Left, Right, Left, Right, Left

Using the mouse for the first time, I quickly became frustrated with how rarely my right clicks were registering.  Apple said just to click the right side of it and it'd work, but it didn't, or so I thought.  I kept on repositioning my middle finger further and further right of the scroll ball until I would get the right click to register, which usually ended up being on the very far right of the mouse.  Something had to be wrong - no company would release such a blunder of a mouse. And of course, something was wrong - my pesky index finger.

As I mentioned earlier, when I first started my Mac experiment over a year ago, I refused to use the Apple mouse.  As such, I've developed a small collection of the mice that do nothing but sit in their original wrapping.  I needed my second mouse button and I wasn't going to be able to give the platform its fair chance with that mouse. I tried to be as open-minded about the platform as possible, but I would not budge on the mouse issue.  Since I rarely used Apple's mouse, I had no reason to grow accustomed to what is, in my opinion, the biggest difference between it and normal mice. 

Apple's mice have no button on their surface. Instead, when you "click", you push the entire surface of the mouse down, which works as your primary click.  With a single button mouse, it's not that big of a deal, but once you get into a 2-button mouse situation, things get a bit more complicated. 

Hold mouse over image to see the mouse being clicked

On my Logitech MX1000, when I'd right click, I'd have my index finger resting on the left mouse button.  There was no reason to lift my index finger because my middle finger was doing all of the work at that point, clicking the right mouse button.  And when I needed to left click, my middle finger remained idle while the index finger did its duty.  This is the way most mice work, and most importantly, it doesn't confuse the user; right clicking feels like right clicking because your index finger is on the left mouse button and you can tell that it isn't moving when you right click. 

Doing the same on Apple's Mighty Mouse not only feels weird, but it isn't exactly possible to do without producing a very different outcome.  The Mighty Mouse is no different than Apple's regular mouse from a mechanical standpoint, so regardless of what side of the mouse on which you're pushing down, the whole surface of the mouse clicks.  So, if you happen to have both fingers on the mouse and attempt to right click, it tends to bring about a bit of confusion (you're trying to right-click, but the finger with the job of left clicking moves down as well.  It's an uncomfortable and momentarily confusing feeling, but at the same time, if you're feeling it, then you're using the mouse incorrectly.

Since there aren't two physical buttons on the mouse, left and right clicks are determined by the side of the mouse that you are touching.  So, if your index finger is slightly touching the left side of the mouse when you go to "right click", the click won't register as a right click; instead, it will default to a left click.  That fact alone was what took the most getting used to for me.  At first, I blamed the mouse, but then I quickly realized that all of the times when the right mouse clicks weren't registering, my index finger was resting peacefully on the left side of the mouse - even when I didn't think it was. 

The solution is simple, although a bit annoying for conventional 2-button mouse users: whenever you go to "right click", just lift your index finger off the surface of the mouse.  You have to completely remove your index finger from the surface of the mouse in order to guarantee a right click; otherwise, you'll get a left click.  Of course, if you already do this, then it doesn't take any adjusting. But for me, it was the steepest part of the Mighty Mouse learning curve.

Once you have that down, right clicking seems natural, mainly because your index finger isn't around to feel that it isn't exactly natural.  If you remember to keep your index finger out of the way, you can right click anywhere to the right of the mouse ball.  You can actually click below and to the right of the scroll ball and still generate a right click. 

Index Small Balls and Touchy Sensors


View All Comments

  • audiophi1e - Thursday, August 04, 2005 - link

    Thanks anandtech, you just saved me $52. I ordered the mighty mouse as soon as I got word of this device, but then read your review and quickly cancelled it online just now.

    A one button 'two button' mouse? non-ergonomically placed middle squeeze buttons that is really only one button? that's a crying shame. There's no reason why apple needs to make the mouse more complicated than it really is. I'll stick to my cheapo Dell optical mouse that I stole from work. I've had it for a few years now--such that I've worn off the "Dell" logo printed on the surface.
  • xljohnson - Thursday, August 04, 2005 - link

    And soon, PC user will be typing on Ikeyboard....
    The revolution isa 'coming, ya here!
  • bobsmith1492 - Thursday, August 04, 2005 - link

    Lift one finger off the mouse to click with the other... that sounds like some serious carpal tunnel effects there. No gaming with this mouse. Reply
  • appu - Friday, August 12, 2005 - link

    I don't think so. I've been doing the lift-one-finger-while-clicking-with-the-other routine for as long as I can remember. In fact I feel that I can't generate enough leverage with my middle finger (for the right-click) if my index finger keeps resting on the left button. I tried doing that just now and I believe it'll give me trouble if I keep doing it. But that's maybe because of habit! Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now