Mac Cursor Stuck as Magnifying Glass While Screen Sharing

I was screen sharing with another Mac, and I could see the normal mouse arrow pointer, but I couldn’t move it. When I moved my mouse around, it appeared as a magnifying glass, and I couldn’t click on anything. 

I tried searching for answers and found some suggestions to reset the System Management Controller (SMC) but that seemed to be a slightly different issue that did not involve screen sharing, so before I did anything so drastic, I wanted to try some more things.

I started going through the screen sharing settings, and I noticed in the upper left corner of the screen sharing window (beneath the top menu but above where you can see the shared screen), there’s a Control menu with two icons. The one on the left was an arrow mouse pointer with some arcs going around the left side, and when I hovered over it, the tooltip read “Control Mode”. The one on the right was a pair of binoculars, and the hover tooltip for this one read “Observe Mode”. The Observe Mode was darker grey, which means it was selected, so I clicked on “Control Mode”. The magnifying glass disappeared, and I was able to control the mouse again.

12 thoughts on “Mac Cursor Stuck as Magnifying Glass While Screen Sharing”

  1. I’ve screen shared various Macs all through lockdown and this happened for the first time this morning. Thanks for the tip!
    (Resetting SMC would have been like hitting it with a hammer)

  2. Thanks so much for this! I’ve had it happen a couple of times where I just disconnected from the machine and came back because it seemed easier than figuring out what to do. Today I decided to google it, and glad I did. It’s such a weird little problem!

  3. thanks for posting, this worked for me

    i don’t really know how the problem occurred in the first place, i’ve been using screen sharing for months without any issues then one day this just happened for no apparent reason

  4. Thanks so much for posting this! I didn’t have the Screen Sharing toolbar visible so I would never have found this solution.

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