Hacking Apple’s Magic Mouse To Fix Its Worst Flaws

The Magic Mouse was first released by Apple in 2009 and was a major departure from previous designs. It was sleek, low-profile, and featured a touch pad on the top for gestures. Although the first generation was powered by two AA batteries and didn’t lead to much commentary, the 2015 redesign caused a lot of scathing memes and worse, mostly due to the rechargeable battery and the Lightning charging port that had been located on its bottom, leading to Dead Magic Mouse syndrome when you wanted to charge it. Since then myriad hackers have tried to fix the Magic Mouse’s issues, with [Ivan Kuleshov]’s recent attempt being perhaps the most straightforward and possibly successful.

Essentially, the Magic Mouse has two major flaws: ergonomics and the worst possible location of the charging port. Although both 3D models and commercial products exist to alleviate the former issue – and some of these even add wireless charging in between mousing sessions – all attempts to relocate the charging port were met by failure, as the Magic Mouse cannot be both charged and used at the same time due to how Apple designed the circuit.

What [Ivan] did differently is that aside from tweaking some existing 3D models for Magic Mouse extensions to his liking, he also fixed the charging issue by avoiding Apple’s circuitry altogether and adding a USB-C port in the process. He also added a TP4056-based charging module, directly soldered to the battery’s terminals, that will top off the battery when plugged in. During experimentation on a live Magic Mouse, this led to the battery charge reported in MacOS increasing correspondingly. More or less, at least.

The 3D printed shell isn’t just a wrapper around the original mouse either, but splits the squat rodent into its upper and lower sections, so that the optical sensor isn’t suspended off the surface, while also keeping the touch-sensitive top section where it should be. According to [Ivan] the project files will be made available on his GitHub account in the near future.

47 thoughts on “Hacking Apple’s Magic Mouse To Fix Its Worst Flaws

  1. Why would anyone tolerate a mouse that forces you to stop using your computer when it needs a recharge?

    Why would anyone try to work around such a stupid design fault instead of complaining to the company that made it and, you know, not buy the product until they fix it?

      1. Not being an Apple user, I had no idea how bad the Magic Mouse is. The reason why they swapped over from AA cells to lithium rechargeable is because the alkaline batteries would only last for 30 days. That’s terrible for a wireless mouse. Instead of fixing the problem, they just made it worse, because the Li-ion battery is only 7 Watt-hours, which is somewhat less than a good pair of AAs. Only now you can’t conveniently swap in new cells when they run out.

          1. I have never had an empty battery battery in a mouse. But I do have to make it’s cord a bit shorter every 3 to 5 years because of wire fatigue at the location where the cord gets out of the critter.

        1. That Apple somehow managed to make some decent silicon and their first actually reasonable price to performance, performance per watt (etc) products in a long time with the M1 chip doesn’t really excuse Apples otherwise terrible hardware and anti-consumer practices.

          About the only justification for sticking with Apple is Stockholm syndrome really, the walled garden with all the devices working together is nice but replicable, the pro audio/video type folks may be stuck with their programs of choice being Mac only, but other programs exist etc – it is almost all just the inertia of Apple having been (despite my dislike of them) really good once, with a little bit of managing to turn themselves into a fashion brand you simply ‘must’ buy…

    1. It’s actually a marvel how they can make a device with a LED and a camera, and a radio, work with so little energy these days. One AA cell contains about 13-14,000 Joules of energy. A modern wireless mouse runs 12 months on that. That’s an average power draw of around 400 micro-Watts.

      The worst flaw of the Magic Mouse is that it uses about 20 times as much.

    2. I’m really no Apple fan, never owned any of their hardware, but people seem to blow the charging thing out of proportion. It tells you when the battery is running low, then you plug it in next time you leave the desk for a few minutes and it recharges, done?

      1. Such warnings are easy to ignore and forget until the mouse actually drops in the middle of you working with it. That’s what always happens to me, because even if the mouse is blinking the “low battery” indicator, I then forget to actually change the battery when I’m done.

    3. You don’t know anything about that mouse, cables, etc. First: it charges enough for a full day use in about 2 minutes. I guess a robot like you doesn’t ever take a pee break or swing by the water cooler? I also guess that you would ignore the 50+ low battery warning you would get over the last week before the mouse died.

      Second: The mouse charging port. Have you seen a lightning cable that a teenager has used for about a year? Now imagine that cable plugged in to the front of the mouse and never unplugged and constantly tensioned and torqued by mouse movements. Seems a great way to fuck a port and a cable simultaneously.

      Point 3: The Razer Viper Ultimate Charging Dock…
      That mouse charges ON THE FUCKING BOTTOM.

      So sure “cult of personality” or: you and everyone else are short sighted Apple complainers who are mad at an Apple product because it’s Apple and you don’t have the screw drivers to work on it so it’s sooo hard and unfriendly and unpreparable.

      1. You’re trying to rationalize a design fault in an expensive premium product, that requires one to mind that the mouse is always charged up, while the cheap low quality competitors work so much better that people can simply forget when they’ve actually replaced the batteries, and running out will never be an issue because it’s so easy to swap in a new cell.


        Second: wired mice work just fine. If that is the problem, then the fault is with the lightning connector, or the teenager. Also, if the mouse was well designed you wouldn’t have to leave it connected because it would work a year on a charge.

        Third: other companies can and do make design errors and bad products as well. The question is the same – why would you buy one that was made so stupidly? The only difference with Apple is that people say Apple does things the right way, the best way, even when they do it the wrong way.

      2. Doesn’t matter that you can get a day out of it in 2 mins, that is 2 mins at a time not of your choosing it isn’t working for, and if its been in you laptop bag going flat you quite possible won’t even know its about to happen. A tool you can’t rely on when you really need it is rubbish.

        All they had to do was put the port out the front so you could still just about it use when it needed charging, and with that Apple magnetic cable stuff it wouldn’t matter at all to wearing out the port, and they would get to charge you a small fortune for another £2 magsafe cable…

        And just because some other company has done the same stupid thing doesn’t stop it being stupid… And in this case its a totally different thing – a dock for your mouse to sit on when you are not using it that can be neatly cable managed on your desk is still a more elegant solution than the dead bug method (and it seems you can also charge it with a cable out the front – how shockingly sensible!). Still wouldn’t call the dock concept a great idea, but the mouse is fundamentally better at the job its for and has this weird thing that at least approximates ergonomics…

    1. The touch pad on top is actually very highly configurable. Interestingly, most of the features are not available out of the box, but are supported by a 3rd party “driver”. Out of the box it’ll do X & Y scroll, pinch, and a right click, as well as some macOS specific features. With BetterTouchTool, a bunch of unused features are exposed (gestures, a ‘mid’ and ‘back’ touch). I suspect they engineered a lot into it, and then the HUI people said “no”. The mouse is really great, but it’s got a little over designed in my opinion. And if you look at Apple up until a bit after Jony Ive left, it suffers from a lot of this – function following form, instead of the other way around.

  2. I bought one of those when they were brand new- I guess it used AA batteries. I was excited because it had a 3-D mouse “wheel” like a mini trackball that seemed super useful.
    The ergonomics were awful.
    The thing hurt my wrist into carpal tunnel syndrome within about 10 minutes.
    You couldn’t right click without removing your left (index) finger completely off which was ridiculous.
    The mouse acceleration used a totally bizarre curve that was only minimally adjustable and totally different than the mouse pad physics. Either you exponentially got closer to the target and never got there (a real life philosophy question of hell) or massively overshot. Since I have hot corners it was maddening- overshoot and windows close or open or switch.
    And the reason I actually got it, the 3-d scroll, was itty bitty and not useful.
    It went back in the box after a couple days and never came out again. I tried to sell it at a loss then gave up. I probably still have it in a box in the attic somewhere
    Ironically, one issue I never dealt with was battery life. Hahaha.

    1. You’re referring to Apple’s Mighty Mouse, this article is about Magic Mouse. Some of your criticism remains valid for the Magic Mouse, it’s definitely a low profile mouse, for me it’s good for slipping in a laptop bag but I wouldn’t want to use it as my main mouse. It does have pretty good 2D (never got why they called the trackball 3D) scrolling using the multi touch trackpad on the top. It also has support for other gestures although I mostly kept to the workspace switching one.

  3. Apple fanboys are going to say it is still a good thing, despite the flaws.
    Apple haters are going to say it is a bad thing, despite the fact there’s obviously a market.
    News sites will move on to the next thing for people to discuss.
    These comments will be irrelevant….including this one.

  4. To save future readers time, I will pre-categorize te comments that have been made, and – here’s the trick – WILL be made. Yes, I can predict the future you see….

    There will be two categories:

    1 – “Apple bad” – the category from people who will often upfront declare that they don’t own Apple products (thus an argument from ignorance), usually in a fairly righteous manner. The fact that Apple is responsible for a bunch of technologies and paradigms they are currently using doesn’t come into things. Apple bad, because .

    2 – “Apple good” – the category from people who, in a fairly righteous manner will claim that others are using it wrong, or that they just don’t get it. The fact that Apple is responsible for a bunch of terrible design choices doesn’t come into things. Apple good, because Apple.

    Honestly, the fact there is little objectivity when it comes to Apple is weird, and plays to the old adage that there’s no bad publicity….

    1. “ Honestly, the fact there is little objectivity when it comes to Apple is weird”

      Well, the thing is that I, for instance, bought my Apple laptop in 2015, and it’s still running great and does everything I need from it, 8 years on…

      The only other brand that gave me that quality was Sony Vaio, where I’m still using one that I bought in 2007.

      See, imo both are in the same category. Relatively high in price, and relatively high design. And lacking in other things.

      But they are flagship devices, from a company who only makes flagship devices and nothing less. And the quality is unsurpassed. You can feel the pride that the designers put into them.

      Basically you can’t go wrong buying them. Unless you are into consumerism and want to replace them every year or so. The everlasting circle of buying a new laptop every year, just to impress your friends, or just to play the latest game on its exact date of release.

      People say “bragging rights”. But notice that those are never the Apple people? Because those are the people who don’t care about bragging rights. It’s the other ones who keep bringing it up.


      1. I have a Thinkpad from 2013 that’s still running well, and it’s one of those cheap budget business versions with APU integrated graphics. I don’t remember how much it was, but it was way less than a thousand Euros. Nothing wrong with it, except the battery has gone down so it’s delegated to desktop duty and other odd jobs where it can stay plugged in. Right now it’s doing some data logging for a project.

        Don’t need expensive flagship models to have good reliable quality. Every time they publish warranty return statistics and 3-year failure projections, Apple is right in the middle of the group – perfectly average.

      2. Looks down at 10 year old HP Elitedesk, over at 10 year old dell latitude, up at the BeagleBoneBlack and original Raspberry Pi all running without a problem and wonders why an 8 year old Apple is better.

  5. I appreciate Apple’s technical abilities, however on the corporate level they are incredibly anti-consumer because of increasingly making their products as difficult to repair as possible for third party repairers. Apple are control freaks, and all in the interest of extreme monetary greed. And then of course there’s the environmental aspect – because of their anti-consumer repair policies a lot of their devices end up as landfill when they could have otherwise have been repaired by a third party if all parts were cheap, easy to find and easy to install with no all-controlling hardware-based IDs for components and their resulting hardware lockouts.

    A side effect of their policies is that other companies have seen how many blinkered consumers are accepting of such policies, and so those companies copy Apple.

    It’s abhorrent, extremely wasteful and definitely not ‘green’, however much the corporations and their marketing departments tell you otherwise.

    BTW, I’m fully aware of Apple’s ‘Self Service Repair’ program but let’s be honest, it’s just Apple’s way of trying to shut up the Right To Repair movement while retaining full control of what the consumer can repair and at what cost (Apple’s prices!). It’s EXTREMELY restrictive with what they allow.

  6. This.
    Exactly this.
    I’ve had several Apple products over the years, and they’ve been excellent. I’ve had an iPod, two iPhones, two iPads, and two Macbooks. Now though, while I still appreciate their technical work, I just can’t get over how anti-consumer they are.
    I no longer use an iPod, iPhone, or Macbook, I still make use of my most recent iPad, but when it comes time to replace it… I’ll certainly be looking elsewhere first.
    I still don’t think anyone else makes a smart watch as good as the Apple one, and that is a shame, but it’s not worth the burden.

  7. nah the Razer version is an improvement, it’s quick to hang up like a cordless phone so I’m more likely to remember. And the mouse has a USB port on the front, and a cord channel to reduce wear, so it can be used when dead anyway.

  8. I think I can say without fear of meaningful contradiction that the only mouse the world has ever needed is the Microsoft Wheel Mouse Optical D66-00001. It will be a grim day indeed when the last of those can no longer be kept operational. My wife & I have three—two in use, and one spare to rotate in while we refurbish another.

  9. A lot of misconceptions in the comments. (MacOS not designed for a mouse?! 🤪)

    Personally I’ve never had issue with the Magic Mouse. (I have 4 around various places)
    Rarely charge them (months of use) and I get loads of warning it needs charging before going flat. I have a cabled mouse around just in case. No biggie for the few minutes it’s needed.
    I have big hands and always liked a mouse that is supportive, but somehow this design suits me.
    The touch surface was a revelation.
    The biggest gripe I have is the first AA gen silver paint wore off the sides, this seems to have been fixed on the MM2.

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