Apple’s Mighty Mouse Scroll Ball clogs too easily

“I purchased the Mighty Mouse, eventually, with skepticism, chiefly from reading an equal share of both positive and negative reviews. I remember taking a trek down to the Apple Store in Regent Street, London, with a couple of friends—who had iPod issues they were looking to sort– to buy this little rodent of a computer device. I got home that day, plugged it in, installed the drivers and I was away,” Aaron Wright writes for Apple Matters.

“My first reaction? Wow, excellent! I couldn’t understand why so many people were knocking this mouse, it was sort of a revolution as far as Apple products go, we finally had a two buttoned mouse,” Wright writes.

“However, that joy wasn’t going to last. I believe I purchased my Mighty Mouse around September 2005 and used it pretty much daily until about two weeks ago, when I finally decided enough was enough. I wasn’t fed up with any of the software functions of the mouse, nor was I disappointed with anything else the mouse had to offer, as such,” Wright writes. “I was actually fed up of using the little white piece of plastic because the scroll wheel [Scroll Ball] had completely clogged up. It had ceased to function and I was angry and frustrated that I could no longer take full benefit of the £40 I paid for it. I’m now planning to return it to the Apple store this weekend to see if I can get a replacement, but then I got to thinking, is there any point?”

“I look after my computer equipment quite well, especially considering the amount of money spent on it, I think it’s only right. But no amount of cleaning could prevent the [Scroll Ball] getting clogged up,” Wright writes. “Here’s something I now fear. Every new iMac sold since January, I believe, comes equipped with a Mighty Mouse as standard, no more singled-buttoned ‘Mouse.’ I’ve had my Mighty Mouse less than a year and it’s already gone [bad] on me, so what’s in store for all those iMac buyers out there? It’s a worrying thought for Apple if other users out there experience the same issues I’ve had with mine.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple’s Mighty Mouse is a great mouse when it’s clean. It’s the only mouse we’ve found that we actually use the scrolling feature routinely… when it’s clean. We’ve had multiple Mighty Mouse units in action since last August. On average, they have each been cracked open and the Scroll Ball’s tiny magnetic rollers cleaned approximately six (6) times in the past 11.5 months. That’s way too much, Apple. We don’t know how to fix the clogged Scroll Ball issue, but Apple should really work on this problem. Our hands are generally quite clean; we do wash frequently. We can only imagine how quickly a Mighty Mouse in a classroom setting would clog. This whole thing reminds us of one thing: time to go crack open another Mighty Mouse and clean the ball’s tiny magnetic rollers once again. Sigh.

[Update: 1:04pm EDT: We’re back. Cleaning accomplished. Again. Aren’t we fast? We’ve had a lot of practice. A clean Mighty Mouse is a joy! Anyway, for those in need, Apple has an impotent, impractical “How to clean your Mighty Mouse” doc and video on their site, but real instructions on how to clean your Mighty Mouse can be found here.]

Related MacDailyNews articles:
ZDNet UK review gives Apple Mighty Mouse 6.6 out of 10 – August 31, 2005
Dr. Mac: ‘Mighty Mouse is the finest mouse Apple has ever produced’ – August 09, 2005
The Boston Globe: first shipments of Apple’s Mighty Mouse ‘sold out almost immediately’ – August 08, 2005
Mercury News: Apple’s Mighty Mouse looks ‘like the world’s most carefully crafted bar of soap’ – August 08, 2005
AnandTech: Apple’s Mighty Mouse ‘isn’t exactly perfect’ – August 05, 2005
NY Times’ Pogue: ‘I certainly prefer the Mighty Mouse’ to Apple’s standard one-button mouse – August 04, 2005
Apple’s Mighty Mouse dissected (with image) – August 04, 2005
The Motley Fool: ‘Mighty Mouse may be the next step in Apple’s quiet crusade to lure Windows users’ – August 04, 2005
Mossberg pans Apple Mighty Mouse, says Microsoft’s latest mouse is better – August 04, 2005
Review: Apple’s Mighty Mouse – Third-party USB mouse makers should be very afraid – August 03, 2005
Apple introduces multi-button ‘Mighty Mouse’ with ‘Scroll Ball’ for Mac and Windows – August 02, 2005
Apple’s new ‘Mighty Mouse’ provides audio feedback for clicking and scrolling – August 02, 2005
Apple’s mythical two-button mouse – March 19, 2005
RUMOR: Apple may soon debut two-button mouse – March 15, 2005
Apple’s Pro Mouse is truly a joy to use… for about five minutes – May 29, 2004
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 bought mine they came out and use it approx 9 solid hours a day for work. The track ball is one of the features I use the most on my mighty mouse. I’m not very carefull with it and I even use it after eating food (I eat my lunch at my desk, UGH!) and the track ball only gotten stuck once. I went to the Apple Disscussions board and quickly found the solution to the problem. All you need to do is blast the ball with a can of compressed air (you can get a can at any computer / office supply store). It didn’t take much to get the ball moving again. I’ve never had any problems with it since then.

  2. I have been annoyed by malfunctioning scroll ball on my mighty-mouse too….and cleaning often only works for a month or so before it gets sticky again. Why doesn’t Apple spend the extra buck and put in an optical scroll sensor?

  3. I’d like to cross reference people with scratched iPods and people with sticking keyboards and people with clogged mice.

    Are we talking about all the same people that just so happen to get the worst of any technology they purchase? And don’t get me started on that Blog guy (don’t know his site, took it off my bookmarks) that has broken… er, has HAD every Powerbook he’s had break on him.

  4. Frank Lloyd Wright designed many beautiful buildings and houses in the early 20th century. Many of them are considered as works of art. Unfortunately a lot of them have suffered water leaks in the roof (for example, Johnson Building), few had structural problems (Fallingwater), but the owners of those buildings and houses never complained about the overall experience of owning a Frank Lloyd Wright designed building. Sounds familiar?

  5. And everyone has forgotten how the Bluetooth wireless mouse chews thru batteries too I expect?

    Using 2500mAh rechargables, I have to swap my batteries once a week (yes, it’s used heavily, 14+ hrs/day, but even if it’s not used, they still run down!)

  6. I just turn mine over and with an alcohol pad roll the ball around for a minute or two and then take some tissue and rool the ball for another minute until it’s dried all the alcohol out of the ball-whole. Done. Good for another couple months!

  7. I have had two for well, since they came out. During lunch I work while I am eating, so I get oils and stuff on my fingers. It does clog, not often but it cleans easily if I unplug it, turn it upside down and roll that little sucker like crazy.

    The only bummer was I thought I’d give a two button mouse a try, that lasted about a month. I can’t do two buttons, contextual menus popping up everywhere. So I am back to control+click.

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