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My MacBook’s trackpad clicks aren’t registering

I recently got a 2009 MacBook Pro. I wrote about my experience with it a few months ago (generally positive), but now six months in I’ve got a really annoying problem. My trackpad (or touchpad) doesn’t register some clicks. The most annoying part about it is that the problem isn’t consistent. It just happens sometimes and seems to be temporarily resolved by applying more pressure.
Since this problem started, I’ve caught myself angrily mashing down on the trackpad and talking to my notebook like a crazy person! I mean this is totally ruining my recently acquired cool Mac guy image. A visit to the genius bar was a complete and utter waste of time (oh, and money if you factor in my AppleCare plan). The guy in the blue shirt said he could not sufficiently reproduce the issue (granted the problem was only sparsely happening when he tried it – go figure).

Googling the problem reveals what amounts to 229 “me too” posts on an article describing the issue on Apple’s Support site. Unfortunately the forum yields, and I quote “0 helpful answers.” Some members of the forums swear by a “solution” that includes notching up the trackpad’s tracking or double-click speed one notch. Another guy suggests to place your palm on the touchpad for 5 seconds to “reset” it. Uh, those things didn’t work for me. Oh, and just so you all think I’m lying, I screen-casted the problem using screenr.

Check it out for yourself:

Pay attention to the loud clicks my trackpad is making and notice that nothing is registering about 10 percent of the time the sound is made.

Last weekend I looked more into the problem and found the following article at iBloggedThis.com:


I’m going to try the suggested paper strip fix this coming weekend and will update the post with my results and pictures. Wish me luck.

–Weekend Update–

When I opened up my macbook pro up this weekend, I immediately noticed tow things:

a) The battery is secured by two special “tri” tipped screws and full of all kinds a notices that state not to remove it.

b) The article I linked to above is not intended to work on a 2009 MacBook Pro but some older Macbook that has a removable battery.

Long story short, I don’t want to void my AppleCare extended warranty, so I’ll probably have to go back and deal with that Apple store “genius” guy again. Boo!


The good news: It looks like Apple finally seems to be responding to the trackpad issues users are complaining about by releasing the Magic Trackpad and Multitouch update last week.

The bad news: The update has not fixed any of my trackpad related issues.


My last three Apple store visits have finally resulted in tracpad fix success! First I went for a second diagnosis (after the problem had gotten significantly worse) and this time the guy in the blue shirt acknowledged that my trackpad would have to be replaced. He informed me that the part was not in stock and ordering would take 5-7 days. Once the part was in stock, I was notified and the actual “replacing” only took one day. So now I’m all set and thanks to AppleCare the repairs were free at least.

The moral of the story, wait until your trackpad problem is bad enough so the Apple genius can reproduce it sufficiently and then be prepared to be Mac-less for a week or so. That’s all.

July 21, 2010

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4 comments found

Comments for: My MacBook’s trackpad clicks aren’t registering

  1. Jim

    I also had this problem with my trackpad (Mid-2008 MBP). I used it like that for a few months, but it just kept getting worse, and I also could not find a fix.

    Took it to the Apple Store, and they replaced it for free (Applecare).

    Alternatively, you could just use it completely click free. . . tap, tap.

    That was a few months ago, and still going strong. 🙂
    Good Luck!

    1. Post author: 
      David Vielmetter


      I actually got an apple genius to replicate the problem in the store last wednesday. They wrote up a repair order, but didn’t have the part in stock. They told me it’d be 5-7 days until the part got ordered and then another 5-7 days for the repairs.

  2. Lisa Flinn

    I have this same problem and I got it fix by sending back to Apple. Same with your case, the only way to fix the problem is to replace the whole trackpad. While for my case, they change the whole top case with trackpad as well. I think the factor causing this problem is the manufacture quality of top case. Sad to say that I have to buy a second wrist rest skin after they replaced mine. Don’t you think that a MacBook Pro should match with a black wrist rest and trackpad? It look absolutely gorgeous.

  3. Dana Corporon

    Not to hijack this thread but, I have been looking for a place to bring my Mac for repair. Does anyone have any info on this apple repair service? They’re located in West Los Angeles, which is only 5 minutes from my home. It’s called – Mac Repair Los Angeles, 11322 Santa Monica Blvd, Ste B Los Angeles, CA 90025 (310) 966-9099.

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