Macbook Air trackpad issue resolved

Just documenting this here for others, in case it’s useful. I have a 2012 (or maybe it’s early 2013) Macbook Air. This week, the trackpad started selecting everything, as if it was in permanent click-and-drag mode. This was maddening, and made it literally impossible to use the machine. Whilst this issue was occurring, one of my friends did suggest that I should just sell my Macbook to a company like Backflip (find out more here). That was something that I did think about, however, I decided to try and fix the issue instead.

Trackpad y Teclado

image: cyfuss

I spent a couple of hours digging around the various forums online, as it appears this is a fairly common problem. I tried both the “remove it from power” trick (no dice) as well as a number of other remedies that were indicated, such as selecting and/or deselecting various options in the Accessibility menu. None of these worked. I hooked up a USB mouse as a workaround until I could get the machine fixed.

After hooking up an external mouse, I went online, got a Genius Bar appointment, and went in. The Apple store folks were able to confirm the problem and took the machine at about noon, saying it would be done by 7pm and that I’d get a call and an email when the work was done. They were going to replace the trackpad, and they had one in stock.

7pm last night came and went with no notice from the Apple folks, so went over to the store at opening time today. The trackpad had been replaced, work was complete, and the machine was ready. I just picked it up and am typing on it now. The problem seems completely fixed. (Bonus to boot: they cleaned the outside of the machine and keyboard area to showroom new…sweet! It’s like getting my machine detailed.)

My MBA is still new-ish, so the work was covered, but had I needed to pay for it, the total cost would have been about $90 (about $50 for the trackpad and about $40 for labor).

So: net-net for anyone who finds this post – this seems to be a pretty common problem, and a replacement of the trackpad might be indicated, instead of spending many hours on hunting down obscure folk remedies. It’s quite likely a hardware failure that needs to be replaced, but it can be done easily.

A Lifehack For Those Who Fly On Southwest Airlines


As I was getting ready to take the El to the airport today, I realized that I had a problem. Since I was flying on Southwest, the earlier the check-in the better, as a result of their “Group A-B-C” boarding policy. Yet, I was in my hotel room and did not have a printer…although I could check-in online, I wouldn’t be able to print my boarding pass, effectively putting me in a Catch-22.

If I didn’t check-in before I left the hotel, I’d be destined for a “Group C” boarding experience. But if I did check-in online, I wouldn’t have a boarding pass to get through security. What to do?

Then I remembered “the magic option” on the Southwest Airlines kiosks that I had seen when I had checked in for my outbound flight. That magic option? “Reprint Boarding Pass.” (I had actually needed to use this option when checking in for my outbound flight, as the first boarding pass had jammed coming out of the printer and had been ripped to ribbons in the process.)

Here’s how this little trick works:

1) Before leaving the hotel (or even the night before), go online and check-in for the flight. The site checks you in. Then your browser shows your boarding pass, and puts you in the “group” you’re qualified for by virtue of checking in early. After you’re checked in, close your browser window. (In normal circumstances, such as at home or at the office, you’d actually print this out.)

2) Go to the airport

3) Find the nearest Southwest kiosk

4) Put in your ID, and up comes your reservation.

5) Press “reprint boarding pass” (in the lower right-hand corner) and retrieve your reward for being just a little more wily than the average bear.

6) Voila! “Group A” check-ins, nearly every time!