Unable to Click with Trackpad or Mouse in Mac OS? Here’s the Fix!

Nov 19, 2016 - 117 Comments

How to fix inability to click on a Mac

Since most of our computing activities require the usage of a mouse click or trackpad click, it’s understandably annoying if suddenly you’re unable to click anything on a Mac. Typically the inability to click occurs all of a sudden, where the mouse still moves around on the screen, but the user can’t click, and when a click on the trackpad or mouse is pressed, nothing is registered. Sometimes this pops up after a computer has been moved physically, some software has been installed, or the Mac has been rebooted, and while it’s peeving to not be able to click, it’s typically an easy issue to resolve in Mac OS .

Check for Obvious Hardware Problems

Before anything else, you should absolutely check the hardware for obvious problems first.

Usually there is no mechanical failure going on, but in some cases a MacBook bulging battery can push up against the trackpad mechanism and prevent clicking.

Additionally, a damaged mouse or trackpad may also refuse to register a click, particularly if a Mac had water contact that seeped into the tracking area, or if a mouse took a dive into a swimming pool or got run over by a car.

Check Any External Bluetooth Mouse or Trackpads

If you use a separate Bluetooth mouse or trackpad, like an Apple Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad, it’s possible the device has been turned on and something is pressing down on the click surface of that device, thereby rendering another mouse or tracking surface unable to click. This is surprisingly common, particularly for Mac users who use multiple tracking devices, or for MacBook users who carry and use a separate external Bluetooth mouse and who carry the computer around in a backpack or laptop back, where the mouse or trackpad may have become activated and is pressed against something else in the tote, thereby causing a refusal of Mac OS X to register and acknowledge other clicks.

An easy way to figure out if this is the cause is to temporarily disable Bluetooth. If suddenly the mouse or trackpad click starts working again, you have found your problem.

Don’t skip this, I know it sounds silly, but it’s a common cause of the mouse click not working. I just had it happen to myself, so don’t discount this.

Reboot, Close the Lid

If the click failure is occurring on a MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro then often rebooting and putting the Mac to sleep and then waking it up again after a few minutes seems to resolve the issue:

  1. Reboot the Mac as usual from the  Apple menu
  2. When the Mac has booted back up, and assuming the mouse still isn’t clicking, close the lid and put the MacBook to sleep for about two minutes
  3. Open the MacBook lid and use the computer as normal, the mouse / trackpad should click as usual again

Admittedly that’s a quirky solution, but it does work to resolve inexplicable mouse failures in modern versions of MacOS and Mac OS X on the MacBook line.

Other Troubleshooting tips

  • If the MacBook is new enough to have haptic feedback with a Force Click surface, sometimes disabling Force Click on the trackpad can resolve failure to register clicks
  • Delete mouse and trackpad preference files to troubleshoot unusual behavior is particularly effective if the problem started happening after a system update or installing software
  • Reset the Mac SMC controller, which requires a reboot
  • Reset NVRAM / PRAM on the Mac, which also requires a reboot but is separate from the SMC process
  • Check for hardware failures, like a bulging battery which would require replacement, or for dents or damage indicating a drop has occurred and may have caused a physical hardware issue – these type of hardware situations are typically serviced by Apple or Apple authorized repair centers

No Solution? Try Tap Clicking!

Another solution if all else fails is to enable Tap To Click on the trackpad, which allows you to simply tap a finger rather than press down to initiate a click, a feature that exists on the Mac and is popular with Windows laptops. Some people like this feature a lot anyway, and it’s an easy solution for trackpad and Magic Mouse users.

Have you experienced this issue where your Mac suddenly can’t click? If so, did the tips above resolve it for you as well? Let us know your experience in the comments!


Related articles:

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


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  1. Jessica says:

    Hey everyone, I just had this issue occur while I was in the middle of work. My trackpad did NOT want to left click, but still worked when I dragged the cursor around, and when I did the right-click function. I was freaking out because I cannot even find my bluetooth mouse, and many people were saying this issue was related to an unknowingly pressed-down mouse. (It must be somewhere in the office though because..) I read another comment on this forum that mentioned using Siri to turn off Bluetooth, since right-clicking the bluetooth icon would not bring up the bluetooth menu. My Macbook Pro has the Touchbar, which has Siri-capabilities if you press the far-right side. I had to hold my finger down for a few seconds, but then Siri popped up. I asked her to turn off Bluetooth, and, lo and behold, it worked! I had assumed that because I cannot find my mouse, bluetooth wasn’t the issue. But, it was! So.. I would recommend that people try this even if they’re pretty sure that isn’t the issue.

    Have a good day and good luck to all experiencing the same issue!

  2. saved says:

    Writing in May 2023, the article is dated 2016 and it still saved my day! its unbelievable. I have shut down and restarted my Mac 20 times, including in recovery mode. Nothing helped. When followed this instruction and closed the lid (put to sleep) for 2 mins – it’s all working again.
    Thank you so much!

  3. Mohamed Sajaad says:

    Remove the battery and then slightly press the trackpad out from inside and when you feel it’s clicking(physically) that means issue fixed.
    Put your battery back and close the back cover.

  4. Julia says:

    This worked! Thank you so much💕💕💕💕

  5. Oscar says:

    Still in 2022, and the problem continues. I thought Mac was more reliable than other computers (at least, it doubles the cost of a windows-based computer), but seems not to be the case.

    It is clearly a software issue. You can plug many mice but the only way is to shutdown your computer and restart. I can’t understand how is it possible that apple does not care about such silly things that annoy Mac users.

  6. Tripti says:

    It worked for me too. Thanks man.

  7. Amy says:

    What if I cannot shut down from the apple icon menu? I have to hard shut down from the keyboard. Then when I try to put it to sleep for a few minutes after it reboots, still nothing works. I can move the arrow around just fine, I can feel the click on the track pad but nothing registers on the screen.

  8. Rick says:

    The trackpad on my wife’s MacBook air suddenly stopped working this morning, it wouldn’t left click, but otherwise worked Ok. After much faffing about with settings, etc., to no avail, I found a suggestion on how to adjust a trackpad screw, after removing the back cover, and with a couple of turns all is working fine. No need for a trip to the Genius bar.

    I left it on while I did it, so I could keep adjusting and retrying until it started clicking correctly.

    Sorry but I can’t find the link now.

  9. Kav says:

    I know right. Ha I thought I was missing something…

  10. Kav says:

    I was wondering how I was going to do any of this because I couldn’t click on anything. An I was pretty sure I did something in preferences by accident. Tried the three finger drag and it drug the screen off and bam it works again. Thanks

  11. Caitlin says:

    I tried: taking off bottom case. nope. closing my mac a few min. nope. Restart. nope. close again a few min. nope. disabled force click, restart. nope. re-enabled force click. nope.
    *Getting concerned*

    Shut down computer, closed lid, for a few min. WORKED!
    Maybe I am dumb and “reboot” meant actually shut it down and not just restart like I did. But for any other dummies out there like me, try shut down.

  12. John says:

    Thanks! Such a simple thing to check for, but it worked. I thought my mac was buggered, but it wasn’t.

  13. Aja Perrin says:

    I can’t believe it! The trackpad was somehow connected and was, indeed, being pressed down on by something else! Thank you SO MUCH! I restarted this thing a Million times!

  14. Bianca says:

    Finally something that worked! Thanks legend

  15. Thomas says:

    I have turned bluetooth off via Siri, all the devices disconnected and it the mouse started working again.

    • Jessica says:

      YUP! I was freaking out so much because my trackpad’s left click stopped working in the middle of a huge project.. My Macbook Pro the touch bar, so I held my finger down until Siri popped up, and asked her to turn bluetooth off. Once I did that, legitimately, everything worked again! I think it was trying to connect to my mouse, which may be pressed down, SOMEWHERE, but I can’t find it.

  16. Dano says:

    Took off bottom plastic case (3rd party cover/protector), shut down mac, turned on, put mac to sleep. Opened back up–darn thing started clicking again. Sweet! Thanks!

  17. Fabian says:

    You might be able to enable dragging in the accessibility options under preferences for the trackpad. I set mine to 3 finger drag.

  18. Fabian says:

    You can use the keyboard to bypass a lot of the trackpad items. Tab, command+tab, and enter, are some of the most useful keyboard shortcuts for navigating the screen.

  19. Kristin says:

    The part where you say not to skip checking to make sure nothing is resting on or pressing on a Bluetooth trackpad was right on for me. I read that and then decided to at least go look at the trackpad, even though I felt silly checking, and my Kindle was lying on top of it, ha! Thanks for including that in this article on troubleshooting!

  20. Dr. David Jackson says:

    Thank you so much for this excellent information!!!! You saved me!!!

  21. Emily says:

    My feelings and problems exactly.
    Where’s the solution?

  22. Joe Biden says:

    What a stupid article – how are you supposed to restart with the apple menu when clicking doesn’t work?

  23. Jerry says:

    I completely agree!
    No-one tells you how to select things when you can’t click.
    After a lot of work, I have managed to enable Tap-to-click, but I can’t drag a window or anything inside one.

  24. Katharine says:

    Thanks, Reuben! I had stumbled across the scroll-to-top or -to-bottom solution for the disappearing cursor, and 2 finer swiping had helped a little, but 3-finger swipes enabled me to eject the external hard drive for whose sale I hadn’t wanted to do a forced shutdown or restart. And I found I could now click normally as well.
    Closing lid and letting Mac sleep for awhile had not helped, but maybe without the external drive plugged in that would be more effective.

  25. Ruben says:

    None of the tips provided worked but using 3 fingers and swiping on the pad did work. Everything back to normal…

  26. Katie says:

    Literally closing my laptop and putting it to sleep for two min and reopening worked. Almost skipped that idea because it sounded dumb, but glad I didn’t lol.

  27. Tom says:

    This worked a charm! Thank you!!

  28. Chris says:

    I tried all of the steps in the instructions you provided, 2 times. Nothing. I have tried 4 devices:

    1.) MacBook Air std trackpad
    2.) Magic mouse – bluetooth
    3.) USB wired mouse
    4.) USB wireless mouse

    None of them are able to issue a ‘click’ command or selection command, to select and drag for example. I’ve exhausted all of your suggestions, is my only last hope a reinstall?

    Can’t think of a way to get my files off, ugh.


  29. HellaChum says:

    What the freaking hell! My click did not work. Verified that my Bluetooth on my MacBook Pro was off. Turned my Bluetooth trackpad on and then back off and then my MacBook trackpad starting working again. So weird but it worked! I was ready to throw my MacBook out the window!

  30. Alex says:

    I found this solution too! Cursor moved but single and double finger presses didn’t work. I tried a 3-finger swipe to see if that worked and everything went back to normal!

  31. Diane says:

    Thanks so much for the keyboard shortcut. I don’t like just holding the power button and hoping for the best.

    I suspect my battery has expanded as it was getting pretty hot. Hoping that letting it cool down fixes it.

  32. CW says:

    Thank you so much! Totally have 2 mouses one for work and one for home. The home mouse was on and in my bag at work and causing the problem.

  33. L.R. Laggy says:

    My notebook was resting on my magic trackpad. Thank you for pointing out the obvious!

  34. Mike says:

    It must be a Mike thing. My magic mouse was on in my back pack aswell… I forgot I had it…..

  35. Karen says:

    This was the trick I needed!!! Thanks.

  36. Tommy says:

    Michael thank you so much

  37. Matt says:

    The first quirky trick worked for me! I put it to sleep and turned back on and it was working again after about 30sec.

    Thank you so much!!!

  38. Dawn says:

    I was thinking the same thing!

  39. Evan says:

    So how do you reboot from the apple menu when you can’t even click the apple…?

  40. Sash says:

    Follow-up to previous note:
    Using screen sharing I ran permissions repair in Disk Utility.
    This fixed the issue and the trackpad click is working again!
    I could not do this locally at the laptop because I could not click.

  41. Sash says:

    My 2008 MacBook Pro can point but not click. Control-click through two-finger tap works. Unfortunately, the hardware mouse and Bluetooth mouse did not work. The trackpad had started to balk at clicking, so I suspect the cause is hardware failure.
    I came up with a solution not mentioned in your list. This MBP had screen sharing turned on, so I used another Mac to share the screen on this computer.
    Finder > Go > Connect to server > Browse > select the MBP > Share Screen button
    Slow, but back in business for now.

  42. Adam says:

    How could you do any of the above if your mouse is not working!!!

    • Aroon says:

      Read the article, it tells you what to do.

      Most likely your mouse is dirty or the batteries are dead, or maybe you have a bluetooth mouse that is being pressed somewhere that you need to disconnect.

  43. Ebo Seagrave says:

    My Magic Mouse 2 had mysteriously turned on and that was what took my clicking on the trackpad away. Such a simple solution. Thank you SO MUCH! Thought my MacBook Pro was broken!

  44. Michael says:

    Everything on my MacBook’s trackpad was working fine aside from the left click. After reading this, I found out that my Magic Mouse in my backpack was still on and after turning it off the issue was resolved.
    Thank you so much for the info!

  45. Nick says:

    Thanks to the comments I was able to recover. The article tries to give you advice on how to fix it by clicking……when you can’t click.

    • Marta says:

      Of course
      how can we do all the things recomended if we need a mouse click to do it and we don t have it

  46. Rachel says:

    Omg!!! Thank you so much! I was freaking out there was something wrong with my MacBook Air-both the trackpad and my USB mouse kept intermittently stopping clicking (but moving around the screen fine. Thanks to you I realised my Bluetooth mouse was in my backpack turned on and clicked down! YOU saved a potentially embarrassing moment with some poor technical support person!!

  47. Canaan Li says:

    Thank you so much for posting the tip about the Bluetooth mouse. I have a mouse that I literally never use but somehow the battery has survived at least a full year on. don’t know how. I turn Bluetooth on occasionally for Airdrop and then, apparently, I stacked a few things on top of the mouse causing it to stay clicked and I couldn’t click with my track pad anymore. Your tip saved this Mac user from ripping out his HD to do an external wipe and reinstall!

    Didn’t find a solution anywhere else until I came here. Thank You!!

  48. peter silfverberg says:

    Problem with trackpad and keyboard solved
    Had a problem with my Macbook pro. The keyboard and the trackpack didnt work or very badly. The problem was that i had installed a remote bluetooth trackpad. My mac tried obviously to get contact with that trackpad and that caused the problem. I deleted the device from Blutooth panel and evrything works fine. Maybe some of You have similar problems. Check out your blutooth devices.
    Have a good day :)

  49. Dimitri says:

    I had trouble installing a new mouse pad that wouldn’t click. The trackpad would “tap” but not”click”. I tried adjusting the tork screw but it didn’t help. In the end I gave the edging(small shelf) in which the trackpad sits a good clean of all the bits that had built up over the years and then when I put the trackpad back in it then worked fine. I had to play with the work scew a little to get it perfect.

  50. Ben says:

    Reset the Mac SMC controller worked like a charm, thank you very much for your help!

  51. Kim says:

    Thank you! I had tried everything and was on to checking the trackpad settings, although was not able to arrow down into those sys pref menus to change anything. It dawned on me to use Siri! (I have never found a use for her before!) I told her to “open System Preferences Bluetooth.” And the. Saw the culprit. I had taken out my son’s Magic Trackpad from the drawer not realizing it was on. It was piled on a desk across the room but here it was showing as connected. So I told Siri “Turn off Bluetooth”. And she did. And immediately I can click again.

    After an hour of rebooting and sleep/waking, finally I found the solution. Thanks to you! I feel a little bit smarter now. 🤓

  52. iMacd says:

    Don’t remember major hardware issues caused by earlier releases of OS X. Aside from the planned obsolescence that is almost non existent in the PC world, your old pu will just run slower, maybe Apple is releasing too many versions too fast. Bricking Apple’s own hardware after an update by major Apple software release is a major snafu and Tim shouldn’t tolerate it at all.

  53. Rachelle says:

    None of these options worked for me. My screen is stuck on the login page so I can’t even get into anything. I have to select a user which I can’t because I can’t click anything. Any other options to get past the login so I can get the the Apple menu to check my trackpad status?

    • Bill says:

      You can press the first letter of the user you want to select, then hit return to log in as that user.

  54. Jimmy says:

    Thankkk yooouuu, my bluetooth mouse is the problem

  55. attila says:

    this issue just stared happening to a large number of people’s macs (2018) in our office. new feature?

  56. kie says:

    Shift+control+option+Power try this if your trackpad or keyboard is not working

  57. Tam B says:

    Mouse in the drawer!!! With something pressing on the button. Thanks. You saved me a trip to the repair shop

  58. Lou says:

    Thanks to the comments in this post… I was starting to think that my Mac was going bonkers. Turns out that my Anywhere 2S mouse in my bag was on and on the same channel as my Master MX on my desk. After turning the Anywhere mouse off in bag, I have control of my left click again. Sweet

  59. Justin says:

    Haha, in my case some books were left over my magic trackpad and that was the reason click didn’t work. Thanks for this article.

  60. Eric Sears says:

    Ok so my I could not close out but the arrow was tracking still . I simply place 4 fingers on the pad and swiped left which took me to a quick launch screen . I then clicked on the plus sign in lower left corner once which took me to a secondary screen then clicked on the plus in lower left again . Once back to the original screen I swiped right . This brought me back to my main page and the click button then worked again for me . Hope this helps.”each one teach one “

  61. Dan says:

    I think it is perfectly ridiculous to Reboot, close the lid and then re-start after a wait….
    However, it worked…

    It reminds me of the good old days of Windows crashes.

  62. Nico says:

    Mouse in bag… spot on :-)

  63. Doug says:

    Also, the only way I was able to get around he clicking problem was with the Bluetooth mouse. The right click still worked on it and allowed me to click the Apple icon / restart

  64. Doug says:

    Have brand new Mac pro with the touch bar. Left click stopped working entirely. Not only didn’t work on built in track pad but when Bluetooth mouse plugged in, left click did not work. Tried restarting alone, but nothing. Read this post, restarted, then let sleep for a few minutes and WE’RE BACK! Thanks!!

  65. Rick says:

    Wow. First thing was actually my problem. I left the magic mouse on in my bag. Thank you!

  66. Joanna says:

    This didn’t help me at all. If my MacBook Pro isn’t clicking than I can’t restart the computer or clear any preferences. I cant do anything all I can do is use three fingers and make the screen move in and out.

  67. Jerrold says:

    Hi. Just curious – how are you supposed to do these things – such as “disable Bluetooth” or “reboot from the Apple Menu” – when you can’t click anything? You can’t even open the Apple Menu.

    • Eric says:

      Jerrold, you may need to force power down, you can try “clicking” your power button and see if you can use the keyboards arrow buttons to control the sleep / restart / shutdown menu, or you can press and hold (usually 8 seconds) to force power down. You will lose any unsaved data. Probably a good plan to check your bluetooth settings upon restart if that is possible.

  68. Samantha says:

    Thanks for the post! It was an external mouse being pushed down. I never would have thought of it. Thanks!

  69. Tammy V says:

    Willy Pott! Thanks so much for the tip! Totally forgot that I enabled my boyfriend’s wireless trackpad the other day and when I relocated my workstation from patio to desk, I bumped something that put slight weight on the trackpad! 2 hours of photoshop work and 2 hrs of time spent trying to resolve it, but hey, at least my computer is working fine now.

  70. Ming says:

    guys, I encountered the same issue like u did. I tried to restart and let it sleep for a few mins, failed…Funny thing was that i finally decided to do nothing except only shutting down the mac and turning on next morning. Finally, it worked again! The trackpad did again react to the mechanic clicks after resting for a day. I’m not sure this workaround may be helpful for everyone. Hopefully some of u will find it helpful to address the issue.

  71. Michou says:

    Hi had a similar problem. No left mouse click even when using an external keyboard. I tried different thing without success then I connected to an external display (not sure this helped) and managed to go into the mouse settings. Without really changing anything from there, everything went back to normal.

  72. Kalman says:

    Hard reboot followed by closing lid to sleep my 2015 MacBook Pro worked! This was a life saver. Thanks!

  73. Carola Cespedes says:

    I was reading through the comments and I came across one that said they had a Bluetooth mouse that somehow got turned on. At first I thought it silly and unlikely that it was my issue. Low and behold I found the stupid mouse and problem solved. Thank You Willy Pott!!

  74. Chris says:

    Thanks fir the suggestion of using the arrows and return to log on . Worked fir me putting the mac to sleep . My click is back , thank you

  75. sarah says:

    The “tap to click” was a great solution for me, thanks! My trackpad still clicked, but it was very difficult to do so. It is old, and probably has a swollen battery, but I want to nurse it along (without paying for repairs) as long as possible. I can now easily navigate, and hopefully it will last a little longer, thanks!

  76. W8post Guardian says:

    Happens to me all the time.
    *) solution ONE: ‘Restart’; the funny thing is I can’t click on anything, but EVERYTHING under the  logo, works!
    *) solution TWO: ‘Pull the Plug’ [of the Internet modem]; don’t touch the computer, leave it ‘as is’. I leave the plug out for about 15min. Plug back in and, after a normal restart, everything works as normal. {meanwhile, make yourself a cup of coffee…}

  77. Andrew says:

    I found a solution without restarting. In my case the bluetooth connection to my trackpad was messed up (and I could only right click).

    Right click on the apple logo, right click on system preferences, start typing Bluetooth and then key down to the Bluetooth preferences screen and press enter.

    You can right click the mouse/trackpad and disconnect and this immediately fixed the issue. I’m not sure why 90% of the screen items on a mac won’t initiate with a right click, but luckily the ones above did.

  78. Nona says:

    Thanks for posting. I traced it down to a bluetooth mouse that somehow connected to my mac without my knowing. I removed the bluetooth mouse and now my trackpad and wireless mouse work again!

  79. Jerome says:

    Hey I figured out that this problems occur when i change my monitors. So try to plug and unplug your monitor and keep clicking.
    Also sometimes it helps to to reboot in safe mode. just click shift and power and hold shift during the start. But anyway that thing is annoying. Apple support was not able to help out, told me to go to a an Apple store, yeah thx.

    An other solution, but much more complicated and probably over the top, is installing el capitain on a USB or in my case on a SD card. When the problem occurs just shut down. Plug in the SD and start with pressing ALT and choose the other OSX. It´s not perfect, but if you don´t have time for a troubleshooting than this is how you should go.

  80. John says:

    My Magic Trackpad’s rubber “foot” came out and I forcefully re-inserted it with the resulting problem of inability to click on any desktop screen. Thank you for the tip to check for pressure on the trackpad.

  81. Willy pott says:

    The left click on my Macbook suddenly stoped working both trackpad and external USB mouse, you can’t do anything if you can’t click!!
    Turned out I have a bluetooth apple magic mouse in my cupboard which i never use (cause it’s crap) and because I just was tyding up and was shuffling some stuff around, something must have been pressing it. Turned that stupid thing off , i can use my Mac again. Thanks for this article! For a while I thought my Mac was gone ! Hey this gives me some prank ideas mmmhhh

    • EvenSteven says:

      I had the same symptoms as Willy pott. However, the problem extended beyond my Magic Mouse to my external Apple Trackpad I sometimes use with my MacBook Pro. The solution options for me were to either turn BlueTooth off or turn off both BlueTooth devices (which requires removing the batteries on the external trackpad).

      Tip: If you need to access BlueTooth options while your pointer devices aren’t working, Option-M changes the focus to the Menu Bar so you can scroll down to System Preferences.

      Bonus tip: Memorize the keyboard shortcuts for accessing the Menu Bar and launching System Preferences, or assign them if there are none. Otherwise, there’s no way that I know of to access these settings without a pointing device. The Apple menu is also where the Sleep, Restart, and Shutdown commands can be accessed using only the keyboard of MacBook Pros with a TouchBar above the keyboard and fingerprint reader. Older MBPs allowed for the assignment of keyboard shortcuts for these functions as well. Either way, accessing these commands via the keyboard is the only way to avoid making every reboot a forced shutdown when you don’t have a pointing device.

      For what it’s worth, the problem recurs when I put the b

  82. JoaLag says:

    I see the same phenomenon as IntMarine.

  83. nicanor says:

    More than likely the hard drive is failing.

  84. Philippe says:

    Here is what worked for me.

    I am on a MBP Retina 13″ Late 2013 and macOS Sierra. The pointer started to have erratic movements and generated automatic clicks. Then this stopped but the left click would not work at all, even with an external mouse (only the right click of the mouse worked).

    I tried everything (restart many times, NVRAM reset,…) but nothing worked.

    Then I found a post (on Apple forums) linking it to an issue with an external monitor – I plugged the HDMi of the external screen I use from time to time, turned the monitor on and voila !, the left click worked again !

    I hope this can be helpful.

  85. IntMarine says:

    I found the problem to be that the computer is reacting to a misplaced few moving fingers that make it think were it is being told to shrink all windows into Mission Control or Dashboard or something. Then after the computer shrinks things only a millimeter it realizes its mistake and stops…you think everything is as normal as it looks, but really everything is really suspended…it takes a pause, several multifinder dance moves, and all three wishes that you saved from that group of DigitalGenii who seemed so nice at the State Fair, and suddenly control returns.

    • Nechama says:


      Different people seem to be describing somewhat different phenomena. What you’re describing fits my experience exactly, as each time this suspension of my Mac Mini occurs, it seems that the window in the front is receding (or shrinking? and perhaps it’s more than 1 window?), almost as if I were entering Time Machine.

      I’ve forcibly rebooted the Mac when this happens, which, I realize is potentially problematic. After reboot, everything is normal. Prior to reboot, the Mac is not responding to any clicks, and I’ve found nothing that helps. [NB: I haven’t yet tried every suggestion on this page.] Can you PLEASE elaborate on exactly what you mean by “several multifinder dance moves” so I can try to replicate that and regain control the next time this happens to me? Thanks in advance!!!!!!!!

      • Rudy says:

        I think I may have just ran into the issue described by IntMarine.

        I could move my mouse with the trackpad, but could not click or use 2-finger scroll.

        I happened to try a 3-finger swipe, which worked (took me to the dashboard). After that, normal trackpad functionality returned.

        • Megan says:

          Thank you IntMarine and Rudy! IM’s exact issue occurred, and Rudy’s 3-finger swipe brought the machine out of its funk.

  86. JIMJFOX says:

    Is there a way to DISABLE the trackpad?
    I always use a mouse and often an accidental trackpad touch activates something I don’ t want…


  87. B says:

    Command+Space to open spotlight.
    – type “terminal” (no quotation marks) hit return (to open terminal).
    – type “sudo shutdown -r now” (no quotation marks) hit return, enter password when prompted (you won’t be able to see it) hit return (to restart).

  88. Irwin Judson says:

    None of the suggested workarounds work for me. The only thing I can do is turn off the power, wait for a few seconds and reboot. Frustrating and time-consuming.

    Unable to click used to happen a few times in two – three hours. Over the month it seems to have reduced to once each 2 – 3 hours.

    My mid-2010 iMac went wonky a month ago when I change from El Capitan to Sierra. Absolutely coincidental in timing but I can’t declare cause and effect.

    • James R Adelfson says:

      I fought with the same issue for several month. I made sure there were no other wireless devices to interfere, disabled all plugins, uninstalled all but essential programs but nothing worked. Finally I shut down Safari and started using Chrome only. That fixed the problem. Haven’t had a mouse issue in over 30 days now.

  89. Jay VerLinden says:

    Maybe you could explain how to “Reboot the Mac as usual from the  Apple menu” when you cannot click on the trackpad.

    • Tom says:

      Was thinking the same thing. With no “click” available, do you force shutdown with the power button?

    • katbel says:

      Yeah…restarting could be interesting!

      Arrows could be helpful at least with the logging into the computer .. . It happened to me two times,
      when mouse or trackpad clicks weren’t working.
      I was able to use the arrows and then the return key,
      put the computer to sleep few seconds , reopened the lid
      and my click was back.

    • Gary Later says:

      Control-F2 will move keyboard focus to the menubar. Control-F8 will move it to the status menus at the right of the menubar. Then you can use arrow keys to access any menu selection.

      Keyboard shortcuts in the keyboard system preferences pane will show many more useful shortcuts.

      • Katbel says:

        Thanks for the tips Gary!
        If you have a Macbook you need to use the
        fn key
        associated to Control-F2 or Control-F8.
        I have to use it even with an external keyboard.

    • Patrick M says:

      Control-Command-Eject (Control-Command-Power on Macs without an Eject button) will force-reboot your computer.

  90. Luke says:

    My MacBook Pro trackpad stopped working entirely, it actually stopped clicking down. After closely inspecting the hardware (failed software troubleshooting methods) I discovered that the battery in the MacBook Pro had swollen up and was pushing against the trackpad mechanism. It’s probably rare, but it’s something to look out for. The resolution is to replace the battery with one that isn’t swelling.

    • DCJ001 says:

      The same thing happened to me. I took my four-year old MacBook to an Apple store, went to the Genius bar for my appointment, starting explaining the problem and the reason for the problem.

      The Genius bar rep said, “Oh. You have a swollen battery. Let me get you a new one!” I said, “That was easy!”

      Also, I never eveb had AppleCare for this MacBook.

      • Sheila says:

        Hey, I have a few questions.
        I opened up the back of my Macbook Pro and I think my battery is swollen but I can’t be sure. I was wondering but the cost would be to go to a Genius Bar and replace the battery. I don’t have any warranty on this Macbook because I bought it used from a friend.

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