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#11466 - 08/15/10 02:59 PM MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive
Jack Reed Offline


Registered: 08/30/09
Loc: Illinois
My 15" 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (4 GB 1067 MHz DDR3 memory) MBP is okay for about 30 - 45 minutes' use now, with the trackpad working normally as it had for many months since I bought the computer (new) in October 2008; then the trackpad becomes very sensitive. For instance, I once woke it from Sleep just by sitting down to it. Apparently my breath was enough. (A few weeks ago it would be okay for a couple of hours.)

When it's hyper-sensitive, moving the cursor on the desktop opens a translucent rectangle; where this overlaps an icon, the icon becomes selected. The cursor tip sticks to a corner of the rectangle; the diagonally opposite corner stays put when I move the cursor. Lifting my finger tip eliminates the rectangle.

Moving the cursor on a web page causes rectangular areas to be highlighted (selected) in blue.

Trying to click on a link in a web page causes a duplicate page element to detach from its normal place; it also sticks to the tip of the cursor.

Leaving the computer alone for a few hours restores normal trackpad operation. Restarting doesn't help at all.

Nothing was turned on in the Trackpad prefs panel.

Putting paper over the trackpad made no difference, either. Neither does running the Mac on battery. I've tried wiping the trackpad with a fresh tissue: no effect on the problem. Neither does wiping it the same way we're supposed to clean the screen. (Following suggestions from apple.com trouble-shooting pages on erratic or unresponsive trackpad issues.)

Pretty soon, although I can continue to move the cursor, clicking the trackpad has no effect, even though I can feel and see the up and down movement of it, especially the front corners. Leaving the computer for a while lets it "recover" to normal.

It's the way this changes over a short time that's different from the other MBP trackpad problems I've seen discussed on forums.

I update some software, but I haven't updated applications I don't use or installed updates which relate to features I don't use, according to the remarks in the lower pane in the Software Update window. What do you think of this as a general rule? Could I have let myself in for a problem this way? (Still running OS X 10.5.8 with recent updates.)

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#11467 - 08/15/10 03:09 PM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Jack Reed]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
> When it's hyper-sensitive, moving the cursor on the desktop opens a translucent rectangle; where this overlaps an icon, the icon becomes selected. The cursor tip sticks to a corner of the rectangle; the diagonally opposite corner stays put when I move the cursor. Lifting my finger tip eliminates the rectangle.

That, in particular, and other of your symptoms sound like your your (whaddayacallit) click-bar (?) is badly out of whack and quite possibly in need of replacement. (The issue I quoted is precisely what happens when you move your cursor in a Finder window while clicking.)

(Edit: Sorry... I hit the wrong radio button and posted prematurely.)

Quote:
I update some software, but I haven't updated applications I don't use or installed updates which relate to features I don't use, according to the remarks in the lower pane in the Software Update window. What do you think of this as a general rule? Could I have let myself in for a problem this way? (Still running OS X 10.5.8 with recent updates.)

Tough question to answer sans details, so why don't you post a list of your "Ignored Updates?"


Edited by artie505 (08/15/10 03:14 PM)
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#11468 - 08/15/10 03:12 PM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Jack Reed]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
When it's hyper-sensitive, moving the cursor on the desktop opens a translucent rectangle; where this overlaps an icon, the icon becomes selected. The cursor tip sticks to a corner of the rectangle; the diagonally opposite corner stays put when I move the cursor. Lifting my finger tip eliminates the rectangle.

Moving the cursor on a web page causes rectangular areas to be highlighted (selected) in blue.

This describes the behavior you'd expect if you were click-dragging the cursor. (I don't use a trackpad, but if I move the cursor with the left mouse button depressed, this is exactly what I see.)

Sounds like it might be a hardware problem...but if you have a mouse available, I suppose you could use it instead of the trackpad for awhile to rule out a more general OS issue.
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#11470 - 08/15/10 03:24 PM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Jack Reed]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
If that's a unibody, you can adjust the click point of the trackpad by turning the very large screw under the trackpad, it's under the battery. May need a special tool to get at it if the battery is internal.

Supposed to be loctite on those screws but I've seen a lot of 'em come loose.
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#11471 - 08/15/10 06:45 PM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: artie505]
Jack Reed Offline


Registered: 08/30/09
Loc: Illinois
My MBP has no click bar; normally, you click the trackpad, preferably toward the front, although there is a prefs setting for "tap to click" which I have unchecked currently to try to simplify the situation.

Agree, it's hard to advise about skipped updates without specifics, and I will try to work up a list.

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#11472 - 08/15/10 06:51 PM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: dkmarsh]
Jack Reed Offline


Registered: 08/30/09
Loc: Illinois
Thanks for the suggestion to try a mouse. I'm so averse to them I would never have thought of it, but in this case it may help discriminate between a hardware and an OS fault.

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#11473 - 08/15/10 06:53 PM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Virtual1]
Jack Reed Offline


Registered: 08/30/09
Loc: Illinois
Adjusting the screw under the trackpad is a real interesting idea. I noticed something there when I removed the battery, but I hesitate to fiddle without a good idea of what to do, depending, in this case, how strong that loctite is. Does it make sense to suppose the problem arises after 30 - 45 minutes after waking from sleep because the computer warms up and metal expands?

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#11481 - 08/16/10 10:18 PM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Jack Reed]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: Jack Reed
My MBP has no click bar; normally, you click the trackpad, preferably toward the front, although there is a prefs setting for "tap to click" which I have unchecked currently to try to simplify the situation.

Agree, it's hard to advise about skipped updates without specifics, and I will try to work up a list.

1. I forgot about those new-fangled trackpads, but that doesn't preclude possible failure from being a reasonable guess.

2. If you "Ignored" those updates you can get them back by clicking on "Reset Ignored Updates" under Software Update in your menu bar.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#11484 - 08/17/10 08:04 AM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Jack Reed]
Jack Reed Offline


Registered: 08/30/09
Loc: Illinois
Using a mouse, I can work for hours, seeing the problem extremely rarely, unless I forget and gesture on the trackpad out of habit. (Those rare re-appearances might have been from a thumb drag, can't rule it out.) Then I use the mouse to get out of whatever mess I got into, and continue working.

Evidently, just plugging in a mouse doesn't disconnect the trackpad; it's an addition, not a substitution. Does this point the finger at hardware, not software?


Edited by Jack Reed (08/17/10 08:20 AM)
Edit Reason: Just saw that problem again, no finger near trackpad, very sensitive now. Moving cursor with mouse drew that rectangle and selected some icons on the desktop. Maybe not entirely hardware? May visit Apple store on North Michigan in Chicago this afternoo

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#11485 - 08/17/10 08:14 AM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: artie505]
Jack Reed Offline


Registered: 08/30/09
Loc: Illinois
I have Software Update 3.0.4. (182), and I'm not seeing a "Reset Ignored Updates" entry in the menu that drops down when I click on Software Update in my menu bar when it's running. (Sounds like a handy feature. Under S. U. Preferences, I can get a whopping list of installed updates, the opposite of what we want, I think.)

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#11488 - 08/17/10 11:52 AM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Virtual1]
Jack Reed Offline


Registered: 08/30/09
Loc: Illinois
At the Apple store, I feel a greater and more positive clicking action anywhere at the front of the trackpad on a couple of the MacBooks on display, compared to my own computer. One of the blue-shirted "specialists" here says my trackpad feels "stuck". I'm thinking more and more that that adjustment screw idea is part of this, except for the hyper-sensitive part of this problem: How can a stuck trackpad also be so sensitive I woke the computer from sleep by sitting down to it and breathing -- blowing gently through my nose! -- on the keyboard? I have a 4:20 appointment with a tech, who will look at this for nothing. I used to work in electronics myself years ago, so I hope to learn this adjustment, if that's all that's needed. (To be continued.)

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#11489 - 08/17/10 01:43 PM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Virtual1]
Jack Reed Offline


Registered: 08/30/09
Loc: Illinois
At the Genius Bar, it turned out to be simpler than we thought: The battery was swollen and pressed up on the trackpad. (No need to adjust anything, although my "Genius" said he was prepared to do so.) He had me hold the battery in one hand and feel its thickness between the thumb and middle finger of my other hand, sliding that hand back and forth along the battery's length. Sure enough, I could feel the extra thickness, not a lot, in the middle.

The "Genius" swapped out my battery with one they keep handy for testing, and my MBP returned to normal -- my trackpad felt like the others I had tried in the store, too. So Apple replaced my battery (with a new one) on the spot, free! Case closed, I think, although the suspicious old techie in me says, Wait and see how it works next week...

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#11491 - 08/17/10 04:51 PM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Jack Reed]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
I have Software Update 3.0.4. (182), and I'm not seeing a "Reset Ignored Updates" entry in the menu that drops down when I click on Software Update in my menu bar when it's running.

I'm running the same version of Software Update, and I see Reset Ignored Updates in the Software Update menu as expected. It's right beneath Preferences..., but if like me you've never "ignored" any updates, it'll be dimmed.
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#11493 - 08/17/10 06:23 PM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: dkmarsh]
Jack Reed Offline


Registered: 08/30/09
Loc: Illinois
Ouch! You're right, dkmarsh; it is there, and it is dimmed (right now; the "Genius" may have updated something, although I thought iTunes 9 was big enough to have taken some time, but that's what I find installed this evening), and I'm feeling a little dim for having missed that somehow.

So: Is it recommended practice to update everything always, even when it's an update of something I never expect to use or the explanation of the update identifies a feature I never expect to use? Maybe skipping these updates to save time is really a false economy.

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#11495 - 08/17/10 11:55 PM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Jack Reed]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: Jack Reed
At the Genius Bar, it turned out to be simpler than we thought: The battery was swollen and pressed up on the trackpad.

The "Genius" swapped out my battery with one they keep handy for testing, and my MBP returned to normal -- my trackpad felt like the others I had tried in the store, too. So Apple replaced my battery (with a new one) on the spot, free! Case closed, I think, although the suspicious old techie in me says, Wait and see how it works next week...

Great news; I'm happy to hear that your issue worked itself out so easily. smile (Lucky that your Mac is still covered by AppleCare!)
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#11496 - 08/18/10 12:23 AM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Jack Reed]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
I'm running a later version of Software Update than you are, but the way it works for me now, which is, I believe, the way it's always worked, is I must first run it to see if I need anything before "Reset Ignored Updates" "comes to life" from being grayed out. If you haven't tried that, give it a go.

If that's not your answer, it's curious that you think you've ignored updates when, in fact, you haven't.

> Is it recommended practice to update everything always, even when it's an update of something I never expect to use or the explanation of the update identifies a feature I never expect to use? Maybe skipping these updates to save time is really a false economy.

I regularly skip updates that I think are inapplicable to me (Apple Remote Desktop comes to mind immediately.), and I haven't tripped over anything yet. The "recommended practice" I go by is I always install updates that are "recommended for all Mac users" and use my judgement on the rest.
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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#11498 - 08/18/10 03:01 AM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: artie505]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
...the way it works for me now, which is, I believe, the way it's always worked, is I must first run it to see if I need anything before "Reset Ignored Updates" "comes to life" from being grayed out.

I must not be understanding your meaning here, because AFAIK, it's not possible to launch Software Update without it checking to see if you need anything. Launching the app immediately brings up a Checking for new software... sheet with a status bar and a Cancel button; hitting Cancel quits the app.

Quote:
...it's curious that you think you've ignored updates when, in fact, you haven't.

Perhaps Jack Reed isn't aware that "ignoring" an update refers to choosing the Ignore Update... command from Software Update's Update menu while one or more items are selected in the list of available updates. Personally, I don't bother with that procedure, but I'd certainly describe what I do with, say, Airport Utility or Front Row updates as "ignoring" them!
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dkmarsh • member, FineTunedMac Co-op Board of Directors

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#11499 - 08/18/10 04:23 AM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Jack Reed]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: Jack Reed
At the Genius Bar, it turned out to be simpler than we thought: The battery was swollen and pressed up on the trackpad.


I feel somewhat embarrassed that I didn't ask about that earlier... common issue with the 15" Al mbps.,
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#11502 - 08/18/10 10:31 AM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Virtual1]
Jack Reed Offline


Registered: 08/30/09
Loc: Illinois
You got real close to it right off, though, Virtual 1. I was impressed by how easy it was to detect that thickening in the middle of the battery when my Genius demonstrated it to me, so it's not real hard to diagnose, except you have to think of it first. Nor did I know before that it was all that common in that model, but maybe that's the curse of mass production of near-identical items -- they all have the same flaws!

(As I guess we might expect, the Apple employees didn't mention that this is a common problem.)

But this fix is holding up so far, after giving me some nervous moments when I plugged Mac in at the end of the day, and neither green nor orange light appeared on the MagSafe connector. While I was waiting for that to happen, I saw that my (new) battery was "Not Charging," although it was just 23% charged. I had not disturbed my other power connections. Maybe something needed a nudge? Restarting didn't help, but just disconnecting that connector from the port for a few more nervous minutes' running and then plugging it back in there seemed to be what was needed to return Mac to normal charging.


Edited by Jack Reed (08/18/10 01:00 PM)

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#11503 - 08/18/10 11:04 AM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: dkmarsh]
Jack Reed Offline


Registered: 08/30/09
Loc: Illinois
Different people do mean different things by the same language sometimes, and my meaning of "ignore" is closer to dkmarsh's. In other words, I had been ignoring certain updates I thought I didn't really need -- such as, of Front Row -- just by unchecking the boxes in front of some items in the list Software Update presents of what it finds I lack. I think my copy of the application works like dkmarsh describes; the reason "Reset Ignored Updates" in my Software Update menu is unavailable ("grayed out") right now may be related to my entering my OS X sign-in password when my Genius requested me to. The center of focus of my attention was on the trackpad/battery problem, and I think now he may have updated my software without our discussing it much, although I wouldn't swear that he had said nothing at all about it. (I certainly respected his expertise, and I wanted to move along and let the next person in difficulty get such fine help quickly.)

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#11505 - 08/18/10 03:45 PM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Jack Reed]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: Jack Reed
Nor did I know before that it was all that common in that model, but maybe that's the curse of mass production of near-identical items -- they all have the same flaws!


And in this case, "Sony NiMH/LiIo batteries". The early white macbooks that came out about that same time also showed up from time to time. There were also 17" mbp's and black macbooks affected but were seen less due to being lower sellers.

Usually the easiest way to test such a battery is just set it on a flat table, metal side down. Spin it. If it spins like a merry-go-round, it's bulging. But then some are a lot more obvious, like This One

One of these days I'm going to get up the guts to get out a pin and see what happens...
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#11507 - 08/18/10 04:06 PM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Jack Reed]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Quote:
...the reason "Reset Ignored Updates" in my Software Update menu is unavailable ("grayed out") right now may be related to my entering my OS X sign-in password when my Genius requested me to.

I doubt that's the explanation; as I mentioned earlier, if you've never taken the action called "ignoring" an update, there are no "ignored updates" to reset, and thus the menu command is dimmed.

As an aside, it's illuminating to see what the Apple Human Interface Guidelines have to say about the dimming of menu items. From Apple Human Interface Guidelines: Menus (scroll down to Naming Menu Items):

Originally Posted By: developer.apple.com
When a menu item is unavailable—because it doesn’t apply to the selected object or to the selected object in its current state, or because nothing is selected, for example—the item should appear dimmed (gray) in the menu and is not highlighted when the user moves the pointer over it.

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dkmarsh • member, FineTunedMac Co-op Board of Directors

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#11509 - 08/18/10 05:52 PM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: dkmarsh]
Jack Reed Offline


Registered: 08/30/09
Loc: Illinois
Originally Posted By: dkmarsh

... as I mentioned earlier, if you've never taken the action called "ignoring" an update, there are no "ignored updates" to reset, and thus the menu command is dimmed.


Aha! Now I think the light dawns! Thank you for persevering on that when I obviously didn't get it before. (I did vaguely wonder what got "reset.") Okay, when some more updates become available, I'll explore the "ignoring" and "resetting" operations in Software Update, and apply them along the lines you've hinted at.

And thanks for that link; very handy page there.

BTW, while we're tweaking my Software Update: I have it set to check weekly, but I don't know how to adjust the time of the week, and I'm usually into something else late Sunday when Software Update starts bouncing in the Dock. I must not be the first to wonder about this. Is there a setting for this somewhere? Not obvious to me in SU Help. TIA, anybody.


Edited by Jack Reed (08/18/10 06:23 PM)
Edit Reason: Whoa, I may have found it n this page: http://www.macworld.com/article/139860/2009/04/schedulesoftwareupdate.html. Seems to me I tried it, and it worked for a week or two, and returned to the previous time, though.

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#11510 - 08/18/10 06:46 PM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Jack Reed]
dkmarsh Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09

Curiously, though you can choose from among Daily, Weekly, and Monthly checks in the System Preferences -> Software Update -> Scheduled Check -> Check for Updates pop-up menu, Apple provides no straightforward way to change the actual day and time of day upon which the repeating cycle is based. There is a workaround, though, as explained by Chris Breen in Scheduling Software Update.
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dkmarsh • member, FineTunedMac Co-op Board of Directors

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#11511 - 08/19/10 12:26 AM Re: MBP trackpad becomes very sensitive & unresponsive [Re: Jack Reed]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Responding to both you and dkmarsh...

1. Your posting that you had ignored updates but were unable to post a list - "Agree, it's hard to advise about skipped updates without specifics, and I will try to work up a list." - was a strong argument in favor of your having "Ignored" them in the sense I've been using...most assuredly did not suggest that you had simply unchecked them, because if such was the case Software Update would have shown you those updates every time you ran it and you'd have posted the list immediately.

Your posts to date indicate that your unchecked updates got installed somewhere along the line...before you saw the "Genius." (Some of them may have been included in Combo Updates and gotten installed without your having realized, but it's not likely that they all did.)

2. Perhaps my version of SU works differently than the version you guys are running, but in my case, when I click on "Software Update" in my menu bar while it is "Checking for new software" I see "Reset Ignored Updates" grayed out, but after SU has done its thing and I've clicked on "Show Details" it is no longer grayed out and I'm able to "Reset Ignored Updates."

Since your posts indicated that you actually had "Ignored" updates, there was a real possibility that you had clicked on your menu bar too soon.

Hope this clarifies things. smile


Edited by artie505 (08/19/10 01:26 AM)
Edit Reason: Cleanup
_________________________
The new Great Equalizer is the SEND button.

In Memory Of Harv: Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. ~Voltaire

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