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Why does my cursor keep disappearing?

14063 Views 15 Replies Latest reply: May 9, 2013 4:44 PM by cltaylor12 RSS
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emd3 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Oct 26, 2011 12:46 AM

I can't type it's so frustrating! Every 10 or so letters I type I have to reclick on the area I'm typing to be able to continue. It stops and then makes some stupid sound.  To type this I had to reset the cursor 12 times.



  • Piquan Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 26, 2011 12:51 AM (in response to emd3)

    That happens to me if I accidentally rest my hand on my laptop's touchpad.  It has the effect of accidentally clicking on something else.  I know you're using a laptop, but is it possible something is resting against your mouse?  If you leave your mouse cursor over the text that you're typing, do you still have the same problem?

  • Piquan Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 26, 2011 1:14 AM (in response to emd3)

    What about my other question: if you leave your mouse cursor over the text that you're typing, do you still have the same problem?

  • Piquan Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 26, 2011 2:11 AM (in response to emd3)

    Since this is a MacBook Pro, you might ask your question in that forum; this forum is for iMac users.


    You might check to see if the problem still happens when you Safe Boot Mac OS X.  If the problem isn't there when you Safe Boot, then it's probably related to a third-party program or startup item.


    When something is handling keyboard input, we say it has "focus".  When you're typing into a text field, then that field has focus.  If you click somewhere else, then focus moves to where you clicked.  What you're describing sounds like focus is moving somewhere unexpectedly.  It might help to figure out where.


    While it won't solve your problem, VoiceOver can help is figure out where focus is going.  VoiceOver is a program that's part of Mac OS X that is designed to let blind users use the computer, but it also may help shed some light on your situation.


    Open System Preferences, and select Universal Access.  Under the "Seeing" tab, click "Open VoiceOver Utility…".  In the "Navigation" section, make sure that "Initial position of VoiceOver cursor" is set to "Keyboard focused item".  Also, make sure that "VoiceOver cursor follows keyboard focus" is checked.  Close VoiceOver Utility and go back to System Preferences.  Still in the "Seeing" tab of Universal Access, turn on VoiceOver.  At this point, the computer will start talking, so use headphones if the baby's asleep!


    VoiceOver will show an introductory note, and read it to you.  You can just click "Ok".  Now, VoiceOver will tell you whenever the focus moves.  VoiceOver can be tricky in a web browser if you're not used to it, so ignore Safari for this test.  Instead, start a new Mail message, or open Spotlight, or do anything else that will give you a text cursor.  Wait six blinks, and listen to what VoiceOver says when the cursor disappears.  It should briefly describe where the focus has moved to.  For example, if focus moves to the Finder, then it may say something like "Finder, Desktop" and the name of the currently selected file.  If you want more information, you can press Control-Option-F4 (you probably need to hold down Fn as well, since you're on a laptop).  That will make VoiceOver describe what has keyboard focus.  (Control-Option-F3 will give you a little bit different information too.)


    You may want to repeat this test a few times with different programs and different windows to see if there's a pattern.  For instance, if focus always moves to the same program regardless of what's open, then that program may be stealing focus.  Once you've got an idea of where focus is going, you can turn off VoiceOver in System Preferences.


    While this won't fix your problem, it may provide more information to make it easier to figure out what's going on.

  • Piquan Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 26, 2011 2:29 AM (in response to emd3)

    You're welcome, and good luck!


    By the way: under some rare circumstances, certain types of electromagnetic interference can make the trackpad think that it's been clicked.  Determing clicks is done by a combination of the physical hardware and the driver, which is why you might have seen changes during upgrades.  It's also why I asked if the problem happens if you keep your mouse cursor over the text field: if it was reading phantom clicks, then the keyboard cursor would stay in the text field.  So while my suggestions about Safe Boot and VoiceOver mostly were looking for a software program that's stealing focus, don't discount that the computer might just think that there's a mouse click.  Along those lines, you might look in the Trackpad section of System Preferences: I don't know what the newer models have there, so there might be a "tap sensitivity" setting that needs to be lowered to avoid interference.


    Again, good luck!

  • MrsTetzlaff Calculating status...
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    Jul 8, 2012 12:52 AM (in response to emd3)

    LOL, I was going to say "replace the batteries" then I realized that you have a notebook.  So, uh... No clue, sorry.  Good luck.

  • MiiCK Level 1 Level 1 (110 points)
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    Jul 8, 2012 2:38 AM (in response to MrsTetzlaff)

    Nice way to bump an 8 month old thread for no reason

  • Beacher3 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Oct 3, 2012 12:25 PM (in response to MiiCK)

    I have tied this problem to "application switching" (at least in my case). As long as I stay in Mail the text cursor seems to remain visible but if I switch applications in the middle of an email, when I come back to the Mail App the text cursor is gone. (note this is the "text cursor" not the mouse cursor) The only way I have figured out to get the text cursor back is to attach a photo or file. As soon as the attachment comes into the email, the text cursor returns. I then delete the attachment. Long winded way but it is what I have found that works so far. I have no idea how to fix the application switching and loss of text cursor issue. It is a royal P.I.T.A. but at least I have a workaround.


    OSX 10.8.2

    Mac Pro 2 x 2.26 GHz QC Intel Xeon

  • sef6 Calculating status...
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    Oct 14, 2012 7:25 AM (in response to Beacher3)

    Thanks Beacher3, I now keep a small jpg (even an ico will work) on my desktop. When I leave mail and come back, cursor invisible. I simply drag the small graphics file to the email being worked on and my cursor reappears. Deleting the graphic doesn't harm the visbility of the cursor. Yes, a pita, but it's a work-around.

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