What to do if your cursor disappears on Mac

7 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 mouse cursor disappears on Mac.

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. Most commonly, when you use multiple monitors, they are arranged improperly. So, when the mouse cursor disappears on Mac, it may simply be on another monitor and you do not see it. 

  • Your Mac is low on memory. Mouse pointer is also a process, so when cursor disappears on Mac, it may mean that too much is going on in the background. 

  • Third-party apps are causing interference. Software glitches may be the cause of a disappearing cursor. So, pay attention if the issue emerges with a specific app.

  • App features. Sometimes, Mac cursor disappears because apps hide it. For example, if you use a streaming app, lost mouse cursor is designed for your convenience, not annoyance, because it makes the watching experience more enjoyable, especially when you enter the full screen mode. 

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

1. Check the basics 

When your mouse cursor disappears on Mac, it's time first to check the basics. Are you sure that Mac cursor disappeared? First, shake mouse pointer to locate the cursor. It is a good place to start because you may have simply lost it from view. Do mouse keys work? Try clicking a few times. If it's not the case, move on to the next tips.

2. Connection issues

Now, ensure that you've connected the mouse. If you're using a wireless mouse, such as Magic Mouse, check that it is fully charged. If you have another wireless mouse, make sure that the batteries are charged and in a proper position. If you use Bluetooth mouse, make sure that it's switched on and connected to your Mac. You may also want to remove it from the list and add it once again. If you prefer a wired mouse, check the cords and connectors.

3. Reset your Mac

Basically, it is the number one recommendation for numerous glitches, but most Mac users ignore it as being too obvious.

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

If the vanished mouse cursor issue emerged due to some major glitch — for example, if your Mac froze — you may need to force restart your Mac. To do it, press and hold the power button. 

Test your mouse when you see the Apple logo, and your Mac starts up again. If the invisible cursor issue persists, read on.

4. Run maintenance scripts 

Another great tip is 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. There are two ways to do it — manually and automatically.

How use run maintenance scripts with Terminal:

Run maintenance scripts using Terminal

  1. 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 a dedicated app CleanMyMac X. Here's how to run maintenance scripts the easy:

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! 

    5. 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.

    Run cursor test

    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.

    6. Check your Hot Corners

    If you have Hot Corners enabled, this is a great place to start. Try to move your mouse pointer toward 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:

    Setting up hot corners

    • For macOS Ventura, go to Apple menu > System Settings > Desktop & Dock > Hot Corners. For older macOS versions, select the Apple menu > System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Screen Saver tab > Hot Corners.
    • Assign items to your corners by clicking on the drop-down and press Done.

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

      7. 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 and 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.

      Alternatively, you can use Mission Control to switch between apps. Either swipe up with three fingers on your built-in or Magic Trackpad or press the Mission Control key. 

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

      8. Detect interfering apps

      To eliminate interfering apps use Force Quit. Here's how:

      Force quit apps

      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:

      Applications folder

      1. Open a Finder window.

      2. Select Applications.

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

      9. Give your Mac a bit of cleanup

      Software conflicts explain 90% of Mac problems, even such as missing cursor. 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 of 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

      10. 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. 

      11. Use System Preferences/System Settings 

      When your mouse keeps disappearing on your Mac, use system preferences accessibility display to try and bring it back. Here's how:

      From the menu bar, select Apple Menu > System Preferences (System Settings in macOS Ventura).

      System settings

      First, let's try and adjust the cursor size. For macOS Ventura, follow these steps: System Settings > Accessibility> Display > Pointer.

      For older macOS versions, in System Preferences, select Accessibility > Display > Cursor. Drag the mouse across the pointer size slider to see if that brings your mouse back.

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

      Also, check tracking speed. If cursor speed is too high, it's no suprise that Mac's mouse cursor is invisible. 

      12. Reset SMC

      There is a tool called System Management Controller (SMC). It’s part of your Mac’s hardware that controls parameters related to lighting, fan operation, etc., and those of any input device, including connected mouse. It may fix the mouse cursor missing problem.

      If you own a Mac with Apple silicon, to reset SMC, all you need to do is restart your Mac.

      For an Intel-based Mac, a simple key combination performed during a Mac restart will reset SMC and hopefully fix the disappeared mouse 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. 

      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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