Is Magic Mouse the best choice for Mac users, or should you spend your money on a third-party pointing device? And do MacBook owners have to “upgrade” from the Magic Trackpad on their device?
Don’t discount the Magic Trackpad
If you have a MacBook or are considering a desktop machine like a Mac mini or Mac Studio, the Magic Trackpad may be your best bet. All MacBook owners have one, while iMac customers can upgrade to a Magic Mouse for an additional $50 at checkout.
If you’re buying a Mac mini or Mac Studio, you can add one to your order for an additional $129. Although expensive, Apple’s trackpads are the best in the business. The external models are rechargeable and have a USB-C to Lightning cable, though you can connect via Bluetooth for a completely wireless setup.
Apple Magic Trackpad
macOS is an operating system that works better with gestures. With the trackpad, you can quickly slide between desktops, access features like Mission Control and App Exposé with a swipe, and use multi-touch gestures like pinch-to-zoom whenever you want. Scrolling is smooth and easy with a two-finger swipe, and you can go back and forth in your web browser with a swipe.
If you’re a heavy mouse user, or if you’re doing something where mouse precision is preferred (like editing photos or playing games), then the Magic Trackpad might not be the right fit.
Forget the Magic Mouse
Magic Mouse is good, but you can probably do better. That’s not the case with Apple’s aforementioned Magic Trackpad, which is probably the best example of its kind.
The problem with Apple’s Magic Mouse is that it’s too expensive for what it is. It doesn’t feel like it was designed for long sessions or with utility in mind. It supports some limited macOS gestures (including the two-finger scroll wheel you’ll need since it doesn’t have one), but it falls far short of the utility provided by the Magic Trackpad.
The Magic Mouse is stylish, but lacks the raw utility you’d expect from a business mouse. The flat design won’t fill your palm nicely, and many users complain that prolonged use is uncomfortable. 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 totally worth your money. That’s why if you’re buying a desktop, you have to leave the Magic Mouse at checkout. When buying an iMac, it will only cost you an extra $50 at checkout to ditch the mouse for the trackpad.
Cheapest Windows Mice Works Well
macOS has excellent compatibility with Windows mice, although you’ll enjoy those using a wired or local Bluetooth connection. Some mouse dongles require additional drivers, and most are designed with USB-A ports in mind. This is only a problem for owners of MacBooks with USB-C ports, although you can overcome this with adapters.
An inexpensive mouse is ideal if you don’t always use a mouse, but instead prefer to work with the Magic Trackpad on your desktop and while browsing the web. Having a mouse on your desk is ideal for tasks where a mouse is better suited, such as editing photos and videos or navigating large tables with a scroll wheel.
The Satechi M1 is an affordable 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 charges for its Magic Mouse.
Most Bluetooth and wired mice designed for Windows will work on a Mac, but those with software-based programmable buttons that aren’t available for macOS will default. If you have a spare mouse from your Windows PC, connect it and try it. You can even check the manufacturer’s website for Mac software, but don’t hold your breath.
Other good options, especially for gamers, include the wired Logitech G203, the slightly more expensive wireless Logitech G305 LIGHTSPEED, or the ultralight wired Glorious Model O RGB.
Spending more usually gets you more features and buttons, improved sensitivity, and superior build quality. If you want something simple that you won’t use all day every day, stick with a cheaper model. Cheaper mice are also usually smaller, making them more portable if you’re always on the go.
Spend more on something special
For the same price ($79-$99) as the Magic Mouse, you can get something really special. At this price point, you get programmable buttons, customizable sensitivity, multiple 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 extra buttons 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 connections.
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 feels and feels the part with two silent electromagnetic scroll wheels, programmable buttons, ergonomic design and fit quality.
It’s more comfortable than Apple’s mouse and has 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 angle your palm face down on the table. It’s more comfortable than Apple’s Magic Mouse and 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 you can now use Logitech’s G Hub software to set it up the way you want. Note that other brands, such as Razer, do not necessarily offer software for macOS, which will limit the functionality of your device.
Consider a Trackball as well
Not everyone deals with trackpads and ordinary mice. If you’re looking for something a little different, consider a trackball mouse instead. There are several different trackball mice to choose from, although they don’t seem to be the most popular choice, so you could be forgiven for forgetting about them.
The Logitech Ergo M575 standard mouse design includes a thumb-controlled trackball. This is a relatively inexpensive mouse alternative that uses Bluetooth or a dongle and takes a single AA battery as its power source. If you want something that can be loaded with extra features and sensitivity, there’s also the more expensive Logitech MX Ergo.
Logitech Ergo M575
If you want to go all out in 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 incorporates four buttons and a scroll wheel. You can connect via Bluetooth or a dongle, and there’s a Mac-compatible app to make customization painless.
Kensington Expert Wireless Trackball
Look beyond Apple for accessories
The Magic Mouse may not be the best mouse for the money, and the same goes for Apple’s monitors. While the Pro Display XDR and Studio Display are great monitors, there are other monitors you should consider for your Mac first.