Highlighting Audio in MacOS Sonoma is Lagging/Jerky

I’m on an M1 MacMini running Sonoma.

Since updating the OS, I’ve noticed that Audacity is “jerky” when selecting parts of an audio track to edit (dialogue in a podcast). For example, If I were to drop the cursor at the end of the sentence, holding down the left mouse button and dragging the cursor to the left, to get to the beginning of the sentence, the “highlight” lags behind and won’t completely follow the cursor until I’ve let off the left mouse button.

This may be a Sonoma issue. I am using a Kensington Expert Mouse (trackball) with the latest Kensington driver.

Any thoughts are appreciated!

Possibly you’ve accidentally ticked the “snap” box.

Hi, I have the same issue on MacBook Pro (Sonoma), but ticking or unticking the snap box doesn’t make any difference. When I drag my cursor to highlight an edit region to cut, the highlighted section on that region stops about 1cm behind my mouse cursor. The slower I move my mouse, the more the highlighting lags behind. Oddly, the Timeline bar, above the track, accurately shows my cursor position and movement all the time (shows a dark grey highlight above the track). The edit cut will still happen where my cursor is, but it just makes it really difficult to see exactly where you’re going to cut - because it sits just outside the highlighted region. This never happened before on my PC, only when using Audacity on a Mac for the first time (I installed the Mac version avoiding .dng). Any ideas how to solve this? Many thanks! Mark

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Thank you, @Trebor! I was thinking it might be something like this, either on Audacity or within the Kensington driver. But snap is off for me.

Any thoughts on something else I should check?

Apart from the known check for update fault, I have this problem as well. I can no longer highlight the waveform accurately by selecting a section of it. The highlighted area stops despite me moving the mouse further to select more of the area I require. I have not changed any configuration settings.

This error should be fixed in the latest Audacity 3.4 alpha. Can you try that? audacityteam.org/nightly (the audacity-macOS-3.4.0-[…]-universal version is the version you should try)

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I’d love to try it out, but apparently it is not signed? MacOS 13.5.1 on an intel iMac:
“Audacity 340b.app” can’t be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.

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I’m having the same issue as @billw58 as far as installing the Alpha version. @LWinterberg, are there any other options for installation?

hang on, I think I confused it with another bug in macOS 14 which breaks Audacity entirely. This one is tracked at Making selection over the waveform lags behind the cursor position · Issue #5309 · audacity/audacity · GitHub anyway.

I think you need to allow non-notarized apps for our alphas - How to launch any macOS app, even those not notarized by Apple | AppleInsider

There should be a beta very soon though.

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I’m seeing it on 3.4 Alpha. I’m on an M1 2021 MacBook Pro w/32GB memory. Here’s a short screenshot. 3.4 Alpha Select.mp4 - Google Drive

You’re experiencing Audacity performance issues after updating your OS, possibly related to your Kensington trackball. Here’s what to do:

  1. Update Audacity.
  2. Update Kensington trackball driver.
  3. Adjust Audacity settings.
  4. Test with a different input device.
  5. Check system performance.
  6. Research OS compatibility.
  7. Seek help from the Audacity community.
  8. Consider rolling back the OS update if necessary.

Did you use ChatGPT for this answer?

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Anyway, we have a pretty good idea what’s happening here: Audacity still targets MacOS X 10.9 Mavericks as a built target. This is necessary for Audacity to work on MacOS at all at the moment. And it seems like Apple introduced a bug in how they handle apps “made for” 10.9, which causes this behavior.

We’ll try to find a workaround for Apple’s bug, but we can’t promise anything at the moment.


I remember updating my OS and it basically broke Audacity. You used to be able to check a box in the info page in the App which said something like open in low resolution. That disappeared and the cursor moved con jerks. Had to take my imac to a shop and get the system downgraded.

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This bug is currently being fixed in When TrackPanel::OnPaint detects selection change - repaint all by crsib · Pull Request #5376 · audacity/audacity · GitHub

If you’d like to try out an alpha build with the fix available, When TrackPanel::OnPaint detects selection change - repaint all · audacity/audacity@f6d0dd6 · GitHub has them (Github account required to download)

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