How to Turn off the Trackpad on Mac

To turn off the trackpad on your MacBook, you don’t need to install applications and utilities, program something, or use the terminal. Everything is performed very simply and quickly. There are 2 ways to do this. Let’s consider them.

How to Turn off the Trackpad on Mac

How to turn off the trackpad on the Mac if you use an external USB mouse

If you use a USB mouse, wired or wireless, the necessity to use the trackpad ceases to exist. It even can interfere with typing.

Apple has provided the ability to activate the function of automatic disabling the trackpad when a USB mouse is connected.

To activate it, follow these steps:

  • Go to the system settings
Go to the system settings - Mac
  • Select "Accessibility" in the window appeared
Select "Accessibility" - Mac
  • In the next window, select “Mouse & Trackpad” in the list on the right. The settings appear on the right side of this dialog box.
  • Find the “Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present” item and check the box next to it.
Select “Mouse and Trackpad” - Mac

That’s all. Now, the automatic disabling of the trackpad when connecting a wired or wireless USB mouse is activated.

The trackpad will turn off after activating the option (setting a checkmark in the preferences) even if the external mouse is already connected to the Mac, and you don’t need to reboot the computer or do some other things.

How to disable the trackpad on Mac if there is no external mouse

But how to disable the trackpad on Mac if you don’t have an external USB mouse and you won’t be able to turn it off automatically. In this case, the functionality for controlling the cursor from the keyboard will come to the rescue.

When the function is activated, a part of the alphabetic and numeric keys will be disabled. And typing will be inconvenient.

Controlling the mouse cursor from the keyboard is easily activated on the MacBook.

  • To do this, press the “Alt” (“Option”) button 5 times. After that, you will hear a beep and a notification window will appear on the screen.
Press the “Alt” (“Option”) button 5 times - Mac

Disabling the mode is also performed by pressing the “Alt” (“Option”) button 5 times.

But by default, disabling the trackpad on the Mac when activating the cursor control from the keyboard is not enabled. You need to make simple settings.

For this purpose, follow the path:

  • Apple menu-> “System Preferences” -> “Accessibility” -> “Mouse & Trackpad”
  • Click the “Options” button in the upper-right part of the dialog box
Click the “Options” button - Mac
  • In the section appeared, check the box next to "Ignore built-in trackpad when Mouse Keys is on". 
  • After that, click "OK" and the changes will be saved.
Check the box next to "Ignore built-in trackpad when Mouse Keys is on" - Mac

As it was mentioned above, if you disable the trackpad on the Mac in such a way, some of the alphabetic and numeric keys will stop working and will be used to control the cursor.

These are the following characters: 7, 8, 9, U, O, J, K, L – to move the cursor, and I – to select (similar to the left mouse button).

  • To hold the cursor (for highlighting a text, for example), you must press the “M” key, and to release it, press the “.” key.
Characters: 7, 8, 9, U, O, J, K, L – to move the cursor, and I – to select

If your Mac has a numeric keypad (to the right of the alphabetic keypad), you can control the cursor using the keys 7, 8, 9, 4, 6, 1, 2, 3, and 5 (they work like the left button), 0, and “.” (to press and depress the pointer, respectively).


We see that it is possible to solve the problem of how to turn off the trackpad on the Mac. Moreover, there are two ways to do this. Although, Apple could take care of this, and implement disabling the trackpad using some combination of hotkeys.

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