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You’re typing on your Mac, and the cursor starts jumping all over the screen. Windows are swapping, your computer is randomly clicking on things, and you don’t know what just happened.
Mac computers are incredibly reliable machines. But they do have a few common issues that can drive you crazy and disrupt your productivity.
If your Mac cursor suddenly starts having a mind of its own, don’t worry. Here’s what to do when this happens.
The mouse cursor is a critical part of working on your Mac computer.
It highlights where you are in a document or spreadsheet. It helps you select text to copy and paste. And it helps you scroll, select, and perform many functions when using your computer.
When your mac cursor disappears or jumps around the page, it can cause errors in your work. Typing is a challenge. You spend time correcting things you wouldn’t have to fix if the cursor would cooperate.
The dancing cursor is a symptom of a few different issues. From an accidental trackpad connection to something that you can tweak about your setting, don’t panic.
The good news is this problem doesn’t usually require a major repair for your Macbook.
The Accidental Trackpad Touch
This cursor-chaos cause has one of the simplest solutions.
You’re in the middle of a report, and suddenly the cursor jumps to a new screen. But when you move the cursor back to the correct location, everything seems fine.
It’s possible you accidentally touched your trackpad while you were typing. Maybe your shirt sleeve caught the trackpad on your Macbook. Or, it’s possible your wrist was resting on the trackpad while you typed.
It’s annoying, but sometimes accidental pressure or proximity can trigger a cursor jump. Try a couple of things to prevent this from happening:
- Check the System Preferences for your Trackpad.
- Under “Point & Click,” adjust the settings to work best for you, or even disable it if you are using an external mouse.
- Check your hand and wrist positions as you type. Stay clear of the trackpad as best you can!
If you still experience cursor jumping, it could be another issue.
Dirt Gets in the Way
It’s possible your mouse or trackpad isn’t reading your movements correctly.
It might be time to clean your mouse or trackpad. When there’s gunk or grime on the surface of your trackpad, this can cause the cursor to move around the page at random.
Use a microfiber cloth to wipe the surfaces of your mouse or trackpad. Avoid using cleaners like Windex or alcohol.
If the dry cloth doesn’t remove all of the oil or dirt, try a little electronic cleaning solution.
Check Your Devices
If your mouse is clean and you aren’t accidentally touching the trackpad, it’s time to check the devices controlling your cursor.
One at a time, unplug USB devices. Test your cursor action to see how it behaves. Removing items one a time helps you isolated which device could be the problem.
Next, disconnect Bluetooth keyboards or trackpads. Do this one device at a time. When you discover a device that interferes with your cursor movement, it’s time to replace that device.
If the cursor still isn’t cooperating, go to your System Preferences.
- Under “Accessibility,” scroll until you find “Mouse & Trackpad”
- Click the box for “Ignore built-in trackpad when a mouse or wireless trackpad is present”
With that setting checked, your MacBook’s trackpad won’t conflict with a wireless trackpad when it connects.
Sometimes using too many USB or Bluetooth devices can conflict with each other. This causes strange behavior from your Mac.
Reset Your Computer’s NVRAM
Here’s where things might seem a little scary if you’re not “tech inclined.” But don’t let the term “NVRAM” scare you.
Non-Volatile Random Access Memory (NVRAM) is a very technical term for your Mac’s ability to retain stored data even when the computer powers off.
Sometimes this memory can get jumbled and cause your computer to do strange things–like make your cursor jump all over the screen.
A reset of your Mac’s NVRAM could resolve the issue. Don’t worry. It’s a simple process.
- Shut down your Mac. Give it about thirty seconds to rest.
- Turn it on while immediately pressing and holding these four keys together: Option, Command, R, and P.
- You’ll need to have everything pressed before you hear the first “power on” chime.
- Keep holding these keys through the first chime.
- After about 20 seconds (or when you hear the second chime), release the keys.
As your computer warms up, check the cursor behavior for a resolution to the problem.
Safe Boot Your Mac
Booting your computer in “safe mode” helps your system start with the very basics while narrowing down what might cause problems with your system.
- Power down your Mac.
- Hold the Shift key while pressing the power button.
- When you see either the login window or your desktop, reboot again as you normally would.
This will verify your start-up disk and let you test your cursor’s behavior without interference from plug-ins, extensions, or a full cache.
When it’s Time for Repair
If none of these solutions fixes your jumpy cursor, it’s time to call an expert. Your Mac desktop or MacBook could have an underlying issue or a virus that needs professional help.
Be sure you choose a repair service with plenty of experience to diagnose and repair your computer quickly and correctly. Don’t get stuck paying too much for a problem that isn’t there.
Don’t Let Mac Cursor Problems Ruin Your Day
Mac Cursor problems can be more than annoying. A jumping cursor can affect your work and cause you to waste time finding a solution.
While most cursor issues are a simple fix, it’s good to know where to go when you run into a more significant problem with your computer.
If you’re in the Oakville, Burlington, Milton, and Mississauga areas, come see us at Techville. Our certified technicians have years of experience to fix any problem with your Mac.
Contact us for a free repair quote!