Ever since I upgraded my 2010 Macbook Pro from Mountain Lion to Mavericks, an issue has been occuring at seemingly random moments. Without warning, my trackpad will no longer allow me to click or use gestures, although moving the cursor around is still possible. Also, both Spotlight and the application switcher (cmd+tab) stop appearing, although the latter does function (but without any graphical feedback).

I've read some articles about a similar issue with the new rMBP's, so this might be related. Apple does seem to explicitly limit their acknowledgement of the bug to those new rMBP models, however. (related question)

The fact that Spotlight and the application switcher also die on me seem to indicate that it's a software problem. Rebooting my Mac helps without fail, but is quite inconvenient at times..

Is there a fix / solution / more elaborate diagnose available? Am I the only one or is this more widespread amongst the older generations of the MBP?

  • Have you done a complete re-install or an update to Mavericks? I've you format the disk and perform a clean install it might help...
    – Rob
    Feb 8, 2014 at 12:26
  • Does it happen in a new/different user as well? Mar 2, 2014 at 23:24

2 Answers 2


If you physically cannot hear/feel the bottom of the trackpad actually click the switches on the right and/or left of the trackpad, then this is probably a hardware issue that only coincidentally occurred with the software update. I have experienced a large number of older MacBooks with failure-to-click issues that are the result of a bulging battery pushing on the back of the trackpad assembly.

A short-to-medium term solution is to use the "System Preferences" -> "Trackpad" controls to turn on "tap-to-click", but eventually the battery will need replacing. This will have the added benefit of giving you a longer time-between-needing-recharging compared to your four year old battery.


Try this:

  • shutdown your computer
  • reset PRAM -- power it off -- power it on while pressing these four keys at the same time: --- ("Command", "Option", 'p', 'r')
  • After the second time the computer starts up and you hear the startup chimes, you can then release the buttons
  • restart your computer again without holding any buttons down
  • now click on finder to get the correct menubar options
  • now click on "Go"
  • Then click on the Utilities option
  • Find your "Disk Utility" app and open it (you can simply open Disk Utility if you know where it is or search for it using spotlight as well)
  • Be sure and select the correct drive in the left menu then click "verify disk permissions"
  • next click "repair disk permissions"
  • then you can restart your computer again
  • hopefully your issue will be solved.

Not sure if this will help since your problems started occurring right after an update.

Maybe though so please let me know if this helps.

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