There’s no doubt that the Mac trackpad is an incredible useful tool, that works via not only clicks, but through gestures and swipes. Nonetheless, some users may prefer to use an external mouse out of ease and because it’s what they’re used to. If you’re one of these people, you may want to learn how to disable the Mac trackpad.

The Mac trackpad is a sensitive tool on your Mac, that can respond to input that you’d prefer be ignored, considering the fact that you’re using an external mouse. If you don’t adjust your settings to ignore your Mac trackpad, the trackpad can cause some strange things to occur on your Mac that you weren’t intending to do. Perhaps, you’re also a pet owner, and your cat often crawls around on your computer, causing erratic trackpad behavior to occur. Believe it or not, this is more common than you’d think.

Luckily, you can easily disable the trackpad through the settings on your Mac. This will only take a few moments of your time. The feature can be enabled and disabled, anytime you wish. In order to get started and learn how to disable the Mac trackpad when using an external mouse, follow the simple instructions below.

Adjust Settings to Disable Built-in Trackpad

The method below will work on any MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro. Macs that lack a built-in trackpad feature, obviously won’t be able to carry this out. The method below is very easy to carry out, and only requires a few moments of your time. In order to get started, and learn how to disable the built-in trackpad on your Mac, when you’re using an external mouse, follow the simple instructions below.

1. Click on the Apple logo in the top left corner of your screen.

2. From the drop-down menu that appears, click on System Preferences.


3. Click on the Accessibility preference panel.

4. Click on Mouse & Trackpad from the left windowpane.

Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present

5. There will be a checkbox next to Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present. Click on the checkbox in order to enable the option. A small blue check should appear in the checkbox, when the option is enabled.

6. Close System Preferences.

It’s as simple as that. You’ve now disabled your Mac’s trackpad, if there’s an external mouse connected to your computer. The change will take place instantaneously. It doesn’t matter if your mouse is connected through a USB cable or through Bluetooth, the internal trackpad on the Mac will stop working, as long as the mouse is connected. You don’t have to worry about a thing. Once you’ve followed the instructions above once, you don’t have to change any other setting, when connecting an external mouse to your Mac.

This method is also a great troubleshooting tool for when you find yourself unable to click due to interference between two input tools, or for when other strange click and mouse behaviors occur.

Later on, if you notice your trackpad isn’t working while your mouse is connected, keep in mind it may be due to the fact that you’ve enabled the option above. If you wish to disable this feature later on, for whatever reason, simply follow the instructions above, and check the checkbox for Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present. The blue checkmark inside the checkbox should disappear, when the option is disabled. You can enable and disable the option anytime you wish, using the instructions above, depending on your needs.