How to Fix a Lost Mouse on a Mac

Troubleshoot your disappearing or frozen cursor

Whether you use an Apple Magic Mouse, a third-party device, or the trackpad, the cursor might randomly freeze or disappear on your Mac. 

While there isn’t one definitive reason for a lost mouse on Mac, there are numerous places to look to help bring it back.

Why Does My Mouse Disappear on My Mac?

Sometimes, finding a lost mouse is as simple as looking around for it on an external monitor. It's not always possible to trace a lost mouse on a Mac to one specific reason, but some causes for a disappearing mouse include:

  • A low mouse battery. 
  • Lost Bluetooth connectivity.
  • A firmware upgrade.
  • Too many applications open at once.
  • A problematic app.
  • A software bug. 

How Do You Unfreeze Your Cursor on a Mac?

If you see your mouse cursor, but it’s frozen, an application could be the problem. Quit and restart the app you think could be the culprit and look for the same behavior. If you’re not sure which program is causing trouble, narrow the list by force-quitting apps one at a time from the menu bar.

When a frozen cursor doesn’t seem app-related, and you’ve updated a mouse’s firmware, try plugging in the mouse to your Mac (if possible) to see if that fixes anything. 

Another tried-and-true method is to reboot your Mac. If you’re experiencing a stuck cursor after you restart your device or close your lid, you might need to reset your Mac’s SMC and NVRAM, as described below.  

How Do I Get My Cursor Back?

To resolve a lost or frozen cursor on your Mac, run through this list of possible fixes.

  1. Move your mouse around. While it’s a simple suggestion, sometimes a little movement can “wake” up your mouse and help you locate it. Shake the mouse back and forth to make the cursor momentarily larger. You can do the same on your trackpad.

  2. Check all of your monitors. If you set up dual monitors on your Mac, moving your mouse around can also help you track down the cursor on an external monitor. Look in the corners and edges where it could be hiding in plain sight.

  3. Make sure your mouse is connected. Check System Preferences > Bluetooth or click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar to double-check Bluetooth is on and your mouse is still connected. Fix Apple Magic Mouse connection issues or third-party connectivity problems by powering off your accessory and disconnecting and reconnecting it. Or, forget the device and connect your wireless mouse to your Mac again. If you use a wired mouse, unplug and plug it back in.  

  4. Check the battery level. If your mouse takes physical batteries, take them out and reinsert them or replace them if they’re dead. If your mouse is rechargeable, use a wired connection until the battery is full.

  5. Adjust the cursor size. If you have multiple monitors and many applications running, your cursor could be lost in the shuffle. To permanently adjust the cursor size, adjust the slider from System Preferences > Accessibility > Display > Cursor > Cursor Size. You could also ask Siri to make the cursor bigger, which might make it reappear on your display.

  6. Open Mission Control by swiping up on the trackpad with three or four fingers. This action can bring the cursor back into view.

  7. Force-quit problematic apps. If your mouse seems to disappear when you use a specific program, quit it. If you’re unsure which one it is, you can use the menu bar to close apps on your Mac and force-quit some if necessary.

  8. Use Mouse Keys. If you haven’t already enabled this feature, use the Option+Command+F5 keyboard combination to bring up the Accessibility Shortcuts panel. Check the box next to Enable Mouse Keys and use the numeric keyboard to move the mouse pointer and locate it.

  9. Restart your Mac. This step often resolves issues with freezing and other unresponsiveness on Macs. You might also want to remove any dongles and connecting cables to external monitors and other accessories before rebooting.

  10. Reset NVRAM. When a restart doesn’t change anything, and you’ve exhausted your options, reset the NVRAM on your Mac. This step could be effective, especially if you’ve recently upgraded your macOS and the NVRAM became corrupted in the process. If the mouse is still lost or frozen after you restart, you might also want to try resetting the SMC on your Mac to see if that repairs any hardware roadblocks. 

  11. Replace your mouse. At this point, confirm the issue isn’t with your mouse. If it doesn’t work on another Mac or laptop, you might need to replace it or try these tips for fixing a broken mouse.

  12. Contact Apple Support. If nothing works, the issue could be a bigger Mac hardware problem. Make a support appointment so someone can take a look.

FAQ
  • Why does my Mac mouse and keyboard connection keep getting lost?

    If your Magic Mouse and keyboard connection keeps disappearing, there may be some interference. If you have a USB3 device near the mouse, it may be interfering with the Bluetooth connection between the mouse and keyboard. Also, USB devices plugged into your Mac, a Thunderbolt dock with devices plugged in, or a router or Wi-Fi access point can all interfere with the mouse/keyboard Bluetooth connection.

  • How do I make the mouse grow when it's lost on my Mac?

    If you've lost track of the mouse pointer on your screen, quickly shake the mouse or trackpad finger back and forth. You'll see a much larger mouse pointer on the screen while you're shaking, helping you spot it more quickly and easily. When you stop shaking, the mouse pointer will return to its normal size.

  • How do I change the mouse cursor on my Mac?

    You have two cursor preferences you can customize. From the Apple menu, go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Display > Cursor. Check the box to enable the Shake mouse pointer to locate feature. Use the slider to change your cursor size from normal to large.

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