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I'm experiencing really annoying mouse stutter on my MacBook Pro 16 inch. When I move the cursor it's smooth for a few seconds and then it suddenly stops for a split-second before moving again. This stutter/lag is there all the time.

It started about a week ago and it doesn't stop. I restarted the computer, reset everything that is to reset on a Mac (except reinstalling the os) and it still persists.

I googled that problem and almost all posts I found relate this to the Bluetooth connection. That's not the case for me because the stutter is also there when I use the built-in trackpad.

Any ideas?

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  • 2
    Yeah, tried both but didn't help, unfortunately Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 15:38
  • 2
    @Sam - Resetting NVRAM & SMC is almost always a complete waste of time. It's just become interweb folklore. See apple.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3713/… Instead, first test on another admin account & on safe boot as primary elimination of 3rd party interference.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 17:20
  • 1
    The interesting thing, though: The mouse stutter begins before I even log in to any account Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 17:39
  • 1
    If it begins before login, chances are it's something that loads for all accounts… which unfortunately doesn't make it any easier to track down. Process of elimination, I'm afraid.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 18:04
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    Okay, I found the culprit, I think. I'm using a thunderbolt docking station with a 4k external monitor attached to it. When I disconnect the docking station, everything works fine. This is strange because I've been using that docking station for a while now and it worked perfectly fine until now Commented Dec 11, 2020 at 10:44

15 Answers 15

15

I was having the same issue. Problem was being caused by using a secondary monitor that was connected to the USB3.1 slot of my iMac. (Display-to-USB3.1) For me the problem was solved after reconnecting/changing it to a different USB slot. I also can confirm it has nothing to do with the mouse since i was experiencing the same issue with a WacomPenTablet.

So it definitely has something to do with USB ports and Displays.

I Hope this helps.

4
  • Do you think your cable / device was faulty or that it was interference due to close proximity of the cables?
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 10:16
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    Also had this issue, but it doesn't always present. However, once it starts presenting it is fixed by removing the USB to HDMI adapter. If I plug it back in, the problem reappears. Changing the Automatic graphics switching (without rebooting) setting does not resolve; the problem is still present after changing it and unplugging/replugging the adapter. But, it doesn't always occur when I use the adapter. Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 14:00
  • This turned out to the issue for me too. Strangely, it didn't matter if the display was powered off, I had to remove the USB cable from the device to fix it.
    – Perry
    Commented Dec 21, 2022 at 19:31
  • Cheers. I unplugged the external USB display that I'm not currently using with my mac and issue immediately was resolved. Commented Nov 7, 2023 at 5:30
5

I've never used any Bluetooth mice or trackpads, I only had a Bluetooth speaker. Anyway, resetting bluetooth daemon using the command below did the trick: the stutter is gone!

sudo pkill bluetoothd

P.S.: I'm using built-in trackpad.

P.P.S.: UPDATE: I have finally found the certain source of the problem. And it is related to Bluetooth. The real cause of the problem is Handoff feature. Disabling Handoff between your iCloud devices in your system settings makes stutter disappear.

2
  • However, it is repeating in a while. Killing bluetoothd for the second time does not solve the problem until reboot :( Commented Jul 25, 2022 at 12:13
  • I had this issue and disabled handoff between iCloud devices and the issue went away with a non-bluetooth device (Logitech MX Master 3 w/ wireless dongle.) I'm using a 2019 16" MBP with MacOS 12.6. Commented Oct 23, 2022 at 17:29
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My laggy mouse seemed to be related to my USB3.0 external hard drive. This is explained in this blog post. I ejected the drive and unplugged it, which seemed to make the lagging go away.

MX Anywhere Mouse 2

I am using:

  1. Logitech MX Anywhere Mouse 2S
  2. MX Keys Mac
  3. MacBook Pro Intel Core i9 on OS Big Sur 11.6

I am also using a USB C DisplayPort External Monitor, but the problem seemed to be the external hard drive, not the USB C monitor.

3
  • Interference is absolutely a possibility here - great details. I wish there were a log file or some measure we could correlate with a bus reset due to interference that happens and resolves faster than the spiny cursor that lets us know when a UI is blocked for too long on software side…
    – bmike
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 10:19
  • It was a laggy hard drive for me as well. Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 2:43
  • Ditto: mouse was stuttering on my MacBook Pro screen, but not on my external monitor. I had an external USB drive attached to a powered USB hub which in turn was connected to the MacBook Pro. After disconnecting the drive from the hub, the mouse stutter disappeared. Commented Oct 3, 2022 at 9:18
3

I have this problem for sometimes. Really annoying, especially when working on photoshop. I have external monitor attached. And using my Macbook Pro 16 in Clamshell mode.

  1. Use USB docking (baseus 16 in 1 dock)
  2. Using Pen Tablet using USB
  3. Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard
  4. Logitech Bluetooth MX Anywhere Mouse
  5. 2 external hard disk connected
  6. Using USB-C to DisplayPort Connector for External Monitor

I tried the mouse using Bluetooth and also the Dongle come with the Logitech mouse. Both of this method show stutter. With the dongle stutter is worse.

This happens for sometimes, change to Wired mouse the problem was gone. But I am still trying to make my Logitech Bluetooth works as I like the mouse a lot.

Did many things in many forum discussing this problem.

Then stumbled in just one discussion forum. And install this software called Smooze (https://smooze.co/). 7 days trial, so might try if this is works or not.

Magically after using this software, all the stutter using Bluetooth Mouse is gone. I didn't know what was going on, but the stutter issue just gone.

enter image description here

So maybe just might give this small program i try. I am not related to Smooze in anyway :)

Thanks

3

So the solution for me was to unplug the hdmi monitor cable from my vava dock, once I did that the mouse became smooth again. I didn't need the hdmi connection because I use a usb-c to display port adapter for the mac. The hdmi cable in the dock was for my pc laptop. It's probably not a good idea to have 2 separate display cables feeding into the same monitor from one machine anyway.

2

This model is buggy for me too when I had at least six devices in the four USB-C/TB Ports: I had a question yesterday, and then started ranting: Shutdown Cause -128 on MacBook Pro: Should I replace the charger with exposed wire?

I just think the MacBook isn't getting the power it needs with the default 96 W charger, so I asked for a deal, and got shot down. They sent me a new one tomorrow. [![enter image description here][1]][1]

I'm getting the higher wattage one and selling this if the problem continues. It was shorting out my LAN of all things (Hub has one more change)!

Look in System Information under power it tells you the current you're machine is getting. [1]: https://i.sstatic.net/iOgEr.png

1

Apple has some good content to explain the general concept of a hitch, which is when the system isn’t responding fast enough to react to user input and make a change on screen.

This talk is focused on iOS which is far more simple than macOS since less program variability and less modifications are possible on iOS compared to macOS. Depending on how fast your display syncs, you might have a small issue where one program is causing the system to triple buffer or worse or you might have a more complex situation where several programs are overloading some portion of the system.

First steps are use Activity Monitor to check for things like GPU or CPU overloads or just high usage. Lots of background processes or a stuck process can aggravate this situation and disrupt the pipeline of inputs.

Also, if there is a faulty device in your USB or thunderbolt buses they could be flooding the input without you realizing it and removing that extra input might fix the issue immediately.

More likely is you’ve changed the system and will need to backup all your data and apps and settings and perhaps try a clean install and make sure the OS and hardware alone can keep up with your pointer.

Once you’ve ruled out hardware and tested a clean OS, restore your data and then analyze if some app or setting or change has had an impact on the performance. This last step is hard and can take a long time, so unless you have a hunch which app or change is causing the performance issue, it is sometimes easier to focus on a clean slate to confirm it’s not a bug. Either way you approach this, good luck - the interaction between apps can get hard to track even with half a dozen apps and utilities added to one build.

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  • Thanks! I've tried most of that already, unfortunately. It is definitely not caused by high CPU or GPU usage. I've also tried selectively removing apps (I don't have much installed anyway) but nothing changed. The only thing I've not tried yet is a clean reinstall. Commented Mar 28, 2021 at 7:34
  • This is a painstaking process typically. People generally solve the obvious ones quickly - flakey hardware is hard to pin down it seems with USB-C connectors @Quantm
    – bmike
    Commented Mar 28, 2021 at 12:42
1

I have this problem occasionally, on a wired mouse (Roccat Kova+ specifically).

You can literally see the mouse pointer moving around on its own if you leave the mouse untouched on the desk.

Solution for me has been to change the DPI on my mouse - I can do that on a button on my mouse, but if not try changing the tracking speed in MacOS settings.

I assume changing the DPI also resets whatever is causing the sensor to think it's moving slightly when it is not.

Note: I can cycle the DPI through the options, back to the one I was on originally, and the problem disappears, so it's not a problem with that particular DPI, and I don't have to start using a different DPI - just cycle through back to the one I want.

1

I had the same issue on my MacbookPro 15" early 2013 running bigSur with OpenCore legacy patcher, and a thunderbolt docking station (and lot of stuff + external monitor connected to it. Trackpad running fine.

I just unplugged the thunderbolt cable from the Mac (the one near charging port) and plugged it to the second thunderbolt port... So far so good, mouse lag has gone instantly.

1
  • This was my problem. Moving the dongle to a different adapter fixed it
    – M Smith
    Commented Sep 15, 2023 at 15:47
0

I finally found an answer to this problem. I have been using this DELUX wireless mouse via USB dongle which I purchased on Taobao. After all, the problem was that I had to recharge its batteries. Yes, it was that simple! You may be wondering why I didn't think about that, to begin with. The reason is that since this mouse has a USB Type-C input, I was using the same cable and charger that I use for my Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra phone. And I didn't realize that it was not working. After trying to change many things on macOS and not being successful, I tried to change the charging cable and also the charger. I used a standard USB charger (not type-C) and just used a converter to output the power as USB type-C since that is what my mouse needs. After the battery was recharged properly, my mouse is working fine again.

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  • I'm glad it is working for you but having read your comment above I'm pretty sure your problem is unrelated to mine. My mouse doesn't suddenly stop working, it just stutters. And it's definitely not charging-related for me. But thanks for the answer :) Commented Mar 28, 2021 at 7:30
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So this is not an answer exactly; more of a workaround that I've found. To be clear, this is more than just a mouse/trackpad input problem. I know because when my cursor starts stuttering, if I'm watching a show (say on the TV App), the video stutters in the exact same manner. Some answers above associate the problem with secondary monitors. I think that could be correct. I use a USB-C to Display Port adapter (not thunderbolt). And my external monitor is 144Hz (not sure if the 60Hz and 144Hz refresh rate difference is part of it). I've done all the normal SMC NVRAM reset stuff - not fixed. I even re-installed macOS with a completely deleted and re-setup filesystem - not fixed. It even does it in Internet Recovery Mode.

So anyway, the only way I've found to fix it is to restart the computer each morning. Sometimes I have to restart two or three times, but eventually it stops doing it. I may try switching out my USB-C to Display Port for a Thunderbolt Dock with Display Port built-in. See if that makes a difference.

0

I've been having similar issues on MacBook Pro 16" 2019 after upgrading to Big Sur with mouse pointer being laggy when using a mouse connected via Bluetooth or a trackpad. I've also noticed that the text input has been lagging behind typing in different applications including basic editors and terminal.

There is pretty long (18 pages at the moment of writing) thread on Apple developer forum discussing similar issues, and one of the workarounds listed there that also worked for me was to disable "Automatic graphics switching" under System Preferences -> Battery -> Battery. A word of caution: this will increase battery usage.

That's how one of the posters explain the root cause of the issue:

The problem is actually in the video card intel hd graphics 630 - when you do not do anything with the interface - its frequency is 0 - and when you open a new window or print a video card does not have time to increase the frequency from 0 to 300/400 mhz - apple need not lower the frequency to 0 - but they can't do it because then the autonomy will suffer - hence the conclusion.

0

I had a unifying dongle that was broken (no response), and I was trying to figure out if I could revive it (for fun). I forgot that I left it in the USB port (on the back of my iMac), and ive been trying to fix this annoying bug for the past day. After seeing this, I noticed the bad dongle on the back of my Mac. Unplugging it instantly fixed my issue. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE IN THIS THREAD, my Mac has been unusable for the past day and it has been driving me crazy!!!!

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SOLVED: In my case it was my Thunderbolt USB dongle. Funny enough the mouse was janky even if not plugged into the dongle.

Plugging the dongle into a different Thunderbolt port fixed it.

0
-1

Great thread - this issue is complex for sure w no guarantee you'll find root cause.

My suggestion:

  1. If using a laptop, confirm the problem is also happening on the trackpad. If so, it's not a bluetooth issue and you can disregard any bluetooth related troubleshooting. Go to #2. Otherwise, check your batteries, reset bluetooth, etc - simple stuff

  2. Do yourself a favor and no matter how confident you are that everything you have plugged in couldn't possibly be causing the problem and unplug it all. Yep - it's a pain. Goal is to keep it simple. After all is unplugged, confirm the issue with the trackpad mouse persists or it has now magically gone away. If it persists, it's likely software and you may want to consider uninstalling your high-suspect items until the problem goes away. Otherwise go on to #3

  3. While your trackpad mouse is working fine now, your bluetooth mouse should be too. If trackpad works but bluetooth mouse still lags, my guess is you should go back to #1. Otherwise, plug your devices back in 1-by-1 until you find the culprit. For me, it was a USB-C cable driving USB devices - I have no idea what the issue is/was. The comment above about a rogue USB device flooding the bus could be accurate. It's also possible you'll plug everything back in and the problem just went away... at least for now.

Good luck!

3
  • This probably got down voted because the answer clearly missed the memo that this is not a bluetooth situation. And Some mice (most) use rf dongle and not bluetooth. (unifying) But all that said this is an ok guide. poster should consider editing it to remove bluetooth and replace with wireless. Commented Jul 7, 2022 at 14:48
  • Agree that we saw some thread-spread here. My advice was more general to help determine if it was an external hardware device device causing the issue. And you are wrong about external mice - almost all use either standard bluetooth drivers or a variant - there is no general RF (since the 90s) because it would take way too much effort/cost for a manufacturer to recreate the whole stack. Folks can downvote - I don't care - but the logic is intact.
    – camira
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 15:58
  • I was offering a way to improve your answer, more accurate, because you are wrong in parts. A large % of mouse brands come with a nonBT dongle, like Razer Logi, but can also work with Bluetooth. Often this Dongle uses the 2.4GHz band which can interfere or be interfered with like BT. Hence it makes more sense to use the terminology "RF" because proprietary dongle and bluetooth are both a subset of RF (RF being radio frequency) Not sure why your post got downvoted, I like the idea of your post to aid a fix, just terminology that put me off. btw a BT issue could still cause a USB issue. Commented Jul 10, 2022 at 9:02

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