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Solutions for fixing a Mighty Mouse that won’t right-click reliably

Solutions for fixing a Mighty Mouse that won\'t right-click reliably

Apple’s Mighty Mouse is known for its minimalist design and fancy touch-sensitive buttons, but something as simple as a right-click has proven to be a problem for some users.

There has been a misconception for many years (mostly among PC users) that Macs don’t have the ability to right-click. This is not true, of course, since the functionality is merely hidden from plain view by Apple’s innovative touch-sensitive mice and trackpads. In the case of the Mighty Mouse, there are five areas which can detect user input — much more than a standard two or three button mouse. That’s great and all… when it actually works.

A large number of Mighty Mouse owners are experiencing an annoying glitch that causes only some of their right-clicks to register correctly. Obviously that gets old real fast. Over the years a number of possible solutions have been suggested by members of the Apple community to mixed results. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another. In order to help as many people as possible, here are all of the methods I’ve come across so far. If one of our knowledgeable readers knows of a more sure-fire way to fix a Mighty Mouse that’s not right-clicking reliably, please let us know in the comments.

Enable in System Preferences
This might insult some people, but it has to be said just in case. The Mighty Mouse doesn’t come configured to accept right-clicks by default, so they need to be enabled in System Preferences manually. Open System Preferences, click the Keyboard & Mouse pane, and choose the Mouse tab. On the drop-down menu next to the right button, ensure Secondary Button is selected.

Lift your left finger
Due to the Mighty Mouse’s touch-sensitive nature, it doesn’t only consider pressure as a means of input like a regular mechanical button mouse. It also knows where you’re touching. If you’re resting your left finger on the top of the mouse while clicking with your right finger, the Mighty Mouse doesn’t know which one you meant to use and automatically reverts to the default left-click. You must lift your left finger off the mouse completely — at least a centimeter above the surface — for a right-click to register.

Middle-click to right-click
One of the ways I’ve worked around this problem was to set my Mighty Mouse to right-click when I middle-click. I understand there’s a chance for confusion here, but it actually works. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Mouse and select Secondary Button from the drop-down menu above the middle scrollbar. The scrollbar will now act as your right button, and clicking on it is a whole lot more reliable than the real thing.

Lose the batteries… temporarily
Some users have had success restoring reliable right-click functionality to their Mighty Mouse by temporarily removing the batteries. Turning the mouse off, taking the batteries out, waiting 10-15 seconds, re-inserting the batteries, and turning the mouse back on could do the trick. Why would this work? It’s possible that static electricity is causing the mouse to think your left finger is touching the surface when it’s actually not. This would explain why you must lift your left finger at least a centimeter or two off the mouse for a right-click to be recognized. Resetting the batteries kills the static, at least for a little while.

A fresh start
Everyone is in need of an occasional fresh start and the Mighty Mouse is no exception. Open System Preferences and click on the Bluetooth pane. In the list of devices to the left, select your Mighty Mouse and click the minus (-) button to delete it from your computer. Once you do, restart your Mac and set up your mouse like it’s your first time using it. Sometimes configuration files can get screwed up and starting over again is the easiest way to make it right.

11 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

good and productive information!!!!

Thanks! Taking the batteries out for 20 seconds or so worked for me. Not being able to right click was driving me insane!

And I thought it was just me. Thanks for the tips – I just got a new mighty mouse yesterday and had convinced myself that I needed to return it – I’ll try your tips first!

Another sure way to have right click is to enable both the right click on the right side and scroll ball. This way it detect your finger faster.

it's clear now!
June 17th, 2009, 2:33 PM

The “lift your left finger” tip did it for me! Thanks!

The first point about enabling in system preferences worked! Excellent advice, i’ve been searching everywhere on the internet and it didn’t hit me that it could be the solution until now, thanks.

Taking the batteries out for 20 seconds or so worked also for me. Thanks!

My solution was to bring mine to the Apple Store and exchange it. Works perfectly now

Another trick is to turn the mouse off, then start it again and reconnect it.

I think on the whole the Mighty Mouse has proven to be one of Apple’s lemons.

THANKS! Turning the mouse off for a few seconds did the trick for me

And Apple is suppose to a design god. Ha.