What to do if your cursor disappears on Mac

5 min read

Have you noticed the cursor disappear on your Mac? Some apps change the appearance of the pointer so it’s the first logical explanation. 

While it’s an extraordinary situation, it can indicate other underlying problems, like your Mac being infected with adware. So, let's take a look at why this happens, and review some troubleshooting tips to solve it when your Mac mouse disappears. 

Why does my mouse keep disappearing on Mac?

It's one of those really frustrating issues that you hope you'll never encounter; here's a couple of reasons why your mouse pointer disappears on your Mac.

  • Using multiple monitors.

  • Your Mac is low on memory.

  • Third-party apps are causing interference.

No matter the reason, we'll get to the bottom with these helpful tips and tricks. 

1. Check the basics 

When your mouse disappears on your Mac, it's time first to check the basics. 

2. Connection issues

If you're using a wireless mouse, check that you have new batteries or that the mouse is fully charged. 

3. Reset your Mac

Using your keyboard, press down and hold the Command + Ctrl + Power keys until your screen goes blank. Or, open the Apple menu and choose Restart.

Test your mouse when your Mac starts up again. 

4. Run a quick cursor test

Run your finger really quickly back and forth over your trackpad; this will usually make your cursor appear large for a moment; sometimes, this can help bring your cursor back.

macOS Dock

Another option is to try and navigate to the Dock and then back up to the middle of the screen; this can sometimes solve the cursor disappearing on a Mac.

5. Check your Hot Corners

If you have Hot Corners enabled, this is a great place to start. Try to move your mouse pointer towards a screen corner; if nothing happens, we know we have an issue.

For future reference, if you want to enable Hot Corners, here's how:

How to check hot corners

  • Select the Apple menu > System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver.

  • Now press Screen Saver and then press Hot Corners.

  • Assign items to your corners by clicking on the dropdown and press Ok.

Everybody loves shortcuts, and Hot Corners is a great tool.

6. Try application switcher 

To help you identify if this is only happening when you use a specific app, use the application switcher to find out; here's how:

  1. Press and hold Command then Tab.

  2. When the application window appears, tab to another app, does your cursor return?

  3. Then follow the steps again to go back to the existing app.

This can sometimes bring back your cursor. If you do think it's app-related, jump to the next tip.

7. Detect interfering apps

To eliminate interfering apps use Force Quit, here's how:

How to force quit an app

  1. Press Command + Option + Escape.

  2. Select the app and press Force Quit.

If your cursor returns, it’s time to remove that app, as it could have become corrupted; here's how:

Mac applications folder

  1. Open a Finder window.

  2. Select Applications.

  3. Find the troublesome app and drag it to your Trash.

  4. Empty your Trash bin.

8. Give your Mac a bit of cleanup

Software conflicts explain 90% of Mac problems. These problems may be caused by apps you have used in the past: any app creates cache files that stay in the system. So if you want to refresh your Mac experience, try cleaning your Mac from junk, including broken and hidden files.

The best way to get the junk out is by using a dedicated tool like CleanMyMac X. They have a special System Junk module that can safely remove all the “old baggage.”

  • Launch the CleanMyMac X app — download the free version here.

  • From the sidebar, select System Junk.

  • Press Review Details.

Now you know how much junk is there on your Mac. By the way, this app is notarized by Apple, so you can use it safely.

CleanMyMac X - System junk scan complete

9. Check your Mac for Malware 

When your Mac mouse disappears, it's worth checking you don't have malware. No Mac owner ever wants to hear it, but any strange behavior like disappearing cursors warrants a check.

The Mac troubleshooting app that I just mentioned, CleanMyMac X, has a dedicated Malware removal module. Here's how to check for malware with CleanMyMac X:

Malware scan in process

  1. Launch the app.

  2. Select Malware Removal from the left sidebar.

  3. Press Scan.

If the app does find any malware, follow the onscreen instructions to remove it safely. 

10. Use System Preferences

When your mouse keeps disappearing on your Mac, open System Preferences to try and bring it back; here's how:

Select Apple Menu > System Preferences.

How to adjust cursor size

First, let's try and adjust the cursor size. In System Preferences, select Accessibility > Display > Cursor.  Drag the mouse across the scale to see if that brings your mouse back.

Next, in the same window check the “Shake mouse pointer to locate box”. 

11. Reset SMC

There is a tool called System Management Controller. It’s part of your Mac’s hardware that controls parameters like keyboard, lighting, fans operation, etc. A simple key combination performed during a  Mac restart will reset SMC and hopefully fix the cursor problem. 

  1. First, shut down your Mac completely.

  2. Hold down Shift + Control + Option + Power button.

  3. Wait for your Mac to start until you hear the startup sound.

  4. Now, release the keys: the SMC is reset. 

12. Run Maintenance scripts 

After trying all of the above troubleshooting tips, your mouse still keeps disappearing on your Mac; it's time to optimize your Mac. Running the thing called Maintenance Scripts can solve many issues by rotating and removing system logs, temporary files and complex scripts.

How use run maintenance scripts with Terminal:

How to run maintenance scripts

  1. Press Space + Cmd to open a spotlight search and type in Terminal.

  2. Open Terminal and paste in sudo periodic daily weekly monthly

  3. Press enter and type in your password ( this won't appear on the screen, but press enter)

When the Terminal prompt returns, you know that the scripts are complete.

If you’re, not a fan of poking around in Terminal, no worries, there's actually an easier way to run scripts with the app I've mentioned throughout this article, CleanMyMac X; here's how:

Maintenance Scripts in CleanMyMac X

  1. Launch the app and select Maintenence from the left sidebar.

  2. Select Run Maintenance Scripts from the list and press Run.

That's it. You’re done! 

Well, we've reached the end, and hopefully, the cursor disappearing on your Mac is a thing of the past. 

Come back soon for more tricks and troubleshooting tips.

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