How to Disable TrackPad on MacBook

disable trackpad 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. Although it sounds amazing, it’s not for everyone, some users simply prefer to use a mouse. 

If that’s your case, you can quickly disable trackpad on Mac from System Preferences > Accessibility > Pointer Control. And under Mouse & Trackpad, simply check this option: Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present. That’s it. 

Below, we will show you the super detailed guide on how to disable the trackpad on a MacBook along with some bonus tips. If you’re interested in why would people want to turn off their trackpad, you’ll find some answers here as well. 

How to Disable MacBook 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. Follow the steps below to turn off the trackpad on mac. 

Step 1: Click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen and choose System Preferences

Step 2: Click on the Accessibility icon.

Step 3: In the Accessibility menu click on Pointer Control from the options in the window on the left-hand side.

Step 4: Check Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present

Your MacBook trackpad will now be disabled when an external mouse or trackpad is connected to your computer.

Bonus Tips

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.

Whenever you want to turn on the MacBook trackpad, simply uncheck that Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present option from Step 4

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.

Keep in mind that you can still turn on and off the trackpad on Mac when a mouse is connected. If you don’t select the checkbox from the Mouse & Trackpad menu, your main trackpad will remain on and if an external mouse or trackpad is already connected, it’ll still work the same. 

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.

Why Disable Trackpad on Mac

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.

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?

About Lorena
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?

    Reply
  • 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?

    Reply
  • Kyle

    What about high sierra

    Reply
  • Jeff L.

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

    Reply
  • 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

    Reply
  • 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!

    Reply
  • Mark

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

    Reply
    • Lorena

      Thank you! Have updated the article.

      Reply
  • Mark

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

    Reply
    • Lorena

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

      Reply
      • santiago

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

        Reply
  • chixeicoatl

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

    Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
    • Chris Lane

      OS Catalina. Same here. Frustrating as hell.

      Reply
    • 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

      Reply
    • Candace

      Same, so frustrating that I cannot find a solution.

      Reply
    • Francis D

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

      Reply
  • 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

    Reply
  • 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply