How To Disable TrackPad On MacBook

disable trackpad macbook pro

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Your MacBook Pro trackpad is a crafty piece of engineering and technology that eliminates the need for an external mouse. With some trackpad gestures and movements, you can complete any and all functions that were once only possible with an external mouse. However, if it malfunctions or you prefer using a mouse keys, you can disable trackpad on MacBook. In this guide, we’ll share how to disable the trackpad on a MacBook and some troubleshooting tips. So, let’s get started.

How To Disable MacBook TrackPad [Quick Fix]

You can quickly disable trackpad on MacBook by going to System Settings > Accessibility > Pointer Control. Under Mouse & Trackpad, toggle on the Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present option.

Step-By-Step Guide To Disable MacBook TrackPad

If you want to disable your trackpad due to personal preference or any other reason, follow the steps below:

  1. Click the apple logo menu in the top-left corner of your screen and choose System Settings.
  1. Click Accessibility and select Pointer Control on the right-hand side.
  1. Toggle on the Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present switch.

This will disable your MacBook trackpad when an external mouse or trackpad is connected to your computer.

Note: An external mouse or trackpad will connect to your computer through a Bluetooth connection, so make sure the Bluetooth is turned on and functioning on your computer before you try to disable your trackpad.

Reasons To Disable Trackpad On Mac

There are several reasons why you might want to disable your MacBook trackpad. Below, we’ve shared some common reasons for disabling the trackpad on your Mac.

1. External Mouse Usage

Many users find an external mouse more comfortable and precise for various tasks. Some of the reasons why people prefer using an external mouse include:

  • Graphic design: An external mouse can provide better precision and control when working on intricate designs.
  • Gaming: Gamers often prefer the responsiveness and additional buttons that gaming mice offer.
  • Ergonomics: An external mouse may be more comfortable to use, especially for those who experience wrist strain or discomfort from using a trackpad for extended periods.

2. Trackpad Malfunction Or Damage

If your trackpad is not working correctly or has suffered physical damage, disabling it can prevent unwanted input and potential system issues. Some common trackpad problems include:

  • Unresponsive trackpad: The trackpad may not respond to touch or gestures, making it difficult to navigate your MacBook.
  • Stuck or erratic cursor: The cursor may get stuck in one position or move erratically, disrupting your workflow.
  • Physical damage: The trackpad may have visible damage or wear, such as cracks or dents, which can affect its functionality.

3. Accidental Input During Typing Or Other Tasks

Disabling the trackpad can help prevent accidental input when your palm or wrist brushes against it. This can be especially helpful for those who:

  • Type extensively: Writers, programmers, and others who spend a significant amount of time typing may experience accidental input from the trackpad. Accidental clicks and swipes are quite common with the trackpad as it sits so close to the keyboard on your MacBook.
  • Use the MacBook in tight spaces: In cramped environments, it’s easier for your hands or wrists to accidentally make contact with the trackpad.

4. Trackpad Sensitivity Issues

Some users may find the trackpad too sensitive and prefer to disable it in favor of another input method. Sensitivity issues can include:

  • Accidental clicks: The trackpad may register unintentional clicks when users lightly brush against it.
  • Inaccurate cursor movement: The cursor may move too quickly or slowly, making it difficult to navigate or select items accurately.
  • Unwanted gesture activation: Multi-touch gestures, such as pinch-to-zoom or swipe, may activate inadvertently.

In these cases, disabling the trackpad can help avoid frustration and improve the overall experience while using MacBook.

Troubleshooting TrackPad Issues

If you’re experiencing issues with your trackpad, here are several troubleshooting steps to help you resolve them.

1. Clean The Trackpad

Dirt, debris, or residue can cause the trackpad to malfunction. To clean your trackpad, follow these tips:

  1. Shut down your MacBook and unplug it from any power source.
  2. Use a microfiber cloth or a lint-free cloth to gently wipe the surface of the trackpad.
  3. If necessary, slightly dampen the cloth with water or a screen cleaner, but avoid using harsh chemicals or excessive moisture, which can damage the trackpad.

2. Check For macOS Updates

Installing the latest macOS updates can fix known trackpad bugs and improve overall system performance. To check for updates on your Mac, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Apple menu and click System Settings.
  1. Click General and select Software Update.
  1. If updates are available, click Update Now to install them.

3. Reset The PRAM And SMC

Resetting the Parameter Random Access Memory (PRAM) and the System Management Controller (SMC) can sometimes resolve trackpad issues. These components manage various hardware settings on your MacBook, including trackpad functionality.

  • Reset PRAM: To reset the PRAM, shut down your MacBook, then turn it on and immediately hold down the Option, Command, P, and R keys together for about 20 seconds until the MacBook restarts.
  • Reset SMC: The process for resetting the SMC varies depending on your MacBook model. For MacBooks with a non-removable battery, shut down your MacBook, then hold down the Shift, Control, and press the option keys along with the power button for 10 seconds. For MacBooks with a removable battery, shut down the MacBook, remove the battery, hold the power button for 5 seconds, reinsert the battery, and turn on the MacBook.

4. Check For Hardware Issues

If your trackpad still isn’t working correctly, there may be an underlying hardware issue. Some common hardware-related problems include:

  • Loose connections: Internal connections within your MacBook might be loose or disconnected, affecting trackpad functionality.
  • Faulty trackpad: The trackpad itself might be defective or damaged, requiring repair or replacement.

In these cases, consider seeking professional help from an Apple Authorized Service Provider or Apple Support to diagnose and resolve the issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I disable the trackpad on my MacBook without an external mouse connected?

Yes, you can disable the trackpad on your MacBook without an external mouse connected. But navigating your MacBook may be challenging without a trackpad or an alternative input method, such as an mouse or keyboard shortcuts. So, only disable it if you have an mouse.

How do I re-enable my trackpad after disabling it?

You can easily re-enable your trackpad after disabling it. To re-enable your trackpad, simply toggle off the Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present option in the Accessibility > Pointer Control.

Are there any known issues or risks associated with disabling the trackpad on a MacBook?

There are no serious issues or risks associated with disabling the trackpad on a MacBook. However, it’s always a good idea to back up your data before making any changes to your system. You should also avoid disabling the trackpad without an external mouse to prevent accessibility issues.

Will disabling the trackpad affect my MacBook’s performance or battery life?

Disabling the trackpad should not affect your MacBook’s performance or battery life significantly. However, using an external mouse may slightly increase power consumption, especially if it’s a wireless mouse. Nevertheless, the difference in battery life should be negligible for most users.

Final Thoughts

Disabling your MacBook’s trackpad is a simple process, but remember to take precautions, such as ensuring you have an alternative input method and backing up your data. Once you’ve disabled the trackpad, experiment with different settings and input methods to find the most comfortable and efficient setup for you.

If you ever want to disable trackpad on MacBook, you now know how to get it done with only a few easy steps.

Have you ever disabled your trackpad? Why? Share your reasons and alternative methods with us in the comments below.

About Lorena
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Lorena holds a 13-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Chip. Her role involves editorial management from writing to editing and ensuring that the articles are informative, useful, and relevant to readers who are new to Mac.

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  • Lara

    I tried this and it does not work. I prefer to use a mouse, as the trackpad seems to just always do what I don’t want. So I try to disable it to use my mouse, but although the mouse works, the trackpad is still enabled and I somehow keep enlarging the screen or switching the sound off just by having my fingers too near to the trackpad. Is there a next level troubleshooting for this?

  • Regina

    I tried this and it just didn’t work. I just want my touchpad off when I’m using a mouse, and I followed those steps, tried restarting it, removing and replacing the mouse, and it still isn’t disabled. Any other ideas?

  • Kyle

    What about high sierra

  • Jeff L.

    Once I do this, if the mouse is lost or far away, how do I regain control of the touchpad?

  • Barbara

    I did these steps on the MacBook Air and it still will not turn off. Is there something else I can do. It is very frustrating because my thumbs continually keep touching the trackpad and causing problems. Thanks

  • Jan

    The information you provided is much appreciated. Under Accessibility menu, I clicked on the “Pointer Control” to find the Mouse and Trackpad options that you gave. Now my glitching trackpad is disabled and my old MacBook is working well. Thank you!

  • Mark

    So, after contacting apple support, it seems the new trackpad disabler checkbox is under “pointer” in accessibility.

    • macbookproslow logo


      Thank you! Have updated the article.

  • Mark

    On my accessibility menu, there is no choice for mouse and trackpad. Macbook pro and Mac OS Big Sur. Frustrating!!

    • macbookproslow logo


      It’s under ‘Pointer Control’ in Big Sur.

      • santiago

        not longer there after update, can’t find it anywhere and my pointer is crazy….

  • chixeicoatl

    Thank you so much for sharing this information.
    Very well explained.
    Five stars

  • Dan McNeece

    Thanks for helping me find the option to turn off the trackpad. My problem is when I’m typing on the laptop keyboard it often triggers the trackpad, triggering me to curse when my cursor moves to an unintended place.

  • Jordan

    This straight-up did not work for me. I have a Bluetooth mouse that I am using, I have the “Ignore built-in trackpad” option checked, and yet my trackpad is still active.

    • Chris Lane

      OS Catalina. Same here. Frustrating as hell.

    • zach

      Same here, i’m using a logitech bluetooth mouse, it’s connected through bluetooth , the “Ignore when mouse or wireless trackpad is present” is clicked, i have a 2015 powerbook laptop

    • Candace

      Same, so frustrating that I cannot find a solution.

    • Francis D

      Same problem for me. I have checked the box, but the trackpad is still active.

  • Henry Farnam

    I have an early 2015 MacBook pro, so my “accessibility” section is not the same as what you displayed. I am just trying to disable it when I am typing, as I continually hit or rub against the touch pad which sends the cursor off into another place on the document. I don’t see how to do this, other than to put a piece of paper over the pad itself. Any ideas, or do the newer mac pro’s have a switch to accomplish this. Thanks, Henry

  • Richard Nault

    When I’m typing my curser will jump to a different place on the document. This is very frustrating and breaks the flow of my writing,

    I assume that it does that because I have accidentally touched the pad. So I will disable it and use an external divise to see if this stops.

    • Jim Bellomo

      OMG! This is the bane of my existence. I type in excess of 100 wpm and I will look up at the screen to find that the cursor has jumped up five lines and selected three or four lines and deleted them all before I noticed. I would give my right arm or a keystroke that should just turn off the trackpad while I typed and then turned it back on when I was done typing.