How to Fix Mouse or Trackpad Cursor Moves Randomly in macOS/OS X

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mouse or trackpad cursor moves randomly in macos os x

You grab a cup of coffee, you sit down and you open up your Mac.

For some unknown, weird reason the cursor on your Mac’s screen goes wild, moving about randomly without you even having to touch the mouse or the trackpad.

Even when you try to disconnect the mouse, you find that the cursor still moves.

No matter what you try to do whether you switch your mouse to either a wired or wireless Bluetooth. Whether you tried to change the surfaces you placed your mouse on.

The… cursor … still … moves.

Well, take a deep breath, because in this guide I’ll show you a few tricks on how you can fix your cursor from moving about randomly on its own. 🙂



How to Fix When Mouse or Trackpad Cursor Moves Randomly in macOS/OS X: 9 Ways


1.  A Safe Boot

It’s best before you go on to making any further tweaks that you try and safe boot your Mac. 

Basically, if you don’t know what “Safe Boot” is, it’s all really just booting (going into) your Mac’s safe mode which is a place where you can narrow down what’s causing the issue and also a safe way to clean up common problems that might be affecting your Mac. 

Here’s how you enter your Mac’s Safe Mode:

Step 1:  Shut down your Mac like you always do by by choosing Shut Down from the Apple menu.

Step 2:  Good. Now we need to turn your Mac back on but instead of the usual way of pressing just the power button, you need to press both the Power button whilst also holding down your Shift key on your keyboard.

Step 3:  Lastly, once you see the login window on your Mac, you can log back in how you normally would. 

Give your mouse or trackpad another try and see if the cursor stays in place rather. You can also choose to Shut Down your Mac which has proven to have worked for some of our readers. 



2.  Shutting Down your Mac 

You may be using your Mac like how you normally would but you may not know if you go about using it without switching it off in a long time, it can cause your Mac to become restless and do funny things. (as crazy and weird as that sounds, it’s true for even Windows PCs too)

So give your Mac the rest it needs by shutting down your Mac off and then after 5 minutes turning it back on again.



3.  Clean your Mouse or Trackpad

Now if you’ve tried either one or both of the methods above and you still find that the cursor moves randomly around the screen, then try cleaning your mouse or the trackpad.

Quite possibly the reason for this strange problem may be that there is some form of dirt or oil stuck on the surfaces of your mouse or trackpad.

The best way to clean it is to wipe it down with a microfiber cloth and with a few drops of water (remember you’re not giving it a damn shower). 

You can also use a electric clean solution as long as you make sure it is not Windex or contains any alcohol. 



4.  A White Sheet of Paper

In most cases, this is not really a “surface” issue, although for some of our readers they have found that placing a white sheet of paper underneath the mouse (or using a mouse pad) has helped stop the cursor from moving about randomly.


mouse or trackpad cursor moves randomly in macos os x



5.  Disconnecting your Bluetooth and USB Accessories

One great way that works is to disconnect each of your Bluetooth or external USB devices (trackpad, mouse, trackball, graphics tablet, etc).

You have to make sure to remove each device one at a time and then test to see which one of the devices is causing your cursor problem. 



6.  Checking Accessibility Options

This is another great way that was recommended by a reader named Kristen. 🙂 and it’s pretty simple too.

Here’s what you do:

Step 1:  Jump into your Settings and then System Preferences, then select Accessibility. 

Step 2:  Next, select Mouse and Trackpad.

Step 3:  Lastly, just check the box which says Ignore built-in Trackpad when mouse or wireless Trackpad is present.


mouse or trackpad cursor moves randomly in macos os x


Done. You can now try once again to see if your cursor stops moving randomly on your screen.



7.  Switch Off Any Non-Apple Monitors or Any Other Displays

Turning off any secondary displays that you may have around can work to fix this issue even if it is not such a permanent solution. This is because having a second monitor connected can in certain cases mess around with your Mac’s screen and cause it to act funny, especially if the monitor is one that is not made by Apple.

Give it a go and see if it works. If it doesn’t, then there are still other ways to get around fixing this down below, requiring a just little bit more effort. 



8.  Resetting the SMC 

Your Mac has a little component called a System Management Controller otherwise known as an SMC and it does what it’s name suggests which basically controls a whole host of things that power up your Mac (battery, thermals, display, etc)

Now you don’t need to know any of that because that’s not what you’re here for. What you are here for is the gist of what we are going to do with this SMC and well we are going to reset this SMC back to it’s original state which helps resolve any hardware-related problems that your Mac might be having.

If you’re on a MacBook Pro, then you will need to find out whether your MacBook has a battery that is removable or non-removable.


How do I know if my MacBook Pro battery is non-removable or removable?

As Apple states, if your MacBook Pro model is one that is made after the year 2009 then it is non-removable. Otherwise it is removable. So choose the steps on this page based on the type of battery you have on your MacBook Pro.


Here’s how you reset the SMC.

If you’re on a MacBook Pro where its battery is non-removable

Step 1:  Click on the Apple menu and then select Shut Down.

Step 2:  Once after your MacBook Pro shuts down, press the Shift + Control + Option keys on your keyboard together along with your Power button. Keep holding down on these keys and the Power button for at least 10 seconds.

Step 3:  Now release all the keys and then press the Power button once again to turn on your MacBook Pro.



If you’re on a MacBook Pro where its battery is removable

Step 1:  Go ahead shut down your MacBook Pro by selecting the Apple menu and then choosing to Shut Down.

Step 2:  Next, remove the battery from your MacBook Pro. If you do not know how, you can refer to this guide written by Apple themselves right here.

Step 3:  Great! Now press and hold down on the Power button for 5 seconds.

Step 4:  Now place your battery back into your MacBook Pro.

Step 5:  Lastly, just press the Power button to power your MacBook Pro back on again.



If you’re on an iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro, Xserve

Step 1:  Click on the Apple menu and then select Shut Down to shut down your Mac.

Step 2:  Once after your Mac shuts down, unplug the power cord and then wait for 15 seconds.

Step 3:  Now plug the power cord back in and then wait for 5 seconds.

Step 4:  Lastly, just press on your Power button to turn your Mac back on.



Once you’ve tried to reset your Mac, give your mouse or your trackpad another go and see if the cursor stays in place.



9.  Resetting the NVRAM

A few of our readers have also found that by resetting the PRAM/NVRAM of the Mac works to fix this cursor from moving randomly on its own.

If you don’t know what a PRAM/NVRAM? Well, it’s all really just a storage place where your Mac stores certain settings that needs to be accessed quickly at certain times.

Again you do not need to know in detail what it really does since you’re only resetting it.



You will NOT lose any of your data once you reset. 


Here’s how you do it:

Step 1:  Go ahead shut down your Mac.

Step 2:  Now turn it back on and immediately press and hold down on these four keys together: Option + Command + P + R.

mouse or trackpad cursor moves randomly in macos os x

Step 3:  Release the keys after about 20 seconds, during which your Mac might appear to restart.



If you’re Mac plays a startup sound (when it boots/starts up), then you can release the keys the moment after the second startup sound. Otherwise you can release the keys after the Apple logo appears and disappears for the second time.


Done. You can try once again to see if the issue has been fixed. 


That’s it!



Share this guide with anyone who’s having trouble with their Mac’s mouse or trackpad. You never know, it might just help them. 


  1. The only fix that works for me is to to trash the homekit configuration files found in the cache folder of your hidden library and restart.

  2. Accidentally discovered that toggling the caps lock on or off would temporarily solve the problem of the scrollbar moving up on its own or the menu cycling through all the opties on its own.

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