Entering information in text fields should be smooth and fast, with no pauses or delays of any kind. Despite this, some background tasks if corrupt or otherwise malfunctioning may interfere with typing. One of the most common is OS X's spell checking behavior, but sometimes, the built-in options are not to blame.
A reader who had a problem with entering text into various text fields, including e-mails and Web forms, recently contacted us. When navigating through the fields the programs ran just fine, but upon entering any text, the program would pause for a few seconds and display the spinning beach ball.
MacFixIt reader "Bill" writes:
"Since I have upgraded to 10.6, I suffer--suffer, I say--from a phenomenon in Mail and Safari. When I open either of them and start typing in a field in any window, after the first character or two I get the spinning beach ball for five seconds or more. Eventually normal behavior returns, until I move to another window; the problem repeats itself once more time. The issue also manifests itself if I try to drag across a field, or tab from one field to another. After two repetitions, it goes away, until the next time the application is opened. Cause? Cure?"
When you type text in OS X, many applications run it through the built-in spell checker, so if there is a problem with the dictionary or otherwise how the spell-checker is running, then you may see pauses such as this. Despite this, while troubleshooting the problem, Bill was unable to fix it by turning off or changing settings for the spell checker.
Sometimes, even though the built-in options in OS X may not be contributing to the problem at hand. There may be third-party alternatives to the built-in technologies that are causing the problem. It turned out this was the case with Bill, who had installed the "U.S. English (Spell Checker)" that is a third-party solution like "Spell Catcher." In changing the spelling routine back to "US English" in the "Language & Text" system preferences, Bill was able to fix the problem.