In the past, we’ve talked about many types of mouse. We’ve looked at so many gaming mice your head would spin from reading all the reviews. We’ve reviewed trackball mice and vertical mice, for those with more specific preferences. We’ve even reviewed RGB LED mouse pads, for gamers who want the most stylish battlestation possible. But what if you want something more mundane? What if, for example, you just want your mouse to jiggle every now and then? In that case, you don’t need some advanced tool. You just need a simple USB fob.
Today, we’ll be looking at three different options. First, we’ll be reviewing the WiebeTech MJ-3 Programmable Mouse Jiggler. This is a programmable fob that plugs right into your PC’s USB port. Next, we’ll check out the StaGeek Mouse Jiggler (Mover). This device is a bit bulkier, but it doesn’t need to be plugged into your PC, providing more privacy. Finally, we’ll look at the AirDriver USB Mouse Jiggler. This jiggler is similar to the WiebeTech jiggler, but it’s not programmable. Which one is the best choice for you? To find out, we need to take a look at all of their features. But first, it’s important to understand what a USB mouse jiggler is, and how they work.
What is a USB Mouse Jiggler?
A USB mouse jiggler is a device that’s engineered to make your mouse jiggle. In most cases, they’re designed to plug directly into your desktop your laptop. They simulate a mouse, and occasionally simulate motion. These motions can be large or small, subtle or exaggerated. Sometimes, this depends on the mouse jiggler itself. How is it designed to work? Other times, jigglers are programmable. How much they move, and how often, depends entirely on your settings.
The main purpose of a mouse jiggler is to keep a computer awake. Why exactly this is done will depend on your application. Modern jigglers look like a generic USB mouse, which helps them evade most monitoring software. Keep in mind, though, that the computer will still show that a mouse is plugged in. Depending on where and how you’re using your jiggler, this may or may not be a problem.
Some other jigglers are designed to work independently from your computer. These devices can be used even in high-security applications. However, they tend to be a bit more bulky than simple fob-style mouse jigglers.
Why Use a Mouse Jiggler?
So, why would you want to use a mouse jiggler in the first place? The answer doesn’t begin in IT. Believe it or not, their origin lies in law enforcement. Police officers have often been hindered in their investigations by basic computer passwords. This problem has become more pronounced since a federal court ruling that banned police from forcing suspects to share passwords.
If this sounds a bit obscure, let’s imagine a scenario where FBI agents are raiding a known child pornography kingpin. All of his devices are secured by passwords, with advanced 256-bit encryption. However, some of the devices are in use, with the contents currently unlocked. Agents quickly seize all the computers, but the ones that were in use go into sleep or screen saver mode. Suddenly, authorities have no evidence to convict the kingpin. With a mouse jiggler, agents can quickly ensure that computers remain active. This way, they preserve the evidence prosecutors need to put the bad guys in jail.
Law enforcement may have given birth to mouse jigglers, but that’s not their only use. Their most mundane use is simply for keeping your monitor active. For instance, suppose you bought some furniture from a certain Swedish “do it yourself” outlet. You’re online, and you’re trying to follow instructions, but you need to go get a screwdriver. A mouse jiggler will keep the screen awake while you go back to your toolbox for the tenth time. Similarly, a mouse jiggler can be useful when you’re using some video software. It will keep your screen awake so your screen saver doesn’t come on in the middle of your movie.
Finally, mouse jigglers have become an essential part of any monitored IT worker’s kit. With more and more employers relying on demanding metrics to drive efficiency, breaks are a rare luxury. You may even get a talking to just for taking a trip to the bathroom. With a mouse jiggler, it looks like you’re at your desk, even when you’re using some personal time. Now, let’s take a look at those mouse jigglers!
WiebeTech MJ-3 Programmable Mouse Jiggler
The WiebeTech MJ-3 Programmable Mouse Jiggler takes the concept of “compact” to an extreme. It measures only 0.8 inches long, 0.6 inches wide, and 0.3 inches thick. For those keeping score at home, this means that it’s barely longer than the USB plug is wide. This includes the part of the plug that fits inside your USB port. In other words, when it’s inserted, this itty bitty fob is about as discreet as it gets. There is, however, an LED indicator on the fob. This lets you know when it’s working, but can also attract attention. If needed, you can always put a small piece of tape over the light for stealth.
By default, the MJ-3 will move your mouse horizontally one to five pixels roughly every one minute. The exact intervals are somewhat randomized, which eliminates the potential for easy tracking. That said, there are a couple of limits on the amount of stealth you’ll get. First off, your computer’s logs will show that a device has been connected. For many people, this will be a non-issue. If anyone checks, the device is clearly listed as a generic “USB mouse”. However, closer examination will reveal that the mouse is sold by “Mouse Mover”, which is a dead giveaway. Your mileage may vary depending on how thorough your IT department is.
If you prefer something other than slight horizontal movement, you can install WiebeTech’s configuration software. This isn’t viable for most company computers, where installing software is generally forbidden. However, it’s viable for home PC use if you’re using your mouse jiggler at home. Within the configuration app, you can adjust the amount of movement, the rate of movement, and whether it’s randomized.
Compatibility is generally a non-issue with the MJ3. On Mac, it will run on MacOS 10.4.x or later. It will also run on Windows Vista or later, or Windows Server 2003, 2008, or 2012. All in all, this encompasses the bulk of modern operating systems.
StaGeek Mouse Jiggler (Mover)
The StaGeek Mouse Jiggler is the most unique option on our list. The main way in which it differs is that it’s not designed to simulate an actual mouse. This is both a good thing as a bad thing. On the one hand, it doesn’t need to be plugged into your PC or laptop. It simply needs to be connected to a USB power supply such as an AC charger. A USB cable is included in the kit for this purpose. On the other hand, you need a separate power supply to make the jiggler work. If you plug it into your computer, it will show up as a USB device. For many people’s purposes, this defeats the purpose of using a mouse jiggler in the first place.
The StaGeek Mouse Jiggler is constructed from rugged aluminum, which makes it well suited for travel. The overall size of 4.53 x 2.95 x 1.1 inches makes it a bit bulky, but no more so than your actual mouse. Not only that, but the matte black finish makes it well suited for most desks. It will look like any other high quality accessory, and won’t attract unnecessary attention.
When the StaGeek Mouse Jiggler is plugged in, a round plate in the center will rotate periodically. This will cause any optical mouse to move, keeping your computer awake. Simply place your mouse on top of the jiggler, with the sensor over the center plate, and it will work. Remove your mouse, and you’re ready to get back to business as usual. Keep in mind, though, that this can require some tinkering. Depending on your mouse’s sensitivity settings, you may need to adjust them up or down to get the best results. On the other hand, the unique design means that the StaGeek is compatible with all systems. It will work with any external optical mouse, regardless of operating system.
Unfortunately, the StaGeek Mouse Jiggler is not programmable. It rotates roughly every 30 seconds, which can stave off even the most aggressive screen saver. It also returns your mouse pointer back to where it started, which is a good quality of life feature. Nonetheless, you don’t get to create any custom settings.
AirDriver USB Mouse Jiggler
The AirDriver USB Mouse Jiggler is similar in most respects to the WiebeTech jiggler that kicked off our list. In fact, it has the same dimensions, with an identical 0.8-inch length. This makes it small enough to carry anywhere you want to. It’s already pocket sized, but you can also carry it in a laptop bag, briefcase, or purse. Considering how compact it is, you’re not going to find a more portable option anywhere on the market.
In terms of discretion, the AirDriver jiggler performs very well. It’s all black, with no logos or other eye-catching elements. There’s not even an LED indicator, so the fob is totally dark. Wrap this up in a tiny package, and you don’t have to worry about hiding your USB mouse jiggler. Even if someone is staring over your shoulder, it will hide discreetly in your USB port.
The mouse movement is random, and occurs about once every two minutes. Regardless of direction, the movements amount to just a few pixels, so they’re not noticeable to the casual viewer. This will be good enough for most purposes, unless your computer goes to sleep very quickly. That said, the timing and direction are not programmable. You can’t have your mouse move more or less frequently as needed. It is what it is, and there’s no way of changing it.
The AirDriver USB Mouse Jiggler requires no software or driver installs. It’s plug and play, regardless of what type of laptop or computer you’re using. Sadly, it has some compatibility issues with Mac and Linux operating systems. In particular, it sometimes fails to work with the MacOS High Sierra build. That said, it works very well on all versions of Windows from XP forward.
As you can see, each of these mouse jigglers brings a lot to the table. But that doesn’t mean they’re all the same. In fact, there are some important differences that are worth taking into consideration. Before we wrap up, let’s look at each one, and where it stands out.
Starting off, we looked at the WiebeTech MJ-3 Programmable Mouse Jiggler. This device stands out for two reasons. First off, it’s very compact. It’s literally smaller than an SD card. You can carry it anywhere, and it won’t even make an imprint on the outside of your pocket. Secondly, it’s programmable. You can adjust how often the mouse moves, and how far. This is useful if you want to use a single mouse jiggler for more than one application.
The StaGeek Mouse Jiggler (Mover) is a horse of a different color. It’s not designed to simulate a mouse when it’s plugged into your PC. It’s a small pedestal that will move your optical mouse every minute or so. The downside is that it’s fairly large. The upside is that it doesn’t have to plug into your PC, so it’s literally undetectable on a network.
The AirDriver USB Mouse Jiggler is similar to the WiebeTech jiggler in that it’s very compact. On the other hand, it’s not programmable. But considering the low price, this may or may not be worth it. It all depends on what you need.