We’ve all become accustomed to the PPI (Pixels Per Inch) count on our iPhone and iPad displays, but another metric that’s worth knowing is the DPI (Dots Per Inch) of your mouse. This will determine how quickly the cursor can travel across the screen and how small the hand movements required will be.
In this article we show how to find out the DPI of your Mac’s mouse.
What is DPI?
DPI is a measurement that equates the movement of a mouse to the representation it has on your monitor. So, for example, should you very conveniently have a mouse with a DPI of 1080, it would then only require moving the device an inch to traverse the entire on-screen height of a HD display.
It essentially denotes the sensitivity of the sensor in your mouse. For the majority of everyday tasks, you wouldn’t really need to know the DPI, but if you’re a gamer or work with graphics on your Mac, then it could be very useful.
It should be noted that while a higher DPI indicates less need to move the physical mouse, this doesn’t necessarily make for a better experience, as some users can find the cursor becomes too twitchy and hard to accurately control.
How can I find the DPI of my mouse?
There’s no setting in macOS that can discern the DPI of your mouse, as going to Settings > Mouse will only present you with options for increasing or decreasing the tracking speed, scrolling speed, along with some button and scroll direction options.
So you’ll need to employ some detective skills to find out just how sensitive your little pointer box can be.
The most obvious strategy is to look at the packaging that came with the mouse and see if the DPI is listed. Should you have already disposed of the container then either visit the manufacturers’ website or the website of a retailer and see if it’s listed there among the Technical Specifications.
If none of these provide the information you need, there’s always the option of trying an online DPI calculator. These help you manually measure the DPI of a mouse, but you’ll need to break out the rulers and pencils if you want an accurate reading.
Before you begin, be sure to go to Settings > Mouse and set the Tracking speed to the far right where it’s marked Fast. This will ensure that the mouse moves at its maximum DPI.
Go to the DPI Calculator site and read through the instructions. These require you to measure on your desk how far you need to move the mouse to travel from one side of the screen to the other. Enter the measurement into the Target distance field, using either inches or centimetres (which can be set by clicking on the Unit button).
Mark out the distance you need to travel on your desk or a piece of paper then place the mouse on the left-hand side and ensure the cursor is on the red target positioned on the far left of the ruler-like area at the bottom of the screen.
Now click and hold the mouse button and move it to the end of your marked-out line. You should see the Actual DPI displayed on the calculator results. In truth, this can be a bit of a fiddly process, so we recommend trying the test a few times.
Should the results be less than you were hoping for, it could be time to upgrade to a new device.
We have a few buying guides that could help here. We focus on Apple-friendly models in our guide to the best Mac mouse – the top-rated model is the Logitech MX Master 3 – but if you want a particularly high DPI rating it’s also worth checking Tech Advisor’s roundup of the best gaming mouse models currently available. Just make sure the one you plump for is compatible with Macs.