Magic Mouse repeatedly loses Bluetooth connection
This month I took my one and only Magic Mouse abroad with me as a travel companion for the new 12in MacBook. The little rodent, however, did not seem happy to be on its holidays and immediately started exhibiting strange behaviour. Repeated disconnections became very frustrating. I changed the batteries several times, even though the power indicator was showing 100 percent.
I rattled the mouse, waved my magic wand over it several times, but nothing could make it work reliably. The finger of blame was well and truly pointed at the MacBook and its Bluetooth wireless. I’d had a few similar problems in the past with the desktop iMac but never as bad as this. The fact that the MacBook is new and untried further convinced me that the answer lay somewhere in the Bluetooth settings.
Perhaps, though, the problem was nearer to mouse. Could it be something to do with the batteries moving around and losing electrical contact? I couldn't really credit this because, in general, few products from reputable manufacturers (for instance, Apple) suffer from such badly designed battery compartments.
Searching the web, I came across innumerable technical suggestions for deleting preference files and other tricks, but nothing that sounded really useful. And nothing worked.
I returned to the office today and reconnected the mouse to the iMac, fully confident that my travelling woes would be over. I was wrong. The mouse was as badly behaved on the iMac as it had been on the MacBook. On/off, on/off. And, what’s worse, with a desktop machine there is no trackpad to fall back on in order to check the Bluetooth settings¹. I eventually connected an Apple Trackpad which at least allowed me to get some work done.
It seems, then, that this problem (which is frequently reported and, apparently, a very common phenomenon) is mouse based rather than being anything to do with the computer or with the Bluetooth connection. More research needed.
Then I came across this little article which brought me back to basics. According to the author, the Magic Mouse does suffer from a battery compartment that plays badly with some batteries. Some, apparently, are a little too small and rattle around, thus leading to this frustrating on/off Bluetooth situation. The article recommends stuffing bits of paper between the batteries to keep them in place. But then I read that Apple’s own rechargeable batteries are exactly the right size and prevent any inadvertent power outages.
I always have a spare set standing by, so out came the Greek supermarket batteries and in went two Apple rechargeables. Immediately it was obvious that the problem was solved. Since turning to the Apple batteries I’ve had no outages in the past day.
This is all very strange. I’ve used a variety of batteries in this particular mouse over the past couple of years—from Duracell, Kodak and Panasonic among others. Although I have experienced random loss of connection, none has induced this inconsistent and annoying behaviour. Clearly, though, everything depends on the precise fit of the batteries.
This battery compartment sensitivity is another black mark against the current Magic Mouse. I have already written about its tendency to lose its bottom frequently. Now we have even worse antics.
There is a new Magic Mouse on its way, as I mentioned in a previous article, so let’s hope Jony Ive (if mouses are not below his lofty attention) has solved both these irksome displays of petulance. Firmly anchored batteries and a buttoned-up bottom, Jony, please.
- If you are using both Bluetooth mouse and Bluetooth keyboard, computer problems can be frustratingly difficult to sort out if communications fail. Apple recommends keeping an old wired keyboard or an Apple mouse on hand as last-resort problem solvers.