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Can't diagnose erratic trackpad behavior

Some time ago this computer started exhibiting erratic behavior related to the cursor/trackpad: unresponsive to inputs; cursor jumping around on screen; phantom clicks.

My wife took it the Apple store and they claimed to be unable to identify any fault. (Amazing.)

The first thing I did was a full wipe and OS install. That didn’t change anything.

Then I did some experimenting and found that the problem would only kick in once the battery had reached around 35% charge. I took this to mean that it was a swelling issue (a commonly reported cause) and a new battery would fix the problem. So before buying one, I swapped in a compatible battery from another MBA and, though things worked fine at first, eventually the problem returned.

I’m now at a bit of a loss. I could buy a replacement trackpad, but who knows if that would work. Also, why would things be fine even with the old battery at a low charge, but not at a higher one and not with a separate battery altogether (that donor MBA, by the way, was always functioning fine)?

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What's bizarre is that yesterday it was working -- albeit a little bit jumpy at times -- for most of the day even with the original battery, all the way up to 95%, until the phantom activity later returned. And now today it's working again for the time being. I wonder if it is the trackpad, then. Could be worth spending $20 on ebay to find out.

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I ran into this one a couple of weeks ago and it sure had me scratching my head.

I ran Symantec Endpoint Protection on it, removed the viruses and the issues stopped.

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Weird. If mine was a virus issue then the wipe and clean install should have addressed that, right?

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Yes, since you were installing a fresh copy of macOS

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Hey BRADPETIT

That is a weird behavior that you are experiencing, make sure to start you have no bluetooth mouses, corded mouses, or wireless USB mouses connected to the MacBook. If you are using the onboard trackpad, open “System Preferences” and check the trackpad behaviors to see if it could be one of those. If everything seems to be ok. You could try to reseat the connector for the trackpad.

For MacBook Air models it looks like a cable very similar to the battery connector, that is seated right above the trackpad frame. You should also check to verify that there is no debris, obstruction, water damage, and or scratches on the trackpad. By reseating the cable, this to a point resets the hardware and may solve your problem. I doubt this issue is anything related to software, especially after you said you reinstalled macOS.

You can try another trackpad from your donor MacBook just to see what happens. If you still encounter the error it probably would be best to replace the trackpad altogether.

Good Luck!

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Unfortunately it seems the trackpad for the other MBA (which is a 2015) isn't compatible with the 2012's.

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Oh yes if it is a 2015 model you wouldn't be able to switch them. try reseating the connectors like i mentioned above.

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I've reseated them a couple times including yesterday when I tried to swap trackpads. Things are working better now but not reliably. Bizarre also that the performance was inconsistent earlier, before I started messing around with the trackpad itself.

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Awesome to hear! was there any debris you found while reseating the cable?

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Nope. Everything looked normal.

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raging_zef さん、ありがとうございました!
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