Mac OS X: The case of the disappearing mouse pointer

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
April 11th, 2003 • 4:50 pm

Another one to add to the list of things that really shouldn’t happen in a mature operating system. Twice in the past few weeks it has happened to me:

My computer wakes up from sleep (either deep sleep or regular sleep) and everything is working fine, except that… the mouse pointer has become invisible. The mouse still works, but using it is the equivalent of shooting in the dark: you can only tell where your mouse pointer is by clicking and seeing what happens somewhere on the screen.

The keyboard is still fully functional and, if you click-and-hold on things, you can still “feel” your way around and do some stuff with your mouse — but there’s nothing that you can do to make the mouse pointer reappear. The only solution is to log out (cmd-shift-Q), which causes the mouse pointer to magically reappear, and then log back in.

Of course, if, like me, you have half a dozen web pages open in Safari that you still want to read and don’t have a bookmark for, it can get quite frustrating trying to drag and DROP the web location proxy icon in the Address Bar to the desktop with an invisible mouse pointer.

This is another good argument for providing a single command that “saves” all open web pages in Safari so that you can reopen them all at once after HAVING quit and relaunched Safari.

But really this silly invisible mouse pointer non-sense shouldn’t even be happening. We are talking about fundamental stuff here. It’s way up there with the computer failing to wake up from sleep.

Needs to be fixed soon!

10 Responses to “Mac OS X: The case of the disappearing mouse pointer”

  1. David White says:

    A year and a half later….same story with 10.3.5…yikes…no mention in apple support..if they ignore it, will it go away?

  2. Moazam says:

    I see the same behavior on 10.3.5 on a Dual monitor config. Very annoying. Not sure how it came up, but it did.

  3. Moazam says:

    This might be a Classic related issue.

    I know that I experienced this problem after trying to load a Classic app.

  4. anon says:

    Same problem, 10.3.5, after unplugging my PowerBook video adapter. Really, really annoying.

  5. benbfly says:

    I just had the same symptoms start on my powerbook (10.3.7)

  6. benbfly says:

    There is a thread on the discussion boards about this. Apparently, the disappearing mouse cursor problem became evident in many more cases after the release of 10.3.7. Hopefully there will be a fix soon. Someone mentioned that if you can open up the detect displays prefs panel, it will make the cursor reappear. Haven’t tried it yet.

  7. BertC says:

    I have a dual monitor set-up on my dual 2GHz G5 and get this bug from time-to-time, my temporary solution is to use Mouseposé. It highlights your mouse pointer or it’s current location. I set the circle to around 10 pixels.

    You can get it free at:

  8. Pierre Igot says:

    Thanks for the link! Might be helpful to some. (Haven’t had the problem myself lately.)

  9. aorchid says:

    Glad to see I am not the only one experiencing this problem. I am using 10.3.9 and it has become an every-other-day experience. Since I use an external keyboard and mouse at work for my PowerBook, when I get home the mouse is often gone. Looks like it will not be fixed for Panther. :(

  10. samscam says:

    I also get this with my 12-inch powerbook when connecting to a second monitor… and have found that hitting “detect displays” will almost always fix the issue. Worse (and I suspect closely related) is that when disconnecting from a monitor, the LCD sometimes goes totally black, though it still responds to the mouse and keyboard. In such cases I find plugging the monitor back in (or just the adapter) waiting a little while and pulling the adapter back out can cure it.

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