doesn’t work :(

Thanks!!

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