Is the Magic Mouse the best choice for Mac users, or should you spend your money on a third-party pointing device? And should MacBook owners bother “upgrading” from the Magic Trackpad on their device?
Don’t discount the Magic Trackpad
If you have a MacBook or are considering a desktop computer such as a Mac mini or Mac Studio, the Magic Trackpad may be your best bet. All MacBook owners have it, while iMac customers can upgrade from the Magic Mouse at checkout for an additional $50.
If you’re buying a Mac mini or Mac Studio, you can add one to your order at checkout for an additional $129. While Apple trackpads are expensive, they are the best in the business. The external models are rechargeable and come with a USB-C to Lightning cable, though you can connect via Bluetooth for a fully wireless setup.
Apple Magic Trackpad
macOS is an operating system that works better with gestures. Use the trackpad to quickly switch between desktops, access features like Mission Control and App Exposé, and use multi-touch gestures like pinch-to-zoom whenever you want. Scrolling is smooth and easy with two-finger scrolling, and you can move backward and forward in the web browser with a swipe.
If you’re a heavy mouse user or do something that favors the precision of a mouse (like photo editing or gaming), then the Magic Trackpad might not be for you.
Forget the Magic Mouse
Magic Mouse is nice, but you can probably do better. This is not the case with the aforementioned Magic Trackpad from Apple, which is probably the best example of its kind.
The problem with the Apple Magic Mouse is that it is very expensive for what it is. It doesn’t seem like it was designed for long periods of sitting or with utility in mind. It supports some limited macOS gestures (including two-finger scrolling, which you’ll need since it lacks a scroll wheel), but falls far short of the utility that the Magic Trackpad provides.
The Magic Mouse is stylish, but lacks the raw utility you’d expect from a workhorse mouse. The flat design does not fill your palm nicely and many users complain that it is uncomfortable to use for long periods of time. It’s wireless and rechargeable, but Apple insists on putting the Lightning port on the bottom, which means you can’t use it while charging. It also costs $79, or $99 if you want it in black.
On the other hand, the Magic Trackpad is definitely worth your money. This is why you should ditch the Magic Mouse at checkout if you’re buying a desktop computer. When you buy an iMac, it will cost you an extra $50 at checkout to ditch the mouse for the trackpad.
The cheapest Windows mice work well
macOS has excellent compatibility with Windows mice, although you’ll be happiest with those that use a wired or native Bluetooth connection. Some mouse dongles require additional drivers and most are designed with USB-A ports in mind. This is a problem for MacBook owners who only have USB-C ports, although you can work around it with adapters.
An inexpensive mouse is ideal if you don’t use the mouse all the time, instead preferring to work with the Magic Trackpad on your desktop and while browsing the web. For tasks where a mouse is better suited, such as editing photos and videos or scrolling through large spreadsheets, it’s ideal to have a mouse on your desk.
The Satechi M1 is an inexpensive wireless rechargeable mouse designed for Apple devices including Mac and iPad Pro. It has a scroll wheel and two buttons, connects via Bluetooth, and is made of real aluminum. It doesn’t support multi-touch gestures, but it costs less than half of what Apple is asking for the Magic Mouse.
Most Bluetooth and wired mice designed for Windows will work on a Mac, but any that have programmable buttons that rely on software not available for macOS will remain in their default state. If you have a spare mouse from your Windows computer, plug it in and try it. You can even check the Mac software on the manufacturer’s website, but don’t hold your breath.
Other good options, especially for gamers, included the wired Logitech G203, the slightly more expensive wireless Logitech G305 LIGHTSPEED, or the ultralight wired Glorious Model O RGB.
Spending more money usually gets you more features and buttons, better sensitivity, and superior build quality. Stick with the cheaper model if you just want something basic that you won’t use all day every day. Cheaper mice are also usually smaller, making them more portable if you’re always on the move.
Spend more on something special
For about the same price as a Magic Mouse ($79-$99), you can buy something really special. At this price point, you get programmable buttons, adjustable sensitivity, more scroll wheels and better ergonomics. These mice are more durable and can take a beating, ideal if you’re looking for a daily driver.
The Logitech MX Master 3 starts at around $80 (refurbished) to $100 and is widely considered one of the best “business” mice you can buy. It has additional buttons that you can program using Logitech’s Mac-compatible software, two scroll wheels, and it even works on a glass table. The advanced version supports both dongle and Bluetooth connection.
Logitech MX Master 3
Logitech MX Master 3 Advanced Wireless Mouse
Treat yourself to one of the best mice money can buy with the Logitech MX Master 3. It looks and feels the part, with two silent electromagnetic scroll wheels, programmable buttons, an ergonomic design and build quality to match.
It’s more comfortable than Apple’s mouse and has a lot more features to boot. The MX Master 3 is often cited as the best bang for your buck in terms of features, ergonomics and price. You can often find demo units to try out at major electronics retailers.
If you’re looking for something a little more ergonomic, try the Logitech MX Vertical instead. It is designed to be used in a more “natural” neutral wrist position and does not require you to place your palm face down on the table. It’s much more comfortable than Apple’s Magic Mouse and is a great alternative if you’re worried about carpal tunnel or repetitive strain injuries.
Logitech MX Vertical
For gaming, the Logitech G-Pro Wireless is a great choice, and now you can use the Logitech G Hub software to set it up just the way you like it. Be aware that other brands like Razer don’t necessarily offer software for macOS, which will limit the functionality of your device.
Also consider a trackball
Not everyone can get by with trackpads and conventional mice. If you’re looking for something a little different, consider a trackball mouse instead. There are several different types of trackball mice to choose from, although you could be forgiven for forgetting about them as they aren’t considered the most popular.
The Logitech Ergo M575 incorporates a thumb-controlled trackball into a standard mouse design. This is a relatively inexpensive alternative to a mouse that uses Bluetooth or a dongle and uses a single AA battery as its power source. There’s also the more expensive Logitech MX Ergo if you want something rechargeable with more features and sensitivity.
Logitech Ergo M575
If you’d rather go all-in on a traditional trackball design, the Kensington Expert Wireless Trackball can’t be beat. It looks like the Eye of Sauron, is built like a tank, and the ambidextrous design features four buttons and a scroll wheel. You can connect via Bluetooth or a dongle, and there’s Mac-compatible software that makes customization painless.
Kensington Expert wireless trackball
Look to Apple for accessories
The Magic Mouse may not be the best mouse for the money, and the same goes for Apple monitors. While the Pro Display XDR and Studio Display are excellent monitors, there are other monitors you should consider for your Mac first.