How to Connect a Wireless Mouse

A cordless mouse brings flexibility, with just a few considerations

Close up of woman's hand on wireless mouse

 

shironosov / Getty Images

Wireless mice use Bluetooth technology to connect to your computer, freeing your desktop from the clutter of extra cords. Because they rely on Bluetooth, wireless mice connect just like any other Bluetooth device — with a few extra considerations.

Connecting a Wireless Mouse

To pair with your computer, the wireless mouse must rely on its onboard transmitter, which communicates with a receiver inside the computer. Most modern tablet computers and laptops feature built-in Bluetooth radios. However, some desktop computers do not. If your computer doesn't naturally support Bluetooth, purchase a Bluetooth adapter, or select a wireless mouse that includes a USB dongle that serves as a receiver.

Connect a Wireless Mouse on a Computer Running Windows 10

The Bluetooth menu provides a means to connect a wireless mouse in Windows 10.

  1. Open the Settings app (press Win+I as a shortcut) and select Devices.

    Screenshot of Devices in Windows Settings
  2. From the left sidebar menu, select Bluetooth & other devices, then select the plus sign ( + ) next to Add Bluetooth or other device from the right pane.

    Screenshot of Bluetooth & Other Devices in Settings
  3. In the pop-up window, select Bluetooth.

    Screenshot of Add a Device window
  4. Follow the steps of the add-device wizard. You'll need to put the wireless mouse in pairing mode. Windows will detect the mouse and add the relevant drivers.

Making a wireless mouse discoverable differs by manufacturer, so check your quick-start instruction guide.

Connect a Wireless Mouse on a Computer Running macOS Mojave

Put your wireless mouse into pairing mode (check the device documentation for instructions).

  1. Select Apple > System Preferences > Bluetooth.

  2. Your Mac will search for any device in pairing mode when you open the Bluetooth panel. When the computer finds the mouse, it'll display in the window. Select Pair.

Connect a Wireless Mouse on a Computer Running Ubuntu Linux (Version 18.04)

Place your wireless mouse in pairing mode (check the device documentation for instructions).

  1. Open the Bluetooth panel and ensure that the switch at the top is set to the On position.

  2. Select your mouse in the Devices list and finish the setup. You should complete this step within 20 seconds to avoid timeouts. When the mouse connects, its status will display as Connected.

  3. Select the connected mouse to open a panel for device-specific customization.

Wireless Mouse Considerations

A Bluetooth mouse differs from a wired mouse in several significant ways:

  • You must remain relatively close. Although you can go as far as 33 feet away from your computer with a Bluetooth mouse, taking the mouse out of range might require that you re-pair the device.
  • The wireless mouse requires batteries. You'll either need spare batteries or a charging cable for wireless mice with non-replaceable batteries. Although most modern Bluetooth mice go for months or years on a single set of batteries, Murphy's Law suggests your mouse will die at the worst possible moment; plan ahead.
  • Different mice support different numbers of paired devices. Some mice pair with one computer at a time; several models can support two or three devices. If you travel with one mouse but two computers (e.g., a laptop and a Windows tablet), pick a mouse that can support both without re-pairing each time you use it.
  • Wireless mice and their dongles sometimes grow legs. If your computer requires a dongle, look for a low-profile model that you can leave permanently inserted into a USB slot. Larger dongles can fall off or become damaged in a laptop bag.
  • Different computers load Bluetooth drivers at different points in their startup sequence. Should you need to troubleshoot a computer that's not starting properly, you might find that your Bluetooth mouse doesn't load before the computer goes awry. Usually, USB drivers load before wireless drivers, so you may have better luck troubleshooting a wonky computer with a wired mouse.