For some of us, help is easy to find. Others, not quite so easy. This seems to be something that occurs due to a number of different causes. We’ll go through several causes and fixes for this and hopefully one of them will work for you.
This really is an annoying problem for Mac OS X users, as it makes typing practically impossible. Even when you’re very careful not to touch the trackpad, it seems to unexpectedly jump a few lines, highlight text, type over that highlighted text and randomly ruin your whole efforts to type. Sometimes it can seem as if you’re typing CMD-Z as often as you’re typing text. But don’t worry – you’re not alone and it can be fixed.
1. Ignore Accidental Trackpad Input
The simplest fix is ensuring you’re not accidentally bumping your trackpad while you type. Go into Apple Menu > System Preferences and check your trackpad settings. For Snow Leopard, there’s a “Trackpad” section, while for earlier Mac OS X systems it will be under “Mouse & Keyboard“. Open this and ensure that “Ignore accidental trackpad input” is selected. For many users, this will sort the problem out for you in no time.
2. Ignore Trackpad When Mouse Is Present
Connect a USB mouse and go into Apple Menu > System Preferences > Mouse preferences (or “Mouse & Keyboard“). Set your system to “Ignore trackpad when mouse is present“. Now hopefully whenever you’ve connected a mouse you should have no problems with erratic cursor movement.
3. Check Your Laptop Is Still Flat
Some older Macbooks can develop erratic trackpad behaviour when the laptop casing gets slightly twisted. This might be because of something habitual you do, such as carrying the laptop in the same position each day or resting it on your lap. Rest it on a flat surface and press on one end to see if your laptop is still perfectly flat. If it’s not, take it in to an Apple shop and see if they will twist it back to flat for you. Don’t do this yourself if your laptop is still under warranty!
4. Your Battery Might Be Failing
Some users have reported that this erratic cursor movement is linked to battery failure on their laptop. To test if you’re in this boat, try removing the battery and running the laptop on power only. If your cursor behaves nicely while the battery is out, you might want to consider replacing the battery on your laptop.
5. Upgrade To Lion
If all else fails, it’s possible that an upgrade to Lion will fix this problem. A few users have reported that although nothing else worked, using Lion finally fixed the problems they’d been having with their cursor.
More Mac Fixes
While you’re fixing things, here’s a few more Mac OS X tricks and hacks you might find useful.
- 15 Control-Clicking Hints To Make You More Productive On Your Mac
- MagicPrefs: Another Powerful Mouse & Trackpad App [Mac]
- Create Your Own Mac Fixit Toolkit
- 5 Ways To Reduce Menu Bar Clutter [Mac]
Let us know which of these options solved your cursor problem. Was it just accidental trackpad input? Or was your laptop bent? What worked for you?
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