Does the cursor on your MacBook or MacBook Pro jump around every time you start to type? Maybe it moves all over the place with a mind of its own? One minute you’re typing away, then it starts highlighting random text and messing up your work.
You probably find you’re hitting Undo as often as anything else. It’s a huge pain because every time you sit down to work, you need to waste time fixing all the errors you just created.
No matter what’s going on, you can fix a jumping cursor on your Mac with the instructions below.
Step 1: Turn Off Tap to Click
Do you have Tap to click turned on? This feature makes it easy to select elements without clicking, but the added sensitivity means you might move the cursor whenever you graze the trackpad.
Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Trackpad and uncheck the box for Tap to Click.
If that stops the cursor from jumping around, you were probably resting your fingers or touching your wrist on the trackpad while typing. You can choose to keep Tap to Click turned off or adjust the way you type to keep clear of the touch surface.
Step 2: Keep Your Trackpad Clean and Dry
Dirt, water, and even natural oils from your fingers can cause problems with the touch sensitivity of your trackpad. Use a lint-free cloth—slightly dampened if necessary—to keep the surface squeaky clean.
Alternatively, put some paper over the trackpad and try using it through that. If the cursor stops jumping around when you do this, look into getting a trackpad cover to use with your MacBook Pro instead.
Step 3: Check for Problems With Your Power Adapter
If you’re using a wireless trackpad or mouse, make sure it’s fully charged or put in a fresh set of batteries. Similarly, you should connect your MacBook Pro to power and give it time to charge.
There might be a problem with your power adapter. Disconnect it from your MacBook Pro and see if your cursor still jumps around while you type. If that fixes the problem, it’s possible that your charger isn’t grounded.
You can usually tell this is the case if your MacBook appears to hum, buzz, or vibrate while it’s plugged in. See about repairing your power adapter or replacing it with an official adapter instead.
Step 4: Take Off Any Jewelry on Your Hands
It’s possible that your jewelry—if you’re wearing any—causes problems with the touch surface on your trackpad. Remove any rings or bracelets you’re wearing and move them away from the trackpad on your Mac.
If you choose to use a mouse, you might want to turn off the trackpad entirely:
- Go to Apple menu > System Preferences > Accessibility.
- Scroll down in the sidebar and select Pointer Control.
- Check the box to Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present.
Step 5: Reduce Wireless Interference Around Your Mac
Various sources of wireless interference can cause problems with the accuracy of your MacBook trackpad. They might be the reason your cursor jumps around while you type.
Follow the steps below to reduce the different causes of wireless interference:
- Disconnect and turn off Bluetooth devices near your Mac. If you’re using a wireless trackpad, keep it connected and move it closer to your Mac.
- Move your Mac away from microwave ovens, power cables, fluorescent lights, wireless cameras, cordless phones, and other potential sources of wireless interference.
- Unplug every accessory from your Mac, and make sure to use shielded USB 3 cables for anything plugged in.
Step 6: Boot in Safe Mode to Test Third-Party Apps
Safe mode runs various troubleshooting checks on your Mac to help fix problems. When you boot your Mac in Safe mode, it also clears certain system caches and reduces the number of third-party apps that start up on login.
To boot into Safe mode, shut down your Mac, then hold Shift while powering it back on. From the login screen, your Mac should say “Safe Boot” in red text.
Step 7: Contact Apple for a Physical Repair
There might be a physical problem with your Mac causing the cursor to jump around while you type. Sometimes this is an issue with the trackpad itself, but it could also be a problem with the battery.
In most MacBooks, Apple installs the battery directly beneath the trackpad. As the battery ages, it could swell and press against the trackpad. Inspect your MacBook for signs of a swollen battery, like bent casing and poor battery life.
If you think your battery is swollen, don’t attempt to replace it yourself! Damaging it could start a fire or release toxic gases. Book in your MacBook for a professional repair with Apple or an authorized service provider instead.