Why Apple ships a one-button mouse even though Mac OS X supports multi-button mice

“There are a lot of misconceptions about the Macintosh, but one misconception that has persisted is the myth that Mac’s are incapable of using multi-button mice. And those who know this myth is false still complain about Apple not shipping computers with two button mice. Gear Live cub reporter XIcarus wanted to share a bit of background on what many believe to be Apple’s stubborness to conform,” GearLive.com reads.

XIcarus writes, “Apple supports multi-button mice. Right out of the box. Furthermore, this is not a ‘new feature’ of OS X. Support for contextual menus (the primary use for the two button mouse) have been around since OS 8.6, which is now more than seven years old. Let me repeat, Apple supports multi-button mice. Even if you use a one button mouse, you can still access contextual menu through ‘control-clicking’ (Hold down the control key when you click the mouse button)… Although I can envision a day where Apple will ship with a two button mouse, they have really, really, really good reasons for sticking to a one button mouse.”

“Apple is always concerned with creating a user experience that is as intuitive as possible. Giving the average person a right mouse button is like giving a bald man a comb,” XIcarus writes. “Folks, those are the reasons Apple ships a one-button mouse. Will that change? At some point yeah. But Apple is in no hurry to ship something that they believe no one will use.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Welcome to our semiannual Apple one-button mouse article. It’s kind of ironic that when Windows users first see the currently-shipping Apple mouse, the number one question they ask is, “where are the buttons?” In effect, Apple’s one-button mouse has no buttons at all; the whole thing is a button. Of course, Apple may have solved the whole mouse button issue with their Mac mini – no mouse included, just pick your own. For the record, MDN’s favorite desktop mouse is currently a relatively inexpensive (US$39.99) Kensington StudioMouse with the multiple buttons (third button programmed for Exposé tiling (F9), of course) and a scroll wheel. The Apple mouse just can’t cut it. Mac OS X and at least a two-button mouse are a powerful combination.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Macworld Poll: 34 percent say Apple Mac one-button mouse a mistake – April 07, 2004
Why no Apple two-button mouse? – September 17, 2003
The time has come for Apple to ship a two-button scroll mouse standard – June 09, 2003
Should Apple reconsider the one-button mouse? – October 23, 2002


  1. I use a Logitech MX500 — 7 programable buttons plus scroll wheel. I love it and would never go back to a 1 button. Curious to find out what the rest of you ravers use. “Different strokes for different folks.”

  2. I agree with MDN. A one button is stupid and and a rip off.

    Memo to Apple: Apple please add a 2 mouse button in all desktop your systems or reduce the price and let us buy our own.

    The MS Wireless mouse is cool. MacAddict thinks so too.

  3. I don’t know any overwieght people who use Macs.
    Why? 1. A one button mouse forces you to compute w/both hands.
    2. you work so fast-you’re done and can go play outside.
    3. Can’t afford food after a Mac purchase.

    Magic word “can”

    nuff said

  4. Anything for you to complain….. A mouse is an input device and only requires an execution button that can be used with a key combination. Two button mice are a stupid waste of money and aren’t needed! If you play games, you use a joystick in any number of Multi input formats….. But the mouse has to be simple for everyone.

    Bitch, Bitch, Bitch…..

  5. Apple is wrong about the one button mouse. Having to use the ctrl key + mouse button requires the use of two hands. Right button requires one hand leaving my other hand free to comb my bald head with a two tooth comb.

  6. i love the apple mice because they look good, but i have a logitech mx500 too and it’s really good… exposé programmed for the app switching button and clicking the scroll wheel closes the window. back and forward buttons for safari, and cruise control buttons for easy reading (hold the button down and it scrolls 2 lines at a time).

  7. well, I can see where some people think they need a multi button mouse …. however… Ive been using a single button model since the 68k / OS 7.x days …. Believe it or dont.. my favorite mouse is the old Beige .. Apple Desktop Bus Mouse II ….

    The most comfortable mouse Ive ever used ..

    I dont access the contextual menus much, so, control-clicking isnt that big a hassle for me…. so, for me (at least) … the two button mouse is a non-issue…

    (I can already see many of you cringe .. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”LOL” style=”border:0;” /> )

  8. I am, and always will be, a one button fan. (more buttons = more confusion and not more options)

    However, I really believe that the real reason that Apple sells the Mac mini without keyboard and mouse is for the simple reason that although Steve Jobs wants to attract Windows users he has always insisted he will NEVER sell two buttoned mice. This way he can have it both ways – and package the mini in a cute box!

  9. I like the one-button mouse. I use ‘mouse gestures’ for exposé and keyboard shortcuts for everything. When I bought my Power Mac nearly two years ago, I thought I would buy a two button mouse to go along with it. I still haven’t.

    Long line the one-button mouse…21 years old and still strong.

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