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My Magic Mouse Now Has Apple Rechargeable Batteries


By Louis Trapani - Posted on 06 August 2010

Apple Rechargeable Batteries in Magic Mouse

When Apple announced new products last week which included a new Magic Trackpad among other goodies, one which may had seemed unusual for some was the new Apple Rechargeable Batteries and Charger.

In fact, this may have excited me more than the other product announcements.

Last February, I finally broke down and bought the Magic Mouse after being frustrated with the little trackball in the Mighty Mouse constantly getting clogged up which required me to attempt to clean it out. When the Magic Mouse was released, there was only a wireless model. I thought perhaps a wired model would be on its way soon as in the past Apple always had a wired version along with a wireless version of their computers mouses.

After a few months it didn't seem like a wired version was coming out. I have always avoided wireless input control devices on the computer because wireless always means having to deal with batteries. I far more rather deal with wires than constantly having to change batteries. I finally broke my personal boycott of these wireless computer input devices and got the Magic Mouse. As expected, it was the beginning of my headaches dealing with batteries for it.

Here you have Apple today with so many consumer devices on the market with built-in non-user replaceable  rechargeable batteries. You don't have to fuss with changing batteries on an iPod or iPhone and now iPad and even the new portable Mac systems have non-user replaceable batteries. But not the Magic Mouse... You have to deal with AA batteries dying and replacing them constantly.

If I recall correctly, the Magic Mouse came with a set of 2 AA alkaline batteries. They lasted me a good couple of weeks before they died. Now what? Well, I don't think I had any new AA alkaline batteries on hand, so I reached for some old NiMH rechargeable AA batteries I have. Instead of 2 weeks, I was getting 2 days, 3 days tops with these old NiMH batteries even after a fresh charge. I wrote it off as old batteries (ones I had used with old point-and-shoot digital cameras before the arrival of the iPhone).

I used the NiMH rechargeable batteries I had on hand until I couldn't take having to change them out every other day and went out and bought some alkaline batteries to bring the magic back to my mouse.

They worked better, but were wasteful being one-time use batteries.

So when Apple announced their own rechargeable NiMH batteries that would last up to 10 years, I got excited. Plus the charger is energy efficient too because it will tapper the voltage down after the batteries are charged.

I was getting low on alkaline batteries for the mouse, and I figured I could buy a package of new alkaline batteries for about $10 for batteries that would only be used once, or spend $30 for the new Apple recharger and 6 rechargeable batteries that should last some time. I figured the latter choice would pay for itself in time and I ordered it earlier this week.

To my surprise and amusement it arrived today instead of its scheduled arrival for next week just as the batteries in my Magic Mouse were dying. What great timing Apple!

I gave two shinny new batteries a full charge and inserted them into my Magic Mouse and see that the Mac is reporting the battery level of the freshly charged new "magic batteries" to be only 86%, not 100%. Now mind you, the meter is probably calibrated for alkaline batteries. The other older NiMH batteries I used never registered 100% after a full charge either. In fact, the percentage was far lower than 86% (more like 64%).

Magic Mouse Battery Level Indicator

The real test is to see how long it will be before I have to swap out the batteries on Magic Mouse now.

Perhaps there will be a software update to the Magic Mouse settings software (perhaps part of a Mac OS X update) which allow you to select which battery type you are using and thus the meter would adjust accordingly. So when inserting freshly charged NiMH rechargeable batteries will show the proper percentage in the battery meter. This is how my portable digital audio recorder works (the Zoom H2 - you need to set the settings if you are using alkaline or NiMH batteries so it gives you a proper reading).

Either that, or perhaps I am just 'holding it wrong.'

Louis Trapani's picture

I replaced the Apple rechargeable batteries in my Magic Mouse for the first time since installing them on the 6th of August 2010. So it just over 3 weeks that these two freshly charged Apple rechargeable batteries lasted. Which is pretty good. Far longer than I had originally expected. 

The battery charge indicator that the Magic Mouse software reports is not tuned for these rechargeable batteries. As you can see in my original post, the freshly charged batteries showed as 86% when installed. Since installing them, I kept on checking the status indicator. I stayed in the 50-60% range for a while (longer than any other range I would say), but once it dropped below 50% on the status indicator, it dropped at a faster speed than prior to it. 

While it may have been in the 50-60% range for a week or more, it went from more than 20-10% in one night. I changed them once they reached 10% after realizing how quickly they were going down. I figured I would change it before the mouse died in the middle of something. This is common for Ni-Cad and Ni-MH rechargeable batteries in general compared to alkaline batteries. They drop off far faster towards the end of their charge cycle.

So I am quite pleased with the results. My older Ni-MH batteries did not fair so well with the same mouse and use. But they were older batteries that had already been put through the paces (i.e. digital point-shoot cameras) over the years. So it is an unfair comparison.

Would I recommend the Apple Recharge Batteries? You bet.

With that said, check out this Engadget story about the batteries.

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