Fix Erratic, Jumping, Phantom, Dancing Mouse Cursor Issue on Mac


Fix Erratic, Jumping, Phantom, Dancing Mouse or Trackpad Cursor Issue on Mac

Overview: Are you facing erratic/jumping cursor movement when you use a trackpad, Magic Trackpad, or Magic Mouse? Do not worry, today in this article we will troubleshoot phantom/erratic/jumping/dancing cursor issue on the Mac.

Let’s Start with Few Practical Scenarios

Scenario 1: Desktop and Mouse Jerking, Moving on Their Own After El Capitan Update

Hi, I updated to El Capitan a few days ago and used it fine for a few days. Today when I got on my computer it seemed to have a mind of its own. It’s almost like someone is remotely controlling my computer. mouse jerks and moves around on its own, Desktops change on their own, view gets bigger and smaller on its own, I can sit in my chair with my hands in my lap and the screen and mouse move on their own. I can’t work. Does anyone know what the heck is going on? MacBook Pro retina, mid-2012, 2.7GHz i7,16 GB, 1600 mhzDDr3, El Capitan 10.11.3, Have an external view sonic monitor attached, Use an apple wireless keyboard and a Logitech mouse. Thanks!

Source: Apple Forum

Scenario 2: My Cursor is Moving by Itself

My cursor is cycling rapidly through both upper-level menus and dialog boxes by itself.  The problem resolves briefly when I restart and then recurs.  Do I have a virus?  Does anyone else have this problem?  Or a solution? Thanks!

Source: Apple Forum

Scenario 3: Pointer Gone Crazy on My MacBook Pro

My pointer has gone crazy, it goes all over the page by itself opening stuff. I can’t control it, with the mouse or track pad.

Source: Apple Forum

Like the above two users, there are many Mac users who are facing erratic/jumping cursor issue on Mac. Let’s troubleshoot to fix it.

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Restart Your Mac

Most of the time simple restart fixes the issue. Click on Restart from the Apple Menu and check the cursor movement on the Mac.

Check for Any Damage to the Mouse or Trackpad.

Even small physical damage can result in erratic/jumping cursor issue, check for any damage to make sure that is not the problem. Also, make sure trackpad is fitted and aligned properly on the Mac.

Make Sure Mouse or Trackpad Battery is Charged

Ensure that the device’s batteries are not low. In case of Magic Trackpad 2 or Magic Mouse 2, ensure that the battery is fully charged.

Prevent accidental or Multiple Touch

Make sure that only required part of your finger is touching the touch surface. Accidental and multiple touches can cause unwanted cursor movement.

Keep Trackpad or Mouse Dry and Clean

Moisture, oil or lotion can cause unnecessary cursor movement so make sure that devices are moisture free and clean.

Avoid Using Third-Party Power Adaptor

Abnormal cursor behavior occurs when you use a third party power adaptor. Unplug the power adaptor in case you are using third-party power adaptor and check if the cursor is abnormal. In case, cursor behaves normally while running the system with battery only, replace the power adaptor.

Scan for Virus, Malware, and Adware

Virus, malware, Adware or spyware may be responsible for abnormal cursor movement. Visit this link and run free MALWAREBYTES FOR MAC to check your Mac and do the needful. You can scan your Mac for the virus in case you have anti-virus software for Mac.

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Adjust Trackpad Settings

  • Go to the Apple Menu and select System Preferences.
  • Choose Trackpad, and then de-select the box for Trackpad Gestures and check “Ignore accidental trackpad input

Check Ignore Built-In Trackpad Option

  • Go to the Apple logo, select System Preferences.

System preference

  • In the preferences pane, click Accessibility


  • Check the option “Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present

Check Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present option

  • Restart your Mac

Get Rid of Wireless Interference

Bluetooth devices can be erratic when there is wireless interference. Do not put metals between wireless device and Mac, move cordless phones, jewelry, ovens, and electrical devices away from Mac.

Reset SMC

  • Go to the Apple menu and shut down your Mac.
  • Once Mac shuts down, press and hold the Shift-Control-Option on the left side of the built-in keyboard, then press the power button at the same time. Hold these keys and the power button for 10-15 seconds.
  • Now Release all keys.
  • Press the power button again to turn on your Mac.

For Mac desktop computers

  • Go to the Apple menu and shut down your Mac.
  • Unplug the power cable.
  • Wait 15-20 seconds.
  • Plug in the power cable back.
  • Wait for 10 seconds and start your Mac.

Reset PRAM and NVRAM

  • Shut down Mac
  • After few seconds start the Mac and press and hold Option, Command, P and R keys on the keyboard together.
  • Hold the keys down till the Mac reboots and you hear a beeping sound.

Start Mac in Safe Mode and Check Cursor

  • Shut down your Mac.
  • Now start your Mac and immediately Press and hold the Shift key as soon as the start-up sound is heard.
  • Release the Shift key when you see the Apple logo. Safe Boot appears on the macOS Mojave start-up screen.

Safe Mode restricts the use of many applications on the system and allows examination in a more restricted environment. In case the cursor behaves normally in Safe Mode then you have to isolate the software which is causing erratic/jumping cursor issue.

Create Another Account on Mac

  • Go to the Apple menu, select System Preferences and then click on Users & Groups.

Users and group


  • Click on the lock icon to unlock it, put your administrator name and password.

Click on the lock Icon Mac

  • Now click on Add or Plus icon to create new account

Click on the plus icon

  • Click the New Account pop-up menu and then choose a type of user i.e. Administrator or Standard user and put all the necessary details and Click on Create User.

Admin account

Now check the cursor, in case, cursor behaves normally then old profile may have gone corrupt. Transfer all the data to the new account and start using your Mac.

Perform Clean Installation of macOS Mojave from USB flash drive

In case none of these steps works then performing a clean installation may help you to fix erratic/jumping cursor issue. Please note that you will lose all your data on the Mac. Visit this link to perform the clean installation: Apple link How to create a bootable installer for macOS

Wrap Things Up

I hope this article helped you to fix Erratic, Jumping, Phantom, Dancing Mouse Cursor Issue on Mac.

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