Problems with the Apple Magic Mouse
I had been using the stock Apple Magic Mouse on an iMac. The right click often didn’t work properly. Also, selecting and dragging files in Finder, or the Finder replacement I use (PathFinder) often failed. I figured the former was related to the mouse but assumed the latter was related to the OS. That turns out to not be the case.
The Magic Mouse will run on any AA batteries but if you don’t want to change the batteries a lot and have other problems, you need to use super-duper electronic device batteries. I think I was spending at least $50 a year on batteries. That Magic Mouse is a great piece of design and innovated in being a device that could handle gestures as well as act like a normal mouse.
But eventually my Magic Mouse started to get old, started burning through batteries more quickly, and most importantly, started disconnecting or otherwise giving problems. No big deal, mice get old and die. Time to get a new one.
In considering replacing it with a new Magic Mouse, I looked into alternatives and found the Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse t631 (not to be confused with the t630). It is explicitly a replacement for the Magic Mouse, but officially also runs on a Windows machine. Checking further, I also found, as is the case with so many devices including those made by Logitech, that it also works on a Linux machine, though the manufacturer does not support it.
Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse t631
Knowing that the mouse works on Linux and knowing that I needed a new mouse for my Linux laptop anyway, I went ahead and bought the Logitech Ultrathin Touch Mouse T631 for Mac (for somwhere south of $60, which I think is cheaper than a new Magic Mouse).
The problem I had with double clicking is gone. So, too, is the problem I had with selecting files. Had I known that was the mouse, I would have gotten a new mouse a long time ago (I doubt this is a Magic Mouse problem, probably something wrong with my specific mouse from the get-go).
The Logitech mouse will not be liked by everyone. When I first started using the Magic Mouse I found the touch was way to sensitive. But in short order I got used to that. People who like the fact that the Magic Mouse has a hair trigger on the click may be annoyed by the fact that you have to push harder to click with the Logitech Ultrathin. Personally, I’m fine with that and probably prefer it.
The Logitech Ultrathin is, well, ultra thin, and generally, much smaller than the Magic Mouse (but about the same width, which is important for gestures). Given Apple’s trend towards extreme smallness, this should actually excite Apple Ecosystem denizens. For me, again, the smallness is fine. Personally, I prefer to move back and forth between mice of very different sizes, shapes, and overall feel as I move between computers. That is probably just a quirk of mine but I think not ensuring that my hands are always configured in the same exact way no matter what reduces muscle and joint fatigue, decreased the chance of carpel tunnel syndrome, etc.
The mouse has all the usual gestures. Oddly, even though the Logitech Ultrathin is designed as a Magic Mouse replacement, it has several gesture features that don’t apply to the Mac, but do work with Windows to do various things. For example, there is a left and right edge swipe. It also has an app espose gesture that works on the Mac. The gestures are highly configurable and can be disabled.
Seeing this extra gesture functionality makes me want to try it out on Linux sooner than later. Note, for example, that the Logitech Ultrathin has a middle click. Yay for the middle click! (This especially applies to emacs users.) Again, I’ve not tried it out yet, but I’m sure it will work on Linux with a little tweaking.
The Logitech Ultrathin is a Bluetooth mouse, so your device is going to have to be a bluetooth device. Also, it has a button on the bottom that effectively changes the mouse’s identity, so you can pair one identity with one computer, the other with a different computer. This allows you to easily switch between two computers. All the literature with the mouse talks about doing this with two different Macs, but I don’t know why that wouldn’t work in general. I’ve not tried to pair it with my android phone yet… or an iPad … We’ll see.
The mouse runs off an internal rechargeable battery, so that 50 bucks a year I’m spending on batteries for the Magic Mouse paid for the Logitech Ultrathin, assuming it lasts just over a year. It has a fast charge, so one minute of charge is said to produce one hour of use-juice. The company says that one and a half hour of charge gives you about ten days of use. So, remembering to plug it in all night now and then will do it. Which, of course, I won’t remember, but it is a nice thought.
There is a design flaw, in my opinion, that I want to mention. You plug the charge cord, a micro-USB (which is highly convenient) into the bottom of the mouse. So you can’t use it while it is charging. I’d rather have the mouse hook up to the charger and still be usable, even if it has a cable hanging off it, for those moments when I have to keep working but forgot to charge it. I’m not sure why they made it this way.
And another thing, one of those strange quirks of the Magic Mouse, now solved. For reasons I did not understand at the time, Google Maps were useless on my iMac. When trying to navigate (using the mouse) by dragging the map, the zoom mode would activate and the map would start growing and shrinking rapidly and randomly. I’d be looking at the distance between my hope and my son’s new grade school, and suddenly I was comparing the distance between Coon Rapids, Minnesota and Bognor Regis, England. With the new mouse, that does not happen. So that is yet another quirk that was the Magic Mouse’s fault, now solved.
The mouse does not require installing configuration software but you will probably regret not doing so. So do that. Easily done on a Mac, and it works. If I experiment with Linux, I’ll write something up on what esoteric command line magic you will need to make the mouse sing on that OS.