Mouse dragging fails with 10.15 guest

Discussions about using Mac OS X guests (on Apple hardware) in VirtualBox.

Mouse dragging fails with 10.15 guest

Postby culler » 5. Jun 2019, 19:41

I am running VirtualBox version 6.0.8 r130520 (Qt5.6.3) with the 6.08 extension pack on a mac mini host with a Mojave 10.14.5 operating system.

I cloned a Mojave VirtualBox image and performed a certain OS upgrade on that guest. The upgrade succeeded and the system boots and runs, except for one problem which suggests an issue with the VirtualBox USB pointing devices when used with some newer macOS kernels. Mouse drags do not work. (Simple clicks and double-clicks do work, however.) Click-dragging in the title bar of a window moves the window about 5 pixels only. Scrollbars cannot be dragged. Tests indicate that a mouse button release event is being generated as soon as the mouse is moved even though the button is, in fact, still pressed. I have tried using both the "USB Tablet" and the "USB Multi-Touch Tablet" as the pointing device -- both devices behave the same. The host mini does not have a USB tablet, however. It uses an Apple USB keyboard and an Apple USB mouse (neither use bluetooth).

I am able to move windows if I enable mouse-keys and use the keypad to generate mouse events. However, after enabling mouse-keys with System Preferences I am no longer able to open the Accessibility preferences app to disable mouse-keys. I get the Apple "spinning wheel of death" and have to force-quit System Preferences. It seems possible that this hang is somehow related to the USB tablet emulator, but I have no evidence to support that.
Last edited by socratis on 21. Aug 2019, 21:53, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: Changed title to something more appropriate.
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Re: Mouse dragging fails with 10.15 guest

Postby socratis » 6. Jun 2019, 09:21

  1. The first rule of Catalina is ... you don't talk about Catalina!™ :D
    You're not really supposed to be talking about 10.15, remember that NDA that you signed? ;)

  2. We'll be able to talk about 10.15 somewhere in July, when the public beta hits the stores.

  3. From "rumors", you're not the only one. All of the people (that I don't know about) that tried 10.15 as a VM, have the exact same problem. And not just in VirtualBox, but also in Parallels and in Fusion. I'd wait for the next build...

  4. Moving this to the "OSX Guests" area from "OSX pre-releases".
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Re: Mouse dragging fails with 10.15 guest

Postby culler » 6. Jun 2019, 19:47

Thanks. A similar problem with parallels is discussed here: https://kb.parallels.com/en/124705. They provide a workaround.
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Re: Mouse dragging fails with 10.15 guest

Postby socratis » 6. Jun 2019, 19:53

culler wrote:They provide a workaround.

Yes, but I'm not sure how their workaround translates into VirtualBox-speak:
https://kb.parallels.com/en/124705 wrote:Go to virtual machine configuration Hardware > Mouse & Keyboard, then switch Mouse option to Optimize for games.
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Re: Mouse dragging fails with 10.15 guest

Postby culler » 4. Jul 2019, 05:46

Well, we now have not one, but two public releases of Catalina beta. Installing beta 3 as a VirtualBox guest goes quite smoothly if you use Alexander Willner's scripts. But when you are all done you cannot move or resize windows or select text. Anything that requires dragging a mouse fails. The symptoms indicate that this version of macOS thinks that the VirtualBox trackpad emulator is indicating that the mouse button has been released as soon as the mouse pointer moves.

Has anyone been looking at making the trackpad emulator able to communicate with the macOX 10.15 driver? Has there been any progress?
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Re: Mouse dragging fails with 10.15 guest

Postby granada29 » 4. Jul 2019, 07:21

My experiences with a Catalina VM mirrors yours and I hope the VBox devs are also seeing the same behaviour.

However, you can still open System Preferences in the guest and enable Screen Sharing. Once Screen Sharing is enabled in the VM, connect to the VM from your host (using screen sharing) and the Catalina VM becomes quite usable.
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Re: Mouse dragging fails with 10.15 guest

Postby socratis » 4. Jul 2019, 07:27

culler wrote:this version of macOS thinks that the VirtualBox trackpad emulator is indicating that the mouse button has been released as soon as the mouse pointer moves.

That's a really nice finding! Something timing/synchronization related I bet. Let's hope that by the end of the beta there will be a fix...
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Re: Mouse dragging fails with 10.15 guest

Postby culler » 5. Jul 2019, 16:09

Here is my guess about this. I guess that the VirtualBox USB Tablet input device is attempting to emulate a Wacom stylus device. That means that the events it sends should include x, y, pressure and button status.

Apple advertises that a new feature of Catalina is that you can
Use the precision and intuitiveness of Apple Pencil with your favorite creative Mac apps. Draw and write naturally, edit a photo or graphic, and use it to point and click as you do with a mouse.

I am guessing that Apple is expecting the VirtualBox USB tablet to behave like an Apple pencil. As a really wild guess I would speculate that the pressure was ignored by the older macOS drivers, and consequently could also be ignored by the VirtualBox emulator, but that is no longer true. I would guess that the emulator needs to provide a more complex pressure profile in order for a standard mouse drag gesture to be recognized as such by Apple's new driver.

I notice that there is no USB mouse input device available for guests on macOS VirtualBox. Providing one might be a workaround, even if it means that you have to explicitly capture the mouse to use a Catalina guest.
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Re: Mouse dragging fails with 10.15 guest

Postby socratis » 5. Jul 2019, 16:45

culler wrote: I guess that the VirtualBox USB Tablet input device is attempting to emulate a Wacom stylus device
No, it doesn't. It emulates a simple, really simple USB mouse, aka no special features. Your "tablet" is showing in the System Preferences as a simple mouse, not a pressure tablet (or a tablet).

culler wrote:That means that the events it sends should include x, y, pressure and button status.
There's no pressure data. And I'm not sure there will ever be, although "ever" is a big word. Let's say "anytime soon"... ;)

culler wrote:I am guessing that Apple is expecting the VirtualBox USB tablet to behave like an Apple pencil
I highly doubt it. I mean, what do I do with my trackpad on my 2015 MBP that doesn't have a pressure sensor? Start hitting it with a hammer? :)

The truth may be really simpler. 10.15 has added a new option; Input Monitoring. There's a thread in the "OSX pre-releases" area where if the mouse on a 10.15 host moves to another window, VirtualBox crashes. They tracked it down to that "input Monitoring" thingy. Maybe there's something similar affecting the 10.15 client part...
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Re: Mouse dragging fails with 10.15 guest

Postby culler » 5. Jul 2019, 18:08

I hope it does turn out to be simple.

For the record, my Mojave host does not have that preferences option, and the Catalina client does not list any apps as monitoring input, so there is nothing to disable on the guest. Of course that does not rule out "something like input monitoring on the client side" whatever that might be.

I do see one thing that supports the idea that the mouse drag problem is in the VirtualBox input device. That is the report that the same problem occurs with Parallels and could be worked around by changing preferences on the input device.

Also, for the record, I can confirm that mouse drags do work when you connect to the Catalina guest system with VNC, using Apple screen sharing. Note that a "bridged" network adapter is needed on the guest for the screen sharing to work.
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Re: Mouse dragging fails with 10.15 guest

Postby socratis » 5. Jul 2019, 18:27

culler wrote:Note that a "bridged" network adapter is needed on the guest for the screen sharing to work.
A HostOnly adapter works as well. You can only have that one, or have it as a 2nd/3rd/4th adapter if you'd like.

culler wrote:That is the report that the same problem occurs with Parallels and could be worked around by changing preferences on the input device.
Yes, but I don't have a clue how this translates into real-world behavior. The devs might...
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Re: Mouse dragging fails with 10.15 guest

Postby culler » 5. Jul 2019, 18:46

Here is one more workaround for the broken trackpad on my Catalina guest. I was able to connect an Apple bluetooth mouse to the Catalina guest and when I use the bluetooth mouse I am able do mouse drags. Windows can be moved and resized, scrollbars work and text is selectable.
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Re: Mouse dragging fails with 10.15 guest

Postby granada29 » 6. Jul 2019, 06:33

culler wrote:I was able to connect an Apple Bluetooth mouse to the Catalina guest ....

Thanks for the hint. My primary mouse is a Bluetooth Magic Mouse but I have a Logitech USB mouse plugged in as well for the all too frequent times when Bluetooth just hides in the corner and sulks.

I captured the Logitech mouse in the Catalina guest (with the USB capture menu at the bottom of the VM window) - and it works like a charm - window moving, resizing etc working just as expected.

The down side is, this mouse activity is not seen by the host OS so after 3 minutes of mousing around inside the VM and doing nothing on the host side, the host sent the display to sleep. But, all in all, a good result. Thank you for your detective work.
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Re: Mouse dragging fails with 10.15 guest

Postby culler » 20. Jul 2019, 21:03

Unfortunately, Virtualbox 6.0.10 also has the problem where mouse drags do not work with a Catalina Beta 3 guest.
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Guest - MacOS Catalina Beta 6 - Mouse hold and drag not working

Postby Poulpix » 21. Aug 2019, 21:34

Hi,

I have the very same problem as described in the locked topic named "Guest - MacOS Catalina - Mouse hold and drag not working" (sorry, I cannot post the U R L, it looks like I must be a member for more than 1 day to post U R Ls... when spam-fighting alters user experience...).
Anyway, I can guarantee that I'm running VirtualBox 6.0.10 on an up-to-date macOS host (an iMac running Mojave 10.14.6).

Inside the Catalina Beta 6 VM I can left-click, right-click, but whenever I try to click and hold to drag something, it doesn't work. I've tried with a classical USB mouse, and the Apple trackpad I have with my iMac. Both of them don't work for dragging inside the VM.
I also tried to install VirtualBox VM Additions, but I don't know if it's related to Catalina or if I'm doing something wrong, but the installer doesn't get to the end of the install process ; it fails somewhere in the middle of the installation and quits.

Any hints to help me troubleshooting?
Thanks!
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