According to Steve Jobs, your finger is “the best pointing device in the world,” which makes it ideal for touchscreen devices. Android phones and tablets are intuitive and support interaction through dots, gestures, swipes, etc.
But sometimes one finger is not enough. This is 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’s not just about the human pointing device. There are three types of computer mice that you can connect to Android:
But why use a mouse with Android?
Remotely access a desktop computer
Play strategy games
Play emulated retro games
Control an Android-based media center (e.g. Kodi)
Using an Android Desktop Environment for Productivity
Android is flexible enough to do all of this and more. Better yet, 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 be used on Android, it looks pretty much what 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 press once and long click to long press.
Read on to find out how to connect these types of mice to your Android phone, tablet, or set-top box.
Connect a USB mouse to Android via OTG
If you have a USB mouse, you can connect it to any Android device that supports OTG.
USB On-The-Go (OTG) is a standard that has been used on all Android phones and tablets since the introduction of USB host mode 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 simple, 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 required.
(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 at your fingertips, just connect it to your Android device, then plug in the mouse. Move the mouse and you should see the pointer on the screen.
Using a Bluetooth mouse with Android
Perhaps the most desirable way to use a mouse with Android is to rely on Bluetooth.
On Android, swipe down from the top of the screen with two fingers
In the Quick settings menu, scroll down until you find Bluetooth
Long press Bluetooth
Tap Pair a new device
On your Bluetooth mouse, make the device discoverable, according to the manufacturer’s instructions
Wait while the devices pair
When done, you should see a mouse pointer on your phone screen.
Will a wireless mouse connect to Android?
Wireless mice come with their own included radio receiver. These small USB dongles are often inserted into a hole under the mouse. Thus, the mouse and the receiver are preconfigured to work together.
To use a wireless mouse with Android, you will need the correct USB OTG adapter for your device (see above).
Then just connect the dongle to the USB OTG adapter. You should see the mouse pointer appear on the screen, just like with the other methods.
No mouse, but need a pointer?
What if you are desperate for a mouse pointer on your Android screen, but don’t have a mouse or an OTG adapter?
The best solution is to use an app that adds a mouse pointer to your Android device. One option is Mouse Always On, an app that overlays a pointer on your Android screen.
Download: Mouse always visible (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 slide your finger across the screen over a small mouse icon. Next to the icon is a mouse pointer that you control. The always visible mouse includes facial recognition and there is an option to activate the left click button with a smile. We found it didn’t work very well, but a single click is enough.
Image 1 of 2
Image 2 of 2
Various advanced options are available in this app, from mouse size and sensitivity to color selection. 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 wired mice can also be connected to Android through a docking station.
This is a device that connects your phone or tablet to a monitor, hard drive, and even an 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 docking station, connect the docking station to your phone or tablet, and add any other hardware you want to use. Moments later, you’ll be enjoying that desktop feel on Android, with mouse control.
Although particularly suitable for Samsung DeX, you can use a docking station with most phones.
Do you need to configure the mouse in Android?
Unlike connecting, for example, a game controller to Android, connecting a mouse requires little or no configuration. It’s more or less a plug and play experience, which is a huge plus.
For example, if you want to remotely connect to your home PC using an Android phone, connecting a mouse makes the control more precise. Do you use Android TV? A mouse can select icons much faster than a remote controller or application.
If you want a larger mouse pointer, you can enable it in the Accessibility screen.
To select Accessibility
Scroll to Display
Press the switch to activate Large mouse cursor
Meanwhile, if you are using a mobile desktop environment like Samsung DeX, it makes sense to connect a mouse. It’s 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. Although you may not be able to use it regularly, knowing how to connect any type of computer mouse to Android is helpful.
But it’s not just a mouse that you can hook up to Android. You might want to connect a USB game controller to your phone. If you need to type, you can also connect a keyboard to your phone or tablet.
Ever wanted to use a real keyboard on your Android device? It’s actually quite simple to set up! Here is a step by step guide.
About the Author