Did you recently upgrade from your 4+ year old Microsoft “Miscellaneous” or Logitech “Whatever” mouse for something advertised as the “weapon of choice” for gamers? I did. If you have, than you and I might have experienced the same thing. The very second you’ve plugged your optical or laser weapon (laser sounds cooler) into your Mac OS powered machine, you might have noticed something almost immediately – something isn’t right.
With the new mouse, very single movement is a pain, it takes at least 5 clicks to open Safari, and you’ve already restarted about 10 times. Is it the mouse? No, it’s Mac OS.
After feeling extremely frustrated that my newly purchased mouse (it was a Logitech G500 by the way) was reluctant to work with my Mac, I turned to Google for some answers (using the trackpad of course).
Mac OS’s Mouse Acceleration Issue
A few Google searches will tell you that Mac OS has an issue with mouse acceleration with high DPI mice, AKA “gaming mice”. To add insult to injury, some of the companies who manufacture these mice are, to put it politely, rather lacking in terms of support drivers for Mac OS.
How to Fix the Mouse Acceleration Issue for Mac OS
Unfortunately, the above default mouse settings won’t help your top-of-the-line 1800 dpi weapon too much. Until Apple gets their team on this ridiculous issue, the current most popular solution is to use 3rd party software: SteerMouse or USB Overdrive.
Both of these are shareware ($20.00 USD for a license) that work to customize and tweak mouse button preferences, wheels settings, and most importantly, mouse acceleration.
Open “SteerMouse” via “System Settings” or “Spotlight”.
1. Click on “Cursor”.
2. Turn the “Tracking Speed” dial all the way down to 0.0.
3. Increase sensitivity – I’d start with 100.
At this point, I’d test the mouse movement. If it feels a little stiff, increase the sensitivity a bit more, but keep the “Tracking Speed” (aka. acceleration) down. Depending on what mouse you have and what drivers you have installed, you can increase the “Tracking Speed” a little bit.
USB Overdrive Settings
Download USB Overdrive
Open “USB Overdrive” via “System Settings” or “Spotlight”.
1. Click on “Settings” (it should be automatically selected).
2. Turn the “Acceleration” dial all the way down.
3. Increase “Speed” – I’d start off with it maximized.
Similar to the process with SteerMouse, test your mouse movement and adjust the “Speed” and possibly the “Acceleration” if necessary.
Personally, I use SteerMouse because it I feel like it works better – the magic word is “feel”, as everyone has different preferences in terms of sensitivity. I’d highly recommend installing both and try them out with your mouse – one at a time of course.
Using SteerMouse or USB Overdrive with Gaming Mice
Almost all of the modern gaming mice have the ability to change sensitivity “on-the-fly”, which, without a doubt, is essential for getting headshots and so forth. Personally, I’d recommend centralizing or neutralizing the mouse’s “on-the-fly” sensitivity level before tweaking the settings on SteerMouse or USB Overdrive. That way, you’ll be able to have the most effective range for increasing or decreasing sensitivity.
Above, you can see the sensitivity levels being neutralized on the Razer DeathAdder mouse.
If you’re fortunate enough to have purchased a mouse with Mac friendly drivers, then you get even more versatility for sensitivity tweaking. I’ve tried using the mouse’s drivers only without the aid of SteerMouse or USB Overdrive, but it simply isn’t the same. Movement isn’t natural, and I find myself thinking more on how to move my mouse vs. where to move my mouse.
Is SteerMouse or USB Overdrive Worth it?
SteerMouse has a limited trail period (I believe for about 1 month), and USB Overdrive has that incredibly annoying 10 second count-down window any time you open the application (as seen above). Even though both applications are noticeably different feature-wise, they both have a price tag of $20.00 USD.
Whether or not these applications is worth it is debatable as everyone has different needs and preferences. Personally, after one week of using SteerMouse, I purchased a license via PayPal. I need ultra smooth and sharp precision because I use my mouse primarily to do graphics and illustration, I also game from time to time, so it definitely helps out in that perspective. The default mouse settings just didn’t cut it for me, and I found the Razer drivers (albeit handy) were lacking.
Hopefully you found this article somewhat helpful in your quest for perfect pin-point mouse precision. It still saddens me that Apple doesn’t have proper native support for high DPI mice, and the lack of Mac OS support from the companies themselves makes matters even worse. Fortunately, there are 3rd party software that will help take care of things, but they come with an annoying and arguably unnecessary price tag. At the end of the day, gamers, especially serious ones, need the best stuff and the best stuff rarely comes cheap.