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Wireless Mouse vs. Bluetooth

Saturday, October 15th, 2016 by | Filed Under: Computer Terms, Hardware & Peripherals

I had a question recently about the differences between a wireless and a Bluetooth mouse.  Even though neither one uses wires, they are different devices.

In fact, there are three kinds of wireless mouse you can buy. They each communicate with your PC in a different way.


Let’s start with Bluetooth.  A Bluetooth mouse will only work with devices that are Bluetooth capable.  Bluetooth is a short-range wireless signal between devices. Most newer laptops are, but you should check. You’ll also need to make sure that the Bluetooth capability is turned on.

You activate that connection by “pairing” the devices. That’s usually just a matter of having your PC or Mac search for Bluetooth enabled devices and holding down a button on the mouse.

A Bluetooth mouse will need batteries, though there are some rechargeable models.


A wireless mouse works by transmitting a signal to a receiver on your PC. The receiver is usually a small device that fits into your USB port. The receiver must be attached to the PC for it to talk to your mouse.

Receivers sometimes come tucked inside a mouse and will fit in a slot in the battery compartment for travel.

This mouse is also battery-powered, though sometimes they are  rechargeable. If you notice the mouse starting to jump around or not respond, always check the batteries.


A third kind of wireless mouse is the WiFi mouse that connects directly to your router.  There’s no need to stick in an adapter because your PC will communicate via your home’s regular WiFi signal.

You will need to log onto your network with your WiFi password to use.  The other two types of mouse you can use whether you have a wireless signal or not. They communicate directly with your PC. This mouse needs a wireless signal, so it may not be the best type of mouse if you’re on the go a lot.

This type of mouse is also available in battery-powered and rechargeable versions.

~ Cynthia

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One Response to “Wireless Mouse vs. Bluetooth”

  1. Trish says:

    Cynthia, thanks for the ‘mouse’ information, but could you also do an explanation for trackballs. I have a Kensington Expert wired Trackball. I can’t seem to find software to program the four buttons on it and the scroll ring keeps changing from single line scrolling to 1/2 page jumps. This makes scrolling down a site page difficult – say if the page is showing multiple items you want to look over. Also, I keep mixing up adjusting my PC settings when I try to adjust the trackball settings. Great product, but instructions are rare and support is difficult to get. You’re doing a great job, thanks, Trish

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