Blog Post

Magic Mouse Drains Keyboard Batteries

So the holidays are over. The food portions are returning to healthy sizes but the damage is done. New Year resolutions you’ve been ruminating on for weeks must now be taken seriously. It’s time to get in shape. No more excuses! No more distractions. You have that nice new Mac so you think, “Hey, I’ll type ’em up and print ’em out! If they’re pinned up on the wall I can’t possibly fail!”

Only, you might have a problem doing any typing if recent reports prove accurate. It seems the combination of Magic Mouse and Apple Wireless Keyboard are a toxic mix. Over on the Apple Support Discussions forum users are reporting that, since installing their Magic Mouse, their Apple Wireless Keyboards have been guzzling power like there’s no tomorrow.

Brand new, planet-killing alkaline batteries don’t make it through a full week. Tree-hugging rechargeables manage less. Users have been forced to revert to backup mice (mouses?) or switch-out their keyboards for a more traditional, wired variety.

User cbcirrus writes;

Apple Tech Support furnished three replacement aluminum keyboards (unfortunately one DOA and all three were three battery version). All replacement keyboards suffer from the low battery life issue.

They now claim it is a bluetooth driver issue and the engineers are working on a solution, presumably a new driver or patch. One tech said engineering believes the magic mouse bluetooth is interfering with keyboard bluetooth communication and/or sleep mode. No estimate as to time frame for solution just a suggestion to use rechargeable batteries until issue is resolved.

I haven’t been hit by the battery bug described here, but I’ve certainly had my own issues with the Magic Mouse / Wireless Keyboard combo which I suspect may be related. I’ve found that my Apple Wireless Keyboard interferes with my Magic Mouse. I simply can’t have both devices working at the same time in the same room without my Mouse pointer losing the will to live and being reduced to a stuttering, crawling, sorry excuse for a pointer.

Changing wireless channels on my router and Time Capsules made no difference. In the end I had no choice; if I wanted to continue using the Magic Mouse, sans judder, I had to switch keyboards to the wired variety that originally came with the Mac Pro.

About a month ago I found a thread on Apple’s discussion site explaining that — for 2009 Mac Pros — the problem doesn’t lie with the Broadcom bluetooth radio but with its drivers. Unfortunately, Apple isn’t privy to Broadcom’s firmware roadmap and can’t say when an update will arrive.

Oddly, I cannot find that thread now. I suspect that at some point in the intervening weeks it has been edited/removed. If you can find it, please share in the comments below. I mention it here because it sounds awfully similar to the explanation above… perhaps the two issues are connected?

Have you experienced issues with using the Magic Mouse and Apple Wireless Keyboard together?

38 Responses to “Magic Mouse Drains Keyboard Batteries”

  1. I have been a MAC user for over 15 years. I didn’t like the Magic mouse at first. After you get used to it, its not that bad. It kind of grows on you unless you’ve got gorilla hands. The batteries last at least a month. I hate the new track pads, I’ll stick with a mouse. One of the problems is what to do if the batteries fail or the device becomes disconnected? What to do if your wireless MAC mouse fails? I have found that the best solution if the mouse fails and you have no apparent control of the desktop is to turn the mouse power switch off and use a regular plug in mouse (keep one around, just in case). Plug it into your extra keyboard port or a USB port. The pointer will work, then scroll to mouse preferences, select connect feature, turn the mac magic mouse power switch back on, remove the wired mouse and you’re back in business. If you try to use both of them then some weird things will start happening, so as soon as you get a response from the magic mouse, unlug the wired mouse and you’re back in business. Works for me. You might have to do a restart to make everything work back to normal. By the way I ditched the wireless dinky keyboard and went back to a bigger full feature wired keyboard on my desktop. I’m a happy puppy. And I sold the wireless keybord on E-bay for $45 bucks!

  2. Frustrated Fanboy

    I just wanted to generally say that I’m on my third apple computer since 2004 and every single time I’ve noticed more bugs and problems that seem to go unresolved for inordinate amounts of time. With my brand new imac, so far I’ve noticed the itunes miniplayer search clearing issue is still unresolved (a year later, my old imac still has the last version where it worked and my little 12″ powerbook running tiger is my most stable machine… but still not as stable as BEFORE I reluctantly moved from panther to tiger). Quicktime X is AN ABOMINATION if you’re used to the QT pro functionality… apple knows this and that’s why imacs still come with QT 7. And without deleting a file in the QT resources folder, you don’t have the option of setting all .mov files to open with 7. If you know the software has so many problems you have to include an older version, DON’T RELEASE THE SOFTWARE UNTIL IT’S THE SAME OR BETTER. Compressor crashes constantly under Snow Leopard… there are reports of iphoto crashing too. Is this company’s QC falling apart? How about getting rid of the search functionality in finder where items are sorted by type? Sorry, it was easier to use and see in Finder, I don’t like Spotlight. Why ON EARTH would you get rid of that? Apple’s products keep taking one step forward and two steps back. One more example – old imac had firewire 400 and 800 (my trusty old 12″ pb had 400 as well). Well… I guess I have to tide myself over with the SD card slot and some cool wireless peripherals… oh wait…

  3. I’ve got a late 2006 iMac and just bought a Magic Mouse, to go with a pre-existing wireless keyboard. I’m using Energizer Lithium batteries for both, which should last at least a couple to three months. Wasn’t even two weeks after buying and installing the Magic Mouse (about 3 since I installed the batteries) that the keyboard batteries died.

    Definitely something wrong here.

  4. Terence N Fails

    My Magic Mouse just randomly drops the connection for 60-90 seconds every ten minutes or so. My Macbook Pro is at my L elbow, wireless keyboard at center, M Mouse at R elbow.

    Most aggravating for a very expensive mouse.

    Knew there was a reason to pass on drinking the Kool-Aid.

  5. I am runingn 10.5.8 and in the last 2 weeks, my magic mouse and old wireless keyboard go thro’ batteries in 2 or 3 days. I am having to reconnect my keyboard as a new bluetooth device every week.

  6. Lorenzo

    No problems, and in fact, I think it’s better than the older models of wireless keyboard and mouse, which I owned previously. The keyboard, which I have used every day for essays etc since the iMac arrived in November, is still using the alkaline batteries provided in the box. It’s now at 34%. The Magic Mouse batteries lasted a month, and I now use rechargeables and think it lasts longer than the old wireless Mighty Mouse. It’s now at 54% after I changed the batteries 10 days ago.

  7. mercedes

    Absolutely no problem here and have been using both together since just after the mouse came out so far no replacements at all. I do switch the power off for weekends (if I remember) and when I went away for Christmas though so that could be a good tip for ppl having problems.

    Loving the mouse though even if it doesn’t use all the potential it has.

  8. Thank you for this post. I searched the internet about 2 weeks ago as I realized I was changing keyboard batteries about every three days. It wasn’t like that before with my old wireless mouse. I’ll see if I can get my old mouse back from my friend until this gets resolved.

  9. No such problems with mouse or keyboard for me. I run an iMac 2008 model with the wireless keyboard and magic mouse. All good for me, in fact, I can’t remember the last time I changed the batteries on my keyboard and not had to change them on the mouse yet either.

    • OK, but can you tell us do you use any wifi rooter such as AirPort ot other brand, So if you dont have one, that should be the problem,because I have Airport in my room where the computer is and may AWK is a week old and shows me %81, the Magic Mouse is 3 days old -> %91

      Thank you

  10. Aaron Martin

    I received my wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse for christmas. I just now replaced the batteries in the keyboard. So I got 11 days out of my keyboard.

  11. Gazoobee

    Just to remind everyone …

    Old batteries are one of the worst pollutants there is and are rarely recycled. If you have two wireless peripherals (keyboard and mouse), or more, you should certainly be using rechargeables and a battery recharger.

    If you do that, and keep a spare set in the charger, this is only a minor inconvenience. Also you won’t be killing the planet with all your discarded batteries, nor forcing children in foreign countries into slavery making the cheap ass batteries in gigantic packs you find at your local big box store.

  12. Bluetooth and Wifi use the same frequencies. Normally when there is a wifi nearby, the bluetooth devices (if they are any good, not guarenteed) will stop using the frequencies of that wifi channel. The BT spec has stuff in it for this.

    however changing your Wifi channel shouldn’t make a difference. Wifi takes up a stationary channel, while BT hops around, on the same frequencies. If the BT device can’t work out to avoid the Wifi, it shouldn’t matter where the wifi is in its bandwidth, and the frequency hopping is random.

  13. I definitely have experienced this problem. I thought it might have something to do with the new keyboard driver that was released after the new iMacs came out. Whatever it is I hope they fix it soon. I miss my little wireless keyboard.

  14. I’ve always had issue with the wireless aluminium keyboard in combination with the mighty mouse. The keyboard was constantly losing connection and reconnecting a few seconds later. I reverted to the wired mighty mouse.
    I had the foolish hope that the Magic Mouse might resolve this problem.

  15. Gregor mcnish

    No problems at all. We got the mouse a month ago, and I use it with the wireless keyboard. I’ve only changes the keyboards batteries once in the last year.

    It’s used for my laptop, so I don’t even use them every day though, only when I’m at my desk. Prob about 6hrs/week.

  16. this all makes interesting reading as my original mouse is behaving badly and I was seeing this as the perfect excuse to get a Magic Mouse…and maybe a wireless keyboard too. I have a 2008 24″ iMac. What would be your advice? Wait until the issue is resolved? Just get the Magic Mouse? or get both and see how I fare?

    • Hi Jill,

      It’s hard to say whether you should buy or not, given that not everyone is having the same problems. For every person on this thread confirming a problem, there’s another person saying they’ve had zero issues at all.

      I guess if you don’t mind parting with the money you could buy right away and, should you suffer the same problems, know that a firmware update is going to arrive (possibly) one day (maybe).

      Me? I’d spend the money, and live in pain, because I’m a crazy gadget-obsessed Apple geek. Normal, well-adjusted people would wait to hear that the issues have been resolved.

      Just depends where you lie on the scale between Normal Person and Liam Cassidy! ;-)

  17. Allister

    I don’t have a wireless keyboard, but my wireless Mighty Mouse got the ‘stutters’ and got very sluggish after I had paired up a phone with my Mac over bluetooth. Even after I switched off the phone’s Bluetooth, the mouse was still horrible. But after switching the mouse off and on again all was good. It is the only time I’ve had problems with the mouse.

  18. I have had no problems with my 27″ IMac with Magic Mouse and Bluetooth keyboard over the past two months that I have enjoyed them. I replaced the batteries in the mouse once and the keyboard still reads 76%.

  19. I can confirm the issue. We were wondering why our wireless keyboard was in need for a new set of batteries only after a few weeks. Re-connecting the keyboard after batteries were changed was also not straight forward. I suspect there’s something seriously wrong with the driver(s).

  20. I also have a Magic Mouse and 24″ iMac with wireless keyboard. No problems with battery life. Have had the mouse since the week after it was announced and still have original batteries. Have had the iMac for about 8 months and only replaced the keyboard batteries (LION factory ones) once and that was when I still had the (not so)Mighty Mouse.

  21. I have no problems with this combination on my new 21.5 inch iMac.

    After 10 days the mouse battery level is 70% and the keyboard battery level is still 100%. Neither have been switched off since i bought the machine, and it has been used almost constantly during waking hours since I got it :-)

    Perhaps Apple got the drivers right for the new iMacs?

    • Yeah mine’s at 60% after about two weeks. Which = crap! I don’t know why you think that is acceptable.

      I had a Logitech mouse that has had the same battery for a year an a half, with no signs of failure yet. At this rate, I will be buying batteries for the mac mouse, um every two months?

      And they had all this advertising about being green. My green ass!

  22. Tsubame

    I have no problem with my keyboard and mouse batteries. The mouse I get a little over two weeks of constant use, and I haven’t had to replace my keyboard’s batteries since I got my magic mouse. It’s used maybe 40% over a month or two. Def not ‘guzzling’ battery power.

    Also no problem with the two devices working together, both are bluetooth and both work fine. In fact I also use a bluetooth headset at the same time, and all 3 devices work perfectly.

    Once I even had my PSPGo connected to a PS3 controller via bluetooth with both my bluetooth keyboard, magic mouse, and headset all synced up. Everything worked fine.

    • Good question. Some discussion over on the Apple support forum suggested that, on occasion, some of the channels used by routers (including Time Caspules) could interfere with bluetooth radio. It’s something I can’t entirely discount without trying it, and changing channels only takes a moment and they’re easily changed back.

      Hope that answers your question.