The trackpad on my wife's 17" Macbook Pro seems to be failing. She'll be in the middle of working when suddenly it will stop responding to input. Both the tracking (i.e. mouse movement) and button clicking just stop responding. She usually has an external mouse plugged in, and this continues to work fine; just the trackpad dies.

She reports that it usually happens within a minute or two of beginning work. If she puts the machine to sleep and then wakes it, the trackpad will start working again for another couple of minutes.

Her machine is a 17" Macbook Pro from fall 2009. She's still running 10.5.8 on it. We'd consider upgrading to Snow Leopard if there's a good chance it'll help, but this really sounds like a hardware issue to me.

Is there anything we can try to fix this, or must it really be sent to Apple for repair? We do have AppleCare on it, but we're not too thrilled about having to be without the machine for weeks.


3 Answers 3


A great way to rule out hardware versus software issue is to create a new user and see if the problem still occurs when logged into the new user.

System Preferences>Accounts> + (may have to unlock first). For ease of use, I'd make the new "test" account an administrator. When you are done, log out and back into your regularly used account. System Preferences>Accounts> - (delete home folder and all contents).

If the issue persists, it should be related to hardware and not software.

Hope that helps!


I had a similar issue, the problem was that the battery had expanded and was applying pressure to the trackpad chip.
When the battery was removed it worked fine.

Try taking it out and see if it fixes it. If so then you need a new battery. :)


That definitely sounds like a hardware issue. Can you get to an Apple Store? Then, at least, you'll be without the machine for a few days instead of a few weeks.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .