back to article Magic Mice cast energy-sapping spell

Apple's wireless mouse stands accused of draining the energy from Apple's wireless keyboards, forcing daily battery replacements on some, and free keyboards on others. The problem has been knocking around the Apple forums for a few weeks, but with Magic Mice under many a tree this Christmas, the quantity of complaints has been …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    btw ...

    ... should it even be possible to buy non-rechargeable AA and AAA cells these days? If they banned the 100W incandescent lightbulb, surely it's time for these to be canned as well?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      As a proud owner...

      ..of about 30 rechargables (bloody kids toys!), I'd agree...but then one of her toys clearly stated NOT to use rechargables. I guess becuase of the fact many are 1.2v not 1.5. Wierd.

      I just can't see why people buy non rechargeables.

      2700mh ones cost about the same as 2 packs of decent non rechargable. Ok so you have to buy a charger (get a GOOD one, that can do batteries individually), but after about 5 recharges you are quids in.

      1. Haku


        You can get 1.5v rechargable AAs, they're alkaline RAM types which require a special charger. But really most gadgets are only concerned about the overall amps the batteries can give out which is why 1.2v NiMH/NiCad batteries will happily work in most situations.

        The only main downside of normal NiMH batteries that they lose their charge pretty fast even when not used, so not very good for remote controls, but now there are Low Self Discharge NiMH batteries on the market that can hold an estimated 60% of their original capacity a year after being charged and not used. I've bought a pile of them to replace my old NiMH's and they're great - doesn't matter if you use them that day or the next week they'll still hold their charge and give out full power.

        It's also worth investing in a charger that can indiidually peak charge batteries instead of blindly giving them a charge for x hours which can over-charge them, like the BC-700.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      ...being Apple, amazed you don't have to bin it and buy a new keyboard when the battery runs out.

    3. Anthony2799

      Hands off my double A's!

      Rechargables really suck for some applications. Depending on the particular technology used, self-discharge, energy density, shelf-life and performance in cold conditions can be problems.

      Most of the devices which really benefit from using rechargable batteries come with them anyway nowadays. Add the cost incentive to anything that really munches batteries, and the case for banning single-use cells seems weak.


      (Sticking to incandescent light-bulbs after two CFTs literally exploded above my head - you can still buy the non-pearl type.)

  2. StooMonster
    Jobs Horns

    Apple Bluetooth driver FUBAR

    Yep, add an Apple Magic Mouse to an original (three AA battery) Apple Bluetooth Keyboard whilst running Snow Leopard and the keyboard's battery life drops from three or four months down to a week -- might also happen with Leopard, but I personally haven't tested.

    It appears the Apple bluetooth driver does not allow the keyboard to go into sleep / powersave mode once a Magic Mouse is paired; shouldn't this be a simple fix?

    Anyway, I've been posting this for weeks on the Apple forum and no sign of a fix yet. I was told the solution was to buy the new (two AA battery) Apple Bluetooth Keyboard for £55.

  3. Adam Salisbury
    Jobs Horns

    Proof of Mactardism

    This article sums-up the fanboi mentality exactly: we don't care that we have to spend £5 a day to run our Apple mouse because it has an Apple on it Ooooooooo! Like them or hate them, Jobs' Mob have not only suckered every niave badge-chasing, status-symbol-seeking moron into paying throught the nose for average kit that's merely prettier than most other stuff, but got them to enjoy doing it too!

    1. Bilgepipe
      Gates Horns


      If you actually read the article, you'd know that they DO care and are complaining. But hey, you got to get today's anti-Apple bleat in somewhere, right?

    2. Eponymous Howard

      No, knucklehead... sums up the top-drawer ergonomics of the mouse. People want to stick with it because it is a superb mouse *in use*. There is clearly an issue that will, presumably, require a software fix, but that doesn't change the sound ergonomics.

      When will you fatheads get it into you that good design is not a bad thing?

    3. Steve Roper

      One wonders

      if you were Webster Phreaky in a previous life?

  4. Peter Zero


    More of a Logitech fan as far as computer peripherals go. Longer warranty too.

  5. Stu Wilson
    Jobs Halo

    Personally i'm waiting for Magic Mouse MkII

    where you cant change the batteries, and it comes with a mouse mat that doubles as an inductive charger

    1. Stephen Blake

      Throwing good power after bad...

      Great, so to compensate for short battery life they have included an inefficient recharge system! The genius of Crapple

      1. Stu Wilson

        more like never have to change a battery or charge it

        IMHO the benefits outweigh the inefficiencies of induction charging.

        * A mouse that can charge as you use it

        * Forget to stick it in its cradle? no problem its charging right where you left it.

        * Service replaceable batteries reduces waste

        * if a switch to a localised distinct frequency away from BT is used, the the mat could also be the receiver massively reducing power requirements

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Wires, anyone?

      What is the problem with having a wire come out of it? I have a mouse with a wire and it's great:

      * Even worked on the metal desks where I used to work (the wireless ones had to be almost touching the receiver).

      * I NEVER have to buy it new batteries (not even to replace the Pear™ rechargables that onlt last 6 months)

      * I can ALWAYS find it; I just follow the wire :)

      * When drag selecting multiple items, it never forgets that I have the botton held down and restarts the selection.

      If you are going to have an inductive mouse mat, it will still need a wire coming out of it anyway (you might as well just buy a proper tablet like the Intuos 3.

      And no the wire doesn't bother me; it's not an iron girder, I can still move the mouse just fine.

  6. Nick 22

    Rechargeable batteries don't work

    Neither my 2 AA Apple Keyboard, or my Apple Bluetooth mouse will come to life with rechargeable batteries, I guess they just don't like the 1.2v supplied.

    It's good old fashioned, full fat, Duracells all the way to the landfill.

    Good work Apple.

  7. LuMan

    Not Just Apple

    I bought a Logitec wireless mouse/kb combo a couple of years back. The mouse lasts for months on its AAAs, but the keyboard is only good for a couple of days. Initially I resorted to pulling the batteries out whenever I switched the PC off, but this soon became a pain in the arse. Now I use a wireless mouse and a USB keyboard <sigh>. Still, it frees up a USB port, I suppose.

    BTW - @ Adam Salisbury. You spend £5 on a couple of batteries?? Even morons know how to shop around.

  8. My Alter Ego
    Jobs Horns

    @Bilgepipe; Re: Mactardism

    Whilst I don't own any Apple products, I accept that they produce some pretty flash kit. However us mortals do enjoy gloating when products that are declared perfect fail. It's just unfortunate that Apple appear to target of the most rabid fanbois. It's not the best human trait, but it does make life that little bit more interesting.

    The following video should not be watched by people psychologically harmed by criticism of Apple. I love the "I'll buy anything if it's shiny and has an Apple on it!" comment.

    Evil Steve? Because anyone who made something so shiny and stylish must be in league with the devil.

    1. Mike48US

      No Title

      Thank you loved the video, and I'm sending the link to all my Mac Using friends!!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ...are great but NiMH's lose their charge over time. Hence why people still use long lasting alkalines etc.

    1. Real Ale is Best

      @AC NiMH's losing charge? Not anymore!

      I have several sets, and they work a treat!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Modern good-quality NiMH are pretty good

      However, they require a bit of baby sitting. Intermittent use, and incomplte discharge play havoc with them (despite all the claims of no memory effect).

      Most battery chargers make a bit of a hash of getting good results out of even very good batteries. If you're willing to spend a small fortune on something like a Powerex C9000 charger, you can get excellent performance out of good batteries, but that charger does all the faffing of breaking in and conditioning the batteries, and gives you control over discharging (settle down).

      It's a lot of faff, I know. however, if you're a heavy user of something power-hungry (like a modern all-singing, all-dancing GPS), such a charger is worth a punt. As a side benefit, your other gadgets benefit too- even if it's arguably overkill for them.

    3. Haku


      they just haven't discovered Low Self Discharge NiMH batteries that work as good the next week/month as they would the next day.

  10. Geoff Campbell

    NiMH shelf life

    AC is correct that NiMHs have a limited shelf life, to the extent that storing them for a couple of weeks makes them pretty much unusable without a fresh charge. However, in a low-current device, something a bit weird happens, and the shelf life can extend.

    I'm not enough of an expert to explain it, but in some of my devices, notably a couple of remote controls, NiMHs last for months at a time. I guess the regular low usage somehow reduces the self-discharge. This doesn't happen in all devices, though, so there's some weird interaction of usage pattern and current draw that is required.


    1. Anonymous Coward

      It's all a bit odd

      I can't remember what the deal is with that (yes, "memory effect", hah), but all of these problems can be solved, or you can just anorak endlessly with those crazy Maha Powerex things. Having played with one, I may well get one to keep my shiny new Garmin fed. It does about five hours on Duracell alkalines, can do about 11-12 hours on good quality 2700mAh NiMHs have have been properly treated.

      However, you're right, I learned that charging a load of batteries and sticking them in a little pokcet of my bag for months is less than useful, doh. Temperature is also a huge issue. If I am using NiMH and it's below freezing (like now), often, I will try and stick the device in an inside jacket pocket when not in use- it seems to kill the run time if they get too low. The Li-ion battery in my camera seems to appreciate this too- just as well I carry a nice GR Digital 3 compact, or it'd look like I had techno-moobs.

      Yes, I like to be over-equipped, you may now point and laugh. I like being a spod, and I make good tea, also!

  11. Steve Medway
    Thumb Up

    Even if there is a problem.....

    Magic mice rock. It's such a shame apple cripple them at purchase.

    However install Better Touch Tool or MagicPrefs and it turns from a very good mouse to a freaking bloomin' excellent mouse.

    I've had several multi button mice and without a doubt gestures kick their tiny rodent asses. Good job I've got an old 4 AA white mac wireless keyboard - no issues here thankfully.

    Even if there were issues I'd go out and buy a new keyboard. Magic mice really are that good.

    It's was about time apple ditched the abomination that was the Mighty Mouse - It was pretty good at first but I ended up destroying mine just trying to open the thing to clean the poxy wheel/ball properly.


  12. Nev Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    They need ...

    ...Sanyo Eneloop batteries.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    What is it with Apple and Mice?

    I soon ditched the wireless keyboard and mouse combo preferring a wired Apple keyboard and third party mouse with reduced functionality compared to the same mouse on Windows. But it is a better pairing for sure and especially if something goes wrong.

    As for batteries...

    NIMH's get my vote.

    Sure they might not pack the same 1.5v as dry cell alkalies but the noise in alkalies as they run down is also a factor. I find NIMHs less noisy upon drain.

  14. Bradley
    Jobs Halo

    knock on wood

    No troubles with my old-school transparent BT keyboard with the Magic Mouse, but the rodent itself sucks it back faster than the mighty mouse before it.

    The best NiMH i've tried are Sanyo Eneloop.

  15. proto-robbie


    I have a Magic Mouse (thanks Santa), and a wireless keyboard, and have no problems with either of them. Rumour-mongers the lot of you. It's a great mouse.

    1. StooMonster

      O RLY?

      A1255 model keyboard is it? (i.e. the three AA battery model with the problem) Sure it's not the newer (two AA battery) model?

      If you do have the older Bluetooth keyboard and a Magic Mouse and your keyboard batteries are still lasting three or four months rather than a week, are you running Leopard as opposed to Snow Leopard?

  16. Eddy Ito

    Easy fix

    I solved all the problems with my BT Apple keyboard. It was easy really, the new keyboard has this wire like thing that plugs into a USB connector. No more of Apple's BT pants.

  17. stizzleswick

    Not a new problem

    Having been a user of the predecessor of the predecessor of the current wireless Apple keyboard (remember the white one? The one I'm typing on right now?), I used to experience excessively short battery life on that one, as well, when I was using a bluetooth mouse. By Logitech. The keyboard's batteries would last up to maybe a month, at most. Since I hooked up a wired mouse (since consequently replaced by a tablet) over half a year ago, no more battery changes. So I don't think this is either a new problem, or one specific to Apple gear (apart from the keyboards being hit being made by Apple. On the other hand, I have so far to see any bluetooth wireless keyboards by any other manufacturer, and I have looked far and wide for 'em).

  18. slack
    Thumb Down

    Told to take batteries out

    The solution I was given was to take the batteries out of the keyboard when not using it. FFS!

    I can't be bothered doing that, I have found that switching the mouse off when not using helps a bit, ie I get about a week out of the batteries instead of a day or two. Apple had better pull their finger out and fix this.

  19. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    No argument yet on it being a good thing?

    "But what's most surprising is that none of those complaining seem to think that replacing batteries daily is too high a price to pay for the joy of using a Magic Mouse."

    I'm suprised none have come up with some convoluted fanboi-argument about how having to constantly replace batteries is a good thing! Although Eponymous Howard up there gets pretty close.

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