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I have been having issues with my trackpad lately and I believe that I have a broken trackpad sensor, but I thought I would ask here to see if it was something to do with the software instead of the hardware.

Lately my trackpad has been acting like tap to click is on even though I have disabled it. If I place my finger on the trackpad it believes that I am holding the button down even though I have not clicked. It also acts as if I am dragging windows if I place my pointer over the top bar of a program and hold my finger down, it allows me to drag the window.

Does this sound more like a worn out trackpad? Or is there somewhere in the software that has gone wrong.

Steps I have tried so far.

  1. Removing all launch agents and daemons and booting without any external drivers loading.
  2. Enabling and re-disabling tap to click in system preferences.

Hardware:

  Model Name:              MacBook Air
  Model Identifier:        MacBookAir5,2
  Processor Name:          Intel Core i5
  Processor Speed:         1.8 GHz
  Number of Processors:    1
  Total Number of Cores:   2
  L2 Cache (per Core):     256 KB
  L3 Cache:                3 MB
  Memory:                  4 GB
  Boot ROM Version:        MBA51.00EF.B02
  SMC Version (system):    2.5f9
  Serial Number (system):  C02JQESPDRVC
  Hardware UUID:           8B45B512-A976-5FB4-877F-5E2F3D448BCB

Thanks, Skylar

  • Check to see if this option turned on: System Preferences > Trackpad > Point and Click > Tap to click. If the box is checked, you can uncheck it if this option is something you don't want the trackpad to do. – phlatfish Jan 2 '14 at 21:29
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I suggest you book an appointment with an Apple genius.

I have had a Magic trackpad for my iMac for a couple of years.

But stated to get the same issues you have around the time I installed 10.8.5 ( or one of the later updates ) An additional issues was in any app that text could be selected the track pad would do so randomly and of it's own accord.

I thought it could be be the software and tried all manner of things. Killing the plist included.

But the problem persisted into my install of 10.9.

I finally took it to a genius two weeks ago who agreed the issue was most likely hardware.

They replaced the Magic trackpad with a new one and I have not had any problems since.

So I think to save yourself some time and frustration book an appointment. Also because it is a trackpad on a MacBook Air they should be able to run proper diagnostics and they should be able to sort it one way or other.

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It sounds like one of three things:

  • moisture on the sensor and tap to click enabled
  • hardware malfunction / misalignment / failure
  • bluetooth mouse or trackpad in a bag and pressed or on the desk and pressed

Once you've ruled out moisture and USB/bluetooth mouse down events, it might be time to have a repair to look at the trackpad itself. There is a set screw internally that could need adjusting or the frame could be bent just so slightly or the electronics could be failing which is why a good repair shop would know how to test the internals.

  • How do I check for the moisture? I have bluetooth disabled, and do not have a bluetooth mouse nearby, and tap to click is disabled. – OstlerDev Jan 1 '14 at 22:04
  • Unless someone has spilled anything and you need to wait a day or two based on humidity, you can usually rule that out by observation. Disabling tap to click also rules a drop on the trackpad from causing a mouse down event. My hunch is the setscrew needs adjusting or the physical switch spring has failed. – bmike Jan 1 '14 at 22:06
  • When I took a look at how much it would cost to take it in it was somewhere like $200 for them to tell me what was wrong then $150 per hour to fix it... I am pretty good with tools so I think I may take a look at it myself. I took a look at iFixit and found this guide that I believe should be able to help me fix it: ifixit.com/Guide/… Do you think that it is just the screws that need to be adjusted? – OstlerDev Jan 2 '14 at 0:23
  • Hard to tell. Air are quite delicate, so I would be very careful to not do further damage if you decide to go in and remove the battery to look at the inside of the trackpad mechanism. I would get a quote from Apple to fix - the parts should be less than $100 and retail store labor is flat rate - well less than $50 last time I checked so the rates you quote seem quite high. The trackpad area is very delicate and not a beginner repair so just keep that in mind as well. – bmike Jan 2 '14 at 6:22
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I had a battery go bad on my macbook pro. It expanded like a balloon. Because of its location, that caused the trackpad to act like it was pressed down so my touch gestures did not behave properly. Similar to the behavior you are describing.

  • Welcome to Ask Different. This is a good start to an answer but there's no conclusion. What did you do to solve the issue? Did you take it in? Did you fix it yourself? – Allan Aug 15 '16 at 18:47

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