Apple’s “Two-Button” Mouse

Mighty Mouse and fix.

Apple StoreWhile checking my RSS feed subscriptions today (I’m really trying hard to make that part of my regular routine), I ran across this article at MacOSHints.com: “One possible fix for a broken Mighty Mouse right click.” In it, the author (luomat) writes:

I bought myself a wireless Mighty Mouse during Apple’s Black Friday sale. For the life of me, I could not get the right-click to work, even after enabling it in the System Preferences panel. I tried tapping all over the place on the right side of the mouse and it worked maybe one out of twenty times as I muttered “Why couldn’t they just build a real two-button mouse?”

His brief article goes on to discuss the fix.

Apple Mighty MouseUnfortunately, I’m going to have to buy a Mighty Mouse just so I can write about it in my upcoming Leopard book. As I’ve learned over time, if you don’t have certain hardware installed, certain options related specifically to that hardware just doesn’t appear. (Hence, the need for 3 iPods over the past 5 years. Sheesh.)

But I agree with luomat: Why can’t they just build a real two-button mouse?

11 thoughts on “Apple’s “Two-Button” Mouse

  1. Maria,

    It quacks like a duck, kid, which means IT IS a two-button mouse.

    Still, I’ve had to “turn it on” for two recent Mac switchers, so maybe it doesn’t quack loudly enough.

    Richard Taylor

  2. I prefer the physical, visible buttons, the kind you can click and hear a good solid “click” for. Call me old fashioned.

    I guess I better check one of them out the next time I’m in an Apple store.

  3. The problems I see with the touch-sensisitve single button that tries to be two buttons:

    1) The design forces you to lift the finger you *don’t* want to click off the mouse in order for it to register properly. On a physical two-button, you can rest your finger on the mouse and the potential for repetitive stress problems is reduced.

    2) Clicking while your finger is outside the sensitive area of the mouse produces a standard click. I’ve had this happen a lot.

  4. You *can* indeed hear and feel an audible click regardless of which side of the Mighty Mouse you press.

    The obvious difference is there’s no physical, visible line between the two sides of the mouse. Instead the whole front of the top of the mouse rocks downward when you press and it clicks. And a sensor underneath the top of the mouse determines whether it’s a right click or a left click based on whether your index finger is resting on the left side of the mouse:

    If your finger is resting on the surface of the left side of the mouse when you click, the mouse registers a left click.

    If your finger is not touching the left side, the mouse registers a right click.

    The biggest drawback to this design is if you happen to let your index finger rest on (or hover too closely to) the left side of the mouse while clicking on the right side, the mouse registers it as a left click. This mouse is therefore obviously not well suited for situations where a missed quick right click is unacceptable (for instance first person gaming).

    Another minor annoyance is since the scroll ball is a ball and not a wheel, dust and dirt can clog it from time to time, causing the ball not to scroll well, or sometimes at all, in one direction or another. But usually turning the mouse upside down while rolling the ball vigorously is enough to get the ball working again. It’s a physical ball – so it gets clogged just like the balls in mice before laser tracking came along – the same concepts apply. I can live with this one.

    Other than those two gripes, this is a great mouse, IMO. I think if Apple could work the missed right click kink out, making it so that fast right clicks were reliably detected, Mighty Mouse would be nearly perfect!

  5. What if you need to press both mouse buttons at the same time, for example in a game? I think in World of Warcraft, if you want to run (using the mouse) you have to do this. I tried this on a friend’s Mac; if you press both buttons at the same time, it results in a left click. This is the biggest disadvantage, in my opinion.

  6. Well my Mighty Mouse operates as a 5 button mouse – check the system preferences to see how to set each button to do what you want it to.

  7. I count four buttons:

    1 – left virtual button

    2 – right virtual button

    3 – middle scroll ball button

    4 – side squeeze button(s) (these function as one button)

  8. Mighty Mouse is hardly a gamer’s mouse, other solutions (Logitech, Lazr et al.) are mighty preferable.

    What Might Mouse DOES provide, however, is a better everyday solution for stress-less left-click, à la classic Apple: left-click with a movement of the palm, instead of the index-operated method; with the added bonus of a “real” right-click.

    This means there’s less of a repeated stress syndrome risk for more fragile hands. Not just for old geezers: I’m 38 and have been mousing for 23 years, using Apple’s mice (though I hate with a passion the round Puck mouse introduced with the original iMac) have spared me from RSD-inuced left-clicking.

    A standard mouse with physical buttons + scroll wheel can be painful for me after a couple of hours. Not saying that it’s hard to use, but physically painful.

    My 2 cents.

  9. Yes, there are better choices as far as gaming mice, of course, but for every day use, MightyMouse isn’t bad at all.

    The scroll ball by itself is reason enough to buy one, if you ask me. I absolutely love being able to scroll in any direction with the scroll ball!

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