Mac Mouse Double-Clicking Instead of Single Clicking? Here’s the Fix

Apr 6, 2018 - 9 Comments

Single click registering as double click on Mac

Some Mac users may encounter a weird issue where they attempt to single click their mouse or trackpad but a double-click is registered instead of the intended single click. This is obviously frustrating since a double-click in the wrong place can perform actions you may not want to perform, like full screening a window or opening an app, folder, or document, or even something more annoying.

If you have noticed that a Mac is erroneously registering double-clicks instead of single clicks of the mouse or trackpad, read on to learn a few ways to troubleshoot the issue and potentially resolve the problem.

Check the Mouse / Trackpad Hardware

Sometimes erroneous click behavior can be due to an actual hardware problem with the mouse or trackpad, as well.

The first thing if you suspect this is the case is to insure the Mouse is clean. A grimy mouse stuffed full of gunk, dust, and whatever else can cause clicks to register incorrectly or not register at all. Thus, cleaning the mouse or trackpad surface is a good place to start.

Rarely, the mouse accessory may be damaged and in such a situation, replacing the accessory can be necessary. I’ve experienced a mouse go haywire after they have been damaged from water contact, so if you have ever spilled coffee on a mouse, thrown it out the window, or used it as a mace to ward off an alien invasion, it may have an actual physical issue that makes the clicking activity not work properly. This is particularly relevant if you’re experiencing more than just improper click registry, but also other unusual behavior with a mouse or trackpad, like errant or missing cursor movements. If you’re periodically experiencing improper click registrations along with random inability to click a mouse or trackpad at all, you’ll also want to do a thorough check of the hardware condition and battery (if applicable).

The physical condition of the mouse or trackpad can also make a difference though that alone is not always an indicator of a problem. For example, I have a faulty Logitech mouse that routinely registers improper clicking activity despite being in pristine condition, and I have another beat up Logitech mouse that works great. Trying out another external USB mouse is a fairly simple way to determine if the issue is a hardware problem or not, if you don’t have one handy you can always get a new USB mouse as they are quite cheap.

How to Stop Single Clicks Registering as Double-Clicks on Mac

A common software reason that single-clicks are registered as double-clicks, or at least perceived as so, are mouse settings on the individual Mac OS installation. One setting in particular may be helpful to adjust:

  1. Go to the  Apple menu and choose “System Preferences”
  2. Select “Mouse”
  3. Look for the “Double-Click Speed” setting, and adjust the Slow-Fast dial further towards “Fast” (or all the way)

Adjust the mouse Double Click speed setting in Mac OS

Some users who are unable to rapidly double-click may not be able to use the most aggressive “Fast” setting approach to resolve this issue unfortunately, but by experimenting with the various double-click speed settings for the Mouse hopefully users will be able to find a solution which works for them.

Sometimes this setting is tucked into Accessibility options, depending on what version of Mac OS you are using, in which case you’d look for it in System Preferences > Accessibility > Mouse & Trackpad

Adjusting click speed for double click on Mac OS Settings

The double-click speed setting has been to blame (and blamed) for this issue for quite some time and it can impact almost any version of Mac OS or Mac OS X (as you’ll notice on Apple Discussion boards: 1, 2). From the software side of things, it’s one of the first settings to adjusting see if it makes an impact.

Going further, if you’re still experiencing issues with erroneous double-clicks coming from single-clicks, you may want to follow these instructions to troubleshoot weird mouse and trackpad behavior on a Mac.

Did these tips help resolve your issues with a mouse or trackpad registering double-clicks when you single click? Did you find another solution? Let us know your experiences in the comments below!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

9 Comments

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  1. junebeetle says:

    For things like this, if you can’t always determine if it’s software or hardware problem, a quick test is often to (1) use Guest account or (2) use recovery mode, though that can behave weirdly at times.

  2. Martin says:

    You might consider getting your copy edited since at least two sentences make no sense.

    • Matt says:

      Mouse clicks registering two instead of one has nothing to do with copying or editing items, unless you mean you’re used to one-clicking a sentence and it two-clicks instead then you would notice that the entire sentence is selected rather than the word. That’s pretty annoying! Maybe that is what you’re talking about? Did you try it with your mouse? I use Logitech borrowed from a PC as my mouse and have experienced the one-click two-click phenomena, I thought it was a bug or worse, I do not have an Apple mouse.

  3. Bryan McKenzie says:

    Altering the double click speed makes absolutely no difference.

    Any other suggestions?

    • coffee says:

      Clean your mouse, or try an external USB mouse. Sometimes improper double-clicks or triple-clicks are from a dirty mouse or one that has been damaged by liquid or some other substance.

      • Bryan McKenzie says:

        Thank you for replying. When you say “clean the mouse,” what exactly does this entail?

        So often, when folks are trying to be helpful, they don’t provide enough detail.

  4. Bryan McKenzie says:

    The answer about speed of clicks is utter nonsense. Rate effects nothing with this issue. Someone needs to summon a better answer, because this is a real thing. And more than a bit annoying.

    • Paul says:

      Actually, the click speed does matter, and that can be the cause of double-clicks for some Mac users.

      That’s why it is a setting to adjust.

      • Bryan McKenzie says:

        Thank you for replying.

        I have tried various click speeds and always the same result: unwanted double clicks.

        Can someone explain how speeding up the click speed helps? It seems counterintuitive.

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