My Macbook's trackpad occasionally starts behaving erratically but after a system restart it works well again (at least for a while).

I'm still looking for a solution to the root problem of the errors.

However, for now, is there some way to restart just the trackpad's driver instead of the whole system to achieve the same effect?


Find the terminal app then enter this:

killall Dock
  • This has happened to many times before. This needs more upvotes. Thanks for posting this! – Jared Burrows Apr 4 '17 at 23:37
  • But can you reboot the trackpad without having to restart the computer? – MicroMachine Jun 14 '19 at 23:04
  • Yep, that’s what that command does. – Chalky Jun 15 '19 at 4:36

In most cases that I have seen with trackpads not acting as expected it is hardware, not the drivers. The easiest way to test this (depending on how easy it is to reproduce) is to boot to a known good operating system; i.e.: a different partition containing the OS either one you made or the recovery partition by holding down option and selecting Recovery HD (10.7 and newer). IF it happens there because the recovery partition or triage partition (one that you created) then you KNOW it is hardware. In which case if it is internal, I would say take it to someone to adjust it/replace it... ESPECIALLY if it is a MacBook Air.(They have exposed batteries, when mishandled can cause damage) It is most likely one of a few situations A) Battery needs to be replaced, old batteries expand (it's intended that way) and can cause the issue. B) Debris is in the cracks of the trackpad C) Liquid damage, more cases than not, users cause their own issues D) The trackpad breaks on it's own. Seen this very few times. In which case, you need a new trackpad. Go to locate.apple.com to find someone that is trained to take these units apart, in most cases Apple can reseat a trackpad and if needed, replace it at a cost if not under AppleCare or there is physical damage.


As per first answer, try running the following commands in Terminal:

launchctl stop com.apple.Dock.agent

in order to force a stop and restart the Finder and Dock. Be aware it'll re-open all your windows.

Alternatively you need to reset the System Management Controller (SMC).

If your mouse still behaves in unexpected manner, see:

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.