Mysteriously, the mouse on my Macbook has stopped clicking. Thinking this was a problem with my built-in trackpad, I dug in the garage for an old USB mouse (I found our blue and white hockey puck mouse from our now unused Yosemite G3 tower) and tried it– but to no avail.

Anyone experienced this problem before or have a suggestion how to fix this? I booted into single user mode and was able to run the disk utility repair disk from the command line using the /sbin/fsck -yf command (nod to Dan Frakes) but that didn’t change anything either. I setup an appointment with our local Apple Genius bar but unfortunately the first opening tomorrow is at 7 pm.

If anyone has suggestions or ideas on resolving this (besides “use a different computer,” which obviously I’m already doing to post this) I’d love to hear them. 🙂 The mouse is visible and moves around fine, I can login by using the arrow keys to select a user and press return, but I can’t click the mouse either using the mouse button below the trackpad or the tap-sensitive trackpad itself. All other keys on the keyboard appear to be working, I can login with my password and use keyboard shortcuts to open and close folders on the desktop, open QuickTime movies and play them using the spacebar, etc. I wasn’t able to find any suggestions for this online so I posted this to the Apple Macbook support forum as well.

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17 Responses to Mysterious Macbook mouse button problem

  1. mrsdurff says:

    Would an optical mouse install and work? I use one…

  2. Wesley Fryer says:

    I have configured a bluetooth wireless mouse previously with my Macbook and I gave it a try too before trying the wired one, it wouldn’t click the mouse either. Both the wireless and the wired mouse moved the cursor but won’t let me click anything.

  3. Hhowe says:

    In the short term, you can use the keyboard shortcuts to get to the System Preferences panes. Hit “ctrl-F1” (you may need to hold down the “fn” button to avoid dimming your screen) to activate keyboard shortcuts, then hit “ctrl-F2” to select the menu. You can then use the arrow keys to navigate around the menus.

    Perhaps that will let you get to your Mouse & Keyboard System Preference and you can make some progress from there.

    This presumes, of course, that it is a software problem. But in the meantime, you can use the keyboard to navigate as your mouse for a while.

  4. Dean Mattson says:

    Something I do when I encounter strange glitches like this is to apply the latest combo operating system update. (For Mac OS 10.4, that would be this: Sometimes it actually works!

  5. Wesley Fryer says:

    Thanks for those suggestions, I didn’t know the trick of navigating with the keyboard to the menu bar. Dean, I had previoiusly installed the 10.4.10 update but I downloaded it again on another mac and reinstalled it to my Macbook using firewire target disk mode. Unfortunately, reinstall didn’t help– the mouse is still not clicking. 🙁

  6. Hhowe says:

    Have you run “repair disk permissions” from Disk Utility yet? It tends to fix problems for no discernible reason sometimes. Again, you may need to use the keyboard shortcuts to get there. On my last post, I tried to include the list of shortcuts, but it clipped out my html code. I will try sending the graphics’ URL instead:

    The full list can be found in System Preferences->Keyboard & Mouse->Keyboard Shortcuts

    I hope this helps.

  7. Wesley Fryer says:

    Thanks for sending that full URL for shortcuts. I did try to repair permissions from another computer when I mounted the hard drive in target mode, but it wouldn’t give the choice to repair for some reason. I took the Macbook in to the Apple store in OKC today and met with an Apple Genius, he started up with Netboot and confirmed it is a hardware rather than a software problem. So, Apple is replacing the logic board along with the CD/DVD drive which has been giving me problems (but not enough for me to take it in.) Thankfully I have an Applecare warranty and they have all the parts in stock, so it should be ready in 1-2 days. I am so blessed to live near an Apple store! Hopefully the new logic board will fix the problem!

  8. willdd says:

    i’v been having the same problem, did having the logic bvoard replaced fix the problem??

  9. Wesley Fryer says:

    Yes, after the logic board replacement the mouse is acting normally again!

  10. Rizzosb85 says:

    Wat was the problem? My mouse won’t click now and I don’t think there is physical damage

  11. Anonymous says:

    I have exactly the same problem. I have to restart everytime it does that. Seems like a software problem. Hitting the right-click (Ctrl + Click) works fine. Also, everytime this happens, the dock also stops magnifying where I point the mouse pointer.
    It’s so frustrating!!!

    It’s the first time I encounter such issue. And there seems only a few of us experiencing such.

  12. Danerad says:

    i have an older mbp 17 2.6 with this issue which just appeared the other day. It feels as though the tension in the mouse button/bar has collapsed. However, when i remove the battery it clicks as it should. I think the battery impeding the recess needed for the mouse to click properly and as a consequence the mouse is permanently ‘partially’ clicked, so folders are dragged around with the mouse for example.

  13. Karlitohomes says:

    I had this problem. My solution essentially was this:

    1) Attach an external USB mouse
    2) Close the lid of the macbook and wait for the fan to stop running (so that it is asleep)
    3) Press and hold the left click on the USB mouse
    4) Open the macbook and have it wake up
    5) Depress the mouse button

    And after that it worked fine just as it should.

  14. Snow says:

    My iMac did this once. To fix it, press Control+click and then the mouse should work properly.

  15. Tulin77 says:

    fine, but that’s not a lasting solution, I want something more lasting?  Do we know what is causing this problem.  My mouse also randomly will grab things and won’t let go, 

  16. john says:

    turn off. turn on colding cmd opt r p at the same time until the computer chimes and resets twice. just did it and it worked. it resets some parametor ram or something

  17. Athens Holloway says:

    I tried john’s solutions and it worked… “turn on holding cmd opt r p at the same time until the computer chimes and resets twice”

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