According to Steve Jobs, your finger is “best pointing device in the world,” making it ideal for touchscreen devices. Android phones and tablets are intuitive, supporting interaction via points, gestures, swipes, and more.
But sometimes a finger isn't enough. That's when a mouse comes in handy. Here's what you need to know about connecting a mouse to any Android device.
Why Do You Need to Connect a Mouse to Android?
It isn't all about the human pointing device. There are three types of computer mouse you can connect to Android:
But why might you use a mouse with Android?
Remotely accessing a desktop computer
Playing strategy games
Playing emulated retro games
Controlling an Android-based media center (e.g., Kodi)
Using a desktop environment on Android for productivity purposes
Android is flexible enough to do all of this and more. Better still, you can connect a mouse to improve your interaction with these tasks.
What Does a Mouse Look Like on Android?
If you've never seen a mouse being used on Android, it looks pretty much as you would expect. Android has a built-in pointer that appears when a mouse is connected. As soon as it appears, you can move the mouse, left or right click to single-tap, and long-click to long-tap.
Keep reading to find out how to connect these mouse types to your Android phone, tablet, or set-top box.
Connect a USB Mouse to Android via OTG
If you own a USB mouse, you can connect it to any Android device that supports OTG.
USB On-The-Go (OTG) is a standard used across all Android phones and tablets since USB host mode was introduced in Android 3.1 (Honeycomb). Support wasn't wide at first, but these days USB OTG is available on all handsets.
Get the Right OTG Cable for Your Device
Connecting a USB mouse to your Android is straightforward, but how you do it depends on your Android device.
Older phones and tablets (and those based on an older design) will require a Micro USB compatible OTG adapter.
More modern devices, however, have USB Type-C ports. As such, a USB-C OTG adapter is needed.
(If you want to use a USB mouse with an Android TV set-top box, you probably won't need an OTG cable. Instead, the mouse should connect directly to a standard USB A port.)
With the right OTG cable to hand, simply connect this to your Android device, then plug the mouse in. Give the mouse a wiggle, and you should see the pointer on screen.
Use a Bluetooth Mouse With Android
Perhaps the most desirable way to use a mouse with Android is to rely on Bluetooth.
On Android, swipe two fingers down from the top of the screen
In the Quick Settings menu, scroll until you find Bluetooth
Tap Pair new device
On your Bluetooth mouse, make the device discoverable, as per the manufacturer's instructions
Wait while the devices pair
Once complete, you should see a mouse pointer on your phone's display.
Will a Wireless Mouse Connect to Android?
Wireless mouses come with their own radio receiver included. These small USB dongles are often inserted into a hole under the mouse. As such, the mouse and receiver are pre-configured to work together.
To use a wireless mouse with Android, you'll need the right USB OTG adapter for your device (see above).
Then, simply connect the dongle to the USB OTG adapter. You should see the mouse pointer appear on the display, as with the other methods.
No Mouse, But Need a Pointer?
What if you're desperate for a mouse pointer on your Android display, but don't own a mouse or OTG adapter?
The best solution is to use an app that adds a mouse pointer to your Android device. One option is Always visible mouse, an app that overlays a pointer on your Android display.
Download: Always visible mouse (Free)
Once installed, this app needs permission to be used as a service and as an overlay. It prompts you to enable these settings.
You can then drag your finger around the screen on a small mouse icon. Beside the icon is a mouse pointer that you control. Always visible mouse includes face recognition and there is an option to activate the left click button with a smile. We found this doesn't work too well, but simply clicking is fine.
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Various advanced options are available in this app, from mouse size and sensitivity to selecting colors. Overall, this is a useful way to bring a mouse pointer to Android.
Connect a Mouse to Your Android With a Dock
Bluetooth, wireless, and USB cabled mouses can also be hooked up to Android via a dock.
This is a device that connects your phone or tablet to a monitor, hard disk drive, even Ethernet cable. Traditionally used for laptops, more recently docks have extended compatibility to make them suitable for phones and tablets.
Simply plug your mouse into the dock, hook the dock to your phone or tablet, and add any other hardware you wish to use. Moments later, you'll be enjoying that desktop feel on Android, complete with mouse control.
While particularly suited for Samsung DeX, you can use a dock with most phones.
Do You Need to Configure the Mouse in Android?
Unlike connecting, say, a game controller to Android is that hooking up a mouse requires little-to-no configuration. It is more or less a plug and play experience, which is of huge benefit.
For example, if you want to remotely connect to your home PC using an Android phone, connecting a mouse makes control more precise. Using Android TV? A mouse makes selecting icons far quicker than a controller or remote app.
If you want a larger mouse pointer, you can activate this in the Accessibility screen.
Scroll to Display
Tap the switch to enable Large mouse cursor
Meanwhile, if you are using a mobile desktop environment like Samsung DeX, connecting a mouse just makes sense. It's just like using a real PC, but your computer is your phone or tablet.
Need to Use a Mouse on Android? Now You Can
With a mouse connected to Android, productivity can be maximized. While you may not use it regularly, knowing how to connect any type of computer mouse to Android is useful.
But it isn't only a mouse that you can connect to Android. You might want to connect a USB game controller to your phone. If you need to type, you can connect a keyboard to your phone or tablet too.
Ever wanted to use a real keyboard on your Android device? It's actually pretty easy to set up! Here's a step-by-step guide.
About The Author
Written by David Minister
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