If you’re looking for a mouse for a Mac or MacBook, you’ve got plenty of options beyond Apple’s Magic Mouse.
These days most mice will work on either Mac or PC, so you’ve got access to just about the entire PC mouse market, from wired to wireless, trackpads to trackballs, and even over-the-top dedicated gaming mice.
A lot of people prefer using a mouse to their laptop’s trackpad. A mouse makes things much easier and just feels comfortable and familiar. But for some mice can be an ergonomic nightmare, so luckily there are alternatives.
Beware of the cheapest wireless mice out there. Many require a nano receiver to plug into a USB port on the computer, and newer MacBooks have just one or two USB-C ports, rather than the required old-school USB-A. Ideally, you’ll want a Bluetooth-compatible mouse to connect to a MacBook.
We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite mice below, from Apple and beyond, so take a look.
Most conventional two-button mice will work with a Mac without needing any additional software, but more advanced mice that have additional buttons and controls do need an app that will allow you to program those extra buttons to work the way that you want.
Logitech therefore takes top spot in this review of best mice for the Mac, simply by virtue of the fact that it’s one of the few manufacturers that includes a proper Mac version of its Options app for its mice (and keyboards too).
Mind you, its MX range of mice are also very well designed, with no less than three versions of the current MX Master 3 now available. All three versions have the same basic design – which is for right-handed users only, unfortunately – so make sure you choose the correct model before pressing the Buy button.
The mouse has a smoothly curved surface that fits the palm of the hand very well, along with a thumb-rest for extra comfort. It has the usual left/right buttons and a scroll wheel, but the scroll-wheel works in two different modes, with a high-speed mode for zooming through long documents and web pages, as well as a slower mode that provides greater precision and tactile feedback.
There’s also a second wheel on the side, which allows you to scroll horizontally – which is great for photo-editing and graphics work – and two more buttons that can be programmed using the Options app. Battery life is good too, at around two months – twice that of Apple’s Magic Mouse or Trackpad.
The original version (which we are looking at here), was launched in 2019 and is simply called the MX Master 3. This costs £119.99, and is still the model that we’d recommend for most users, as it includes both Bluetooth and a small USB wireless transmitter that provides greater security and reliability than Bluetooth.
However, Logitech has added two other models since then, including the MX Master 3 For Mac, which is the same price but only has Bluetooth connectivity, and a more Mac-like Space Grey colour scheme. And, just recently, Logitech launched the MX Master 3 For Business, which costs around £130, but includes a special ‘Bolt’ USB transmitter that provides super-strong security features for business users. Prices vary a lot online, though, so it’s worth shopping around before buying.
It’s pretty expensive, but Apple’s Magic Trackpad avoids the mistakes that it tends to make with its mice. The latest version of the Magic Trackpad isn’t much different from its predecessors, simply switching to a USB-C-to-Lightning cable for charging, and opting for more smoothly rounded corners that match Apple’s latest keyboard designs.
The design still works well though, with a large surface area that measures 160mm wide and 115mm deep, so you have plenty of room to comfortably control your on-screen cursor and to use the various ‘gestures’ that are the Magic Trackpad’s greatest strength.
As well as the usual left and right mouse clicks, the Magic Trackpad lets you use two fingers to scroll up/down or left/right, which is great for photo-editing and other types of graphics work.
You can also zoom in or out on images or web pages by ‘pinching’ in or out with two fingers, or move back/forwards through a series of web pages by flicking left/right with two fingers. And, as well as being touch-sensitive, the Magic Trackpad is also pressure-sensitive, so you can ‘force-click’ by pressing and holding on documents to activate the Mac’s Quick Look previews, or even to look up words in a dictionary.
The low-profile design may not suit everyone, but the versatility of the Magic Trackpad makes it a great alternative to a conventional mouse, especially for left-handed users.
The rechargeable battery lasts for about a month at a time – and, unlike Apple’s Magic Mouse, its Lightning port is on the back edge of the trackpad, which means that you can actually charge it up and continue to use it at the same time.
Logitech’s portable MX Anywhere 2S was already on our list of best mice for the Mac, and the new MX Anywhere 3 that was launched towards the end of 2021 actually manages to improve on that winning formula.
The design of the mouse has been fine-tuned a little, with a slightly more streamlined shape, while the two side buttons seem to be a little further back and closer to my thumb, making it easier and more comfortable to use.
The compact little mouse still manages to find room for four buttons, all of which can be programmed using Logitech’s Options app.
The scrolling wheel also works in two modes, with a high-speed mode that lets you quickly zoom through long documents, or a slower, more precise mode that works well for graphics and photo-editing. It doesn’t have the second scroll wheel found on the larger MX Master 3, which allows you to scroll horizontally as well. But, if you press and hold one of the side buttons while scrolling, you’ll find that the main scrolling wheel temporarily switches to horizontal scrolling as well.
Battery life is around 70 days – twice that of Apple’s Magic Mouse – and its quick-charge mode will give you three hours of use after just one minute of charging time, which is great when you’re travelling with your MacBook.
Like the larger MX Master 3, the Anywhere 3 is available in three versions, with the white MX Anywhere 3 For Mac costing £89.99 and simply offering basic Bluetooth connectivity.
But, for the same price, you can buy the standard MX Anywhere 3, which is available in a number of different colours, and includes both Bluetooth and a separate USB wireless transmitter.
There’s also a brand new MX Anywhere 3 For Business, which costs around £110, and uses Logitech’s Bolt wireless transmitter to provide additional security features for business users who might be travelling with important data on their laptop.
Strictly speaking, the Aerox 3 from SteelSeries is very much designed as a gaming mouse, however its sleek, lightweight design is so comfortable to use that we can recommend it as a good all-round mouse for other tasks too.
Available in Onyx or Snow – aka black or white – the Aerox has a perforated shell that keeps its weight down to just 59g – compared to 99g for Apple’s Magic Mouse – so that gamers can respond quickly with just light movements of their fingers. I mostly play RPGs these days, which don’t really require lightning fast reflexes, but I still found the lightweight Aerox really comfortable to use, both for gaming and general office work too.
The mouse doesn’t compromise to achieve that low weight though, providing an IP54 rating for resistance to water, dust and any other nastiness that might gum up the works, and a sturdy, braided USB cable.
The model that we review here is a simple wired mouse, priced at £59.99/$29.99. There’s a USB-C interface on the mouse itself, although the braided cable has a USB-A interface for connecting to a Mac or PC, so you might need an adapter if your Mac only has USB-C. However, there’s also a wireless version available for £99.99/$99.99.
Like a conventional mouse, the Aerox includes standard Left and Right mouse buttons, along with a scrolling wheel, and there’s a third button on top of the mouse that can be used to adjust the speed of the mouse cursor as it moves around the screen. There are also two buttons on the side of the mouse that you can control with your thumb – although this is where things get a little complicated.
We were pleased to find that the SteelSeries GG app does run on Macs from Catalina onwards and allows you to record ‘macro’ commands for all the buttons on the mouse (although you need to check this FAQ for Mac-specific installation instructions). The app isn’t easy to use though, and is primarily aimed at hardcore gamers for high-speed action games, so SteelSeries could do a bit more to make this smartly designed mouse more accessible for the rest of us.
5. Satechi M1 Bluetooth Wireless Mouse – Best Cheap Wireless Mouse
Satechi’s USB-C aluminium M1 Bluetooth Wireless Mouse comes with an old-fashioned scroll wheel, which the company claims will offer faster and more accurate scrolling and tracking.
The cursor fairly flies around the screen as I move the M1 – much faster than my Apple mouse, and almost disconcertingly at first. It feels like it floats across my desk, and allows for more accurate scrolling than Apple’s.
As it can also be a Windows mouse, it has a right button – handy for the extra controls that you’d usually need to press Ctrl to access using Apple’s one-button device.
The M1 mouse has a pleasingly curved ergonomic design, making it fine for both left- and right-handed users. Its aluminium body is available in silver, something similar to Apple’s Space Grey, Gold and Rose Gold colours so can attractively match your Mac or MacBook.
There are no removable batteries, so you recharge via USB-C (cable included), which is better placed than the Magic Mouse 2’s frustrating equivalent. Satechi’s use of USB-C is also a more modern move.
It uses Bluetooth 4.0 so has a range of 32 feet.
6. Apple Magic Mouse 3 – Best Apple Mouse
Sleek and elegant design
Top of the mouse acts like a trackpad
Touch controls allow vertical and horizontal scrolling
Terrible design choice with the position of the charging port
Apple’s legendary design skills often seem to desert it when it comes to mice and keyboards. We’re old enough to remember the daft, circular ‘hockey-puck’ mouse from 1998 and, almost 25 years later, the latest version of the Magic Mouse is still marred by a terrible design decision that really leaves you wondering – “what were they thinking?”.
To be fair, the Magic Mouse looks sleek and elegant, the way an Apple product should. There are no old-fashioned buttons or scroll-wheels to spoil the mouse’s streamlined design, as the entire top panel acts like a small, touch-sensitive trackpad.
The low-profile design won’t suit people with larger hands, but the touch controls do work very well, allowing you to scroll both horizontally and vertically simply by flicking your finger in the required direction.
You can control other gestures, such as zooming and switching between applications, by using the Mouse Preferences panel on the Mac. The button-free design also means that the Magic Mouse is suitable for both left- and right-handed users too.
The “incredibly long-lasting” rechargeable battery only lasts for about a month at a time – which would be fine if it weren’t for one thing. The mouse still has a Lightning connector for charging the internal battery, although the mid-2021 update switched over to a USB-C-to-Lightning charging cable for newer Macs with USB-C.
But, bizarrely, Apple left the Lightning port on the underside of the mouse – which means that you can’t use the mouse while it’s charging, as you have to flip it over on to its side in order to insert the cable. It’s a mind-bogglingly bad design and explains why rivals such as Logitech dominate the market for Mac mice and keyboards.
In March 2022 Apple introduced a new black version of the Magic Mouse.
There are two versions of Logitech’s ergonomic Lift mouse – a universal model that is available in a number of different colors and works with both Macs and Windows (and Linux), and the gleaming white Lift For Mac model shown here, that is designed specifically for Mac users.
The basic design of both models is the same, though, with the top surface of the mouse tilted by 570 into an upright handshake position that helps to reduce strain on the wrist. Along with the standard left and right mouse buttons and scrolling wheel, the Lift has two additional buttons that sit just by your thumb. By default, these extra buttons are set up to work as Back/Forward buttons for your web browser, but you can use Logitech’s Options+ app to customise all the buttons if you need to. And, thankfully, the latest version of the Options+ app – for macOS 10.15 or later – is a lot more Mac-friendly than it used to be, so getting all those buttons set up the way you like is now very straightforward.
Both models cost $69.99/£69.99, but while the Mac and universal versions of the Lift look virtually identical, the universal version actually has a couple of additional features that make it better value for money. The Lift For Mac just uses Bluetooth, but the universal version also includes a Bolt USB adaptor that provides an alternate type of wireless connection that is more reliable and more secure than Bluetooth. The universal model is also available with a left-handed version, while the Mac version is just right-handed only. You can get the standard Lift from Amazon U.S. or Amazon U.K.
Our only complaint is that the Lift is designed for small to medium hands, so if – like me – you find it a little small, then you might need to look at the larger, and more expensive, MX Vertical ergonomic mouse instead.