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How to Stop Your Cursor from Getting Bigger in OS X El Capitan

Posted by Jim Tanous on October 19, 2015
shake cursor large os x el capitan

A relatively minor new feature in OS X El Capitan that has surprised some users is the “shake to locate cursor” option, which temporarily makes the user’s mouse or trackpad cursor much larger when shaken back and forth, making it easier to locate if the user loses track of it. This can be helpful for users with large or high resolution displays, or those using multi-monitor setups. Other users find it annoying or distracting, especially if they are accustomed to rapidly moving their mouse or trackpad cursor in a particular app, or merely out of habit when thinking. Thankfully, users can prevent their cursor from enlarging when shaken with a quick trip to System Preferences. Here’s how to do it.
To disable the large cursor shake in OS X El Capitan, launch System Preferences and navigate to Accessibility > Display. Here, you’ll see an option labeled Shake mouse pointer to locate, which will be enabled by default. Note: this option was absent from the beta and developer builds of OS X El Capitan, so make sure you’re using at least the final public build of OS X 10.11.0 to see it.
shake cursor to locate os x el capitan
Simply uncheck this box and you’ll immediately disable the large cursor shake feature; there’s no need to reboot or log off. If you decide that you want to re-enable this feature in the future, just head back to System Preferences > Accessibility > Display and check the box to turn it back on.
Bonus Tip: This menu in System Preferences is also where you can change the default size of your mouse or trackpad cursor, allowing you to make it slightly larger which will increase visibility without relying on the “shake to locate” feature. Simply adjust the slider next to “Cursor size” and you’ll see your mouse or trackpad cursor increase in real time as the slider moves from left to right. The rightmost “Large” size represents the largest that the cursor will get when shaken with the “shake to locate” feature enabled.

14 thoughts on “How to Stop Your Cursor from Getting Bigger in OS X El Capitan”

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WritinLeft says:
Advice to Apple: Put mouse-related options with the mouse.
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Anthony says:
Google: “mac os mouse cursor flashes big”
Yeah, I was wondering what kind of weird accessibility issue was causing my mouse to occasionally get big randomly. I can see the usefulness of it with multiple or 4k/retina screens, but my trusty old 1080p 23″ rarely has enough real estate to lose my cursor.
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smshn says:
now that i know it isnt some weird ass bug going on, i aint so mad at it …. after reading the “purpose”of it ill live with it for a few more daze and see if it still drives me crazy…..
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Bluesdealer says:
Just out of curiosity, does it do this while gaming?
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mitchell271 says:
Thank you! God, that “feature” is annoying
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Lo in SoJo says:
Ah, thank you!
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rickvian says:
i actually like the feature lol
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Emir Ercan Ayar says:
Oh thank you a lot! It was so annoying.
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VvdD says:
I kind of like it, shaking it about right now.
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meredithob says:
Omg, thank GOD for this article. Was driving me crazy (and you can only imagine the search terms I used to articulate the problem to find this article).
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Dancer says:
I have been using the “Cursor size” slider from several Operating Systems back to help me to always see the cursor on my high resolution monitor, setting it on about 50%.
The problem arises when using the large cursor in an application that uses it as a “Tool” such as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.
In these applications the large cursor distorts the tool. The tool is larger but the action of the tool is not. Therefore, while using this kind of application, you MUST reduce the cursor size to its normal size.
Dancer
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Tom Cox says:
Thank you – I was thinking this was something to do with my video driver. These “features” surprise me on occasion 🙂
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J V says:
This article made me happy. Thank you
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