What Is a Mouse Used For?

Reza Estakhrian/The Image Bank/Getty Images

A mouse is used to select and interact with items on a computer display. The mouse is moved around by the user, and an on-screen cursor corresponds to these movements. The cursor is used to select objects on the screen, such as a text box or an application icon.

The computer mouse first made a public appearance in 1984 with the introduction of the Apple Macintosh. The first technology used a down-facing ball and rotation sensors to detect the movement of the mouse. Since then, optical and laser technologies have become mainstream and track movement on challenging surfaces, such as shiny tables and slippery vinyl. The mouse typically connects to the computer via a USB or PS/2 connection, but many devices communicate with the computer via wireless Bluetooth or radio frequencies.