20 March 2014

Why does my mouse cursor jump around?

It's a nuisance when blogging, and an real hazard during time-dependent games.  A quick Google shows a variety of remedies for cursors jumping while typing, but my problem arises not with the flashing typing cursor, but with the mouse arrow; when I try to move it to a location, it sometimes teleports to a different part of the screen.  I've tried replacing the batteries, without improvement.

I'm using a Magic Mouse on an iMac, tracking on a rubberized pad.  My three relevant Preferences (tracing, scrolling, double-click) are set on the fastest level.  I'm guessing this has something to do with static electricity, but perhaps the optical sensing apparatus of the mouse is wearing out. 

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

21 comments:

  1. Looks like a very common complaint. Short of getting a new mouse (I hate all Apple mice) you might check the battery contacts and optical sensor window per this link: http://macs.about.com/od/tipstricks/qt/Magic-Mouse-Tracking-Error-An-Easy-Fix-For-A-Magic-Mouse-Tracking-Problem.htm

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  2. Step one: buy an actual computer.

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    Replies
    1. What difference does the choice of computer make?

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    2. None, I use the same USB wireless optical mouse on a PC laptop and an iMac, works just fine on both.

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    3. The man asked for help. If you have nothing constructive, to add, keep your opinions to yourself. I am not a fan of the Mac, either, but that has nothing to do with the issue.

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  3. Is it a wireless mouse? If so, my first troubleshooting step is always replacing the batteries. (And yes, check the contacts too.)

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  4. I am not 100% sure if this happens when you _type_ or when you _move the mouse_. I assume the latter and thus:

    1) Check your laser and optical receiver for lint, dust, etc.
    2) Blow the hole clean. Your mouth works, canned air makes you not look like a bagpipe player.
    3) Try a different surface and/or clean your current mouse-pad. Good quality printer paper is nice for mice (pun intended).

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  5. Thanks for BJ and to Richard. I used a can of compressed air and gave the optical sensor a good blow, and the problem seems to have resolved. I used to do this routinely when I had a roller mouse - didn't know it would be applicable with an optical one.

    Many thanks.

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    Replies
    1. No worries.

      With roller mouses, you need to fight the buildup of crud on the dual-axis tracking mechanism and the ball.

      With laser (or older LED) mouses, you have no mechanism to clean, but if something gets in there, the immediate effect is worse. What happens is that the laser will track a hair, lint, whatever along with the surface. If that stuff swings, the mouse thinks it's been wiggled.

      If you have a trackpad or trackpoint that acts up, try moving the cursor into a corner and "push" it a few screens worth of distance into said corner then let go immediately. That resets the internal tracking.


      Richard

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  6. A surface with some texture/contrast such that the optical mouse can tell the difference between one position and another is important. I use The World's Cheapest Optical Mousepad. A simple little experiment can be trying to use an optical mouse on one of those mirrored tables (or just a mirror laid flat).

    As I recall from building a hackintosh most apple mice operate via bluetooth. If the problem recurs you might consider either having your bluetooth module repaired by the apple people or purchasing/borrowing one of those little USB bluetooth adapters to rule that out as a possible cause.

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  7. First off if crud builds up on your mouse's little feet it can't judge the distance anymore.
    More likely, you have too much hibernation data in it's hibernate file. We had the same problem with the Shepherdess's Logitech wireless mouse as her hard drive is packed to the limit with ancient history so she's back on a lead which makes life more bearable but I'm stuck with her keyboard that was part of the mouse&kayboard package and she has typed so much that most of the letters are rubbed off.
    You wildn't belove hiw mant corrections I have to di just to type something loke this.

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  8. Optical mice only seem to jump about on shiny surfaces for me. Do you need a mousepad for optical mice a all?

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    Replies
    1. Nope, just a surface with contrast.

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  9. You may be amused by this: at work one day my cursor was not only jumping around, but doing it even when I wasn't touching my wireless mouse - AND it was clicking on files. Freaked me out entirely. I thought perhaps our IT helpline folks still had access to my desk top somehow, but they swore they didn't. Turns out there was a new employee about 15 feet away with an identical wireless mouse, and he was controlling both my cursor, and his. I can't remember how we figured it out, but it was freaky for bit! - Kara in Ohio

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  10. Highly recommend the Logitech anywhere mx mouse. Works on absolutely every surface. .. glass, skin, anything. Feels nice too with a nice scroll wheel. Was featured on cool tools blog recently too.

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  11. Gotta drop in and say - there's a very good chance this has nothing to your with your physical mouse, as it's an extremely common complaint on laptops with trackpads as well. I have it happen all the time and I haven't used a physical mouse in years. If I remember correctly, it tends to be a driver issue, so you might want to double check that all your drivers are up to date.

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  12. It seems like you have resolved your problem, but I have learned that when my wired mouse gets the wigglies, it is generally because something reactive has gotten near my Wacom digital slate. Either I set the stylus down and it got pushed on it or my phone is too close. Since it is sometimes under a paper, the first few times were frustrating to diagnose. It's really a messy desk problem.

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  13. I've also had problems if I used an off brand replacement power cord on my laptop. Applying additional ferrite chokes on the cord can help somewhat, but the best solution for me was to get a name brand factory replacement cord.

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  14. I had same problem for the last week or so. It really got to my nerves. So I Googled for a jumoy mouse cursor and I found out that a guy solved the problem by connecting the mouse to a different USB port. I did the same thing, I connected the mouse to another port. When I did that the Microsoft Mouse & Keyboard window came up and asked me if I want to install the software for my mouse. I answered yes and that was it. My jumping cursor problem disappeared.

    What I do not understand it how come Microsoft asks me to install the software of my Microsoft mouse which was installed already, when I bought my laptop 4 years ago. I suspect that there is a foul play on the part of Microsoft.

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  15. Sounds like a meerkat infestation. Cutesy little standy-uppy weasel-lookin' bastards.

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  16. This Mac cursor jumping issue seems still exist. My teammate Andreas just experienced the problem and he resolved it by disabling an option via System Preferences > Accessibility (on El Capitan based MacBook Pro). You can read this article here. Hope it helps.

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