Mac Pro Take 4: Bluetooth Mighty Mouse is a No-Go – Now it Works!

A bit more than a month ago, I wrote a positive review of Apple’s wireless Mighty Mouse. At the time, I was using it with an iMac G5. Since then, having replaced my iMac by a new Mac Pro, I’ve had nothing but trouble with the Mighty Mouse. It stutters and skips, with the mouse about 3 feet away from the Mac Pro. (The Mac Pro is on the floor to the left of my desk; I’m right handed, so the mouse is on the right side of my keyboard, on my desk.) I have no other Bluetooth devices, so there is nothing that interferes with the transmission. It’s clearly a Mac Pro problem, not a mouse problem, since the erratic behavior occurs even when the mouse is in line-of-sight with the Mac Pro at more than 3 or 4 feet.
AppleCare is sending a technician next week to change the Bluetooth module and antenna. But threads such as this one on Apple’s discussion boards, and in other forums, suggest that this problem is not merely anecdotal. Apparently, aluminum is a very efficient shield, and the Bluetooth antenna, it seems, is at the bottom of the Mac Pro. To be honest, seeing the results of these repairs on other problematic Mac Pros, I have little hope that mine will work any better.

So this raises the question: didn’t Apple test this? Bluetooth is supposed to work at a distance of about 10 meters or 30 feet; if a wireless mouse can’t function with the Mac Pro at 3-4 feet, there’s a serious design problem. While I originally used the wireless Mighty Mouse with an iMac, which was on my desk, it works fine at a distance from the iMac, so it’s not the Bluetooth technology that is ineffective. It’s truly a design problem with the Mac Pro, or with the placement of the antenna.

I’ll wait and see what happens when the technician “fixes” the Mac Pro, but I’m pretty much resolved that this simply won’t work. Are any of you using a Bluetooth Mighty Mouse with the Mac Pro successfully? If so, how far is it from your Mac Pro?

Follow up on September 25. I followed the advice given in this Apple discussion thread, while having the technician walk me through it over the phone (telling me where the cables are, etc.). It works fine.

To sum up, somehow Apple’s assemblers have inverted the labelling of two of the cables, the BT one and the one that is unlabeled. This is a serious problem, not so much because of usability, but because of what this foolish mistake is costing them. Some people have said that Apple exchanged their Mac Pros, others that they changed the BT module and/or antenna. The fix is simply one of correcting human error.


See previous installments:

Mac Pro: Take 1 – The Quietest Desktop Mac Ever

Mac Pro: Take 2 – The Power of Spotlight

Mac Pro: Take 3 – The Weird USB Extension Cord