How to Disable TrackPad on MacBook Pro

The trackpad on your MacBook Pro is a crafty piece of engineering and technology that has allowed laptop-style computers to become smaller and lighter while at the same time, allowing you to complete any and all functions that once were only possible with the use of an external mouse.

There are many ways to utilize the features of your trackpad on your computer and there might even be some trackpad gestures that you are unaware of.

It is possible to disable the trackpad if you need or want to at any point. The process is simple and there are a few different reasons why you might want to do this, which we will look at below.

This article will show you how to easily disable the trackpad on your MacBook Pro and also how to reverse that when you want the trackpad to be working again.

Why Disable a Trackpad?

There are a couple of different reasons why you might want to disable your trackpad.

Even though this is a nice feature of your MacBook Pro and you may never actually disable it, it’s good to know how just in case you want or need to at some point. The trackpad is also really easy to turn off and on so knowing the steps to do the task is good information to have.

The main reason that you might want to disable your trackpad comes down to personal preference. Some people just like using a regular external mouse over the trackpad. I personally don’t mind using a trackpad for most tasks, but for some things I do frequently, like audio production using Logic X, I like the feel of an external mouse over a trackpad. Some people also like to use an external trackpad instead of the one built into their laptops.

I’ve heard other people say that they don’t like the trackpad as much as a mouse because as they are typing or working on their computer, they will often accidentally click or swipe with their hand as the trackpad sits so close to the keyboard on your MacBook. Your trackpad might malfunction or break at some point and it’s good to know how to disable it and connect an external mouse in this case scenario as well.

How to Disable the TrackPad

If you do find yourself wanting to disable your trackpad due to personal preference or any other reason, it is really easy to do.

In a matter of seconds you can turn the trackpad off and it’s just as easy to turn it back on. Just follow the steps below and you can disable the feature and use an external mouse.

  1. Click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen.
  2. Click on System Preferences.
  3. Click on the Accessibility Icon.
  4. In the Accessibility menu click on Pointer Control from the options in the window on the left-hand side.
  5. Check the Ignore when mouse or wireless trackpad is present checkbox.
  6. Your trackpad will now be disabled when an external mouse or trackpad is connected to your computer.

To turn your trackpad back on simply follow steps 1 through 4 above and then uncheck the Ignore when mouse or wireless trackpad is present checkbox.

Keep in mind that you can still connect an external mouse or trackpad and have the main trackpad on your MacBook function. If you don’t select the checkbox from the Mouse & Trackpad menu, your main trackpad will remain on. There might be some reason to have your main trackpad still function when you have an external mouse or trackpad connected and the choice is up to you if you want to turn it on or off in this instance.

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

Bonus Tip

Now that you know how to disable your trackpad, you can use this process as a troubleshooting method if the situation arises.

Sometimes the trackpad on your MacBook Pro can stop working due to a glitch or malfunction. If you follow the steps above to disable your trackpad and then turn it back on, it might fix this problem.

It’s not a guarantee that this will work if you experience problems with your trackpad, but it is a quick and easy way to troubleshoot the issue that has fixed a not-working trackpad on my computer in the past.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are a fan of the trackpad on your MacBook Pro or not, there is no denying its functional capabilities.

It is a great piece of technology that has simplified how we use our computers while also making them effective and efficient with fewer accessories needed to complete man ordinary tasks. If you ever want or need to disable your trackpad, you now know the steps necessary to get it done with only a few easy steps.

Have you ever disabled your trackpad? Why?

10 thoughts on “How to Disable TrackPad on MacBook Pro”

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!


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