Cursor with mind of its own

Since downloading Catalina and Scrivener 3.1.4:

My cursor has a mind of its own.


  1. When I type, it takes 1-2 seconds for the word(s) to appear.
  2. When I backspace to correct a word, the cursor backs up 10 spaces or so and erases all in its path.
    3.When I press return, the cursor descends 10 or so lines.
  3. When I press space between words, 5-6 spaces occur.
  4. When I type a vowel, and occasionally the consonant ‘n’, a bubble opens with the numbers 1-9 and accents/diacriticals above the letter examples.

Example: à A â …
1 2 3

Occurrence level:

These things happen in almost every sentence. But I cannot make them happen automatically.


Type slowly, swear silently, use the mouse to erase the spaces that occur. This helps prevent the cursor from taking off on its own.

Bottom line:

I am shutting my programme down and will wait for an updated version hopefully the near future.

Love the programme.

Thank you.

In my experience, if there is excessive typing lag or odd behaviour right after upgrading the operating system, I first check to make sure that all of the software and plug-ins that I use are up to date, rated to the current OS, and if not, deactivated or uninstalled, until the culprit is found. A good way to start with that is to reboot, and then once you get to the log in screen, hold down Shift after entering your password, and keep it held down until fully logged in. This disables all background utilities and auto-launched software. Gradually start introducing your tools back into use as you work with Scrivener and observe the results. If you hit a sudden cliff of typing lag—the last thing you did is almost certainly your culprit. Check it for updates.

Every time this has happened, I’ve managed to fix it by paring the system down, to some degree. In the best case scenario, I discovered a program was producing an excessive amount of logging information in Console every 15 seconds or so, and whenever that happened, typing would slow to a crawl. Once I quit the process then the whole system sped up. I looked for updates, and sure enough they had already fixed the problem.

Worst case I’ve had to rebuild my user folder from a blank start, because nothing I disabled sped the system up. It gave me a chance to audit a lot of stuff I no longer used, and so although it was a pain, it was ultimately worth it. I had stuff from the ancient days of PowerPC still lingering in the Library folder, at the time. You really only need to do this to your Library folder—you can copy all of your data down into a new account from a backup.

Another thing to check for is the Mac itself being slow! Spotlight is a huge hog, and you just updated the system, it might be churning the same disk you’re working off of, slowing you down further.

Scrivener is a heavy-duty text editor, and as such it is a good barometer for the overhaul health of the system. It is more susceptible to some other program hogging a bunch of resources, than something simple like TextEdit.

I recently received an email from the developers of HoudahSpot advising against updating to Catalina because it “had broken many things”. This seems to include Apple’s own Mail app, to judge by what is being written on Macrumors and the Eclectic Light blog. Unfortunately, this does seem to be about the buggiest OS update for some time. Though as has been pointed out, it does do rather a lot to the underlying File System. It might not be anything to do with your problem, but I’m certainly not keen to use Catalina until they sort it out.

I am having a similar problem. The cursor jumps back half a letter after typing, and the three lines or so in the middle of the editor wobble and jump sideways when typing in them.

At first I thought the problem might be having projects with too much material in them, but cutting down, re-assigning documents to other projects, eliminating duplicates, etc. haven’t helped.

I have tried the clean re-start recommended here, but to no avail. I am beginning to think that simply upgrading to Catalina is to blame. My Mail app has also died. I was having problems with over-heating (and consequent loss of battery-time) until the first, recent update, and that problem has now disappeared. I hope and pray that Apple produces another update to fix the other bugs soon. I depend absolutely on Scrivener and can’t just hang around until Apple gets its finger out.