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How To Fix The Mighty Mouse Scroll Ball (+ video)

In this post, I’m going to explain to you how I fixed my Mighty Mouse after the ball wouldn’t scroll anymore. Maybe you have the same problem and this can help you solve it…

Be careful though: You may lose your warranty and/or break your mouse in the process. Don’t blame me — you alone are responsible for what you do, even if you decide to follow these instructions!

After using it for a few months, the scroll ball on top of Apple’s Mighty Mice works worse than in beginning — it may even stop working at all. Responsible for this is dirt that gets into the mouse and disturbs the sensors.

In the following video I explain how to take apart and clean a Mighty Mouse in order to fix a non-working scroll ball:


Cleaning the Mighty Mouse Scroll Ball from Julian Schrader on Vimeo.

The single steps to reach the goal, as shown in the video, are:

  1. Switch the mouse off and take the batteries out, put the cap aside
  2. Cut the outer grey ring off the mouse with a sharp knife/scalpel
  3. Press down the two clips located on each side of the front (near the optical sensor) in order to “unlock” the mouse
  4. Remove the shell carefully (the two parts of the mouse are connected via two vulnerable cables)
  5. Loose the tiny clamps which hold the two cables, drag the cables out of them
  6. Get a precision screwdriver and unscrew the three screws which hold the tiny case with the scroll sensors inside of the shell
  7. Take the scroll ball’s case and open it
  8. Clean the ball, the four tiny magnetic stamps and the case
  9. Put everything back together
  10. Use hot glue/super glue to re-attach the grey ring
  11. Put the batteries back in, the cap on, switch the Mighty Mouse on
  12. There is no step 12. Everything should work fine again!

If you have any questions or suggestions (or corrections to make), feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Mighty Mouse reinigen wenn der Scrollball klemmt ✭ Frank Helmschrott pingbacked Posted May 3, 2008, 11:32 am
  2. Mighty Mouse problem - Mac-Forums.com pingbacked Posted October 24, 2009, 7:39 pm
  3. Reader Setup: Julian Schrader — Shawn Blanc pingbacked Posted January 23, 2011, 5:36 am

Comments

  1. Quote

    great video and a really great articulation. simply great!

  2. Quote

    Thank you for your nice comment!

  3. Quote
    Mark Weaver said October 25, 2007, 9:48 pm:

    Thank you for producing this. This is a common problem with the Mighty Mouse, and your video is the best resource I’ve come across for dealing with it. Very clear, good detail. Nicely done.

  4. Quote

    Thanks!

  5. Quote

    Nice surgery tutorial. I now know much more about the inner workings of the mighty mouse. However, the method suggested by Apple worked just fine for me when my scroll ball jammed: Unplug, turn upside-down, and roll the hell out of the scroll ball. Everything came loose with relative ease.

  6. Quote

    Hey Nick,

    unfortunately this didn’t work better for me than the “slice of paper” method. How long does it work for you until you have to repeat the procedure again?

    Julian

  7. Quote
    Mark Weaver said October 29, 2007, 4:23 am:

    Like Nick, I found rolling the mouse’s scroll ball on my jeans to work…temporarily. Gradually, the technique became less and less effective at restoring my faltering scroll ball. Right now, about six months after I started having trouble, my scroll ball is practically inoperable when scrolling down. No amount of rolling or insertion of paper fixes it. (I even tried sliding a piece of tape into the thing!) Up and side-to-side functionality is fine, though. Clearly something’s jammed in there. I’ll try the surgery some time this week, assuming I get the time.

    Cheers,
    Mark

  8. Quote

    The procedure worked well. Thanks for putting together the video. The hardest part for me was getting the cables re-installed. It took a couple of tries but I finally got them secure.

    Joe

  9. Quote

    Thanks. Great Video! The only odd thing for me was the fact that once I had it all back together my secondary click (the right side of my mouse) wouldn’t work. I had to go into system preferences and change my secondary click to the left side and then back to the right side, and then it worked. Odd…. Thanks though.

  10. Quote
    quality directory said January 23, 2008, 5:41 am:

    Great resource! There are some people I know that use the mouse and can’t get the scroll bar to function after a short time. I’ll send them this link next time they have the problem and I know about it. Thanks!

  11. Quote

    Thank you Julian!
    I’ wouldn’t be able to fix my mm without your help!

    X.

  12. Quote
    MacMicky said March 14, 2008, 3:08 am:

    I have just watched the pull . For those of us that are not that gifted the way that will work is to follow this procedure.

    … a clean sheet of white paper and lay it on a flat service.

    2. Take a lint free cloth and moisten with alcohol (Methylated Spirirts not the good stuff)

    3. Turn the mouse over and place the mouse on the paper.

    4. Roll the mouse in all directions, vertically, horizontly and last but not least
    circularly.

    5. Reconnect and voila …new mouse. Basically what Apple said.

    PS Do this, forgetting the paper part every couple of days and you will have no more mouse problems. Good Luck

    MacMicky

  13. Quote

    Just sticking the little piece of paper in worked like a charm (with some finesse of course). Thanks for the tip!

  14. Quote

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

  15. Quote

    Scroll started working after tooth stick

    I had a problem with mac-s scroll-ball, as for many, it didn’t scroll down. I searched forums for instructions and nearly all of them told to roll your mouse ball on something. Well I tried all that and none of them worked.

    So I tried to figure something out.

    I took a tooth stick and tried to get all the dirt below the cover, trough the ball-hole. Still not pushing it all-the-way-in or something. About 1mm and collected ALOT of something. After that a bit of the same rolling with my finger, testing…WORKED!

    Just be careful not to harm those indicators in there.

  16. Quote
    Sharon said May 25, 2008, 12:03 pm:

    Hi, Thanks so much for your very clear instructions on cleaning the trackerball of the mighty mouse. I have just completed the entire procedure without any mishaps and am thrilled to have it working as new again. Couldn’t have done it without you! :-)
    Thanks very much.

  17. Quote

    I used a staple…worked!!!

  18. Quote
    Audrey said June 9, 2008, 6:15 pm:

    Impossible to take these 3 screws out. :-(

  19. Quote

    Great tutorial! I especially like how it was in real time so I could follow along without being made to feel slow. Audrey, you need to buy a better screwdriver. Get one with nice sharp tips that bite well. New jewelers’ screwdriver will work.

  20. Quote
    opinion said July 20, 2008, 8:32 am:

    Thanks for a great video… and thanks to Nick for the advice about simply rolling the ball while the mouse is switched off. It did the job for me… rolling ball working nicely again. We’ll see how long it lasts!

  21. Quote

    thanks!!!!!!! just did everything – thought I blew it when the two cables popped out, but I am now nicely scrolling up AND down: )

  22. Quote

    Thanks a lot, very useful video.
    regards

  23. Quote

    Thanx!! that REALLY helped!!
    I actually didn’t even undo the cables but everything went just fine!

    cheers
    Hans

  24. Quote

    hey mate

    thanks for the video it helped alot! my mouse can now scroll, amazing in the 21st century..

    the hardest part i found was taking the grey rim off at step1 !

    i wish apple would make things easier sometimes..

    thanks again dude,

    jon

  25. Quote

    you should have seen all the crap that was sitting in the scroll mechanism

  26. Quote
    John Buckley said October 15, 2008, 3:24 pm:

    Julian,

    Thanks for your great video and the discussion forum. Also, thanks to all posters here.

    I moistened the trackball with isopropyl alcohol with a cotton Q tip and rolled the inverted trackball on a clean piece of notebook paper placed over my mousepad. This worked for a perfect 1st time fix. Very easy, I will see how long it works.

    Again, thanks to all.
    John

  27. Quote
    Brian Fogel said November 4, 2008, 8:50 am:

    Julian,

    Others have thanked you, and here’s another very appreciative stranger to thank you. With your video I had a clear path to cleaning that little scroll ball. I ended up sealing the unit back together with hot glue (I happened to have it around).

    Scrolling down is noiseless and smooth. Scrolling up is slightly granular in feel and has some grainy noise as well. The little magnetic rods and cams seem to be the culprit. Perhaps moving them around (like rotating a car’s tires) would fix this little complaint. And I wonder how long this cleaning will last.

    I hate to have to spend, what, $75 US, to get a nice smooth action once again.

  28. Quote

    Yeah!
    The Mighty Mouse is really mighty!
    It’ so ridiculous :-)
    How much does it cost, again?

    never had to clean my 7€-Logitec …

  29. Quote
    V. Pichardo said February 21, 2009, 7:54 pm:

    This was a great video! but it only should be done when there is no other way around the problem. I had the same problem with my mouse and doing what apple suggested worked. if it no longer works just do the surgery :D .

  30. Quote

    You need to say that this only works on WIRELESS mighty mice. If you own a wired version and try it, you will get stopped from fully opening your mouse because of the short end of the USB wire inside. Because of this wire you cannot fully open the mouse and gain access to the little ball… I tried on mine and could not complete the operation. :(

  31. Quote

    Hi James,

    I have a comment on the video page that says same steps apply to both types—so this should work just as well with a wired mouse.

    http://vimeo.com/338625 (1st comment)

    Julian

  32. Quote
    Crawford said April 5, 2009, 1:57 pm:

    Great resource, same Mac can’t make the unit without the ring having to be glued or better still with access to the roll-ball for cleaning as with most conventional mice ( guess they can but that would mean most people wouldn’t go out and buy a new mouse instead of fixing it!)

  33. Quote

    Hi!

    Just cleaned my Mighty Mouse for the first time, according to this instruction – which worked very well, thanks! But Apple didn’t make it easy for us, these cables require a little fiddling.

    Jannis

  34. Quote
    michael w said June 22, 2009, 12:45 am:

    hello julian,

    thanks for your video of the repair for the MMouse. i read one other, from linklink site [http://www.linklink.co.uk/apple-computers/cleaning-inside-and-dismantling-the-apple-mighty-mouse/ ]
    in UK that was informative.
    on that site, as you may see, the re-assembly was done placing the ball and rollers in the top white piece.
    i went with your method, tho i didn’t disconnect the ribbon cables.

    i thought maybe the other site chose the reassembly with rollers in the white piece because if you look at the extremely delicate and slim moulding of plastic troughs for the ends of the rollers, they could be easily damaged if you weren’t perfectly aligned doing the refitting of white top onto them.

    even so, your method, minus the removal of the cables was my choice.
    all work’t well.
    thanks,
    now i have a wondering question, eine kleine frage,
    why did you contribute this fine helpful video–you know it makes Apple mad to have the ‘common man’ given aid that lets him do macintosh work for free or for a fair price.
    apple is notoriously wicked in its corporate ethics i should say.?

  35. Quote

    Hello Michael,

    well—let me put it this way: Apple is a wise business. Their corporate ethics may make you hate them, but most of their products are simply great—for which their customers love the company.

    I consider myself an Apple fanboy, as silly as that sounds—and whenever there was the slightest problem with anything mac, I could always count on the community to help me out. Despite all Apple’s greatness, sometimes it happens and something doesn’t work ;-)

    So this video is basically my little contribution to the community. :-)

    Cheers,
    Julian

  36. Quote

    Thanks everyone.
    We were adviced to roll it upside down on a wet washingcloth.
    That worked, but often you could feel some resistance when scrolling down.

    I was thinking of trying to open the mouse.

    Then I read about the rolling on the plain paper. It works much better.
    A few minutes rolling it left a nice amount of dirt on the paper.
    Scrolls like new again.

    Thanks again,

    Mark

  37. Quote

    Thanks Julian

    This worked a treat.
    Use a scalpel, and you don’t have to cut round the mouse… more like prise it apart.

    10 minutes that’s all it took.

    It now feels like new!

    Cheer ears

    Wilse

  38. Quote

    Thank you for this. This is very informative and helpful. Keep up the good work.

  39. Quote

    Nice tutorial. I haven’t taken mine apart, but I have taken the earlier ones apart, it’s pretty similar.

    Apple has a new solution in the Magic Mouse, which also fits in my computer bag a lot easier.

    http://store.apple.com/us/product/MB829LL/A

  40. Quote

    @Brian: Very true. I’ve used the new Magic Mouse for a few weeks now and it’s been a blast :-)

  41. Quote

    Called apple store……
    they replaced the mouse 4 me

  42. Quote

    I just performed this surgery myself. Could’ve done with an extra pair of hands when trying to re-assemble the little rollers! The little beggars!!!

    Mine isn’t a wireless mouse so was a little more fiddly, but I still managed it. I didn’t bother to unhook the cables, I just had them joined while I took out the ball components.

    Works a treat now.

    After seeing all that gunk, I can’t imagine the other more passive methods will work for long as the grease gets quite a way into the workings. Come on guys don’t be such cowards!!! you need to open her up and scrape her out!

    However I’m not looking forward to having to do it again, after super gluing it O_o so I will keep a clean ship from now on with regular hand cleaning.

  43. Quote

    Works great now !!! Thanks man !!!

  44. Quote

    Great instructive video, wish I’d seen it before I pulled mine apart, managed to do the same with USB wired scroll mouse, and yes those little magnets are very fiddly to get back in.
    No doubt the other methods work, and really depend on the amount of gunk build up on those little magnets (4 rolling magnets give you 4 directions), but when all those other methods fail, this is the only way to resurrect the scroll again.

  45. Quote
    Will Brincat said May 27, 2010, 1:56 pm:

    This method was fantastic. Anyone who says their method is better than this or “just as good” is kidding themselves. It’s not until you open your mouse and see with your own eyes the level of dirt that builds up on the ball, case and sensors that you realise. No other method could possibly clean that amount of dirt. This is also the no.1 instructional video i have seen relating to this procedure. If you watch it and follow it 100% you really shouldn’t have a problem and after you’re done you should have a 100% working mouse. As for the plastic ring that you need to cut off (Thanks apple! NOT), it really is there more for aesthetics so if you weren’t concerned about the look of your mouse i cannot see why you can’t just discard it. Having said that however i did use the hot glue method and re-attach mine. I find hot glue works best as its quite easy to remove for the next time you need to clean your mouse. Thanks again.

    Will

  46. Quote

    Thanks guys! I really appreciate your praise and constructive critique, it feels great :-)

  47. Quote
    Bernd said June 6, 2010, 3:38 pm:

    Worked fine – Thanks !
    That piece of dirt would never come out via the ballhole

    Bernd

  48. Quote

    Perfect! You helped me a lot. Thanks!

  49. Quote

    Thanks…I followed the video while I did it to a wired optical mouse: despite some comment or other it does work. I didn’t find any problem with the cable being attached. There are two rings, both of which are glued on and need to be re-glued. I used what was handy: Titebond wood glue, can you believe it!? it’s working and scrolling well. It’s the same problem all ball mouse balls and sensors have, only at a tenth the size and with no easy way in! Mine had fuzz around the cams, so the paper trick wouldn’t have worked, I think. As for this being community, I agree. Would you like to come over this Saturday and we’ll have a go at my son’s car’s driver’s side window button?

  50. Quote
    Samuel said March 7, 2011, 4:11 pm:

    Thanks.

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