Apple Pro Mouse Image

Opening and Repairing


Apple Pro Mouse

Apple Pro Mouse Image

I'm in charge of the computers at Lincoln Lutheran Jr/Sr High School, and we've recently had several Apple Pro Mice that would work intermittently, and eventually would cause the computer to freeze. Upon closer inspection it seems that the USB cables had become frayed near where they connect to the mouse and were shorting out.

A little searching on the internet seems to indicate that this is a frequent problem, and although Apple promptly replaced them (they were under warranty), I felt it would be a shame to throw the old ones away without attempting to open and repair them. I searched for instructions on how to open/fix/repair/disassemble an Apple Pro Mouse but came up blank. However, since I had three "worthless" ones with which to work, I didn't feel bad about giving it a try and seeing what would happen. It turns out that you can open and then close them with just a little effort, and without marring the appearance (contrary to reports I've since read).

Here are the tools that I used:

People tell me that it is helpful to read through the instructions before you begin, and you also might want to take a look at the Useful Links at the end of the document.

1. Remove white oval

Remove the white plastic "glide oval" from the bottom of the mouse (I've heard people say this is Teflon, but it doesn't seem like it to me). It is held in place by friction on 6 tiny plastic tabs and two substantial plastic tabs. I've had fairly good luck prying them out with straight pins, but have always broken 3-4 of the slight tabs. This doesn't seem to be a problem as you can reattach it with glue. The secret to removing it cleanly is to raise it out evenly (which probably takes more time than it's worth)

2. Remove tail

Remove the tail of the mouse. From this point on it will just get in the way. There's enough extra cord in the mouse to splice onto, so cut it fairly close to the mouse.


I think it may be possible to skip the next two steps, but doing so makes the steps further along harder. These pieces come apart cleanly and should superglue back together nicely.

3. Break epoxy joints:

Using a sharp knife, cut through the 8 places where the graphite and clear plastic are connected. Apply even pressure, and try not to pry. You can crack the plastic at this point, but only if you force things. The connection points by the "wings" seem to be the best spot to start. You only have to go in a few millimeters with the blade of the knife. The connection points will usually make an audible snap when they separate. Do not go too quickly. Make sure each one is separate before you go to the next step.

One reader suggested another approach at this point:

"After struggling with actually trying to physically cut the bonds with a scalpel, prying the ring seemed to do the trick. The important thing is to use the whole length of the knife, so that the pressure on the ring is spread along long areas of it's edge, this forces the bonds apart but makes snapping unlikely because of the large surface area the knife is prying."

4. Pry off top

Once all 8 joints are broken, work the flat of your blade around the mouse prying gently. After a few trips around the mouse the pieces should separate. (Hey, the flash worked on this picture)


5. Scoring

Ideally now you would do whatever needs to be done to remove the wings, but I don't think there's a way to do that. They are separate pieces, but don't seem to separate (I think they are epoxied together). Instead, you will make 2 cuts through the graphite colored plastic. This will let you separate the two pieces. With a little care you can make cuts that do not detract from the look of the mouse. You do this by following the curve of the wing as it moves into the graphite colored plastic. First score where you want to cut with a knife. The easiest way to do this is to put the clear plastic outer cover back in place and note where the gap between the cover and the wing would (and soon will) extend.


6. Cutting

I used a small hacksaw to cut through the graphite colored plastic (it was handy). I imagine there are other tools that would work as well or better. Perhaps a Dremel (or other rotary tool) would be good. No matter what you use, be careful or you can mare the plastic. I don't think you can do more than cosmetic damage at this point. (Note that you are only cutting through the thin section of graphite colored plastic that the wing pokes through. Don't cut through the clear plastic underneath.)

7. Preparing to separate

Separating the graphite and clear plastic is the next step. When you removed the white plastic oval you exposed two access point on each side of the mouse. There are two plastic clips in each point. You want to use the larger ones that are located to the rear of the mouse (the rear is not the end near the tail --go figure). Use a screwdriver or something to pry each of them apart and then up (toward you). You will not be able to separate the two larger pieces yet. But you can lift the sections apart about 3 millimeters near the rear (the front parts will remain together).


8. Saucer Separation

Once you have the back of each piece separated about 3 millimeters, VERY CAREFULLY slide the two pieces apart using the slots that you cut from the graphite colored plastic (that is to say, move the wings through the slots that you cut). The graphite tabs can take the stress of bending to slide out the wings, but I don't have any idea how much more than that they can take. Once you have the wings worked out just a bit, apply uniform pressure and push them out. Note that you are also removing the remainder of the USB wires from their sheath. If they are not pulling out easily, it's probably best to cut them so that you don't pull them out of the internal connector at the other end.


9. Inside the mouse

Remove the USB cable collar from the graphite colored plastic and remove any extra USB cable from the collar. I don't think you can save the collar (I couldn't) and feeding the USB cable back through the collar when you're done with the repair is a pain.

Clip the old end of the USB cable (the part the goes to the computer) back far enough to avoid your point of failure. Then feed the USB cable through the opening (give yourself enough extra to splice the cables together). You might want to be a little proactive at this point and try to reduce the chance of this happening again. A friend of mine suggested putting a small spring (like one from a pen) over the USB cable before putting the cable back through the collar then hot glue (or however you care to epoxy things) the spring into the opening where the collar was. This would serve to spread out the force on the USB cable and would --hopefully-- prolong the amount of time before another short-circuit.

The wires in the USB cable are marked: black-red, black-white, black-green, black-black and the one larger wire. The one larger wire looks like it attaches to the cable shielding and I assume it is also ground, but I don't know anything about USB, so it's just a guess. Splice the wires together however you normally go about that.

Give it a test and then put it back together. Note that the mouse does come apart a bit further, and although you don't need to do so, it is interesting to take a look around while it's apart.

10. Putting it back together

Putting it back together: do everything in reverse. Just kidding, but back together really is easy.

  1. Carefully slide the innards back into the graphite colored plastic.
  2. Snap the innards in place with the clips near the rear of the mouse.
  3. Important: make sure that the mouse will click at this point. If it doesn't then something between the innards and the graphite colored plastic is not aligned correctly. Remove innards and insert again as needed. There might be a trick to doing this right, but I don't know what it is.

    Ross Tucker e-mailed the following suggestion
    "In reconstruction, in order to make the mouse click, one simply has to ensure that the protruding tab from the bottom graphite piece (with the name, etc.) goes ABOVE (that is, below when the mouse is in operation) the tab on the graphite shell (big piece). This is the necessary and sufficient step for aligning the mouse."
  4. Superglue the clear plastic top to the graphite colored plastic (give a little bit to the sections where you cut through the graphite colored plastic as well
  5. Glue the white plastic oval back on (it seems to hold fairly well without glue too).
  6. Hot glue the USB cable (and spring if you used one) where it comes out of the mouse so there is no stress on the internal USB connector.

End Notes:

Some Useful Links:

Byron Gracey has a well documented page on Repairing your Apple Pro Keyboard (and also how to avoid needing repairs).

Bill Chau has a nice page on Modding an Apple Pro Mouse. Even if you have no intention of modding you mouse, you might want to take a look at his site. His pictures are often easier to understand than mine.

Harald van Arkel has a set of pages with very detailed photos and descriptions of the inside of an Apple Pro Mouse. The photos and descriptions are quite informative.

Misc. Stuff:

I am certainly vain enough to appreciate hearing from you if you found this page helpful, and/or if you have an idea for improving it.

If you find anyone who stocks the USB to Strange-mouse-connector cable, please let me know.

Special thanks to robertskelton-ga from who pointed me in the right direction, to Katan Hein and Laura McDowell who served as "hand models", to Dr. Ken Hirsch (the first person to comment on this page), to Ross Tucker (for his note about making the mouse click) and to Apple Computers Inc. for designing the Pro Mouse with no visible means of servicing.

Lloyd Sommerer