An Easy Fix for a Magic Mouse Tracking Problem

Keep the jitters away from your Apple Magic Mouse

Apple's initial Magic Mouse and the follow-up Magic Mouse 2 exhibit few quirks. You may not think about the Magic Mouse until it suddenly stops tracking, the cursor becomes jerky, or the cursor moves super slow or super fast. When your Apple mouse is not working, there are several fixes you can try.

Instructions in this article apply to the Magic Mouse 2 and the initial Magic Mouse connected to a Bluetooth-enabled Mac computer with macOS Catalina (10.15) through OS X El Capitan (10.11).

Magic Mouse underside

Causes of an Apple Mouse Not Working

When the Magic Mouse loses its Bluetooth connection with the computer or its battery dies, it doesn't function. If the optical sensor is dirty, the cursor may move in a jerky manner. If the cursor moves too slowly or too fast, the settings may be the cause. A corrupt preference file can cause all sorts of jerky movements.

How to Fix Magic Mouse Tracking Problems

Most of the fixes for an Apple mouse not working correctly are simple. Try these solutions to get your mouse up and running in almost no time.

  1. Reseat the battery if you use a first-generation Magic Mouse and experience hesitant tracking behavior. The most likely reason is that the batteries in the mouse lost contact with the battery terminals. The result is that the Magic Mouse and Mac momentarily lose Bluetooth connectivity. To see if the mouse has a battery connectivity problem, lift the Magic Mouse off of the surface you're using it on. If the green power LED blinks, the batteries are probably loose. There are ways to fix these kinds of Magic Mouse disconnect issues.

  2. Charge the battery of a Magic Mouse 2. It doesn't have the battery terminal problem because it doesn't use standard AA batteries. Instead, Apple created a custom rechargeable battery pack for the second-generation mouse that you can't access. Check the battery charge by clicking the Bluetooth icon on the Mac menu bar or in the Mouse system preferences. If the charge is low, take a break and plug it in.

  3. Fix a dirty optical sensor. If you have a Magic Mouse 2 or can rule out a battery problem in your first-generation Magic Mouse, the mouse may be skipping or hesitating because debris or dirt is lodged in the mouse's optical sensor. To fix this issue, turn the mouse over and use compressed air to blow out the dirt. If you don't have compressed air on hand, blow into the sensor opening. Before putting the mouse on your work surface, clean the mouse pad or desktop area where you use the Magic Mouse.

  4. Check the Magic Mouse settings. Go to System Preferences > Mouse > Point & Click. If the Tracking speed slider is set to either an extremely slow or extremely fast speed, adjust it to a speed that suits you better.

  5. Delete a damaged preference file. The preference file that your Mac uses to configure the Magic Mouse when you first turn it on may be corrupt. Locate the ~/Library/Preferences file and drag the following two files to the trash.

    • com.apple.AppleMultitouchMouse.plist
    • com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothMultitouch.mouse.plist

    When you restart the Mac, it recreates the default preference files for the mouse. Open System Preferences and reconfigure the mouse to meet your needs.

    Before changing or deleting files in the Library folder, use Time Machine to back up the data on your computer.

    The ~/Library/Preferences file is hidden on a Mac by default. Access it by going to Finder > Go > Go to Folder and typing ~/Library. Then select Go.

  6. Seek professional help. If these fixes don't solve the problem, you may have a hardware issue on your hands. Make an appointment at an Apple Store or take the mouse to an Apple Authorized Service Provider to evaluate and, if possible, repair the mouse.