Hunting for a Dead Mouse: AirPlay Receiver to the Rescue

Originally published at: Hunting for a Dead Mouse: AirPlay Receiver to the Rescue - TidBITS

Faced with an ever-worsening stench in his laundry room at Christmas. Adam Engst brings thousands of dollars of Apple gear and recent technologies into play to avoid ripping the entire room apart.


You were lucky… we had a dead mouse under our floor. We had to combine guesstimation (multiple heating pipes in parallel near the ground zero of stench with sawing through our oak floor (aaaahhhh) once before we nailed the exact location. The nest was on the pipes, however just a bit closer to the wall than we had guessed. We had to go and replace all the air vents around the house with new metal ones, they had chewed through the cheap plastic ones our builder had used under the cover of our deck.

Take off the light switch covers and may the plug covers. We had one in there.

I’ve frequently used a yardstick to knock things out from under our refrigerator (cats love to knock things in there). I wonder if that would have worked in your case. They are very thin, so you can slip them under some pretty narrow gaps.

But I’m glad you finally found a solution.

Sorry for the extra advice. I did not read the article first. I have now, great use of the tech!

Clearly we need Apple to add a smell sensor to the iPhone 15. :slight_smile:

Not in this case, no, since I could only raise it a very slight amount. I have a metal straightedge that’s even a little thinner than a normal yardstick and it wouldn’t fit under there. I was super pleased that the leaf blower trick worked even through such a small crack.


Your work is not done yet. You have to figure out how that mouse got in there and plug the hole or you will have more mice.

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If you know how to do this in iOS 15.7.1, please share the info. I thought sure I had forced the flash to ON (for a still photo, if that matters), but that was a few iOS upgrades ago and I certainly cannot find the setting now. Thanks.

You could also do this with Camo, eh? Except Camo does not provide a way to turn on the flash. That might be a good feature request.

When my daughter bought her house three years ago, I used that as a reason (excuse?) to by a few new tools (toys?) including a wireless endoscope. I have one from DEPSTECH (bought on Amazon) that has is a wifi hub to connect to iPhone/iPad/MacBook, anything that will run their app. Got the extra long cable. Helped me trouble shoot electrical and plumbing issues, find routes for cables and such. Really helpful, fits in small holes, and no chance of loosing my iPhone deep in the wall or other places.


Oops. The paid version of Camo does provide a way to control the flash.

Hi Adam, I’ve noticed that MS-Teams now allows my iPhone to act as the camera for videoconferencing, wirelessly.
Say “Hi” to the gang!

“I opened the Camera app, switched to Video, swiped up on the image to reveal the controls, tapped the flash button, and locked the setting to Flash On to provide light.”

OK, this was worth this year’s TidBITS subscription. How did I not ever know about this feature that I have needed many times>??


Good thinking. I’ve been using my iPhone as a camera in Zoom sessions. I use it to show students materials or show my family the dogs. I could set it up on a tripod or holder, but I use it handheld for a few minutes at a time. Means I don’t have to run the digital camera with the software that I’ve used in the past. Better image too.

Am I the only one who saw this headline and wondered how you could possibly use AirPlay to find a Magic Mouse that had stopped working?

No, you aren’t alone.

For a few hundred dollars you can buy a camera scope (like the one the doctor sticks up your bum). I’ve used mine for this sort of thing. Unfortunately it doesn’t have a mouse retriever.

The trick is to get the mouse to swallow the AirTag.


If you don’t require medical quality, you can get much less expensive scopes. Look for ones meant for use by hobbyists or plumbers. For example:

I even found one intended for use as a child’s toy (!):

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Thanks for all the useful information on searching for lost objects. If you have further problems with mice I recommend using a professional rodent control service, they can use poison blocks, not available to the public, that dispatch mice and cause them to dry up without an odour.

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