Back In Business

What Can Cause Your Laptop Cursor To Move And Click By Itself

If you use a laptop, some accidental tapping of your trackpad is to be expected. If your mouse is moving and clicking on its own consistently, however, there may be a source for this problem besides your fingers. Some fixes are simple and only require you to perform a few basic troubleshooting steps, but others may require you to visit an Apple store for a diagnosis or to get in touch with mac support at a place like Computer Help, Inc.

Trackpad Not Disabled When Using External Mouse

If you're using an external mouse instead of your trackpad, there's an option you can select within System Preferences to disable use of the trackpad while the other mouse is plugged in. If this option isn't enabled, you may be accidentally using your trackpad without intending to. Open System Preferences, navigate to your trackpad's settings, then select the option to ignore the built-in trackpad if you have another mouse plugged in. You may need to have your external mouse plugged in for this option to be visible.

System Settings Need Refreshing

Part of your operating system stores your user settings and controls so that they aren't reset every time you power down your computer. Unfortunately, if anything goes wrong with these settings, this can cause some parts of your computer to act erratically. Since some of these settings record your trackpad preferences, such an issue could cause a malfunction. The good news is that you can refresh many of these settings yourself by resetting your computers PRAM (parameter RAM) and the SMC (System Management Controller). How exactly you do this will vary slightly depending on the make and model of your laptop, but this is a valuable and effective troubleshooting method to try before you take your computer in.

Trackpad Out Of Alignment

Your trackpad needs to be set in a very particular way to accurately register the movements of your fingers. If your trackpad is damaged or bumped, or simply worn from constant use, it could fall slightly out of alignment, causing it to register movements that aren't actually being made. This misalignment won't always be visible, so if you suspect this might be the case, you should take your computer to an Apple store for analysis. The good news here is that a misaligned trackpad won't always need to be replaced – simply realigned – so you won't necessarily be looking at expensive repairs.

Expanding Battery

One of the things that can throw off a trackpad's alignment is the battery. Although there are many safeguards in place to help keep your battery safe, there is a possibility that your battery may start to swell, either due to malfunction or old age. When the battery expands, it can press against the trackpad controls and cause it to malfunction. If you notice your battery expanding – which is usually visible, or detectable if your laptop won't sit flat on any surface – take it to an Apple store for a replacement battery. Swelling batteries can be a hazard and need to be replaced quickly. If it's a newer battery, it may be replaced for free, but talk to an Apple store representative for details. If you catch it early enough, replacing the battery alone will be enough to fix your trackpad problems.