Battery Status Tells You When Your Magic Mouse Is About to Die

very good
key review info
application features
  • see what percent of the battery life is remaining
  • (7 more, see all...)

Finally, an app that tells you when your Magic Mouse is getting ready to take a surprise nap! Developed by Taylor Marks with the sole purpose of giving Mac users an accurate reading of the status of each battery-enabled device, Battery Status is a useful utility that lives quietly in your menubar and shows every bit of information you could possibly ask for regarding the lifespan of your MacBook and the accessories connected to it.

The looks

No matter how complex our devices get with the passing of each generation, battery life remains a problem even in this day and age. Until we develop new technologies that allow us to take our gadgets anywhere without worrying if there’s an outlet nearby, we’ll have to rely on specialized software solutions that tell us how much time we have until we have to replenish the Lithium-based juice packs.

And no app does it better than Battery Status on the Mac. It presents you with a neat interface that uses a drop-down menu to show all your battery-powered gizmos, including the very system you’re working on, such as a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air.

For desktop users, such as myself, Battery Status does a great job at displaying every bit of detail I need about the lifespan of my Magic Mouse or the Magic Trackpad I use occasionally (when I'm feeling creative).

I started using Battery Status about a week ago, so I could let it quantify the status of my Magic Mouse’s electric piles (just so I don’t have to repeat “battery” every other sentence). In the meanwhile, I hooked up my Magic Trackpad as well.

As the screenshot below shows, it’s still working to give me a good reading of the situation inside the AA juice packs keeping the Magic Trackpad running. Nonetheless, I do have an estimate on the lifespan of my Magic Mouse. Battery Status says the rodent has eaten through half of its sustenance since July 18th, when the power was at a maximum.

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The peripheral should no longer be able to connect to my Mac late next month, according to Taylor Marks’ utility, though I’m pretty sure it’ll happen much earlier, given my previous experience with the juice-sucking Magic Mouse. However, Battery Status changes its “opinion” on the go, so I should get a heads up right before it dies on me.

The works

Battery Status uses complex algorithms to collect data in order to estimate when batteries will die. While it may take up to a week before an estimate is made, the utility worked much faster for me (around four days).

The main advantage is that you can get an instant status report on the lifespan of your batteries, regardless of what you’re currently doing. For example, if I’m preparing for a good old fashioned round of Counter Strike (yes PC buffs, Macs too run games), I can immediately check if my mouse is up to the task for the next two hours with a single click. If it's not, I’ll know to replace the batteries before I grab that AK-47. I hate being that free frag around the corner just because my mouse stopped working during play.

But you can also do some tweaks, and there are numerous other functions that I’ve yet to mention in this review.

The Preferences menu is a three-tab affair that lets you tweak the appearance of your menubar data (percentage), icon color, indicators for plugged-in devices, as well as get a warning when an external device is close to its demise.

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You can also use the prefs to select options like “broadcast battery statuses on local network” or to “receive” such statuses. Notifications work here too, so when a connected device around the house is dying on you, Battery Status will let you in on that.

You can set the app to launch at login by visiting the OS X system preferences, and administrators can override some settings by using this handy guide.

Supported wireless devices include Apple's wireless mice, trackpads, keyboards, and laptops, as well as Logitech's Performance MX mouse. Mac users who own a wireless device that they’d like supported can contact Taylor. He promises he’ll look into adding support for it in a free update.

The Good

While some battery-reading solutions are bound to be complex, something this dedicated to the Mac really can’t get any simpler. The interface is perfectly designed to give regular users all the readings they need, and the simple fact that you know when your Magic Mouse is going to die is worth well over Taylor Marks’ asking price ($1.99 / 1,59 €).

The Bad

Newcomers may be disappointed to see that Battery Status takes up to a week to offer an estimate on when their batteries are going to die. Taylor should include this in the Mac App Store description so that customers know what to expect. Perhaps in the next update. Since it’s a paid app, it really should support more third-party peripherals. After all, many Mac users employ all kinds of mice and keyboards to fit their gaming habits. There’s also no demo version [update, see below], so you’ll have to buy it outright before you can make an impression.

The truth

Since OS X doesn’t include a dedicated solution to read the state of the computer’s battery, nor one for the peripherals, Battery Status is like a breath of fresh air after days of wandering in a stormy desert with zero visibility 10 feet ahead of you. And I’m not being overly dramatic (Magic Mouse users will agree).

Update: On the "demo" topic, developer Taylor Marks says anyone can email him to request a copy to see if their third-party hardware is supported. Taylor also asked us to note that his app's only requirement is OS X 10.6.6, but that it works on PPC 32 bit, PPC 64 bit, Intel 32 bit, and Intel 64 bit processors.

user interface 4
features 4
ease of use 5
pricing / value 4

final rating 4
Editor's review
very good
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