I often lose track of the location of the cursor when I bring my attention to something off-screen (a book, a mobile device, etc).
Since I have a big display, moving the mouse a little won't do the trick because the cursor is too small to be noticed in the peripheral view.

I wonder if there's a free tool that highlights the cursor after the mouse has been inactive for an arbitrary period of time.

I use OS X 10.9.2 (Mavericks)

I think a shortcut to would come in handy if there is no option for an inactivity timer.

  • Windows has an accessibility option to enable hitting the control key to ping the mouse, I'd be surprised if a similar feature was not available on a Mac. May 3, 2014 at 19:49
  • @rraallvv Does it have to highlight after some time or are you willing to press a shortcut? May 3, 2014 at 19:52
  • @rraallw Which operating system? (for some reason I thought you'd said Mac OS X, but after rereading your question I saw that you had made no mention of the OS)
    – nidunc
    May 3, 2014 at 21:01
  • @JordanMcGuigan Mac OS X doesn't have that particular feature, but it can zoom in to the location of the cursor when pressing a combination of keys, and zoom out again with another combination of keys.
    – nidunc
    May 3, 2014 at 21:04
  • @nidunc I updated the question to add the information you are asking for.
    – rraallvv
    May 3, 2014 at 21:30

4 Answers 4


Mouse locator is what you are looking for. The requirements are:

Universal binary compatible with both PowerPC and Intel processors. Requires Mac OSX version 10.4 (Tiger) or later. (321KB)

so it will work with you. This uses a shortcut as a trigger to 'ping' the cursor's location or a timer (in trigger delay) to show the cursor location.

You will be able to find your cursor very easily with this:

Highly visible locator instantly reveals your mouse position.

It installs this as a separate System Preference Pane.

These are all the options you can change:

enter image description here

I would recommend using F5 as the shortcut key because it is generally used for nothing on the Mac (by default)

If you want, you could also make your cursor slightly bigger, but this could be annoying, maybe covering words or letters when doing other stuff, but there is always the option!:

You’ll find the setting within the Universal Access pane of System Preferences (Apple menu->System Preferences). Click the Mouse & Trackpad tab and then click and drag the Cursor Size slider. The changes will take effect immediately, so choose a size you’re happy with.

Read more over here

  • Isn't F5 used to reload pages (in web browsers for example)? Or is that just Windows...
    – nidunc
    May 3, 2014 at 21:43
  • @nidunc Only on Windows, AFAIK, to refresh in Mac, you press CMD+R May 4, 2014 at 13:01
  • 1
    @shub Firefox still uses F5 additionally to CMD+R on OS X but with any other browser you're right. May 4, 2014 at 16:29
  • Mouse Locator doesn't work with Mavericks. (Or to be more precise. It works until the screen blanks, then you need to go back into the System Preferences panel and re-enable it, which is pretty annoying).
    – user6767
    Jul 29, 2014 at 21:53

I believe Mouse Locator will perfectly suit your needs

From the website:

  • Highly visible locator instantly reveals your mouse position.
  • Controllable trigger time period, from 1 second to 30 minutes.
  • Eliminates the frustrating search of your screen.
  • Indispensable addition to Mac OS X, v10.4 or later required.

So, you can set the amount of time the mouse has to be inactive for before it triggers itself. However, you can also set a shortcut to manually activate it.
You can also set the amount of time the locator is displayed for, even for infinity!

Settings page
Picture of settings page

You can also change the graphic which is used (by default it looks like the one on the top-right of the picture)

For more information, and a lengthy review, have a look at this: Mouse Locator - Cursor, cursor, where for art thou? - Mac OS X Hints

Mac OS X also has a built-in feature of zooming in on the mouse pointer:

I just zoom in
Authored by: mzs on Feb 20, '06 09:17:36AM

Under Universal Access in System Preferences I have Zoom enabled. Whenever I cannot find my mouse I just press ++= and my screen zooms in to where my mouse cursor is. Then I zoom back out with ++-.

Per a comment on the linked Mac OS X Hints article. 3


You can check out Presentify app for macOS. It puts a full circle or a ring around your cursor for better visibility. It has click animations. You can even customize the look and feel of the ring/circle like color, opacity, size, etc.

enter image description here

Link: https://apps.apple.com/app/presentify/id1507246666

Disclosure: I am the developer of this app.


On my Macs just wiggling the mouse (or finger on the trackpad) a couple of times causes the pointer to expand. This is built in and costs you nothing.

  • Interestingly enough, they added that feature after I posted the question 🤔
    – rraallvv
    Sep 2, 2020 at 13:51
  • @rraallvv I'm not sure when that was introduced, but it's been that way for a while.
    – Eric S
    Sep 2, 2020 at 13:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.