Make the Mouse Pointer on Your Mac Bigger

Stop hunting for it. Enlarge your mouse pointer

Mouse pointer on image of a house

 Gregor Schuster / Getty Images

It's not you. Your Mac's mouse or trackpad cursor is getting smaller. It's not your eyesight that's causing the problem; it's the large, high-resolution displays that have become the norm. With all the current Mac laptops and desktop iMac models sporting Retina displays, the poor mouse pointer is getting harder and harder to see as it scurries across your Mac's screen.

However, there are a couple of ways to make the Mac pointer larger so that it's easier to spot.

Information in this article applies to all versions of OS X and macOS through macOS Catalina, except as noted.

Accessibility Preference Pane

The Mac has long included a system preferences pane that allows Mac users with vision or hearing difficulties to configure the computer's graphical interface elements to meet their needs. This includes the ability to control the display's contrast, zoom in to see details of smaller objects, display captions where appropriate, and provide a voiceover. It also controls the cursor size, so you can adjust the size to one that works better for you.

If you find yourself occasionally hunting for the mouse or trackpad cursor, the Accessibility preference pane is the place to change the cursor size. After you set a size in the preferences, the cursor stays that way until you change it again.

Enlarge the Cursor Size Permanently on a Mac

Make the cursor pointer just the right size for your eyes.

  1. Launch System Preferences by selecting System Preferences from the Apple menu or by clicking its icon in the Dock.

  2. In the System Preferences window, click Accessibility in OS X Mountain Lion through macOS Catalina. (Select Universal Access in OS X Lion and earlier.)

    Mac System Preferences window
  3. In the Accessibility preference pane that opens, click Display in the sidebar in OS X Mountain Lion and later)and select the Cursor tab. (In OS X Lion and earlier, select the Mouse tab.)

    Accessibility system preferences
  4. Grab the slider next to Cursor Size and drag it to adjust the size of the mouse pointer. You can dynamically see the mouse pointer resize as you drag the slider.

    Cursor size slider in Mac system preferences
  5. When the cursor is a size you like, close the System Preferences.

Enlarge the Cursor Temporarily With Shake to Find

Wait, there's more. In OS X El Capitan, Apple added a feature to dynamically resize the cursor temporarily when you have difficulty finding it on your display. With no official name given by Apple for this feature, it's commonly referred to as Shake to Find.

This simple feature helps you locate the cursor on the screen when it's hard to see. Shaking the mouse back and forth or moving your finger on the trackpad to and fro causes the cursor to enlarge temporarily, making it easy to spot on your display. When you stop the shaking motion, the cursor reverts to its original size, as set in the Accessibility preference pane.

To activate Shake to Find, place a check mark in the box next to Shake mouse pointer to locate. It's located above the Cursor size slider in the Accessibility preferences pane.

Accessibility preferences showing shake to find option

With the check box filled in, give the mouse a shake or shake your finger across the trackpad. The faster you shake, the larger the cursor becomes. Stop shaking, and the cursor returns to its normal size. A horizontal shake works best for increasing the cursor size.

Shaking and Cursor Size

If you're using OS X El Capitan or later, you may find that you don't need to enlarge the cursor at all. The Shake to Find feature may be all you need.

It’s a trade-off between the two—more shaking or a larger cursor. Give it a try; you're bound to find the combination that best suits your needs.