Battery Life in Magic Mouse Pulls a Disappearing Act

Use Rechargeable NiMH AA Batteries to Reduce Power Cost

Magic Mouse
Original Magic Mouse uses 2 AA batteries. Courtesy of Apple

The original Magic Mouse comes with AA alkaline batteries pre-installed and ready for use. Some early Magic Mouse users reported that battery life was abysmal, though: a mere 30 days or so. This may be one of the reasons Apple changed the battery type used in the Magic Mouse 2 to an internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery.

The batteries, and not the mouse, may be the culprit. In most cases, the Magic Mouse comes with Energizer batteries, which are a well-respected brand, but it's difficult to know how long they've been on the shelf before being installed in a Magic Mouse.

It's likely that new, fresh batteries will last longer than the 30 days some users were getting out of the initial batch.

Of course, battery life also depends on usage. The Magic Mouse is supposed to go into hibernation when it detects a lack of use, which should help extend battery life. Turning the Magic Mouse off manually when you're done using it, with the switch on the mouse's belly, should help push battery life a little further.

Another option to get the most life out of the Magic Mouse's batteries is to replace them with either lithium-ion AA or rechargeable NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries. Both should provide longer life; the NiMH batteries have the added benefit of being rechargeable.

If you decide to go the rechargeable route, look for NiMH AAs with a 2900 Mah (Milla amp hour) rating or better. Many of the bubble-packed, brand name rechargeables you find in the checkout aisle of your local hardware or grocery store have a 2300 to 2500 Mah rating.

While they will work, they won't have as much staying power, and you'll find yourself recharging them fairly often. The 2900 Mah batteries are sometimes referred to as High Capacity, or other marketing babble.

Lithium AAs are also available in various Mah ratings, and once again, the 2900 Mah rating is a good value to look for.

The advantage of lithium batteries is a much longer battery life than standard alkaline AAs. They also last longer than the NiMH batteries do on a single charge, but they're not rechargeable.

Of course, lithium AAs have a downside; they're a bit expensive when compared to standard AA batteries. 

Rechargeables

As mentioned above, one option is to use rechargeable AA batteries. I've been using the Apple Battery Charger, which comes with six NiMH high-capacity batteries, and the two-position battery charger. The six rechargeable batteries are enough to power your Magic Mouse (two batteries), your Apple Bluetooth Keyboard (two batteries), and have two batteries left in the charger to ensure you always have a fully charged set ready for use.

The Apple Battery Charger is of the smart variety; you can leave batteries in the charger without fear of them being overcharged. Also, the battery charger has one of the lowest current draws of any charger once the batteries in the charger reach a full charge. When the charger becomes idle, its vampire draw (the amount of power being consumed when off or in stand by mode) is a mere 30 mW (milliwatts), compared to a typical battery charger's 315 mW draw.

The Apple Battery Charger will also work with any rechargeable AA NiMH batteries, not just Apple's own brand.

Let us know the battery life you're seeing with your original generation Magic Mouse.