Help File: Making a Mac automatically reconnect to a Bluetooth mouse

March 26, 2011

Whenever I change the batteries in my Mac’s Bluetooth mouse, the computer doesn’t connect to it again automatically. How do I force it to remember this thing exists?

A: Apple’s Bluetooth wireless-enabled Magic Mouse is supposed to link back up to a Mac on its own after a change of batteries. But when it doesn’t, instructing a Mac to reconnect to that rodent using only keyboard commands is an utterly excruciating process.

I shared some tips about resolving this kind of issue in November, but then I found that they weren’t helping on my own iMac. A tip I got from readers after that article ran — hold down the mouse button for a few seconds to force a reconnect — didn’t work either.

But a different remedy, unmentioned in Apple’s own advice, now seems to have cured the problem.

The trick is to go deep into Mac OS X’s system settings.

Open the System Preferences application (it’s under the Apple-icon menu at the top left corner of the screen), click the Bluetooth icon and select your mouse in the left of that window.

Then click the small gear icon at the bottom left of that list of Bluetooth devices and select “Show More Info” from its drop-down menu. Then click the gear icon again and select “Add to Favorites” from that menu; you can click “Show More Info” again to condense that menu to its normal size if you want.

This, incidentally, might be the least intuitive interface I’ve ever seen in Mac OS X. Why this “favorite” option wouldn’t be enabled by default for something as essential to everyday computing as a mouse is a mystery to me.

Rob Pegoraro

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