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Some data points

  • By moving randomly, I mean the mouse cursor will occasionally move without user interaction. It looks more like a random jump.
  • It does not randomly click (luckily...).
  • I haven't been able to pin down the specifics of exactly on when it happens, but it appears to be when I leave the computer on for over a long period. The first time it was noticeable and annoying, the computer had been kept on for at least a week or so. Most recently, it started happening after the computer was left on for about 24 hours.
  • When it has happened in the past, I tend to just be browsing webpages or in iTerm2.
  • I'm using OSX 10.6.8.
  • At first, I thought it was a dirty mouse or my wireless mouse, but after disconnecting it, I still have the issue. With all peripherals disconnected and without touching my computer, I can watch my mouse jump around.
  • Both the trackpad and an external mouse will continue to work, but it doesn't seem to affect the random jumps. In other words, I can move my mouse but if it decides to move, it will.

I haven't been able to find any solutions here or elsewhere. Any tips on getting more information about this would be helpful. It tends to be particularly hard to reproduce this issue.

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To make sure nothing's wrong with the Trackpad, follow these instructions to disable the trackpad while a mouse is connected. Also, try creating a second user account in System Preferences logging out from your primary account, and logging into the new account to see whether the issue occurs there as well. – Daniel Beck May 5 '13 at 19:31
Thanks for the tip, Daniel. I'm trying that now. I also found this blog post which linked to this apple support post which may explain the issue. I didn't consider that it might just be a dirty touch pad... – almostflan May 5 '13 at 19:34
Yeah, you learn those the first time you touch the trackpad after washing your hands and not drying them properly (not recommended). If you figure it out yourself, we'd appreciate if you could post an answer to this question for others having the same problem. – Daniel Beck May 5 '13 at 19:39
Yep. I'm going to give it a few days or so to ensure that the track pad was, in fact, the culprit. – almostflan May 5 '13 at 19:59
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Using this blog post, this apple support post, Daniel's advice, and some testing, I think I can say with confidence that this problem came about from a dirty track pad.

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