Apple Mighty Mouse Won’t Scroll Down

Update: On October 20, 2009, Apple introduced the successor to the Mighty Mouse, the Apple Magic Mouse:

It eliminates the scroll wheel completely, so you’ll never have the scrolling problem again! The whole upper surface of the Magic Mouse is a multitouch touchpad. If you buy one through this affiliate link, I get a little percentage that helps me maintain this site and keep up on the latest technologies. Thanks! πŸ™‚

A few times now, the Mighty Mouse on my Mac (the one with the tiny little scroll ball on it) has lost the ability to scroll down. It scrolls upwards, and horizontally, with no problem. Seemed like a software problem to me, and in the past, restarting the app I was using, or the whole Mac, seemed to fix the problem.

It started doing it again this morning, and this time, no amount of rebooting, unplugging/replugging, etc. would work. I figured it had to be a software (or maybe electronic) problem, since if it was just gunked up and dirty, I figured it would impair scrolling in all directions. Not just one.

Well, it turns out, when the Mighty Mouse scroll wheel gets dirty, it stops being able to scroll down. Apparently, it’s a common problem, as a quick Google search turned up tons of pages, like this one at

The fix? Blow compressed air around the scroll ball, or just push on it really hard and roll it around (that worked for me). If you’re lucky (I was), it will start working again. If it keeps doing it, though, I’m going to have Apple replace it.

What a weird problem. Design flaw? Who knows. I guess it would be better if it were easier to remove and clean the scroll ball. Apple’s official directions for cleaning it are “hold it upside down and roll it around”. Seriously. They even have a video to show you how to do it. πŸ™‚


316 thoughts on “Apple Mighty Mouse Won’t Scroll Down

  1. Shea says:

    thank god for google search… i thought my mouse was toast >_< thank you for posting this, you saved me a lot of heartache

  2. Hello,

    At first happy, scrolling works! Then sad, pushing down (clicking left, right or center) starts dashboard. I can not click anymore. Did I push to hard?



  3. Rebecca says:

    Marco Cardenas’ method is definitely the most effective:

    “all you have to do to fix it is put down a piece of paper and rub ur mouse ball on it. You will see all the dirt form on the paper. This always works.”

  4. Jennifer says:

    Mighty Mouse stopped scrolling down yet again. Tried the paper trick and I thought it was working – lots of dirt coming out. Then I noticed some of the “dirt” was shavings off the trackball itself. Now it still won’t scroll down and won’t scroll up either. Time for a new mouse. I haven’t even had this one a year πŸ™

  5. Stephen Knott says:

    Thanks for this! This has saved me loads of hassle! Pushing down and rolling up and down for 2 seconds fixed it! Awesome!!!

  6. david says:

    Thanks for the tip; I rolled the ball around with my shirt tails between my finger and the ball and restored the scroll-down functionality. It is very odd indeed that only the scroll-down failed. When you suggest a software failure, I think you may be on the right track–so to speak. But it would have to be the software in the mouse device itself. Somehow, the scroll-down logic requires more of a physical stimulus than the -up, -right and -left. In any event, this is a defect and Apple should fix it and recall all “Mighty” Mouses.

    This is interesting: moving to optical mouses was an improvement over mechanical, rubber ball tracking mouses. Apple has brought back the little rubber ball (much smaller this time) and created a mouse that is even less reliable than the old mechanical mouses. –

  7. Yeah, pretty easy fix with compressed air, pushing (not too hard) the ball with a lit more force. It dislodges gunk. Does not matter how great a piece of gear is, it will always require a little maintenance. Mine is fine again.

  8. Andy says:

    Now I can’t believe this….and it’t not because I’m tight…..but I obviously had the scrolling problem (had it for ages)…never bothered with the car of air, I just puckered up and blew in the dam thing. Oh my god it worked….scrolling now ok!!

  9. Joel says:

    Wow, I just blew a few times while pushing the scroll button and it does work! sweet. Who knows how long until I have to blow again πŸ˜‰

  10. Hypatie Macinaggiu says:

    Still I’m not too convinced. I have also this problem and so replaced the Mighty mouse by a solid Microsoft optical mouse. Guess what – the same happens from time to time: I get stuck at the bottom of a web page in Safari with no possibility to scroll up. Usually closing and reopening Safari clears the issue. It sometimes happens in other apps too. It seems there is also some software issue…

  11. Justin Brett says:

    My mouse wouldn’t scroll up, but would scroll down and sideways. I tried the blowing thing, and now it doesn’t scroll in any direction! The only fix is to buy the new ball-less mouse.

  12. Herasami says:

    Thanks a lot… blew a few times and it’s working. I wanted to clean it the way I used to clean a “normal” mouse… but it was impossible to open this thing…. really frustrating.

  13. Walter says:

    PLEASE HELP…. I have a NEW iMAC with a wired mouse and keyboard. I’ve have the Mac for about 3 months and the scroll wheel on the mouse worked on EVERYTHING… now it works on nothing. My Son said he was playing with it when it stopped working… can anyone help, any ideas!!! thanks Walter

  14. Carolyn says:

    I was skeptical, but tried it and was amazed to see that it worked like a charm! Thank you so much for this suggestion.

  15. Sharon says:

    Thanks so much! I’ve been going crazy with the scroll down thing… the compressed air worked like charm!

  16. harold says:

    Wow – cool. I was about to head out to buy a new mouse. I blew on it and rolled it around holding it upside down and I can now scroll down again. Happy times!

  17. Matt says:

    Brilliant. I was about to start poking around with screwdrivers to get the thing opened. Blowing worked.


  18. Lyle Wood says:

    Thanks a lot. Just pushing on the mighty mouses really hard and rolling it around restored the downward scroll.

  19. Neil Martin says:


    I had great success in reviving (not so) Mighty Mice by spraying contact cleaner into the ball cavity whilst pushing the ball down so it gets in there, then vigorously rolling it around and applying pressure. Takes a while for the middle click button to come back as the contact cleaner has to evaporate. Feels like new. You can get these buggers open with a little patience but you risk damaging the soft plastic and the scroll ball/rollers section is very tiny and fiddly to work with indeed.

  20. Tom says:

    If you don’t have compressed air, I just figured out the following when my Mighty Mouse wheel would not scroll in any direction. Lick the fingerprint of your index finger and use it to move the ball around. It must have picked up the dust or something since it revived it instantly.

  21. graeson says:

    So it took me almost bursting a blood vessel in my forehead, but blowing in the darn thing worked!

  22. Tom says:

    Hey, i too was sceptical about this, but i tried Holing upside down and scrolling….

    Fixed it totally, thanks very much you genius.
    (: very happy man now.


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