For hundreds of millions of users, the iPhone is a do-everything, be-everything device that is often their only computer. The list of things you can do with an iPhone is nearly endless. From browsing the Web to charting stars in the sky, the iPhone is full of possibilities.
It should come as little surprise the iPhone can double as a mouse or trackpad for a Mac, too. It might sound crazy to use a device worth hundreds of dollars as a mouse, but when you are in a pinch, the best tool is the one you have immediately available. Here is how to use your iPhone as a mouse with your Mac.
Using Your iPhone as a Mouse
There is no shortage of apps available to help take advantage of the “iPhone as a mouse” notion. One of the most popular options around is called “Mobile Mouse Remote.” It’s one of a few dozen apps that pop up online offering similar functionality.
For $1.99, it is quite a steal for the deep feature set and has over 1,500 reviews and a 4.6 out of 5 rating in the App Store. Once you download the app to your iPhone, the rest is incredibly simple. In just a few minutes you’ll be up and running with your iPhone acting as the most expensive mouse you can ever imagine.
Pairing the iPhone
Mobile Mouse Remote offers users four different ways to pair up with their Mac computer. The first is unsurprisingly Wi-Fi. This is a great option when you are at home or in an office and have a rock-solid signal. There is a peer-to-peer option, which is the least likely of all four options to be used.
The second most popular option is likely to be Bluetooth. Last, but not least, is connecting the iPhone to the Mac via a USB connection. This eliminates any aspect of using the iPhone as a “wireless mouse,” but in a pinch it does work this way. Note that any method of connection outside of Wi-Fi requires an in-app purchase of $0.99.
With the software installed on your iPhone, you now have to download the software to your Mac. Grab the free Mobile Mouse server app and install it on your hard drive. Once you have completed the initial setup, the next time your Mac runs, both devices should automatically pair together if they are on the same Wi-Fi network.
Activating Mouse Functionality
The desktop app for Mobile Mouse rests in your Menu Bar where it waits for you to access your server settings. The app handles most of the backend stuff automatically including configuring your IP and port settings for syncing to your iPhone.
The first time you open the app it will ask you, annoyingly, to give it access to Accessibility on your Mac. We have seen this request time and time again in recent macOS releases, and, while it can be annoying, it is there for our protection as users.
That said, head to “System Preferences -> Accessibility -> Privacy -> Mobile Mouse Serverm” and click on the box. You might have to uncheck the lock, enter your computer password and then select the mouse app. After that, you can click on the lock again as security against other changes.
When you are connected to the computer, verify your connection by going into the server setting on the app. Your computer should appear in the list with a checkmark next to it. You should also see the type of connection you are using in green.
Once you are connected, you can move your mouse around in the same way you would any other wireless mouse. Multitouch is included so you have access to many of the same multi-finger functions, including pinching in and out for a variety of shortcut functions.
One final note is that you are highly encouraged to use a password with this app, which is enabled via the settings, in the event someone grabs ahold of your iPhone without your permission. Consider this your first and only warning!
Using your iPhone as a mouse looks and sounds incredibly cool. That is bound to change in a hurry if you start receiving calls or texts which force you to look at the phone. Those “problems” aside, this is yet another entry in the list of “things you did not know your iPhone could do” but is super cool nonetheless. In the event you ever need a mouse in a hurry, it is great to know that you have one right there in your pocket all of the time.
Other than being a mouse, your iPhone can be a remote control for your Mac, too.