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Trackpad not working after keyboard cleaning.

This morning I lightly wiped the keyboard, trackpad, and palm rest area with a sanitizing wipe - something I've done many times over the years.

My trackpad now does not work properly. The cursor skips across the screen in small steps when trying to use the trackpad, and will drift when left untouched.

I have tried resetting NVRAM (cmd opt p r) and removing the Finder preference files, but I get the same behavior - this is all I could find that was self-help related...

I removed the trackpad from the frame and inspected the connector cable and wiped all corners / edges of the frame and trackpad - still no go. Same results as before.

Keyboard works fine, as does an external mouse.

AppleCare is now expired (must be only a couple days outside of warranty)...

Before I spend $90 on a replacement trackpad, I'm looking for a way to confirm that the trackpad is indeed the issue.


Answer this question I have this problem too

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How long have you waited since you cleaned it?

I have this same issue when I wipe my computer down with water or any other computer product. The issues is that excess water gets along the sides of the trackpad, and similar to using your phone underwater, it thinks you are constantly touching the trackpad in every corner. I usually let the trackpad dry out, but somethings it helps if you take a piece of paper, stick the edge in between the trackpad and the palm rest, and run it around the sides of the trackpad gently. You might see the paper gets wet. If it does get wet, just use another corner and go around again. This should work.

If the problem still occurs, then you might want to take out your battery and see if there is any water under the trackpad. If nothing works, let it sit for a day or two, that normally will fix the problem.

In the unlikely case that you did damage your trackpad, you may need to replace it. I have had this same issue though on MacBooks from 2006, to MacBook Pros from 2013, and either drying the sides with paper, or letting it sit always works.

Hope this Helps

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Thank you Owen.

Using a sheet of paper to wick moisture away / out of the crevices is a good idea. Even after 12 hours the trackpad was still acting up.

I was not clear above, but when I mentioned wiping edges of the case and trackpad, that was with a soft dry cloth hoping to pull out any wetness.

Interestingly (to me), there was no moisture / wetness to be seen or felt.

When I got home I pulled the trackpad again and swapped it with my wife's MacBook thinking this would tell me what parts, for sure, I needed to order.

Her trackpad works fine in my machine, and my trackpad works fine in her machine.

Also of note, this process allowed me to adjust the click sensitivity on her machine, which has always driven me crazy.

Thank you for the ideas.


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You do need to be careful what you use as well as how you clean the trackpad area. Water based cleaners will leave a film and they can creep under the edge of the trackpad causing it to go haywire until the water dries out! In some cases killing it altogether!

  • Never spray anything on the screen, keyboard or trackpad.
  • Don't use wipes! They are often too wet & can be harmful to your system electronics.
  • Wipe up ASAP anything that spilled on the keyboard or trackpad and turn off your computer until you can get to someone to clean it professionally.

Best to use a high quality isopropyl alcohol (85% or better) and the most important trick here is to use just a little on a cloth (lightly dampened) then wipe the trackpad and the rest of the case. If doesn't come off with the isopropyl alcohol use distilled water again a little goes a long way on the cloth.

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I also have the same issue, i don't get it! I've cleaned it dozen times already.

I noticed that track pad goes a bit grazy, but never like this and never for this long

What should i do?! :S

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Use rubbing alcohol to clean it from now on. Dries instantly with no issues!


This exact problem for me too with Lysol wipe. Retina pro early 2013. What did you end up having to replace?


Did the same thing, the trackpad wouldn't stop making false clicks and moves. Plugged in an external mouse, moved it around a bit, then touched the trackpad and moved that around a bit and saw that it was tracking fine. Unplugged the mouse and everything was good again


Use only water for the track pad. Damp+squeezed sponge and that's it or you'll leave a film of what ever chemical you used and will screw up conductivity. Dry hands too and wait for 5 mins after cleaning.


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