Magic Mouse Suddenly Stopped Tracking

  • Posted: 02 October 2012 02:24 AM

    Been on my Mac for most of the day. This rain outside has been truly relentless, so I worked on various things, mainly using the Magic Mouse. Suddenly, my Magic Mouse stopped tracking. I couldn’t get the cursor to move at all. The scrolling and other motions, when tapped or swiped on the top of the mouse, continued to work just fine. I opened the case and moved the batteries around, and then changed out the batteries, even though at no point did the mouse lose bluetooth connectivity. I blew compressed air at the optical sensors and set the mouse down. Slight movement and then nothing. Then jittery movement when I moved the mouse and then nothing. I set the Magic Mouse aside and used my Magic Trackpad for a few minutes.

    Then, I had an idea. You see it’s been raining outside all day. The humidity level in the house must be close to hundred percent. One of the various problems living in a small, un-airconditioned, cabin-like house in the woods. My Mac is sitting in front of a fan that keeps the air moving around it constantly, but my Magic Mouse has been cupped in my hand. So, I put the Magic Mouse in front of the fan for about ten minutes. Then put it back on the desk and began using it. It is back to normal, tracking precisely again.


    What do you think? Could it be that it got a little too wet inside?

    I keep closing the doors to the house and my husband keeps opening them, wet air streaming in.

    I can see that I will have to open the windows and doors, load the wood stove and light a fire and blast this moisture out, tomorrow. I am used to this. Every late summer in to early fall, we get these rainy spells, and I have to do this to dry out the house.

    Note to self: must take better care of (optical) house mouse.

    [ Edited: 02 October 2012 01:05 PM by Woodland Potter ]      
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    Posted: 02 October 2012 03:23 PM #1

    Torn on this:
    On one hand I live in the Pacific Northwest. On Vancouver Island in fact. In the winter it gets damp here. Our last house only had electric heat so no drying effect from a furnace either. I’ve never seen that sort of a thing so I’m doubtful.
    On the other hand your fix worked, implying there might be something to your suggestion.

    What is your mousing surface? If it happens again try changing the surface, like putting a piece of printer paper under the mouse and seeing if it works. It might be something like condensation on the table. Alternatively I wonder if there might be a bad contact inside that’s gotten a bit corroded. If it goes out again see if the LED lights. and stays lit.

    This is a tough one though.


    The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of a mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.
    J.D.Salanger/Wilhelm Stekel

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    Posted: 02 October 2012 05:30 PM #2

    Hmm… this IS an interesting one. I’m with geoduck, though—any time I hear of mousing problems with an optical mouse, I think of the mousing surface.

    And it’s also possible that something got stuck in there that the compressed air didn’t move around but the long-term fan exposure DID move. Otherwise… it just doesn’t make sense.

    Or maybe it does. wink


    -Dave Hamilton / The Mac Observer / Mac Geek Gab / Dave on Twitter
    When you find a big kettle of crazy, it’s best not to stir it.

  • Posted: 02 October 2012 11:38 PM #3

    Thanks, Geoduck and Dave, for the comments.

    Yeah.. doesn’t make complete sense does it? I mean, it would have to be pretty extreme I would think.

    Only reason I posted was to see if anyone had heard of, or had experienced themselves such a thing before.

    Oh well, the mouse is working perfectly fine now, so who knows? We will see. If it goes up in a little puff of smoke, I’ll just get a new one. Love the Magic Mouse. Must say it has been the best mouse, I have ever used.

    Oh.. sorry.. meant to answer your question: The surface is my wooden desk.

    Yes, it is possible the fan blew something out of the way. Good point.

    I like the piece of paper idea. Will try that, if this these conditions repeat themselves.

    I know the humidity was pretty good in here because the paper in the printer has wilted on over. Yes.. I know.. that is not good. Fortunately, high humid conditions such as this is fairly rare and only during certain seasons and even with that, I do do something about it. The fire in the wood stove dries everything out very nicely.

    Thanks, again, for your patience and for your responses.

    Hope you are all enjoying a fine evening.


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    Posted: 15 November 2012 05:00 PM #4


    Sorry for the late response to this, but as an avid Magic Mouse user who, like you, finds it the greatest mouse ever, I wanted to share my thoughts.

    I’m thinking that something did, indeed, get stuck inside your Magic Mouse. This happens to me quite a bit, not the least because I have nine cats, one of whom is always on my lap when I’m at the computer (cat Crawford is right now), so cat hair is likely on my mousing surface (computer armoire slide-out keyboard tray) more often than not. The tracking will get jittery, or quit, until I blast air across the optical sensor. (I don’t even use compressed air, I find the oral approach works just fine.)

    I don’t have a humidity problem like you, but do run into this often, and find that the blast of air always fixes the tracking problem. I’m guessing the fan treatment un-stuck something that the compressed air did not.


    mrmwebmax (formerly mrmgraphics)
    Max out your site!

  • Posted: 18 November 2012 02:07 PM #5

    Hi mrmwebmax,

    Thanks for your comments. Yes, that is definitely a possibility. I had not considered that. We have enough animals around here as the source for hair and dander. I try to keep the area around the computer clean, especially, but our own cat does sneak up on to the desk from time to time.

    Thanks, again.

    Hope your day is good.