Magic Mouse

Have you experienced a slow and jumpy cursor while using a Magic Mouse or other Bluetooth input device on your Mac? Admittedly, this may not apply to all of you, but if you’re like me and use a Magic Mouse with a MacBook Pro, you may have encountered this maddening issue.

The problem has to do with choppy, laggy, jumpy, and overall slow mouse performance while using a Bluetooth mouse. There are some things that you can do to troubleshoot, but I took all of the obvious steps, and still could not alleviate the issue. That is, until I realized that an unlikely culprit was causing my problems.

Okay, so before I share the solution for the problem, you definitely want to eliminate any of the obvious potential causes for problems

Step 1: replace your Mouse’s batteries

Step 2: restart your Mac

Step 3: clean the railing and remove any debris from the laser opening

Step 4: remove any other wireless electronic devices from around the area, as these may be causing interference

Yes, I tried all of those options. I even went as far as to eliminate any start up items that may have been causing problems. None of that worked. My trackpad worked perfectly fine, but my Magic Mouse was still jerky and slow. It was an absolute horrible experience, and made my work near impossible via the Magic Mouse.

But here’s what fixed my problem: I removed the USB drive from my MacBook Pro’s USB port. I had a bus-powered USB 3.0 hard drive connected to my Mac, and that, as it turns out, was what caused the problem.

Apple actually notes that this can be a problem on its support pages:

I sometimes have difficulty with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices when USB 3 devices are attached to my computer. What could be wrong?

Some USB 3 devices, hard drives in particular, can generate radio frequency interference that can cause Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices operating in the 2.4GHz band to have issues communicating with your computer. Do not place hard drives or other USB devices behind the rear of your Mac near at the hinge of your screen. The antennas for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are located there, and USB 3 devices placed there may interfere with your wireless connections. See this white paper for more information.

So the problem stemmed from the radio frequency interference generated by the USB 3.0 hard drive. If you have external hard drive, you’ll need to remove them from around the vicinity of your MacBook’s hinge, where the Bluetooth radio is located. I’ve found that it’s best to relocate the devices further away if possible.

So there you have it. If I would have been aware of this issue, as highlighted by Intel’s white paper document back in 2012, I would have known that it was stupid of me to place a USB 3.0 external drive so close to my MacBook and still expect my 2.4Ghz Magic Mouse to perform like a champ.

Have you ever experienced choppy performance from your Magic Mouse or other Bluetooth input device? Drop us a note below and let us know.