My MacBook Air Trackpad is Ultra Sensitive

MacBook Air imageRecently my MacBook Air trackpad became much too sensitive to touch. I was clicking where I didn’t want to click and dragging files all over the place. I was opening and moving browser windows all over the place. Worse, I was dragging folders to unknown places and had to go hunting for them.

It was intermittent, usually after working a while. My initial searches resulted in “your doing it wrong” types of results. I’ve been using the MacBook Air trackpad for months, years if I include my earlier Airs so I knew that wasn’t it. I tried mucking with the settings without changing the issue. Even with tap-to-click off I would click (and drag) while barely touching the trackpad. The problem tended to occur after using the Air for awhile, not right after waking up or rebooting.

I took the usual troubleshooting steps. Logged on under a different user that didn’t start any apps and also logging on a guest. The problem persisted so I didn’t think an OS re-install would fix it. So I’ve been using a wireless mouse recently. That worked OK.

After getting home from dinner today I felt ambitious and did another Google search. This time I came across this Apple Insider forum thread that described the problem and a couple workarounds (posts 13 and 14 in that thread). Sure enough, they worked for me. The problem didn’t occur when I ran on battery or when it was plugged in and I let my left hand touch the MacBook Air next to the trackpad. Neither of these are actually solutions but at least they identified the problem as power or hardware related and not software.

The problem with this type of problem is there may be multiple causes for symptoms there’s a lot of potential solutions. Another work-around I found was to moisten the fingertips. This seemed to work until the fingertips dried up but water and computers don’t seem like a good idea. I also read that others replaced the power supply to resolve the problem. I don’t have a second power supply to try but I’ll try to dig one up for testing. I’ll still have the Apple Store problem, at $80 I don’t want to buy one and if I can’t reproduce the problem in the store I probably can’t get it replaced. Another mentioned the problem was resolved by tightening the screws. I can’t try that either since I don’t have the right screwdriver. Looks like it would cost less than $20 to get one delivered, but it would only be for the MacBook Air and some Toshibas I’ll never own. It’s not like I’m going to open the Air up until its out of warranty (I have Apple Care for it) which is still over two years away.

The problem will be reproducing the problem at the Apple Store so I can get it fixed. On the other hand, I’ve never been a trackpad fan and the mouse is working fine. It’s something I’ll want fixed before AppleCare expires, but if I stick with the mouse it may be awhile.

2 thoughts on “My MacBook Air Trackpad is Ultra Sensitive”

  1. I know this thread is old, but their are allot of confusing forum posts about this. I have been experiencing this issue for over 2 years. Apple kindle replace my 13″ air after the 2nd repair but the problem is still their.
    The Second time apple took my air they replaced a trackpad clip and the battery. (I can’t remember or find paperwork for the first)

    I am no engineer but I think I know what the problem is. or should I say problems are.
    I think its a two fold problem.
    First the well know “problem” of the macbook case feeling like its statically charged. I dont know what ill effects this is actually having but it does seem to be causing issues with the trackpad at least.

    Second I think the batteries are bulging causing pressure from below the trackpad. This reduces the travel and causes it to be super sensitive.
    I think the second issues is the most apparent and most serious.
    Maybe soon someone will solve this and maybe apple will use their war chest to offer everyone a free replacement.

  2. Just has this problem, it’s a static field issue.

    I have been using my (charging) Macbook Air for about 2 hours. I have a pair of rubber soled shoes on and have arranged my feet off the ground in the wooden table I am sitting at. My fingers are kind of dry and cold, and under those conditions, the supersensitive track pad arrived. Drove me crazy.

    Tried a bluetooth mouse, no problems, back to the track pad, virtually unusable, it’s like it is clicking every 1.5 seconds. I can’t even keep a first level menu open without clicking something.

    I used the BT mouse to search the web, found piles of articles and sifted through the rubbish (got here). Tried the complete the circuit with your left hand and point with your right thing, works fine.

    So, unplugged the laptop, works fine.

    plugged it back in: crazy clicker returns.


    Track pad is fine. Works like it used to.

    This indicated to me that I was not able to complete the static drop that the trackpad needs to work (or however it detects what you are doing) while I had essentially super smooth fingers. Anyway. It’s working correctly now, feels solid as a rock again and thought someone might like to know

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