Track Pad Unresponsive On Your Mac? Here's the Fix.

Sometimes, your Mac's trackpad might refuse to respond and if you are experiencing this on your device, don't panic! An unresponsive trackpad can be a pain as it hinders the work (and entertainment) that you can get done on your Mac. However, being a fairly common problem, it's easy to fix. We have created an easy-to-follow, step by step guide to help get your trackpad operational again!

A multitude of reasons can cause this problem and pinpointing the exact issue is difficult. That's why we recommend trying out all the troubleshooting methods provided below. These are a mixture of software and hardware fixes. Most of them are cheap though, and don't require much technical knowledge.

Change Settings

One of the most common problems is when the settings are changed. This fix simply requires you to go into the settings and reset them. Here is how to do it.

  1. Click on the Apple logo on the top right-hand corner of the screen.
  2. Choose "System Preferences."
  3. Click on "Trackpad."
  4. Select "Point and Click."
  5. You can check if any settings are changed from their default ones.

Allow Trackpad to Function

This is also an issue with the settings. When using an external mouse, you might have turned this setting on - it is used to make sure your trackpad doesn't interrupt your mouse. The fix for this is pretty straightforward and will only take a few seconds. Here is how to do it.

  1. Go to "System Preferences."
  2. Choose "Bluetooth."
  3. Click on "Turn off Bluetooth."
  4. Go to "System Preferences."
  5. Select "Accessibility."
  6. From the left-side, choose "Mouse and Trackpad."
  7. Disable "Ignore Built-in Trackpad When Mouse or Wireless Trackpad is Present" option if turned on.

Update macOS

It may also be possible that your Mac is not updated. In this case, you'll need to update your Mac which may solve a lot of software-related problems, including glitches and bugs. The process to check for updates is given below.

  1. Open "System Preferences."
  2. Go to "Software Updates."
  3. Click "Update now," if any updates are available.

Reset PRAM and NVRAM

PRAM (Programmable Random Access Memory) and NVRAM (Non-Volatile Random Access Memory) are forms of memory that perform critical tasks of your Mac. One of these tasks includes dealing with wireless connections like WiFi or Bluetooth. PRAM and NVRAM can be corrupted and cause problems, requiring a reset. Here's how to do it.

  1. Turn off your Mac.
  2. Hold down the Command, Option, P, and R keys simultaneously with one hand.
  3. Click on the Power button with your free hand.
  4. Release these keys when you either hear two sounds or the Apple logo appear twice.
  5. Wait for your Mac to reboot.
  6. Your Trackpad should now be working.

Reset the SMC

The SMC (System Management Controller) plays a role in controlling thermal and power management, battery charging, video mode switching, sleep and wake, hibernation, and LED indicators. Similarly, for when our trackpad isn't working, it also needs to be reset. It is a relatively simple process, here is how to do it.

  1. Close your Mac.
  2. Hold the Power Button for 10 seconds.
  3. Wait a few seconds and then turn on your Mac using the power button.
  4. Your Trackpad should now be working.

CleanMyMac X

CleanMyMac X is your Mac's first-aid kit. It has several tools that are designed to keep your device clean of useless files. A lot of these files, like caches, can cause software problems. Cache files can interfere with the system and take up unnecessary space. We recommend using CleanMyMac X to clean your storage when your trackpad isn't working, in order to remove any potential interfering malware. Here's how to use CleanMyMac X to get your trackpad running again.

  1. Install CleanMyMac X.
  2. Click on "System Junk."
  3. Select "Scan."
  4. Let CleanMyMac X scan.
  5. Click "Remove."
  6. This will remove any cache and malware.
  7. Your Trackpad should now be working.

Broken Trackpad

If the methods described above didn't work for you, your trackpad might be broken. In that case, you'll need to get it replaced.

This can be done at home very cheaply, but if you're not Steve Jobs, you might end up damaging your Mac even more! For this reason, we recommend taking your device to an Apple Service Center or a trustworthy repair shop.

Sending it to Apple won't void your warranty and they will fix it even if the trackpad doesn't need replacement. If you're skilled at hardware fixes and want to attempt a repair yourself, we recommend going through a few video guides, at least, first.

External Mouse

If you don't want your trackpad replaced, you can just buy a mouse. Mice are relatively cheap, coming in at $5 to $20 for the basic models. These will fulfill all your basic needs. A mouse generally outperforms a trackpad too in many ways. You get more control over your cursor and a larger area to work with.

Additionally, you can buy any computer mouse to your liking - it can be wired or wireless. We have listed down two of our favorite mice below.

Logitech M100

Logitech M100 is a basic and inexpensive mouse. It is a wired mouse and doesn't offer many unique features, but for around $10, it gets the basics done. Both right-handed and left-handed people can use this. Moreover, Logitech is a reputable company, so you know the product is of high quality. The Logitech M100 only comes in black color.

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Logitech M535

If you don't like wires, we suggest the Logitech M535 Bluetooth Mouse. Coming in just over $20 generally, it offers minimal special features, but it's a perfect trackpad replacement. Bluetooth mice are more convenient to use. The Logitech M535 comes in two colors - black and blue.

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How to Connect a Bluetooth Mouse to a Mac

If you're new to using external mice, you might not know how to connect a Bluetooth mouse to a Mac. Well, don't worry. Here is how to do it.

  1. Press the Command and Spacebar keys.
  2. This will open the spotlight search.
  3. Make sure your mouse is turned on.
  4. Search "Mouse Preferences."
  5. Hit Return.
  6. Wait for your mouse to show up.
  7. Using the arrow keys, make the connect option blue.
  8. Hit Return.
  9. Your Bluetooth mouse should be connected.

There are a few additional things that you need to take into consideration. The mouses that we mentioned are only entry-level, you can spend more money to get better features, like RGB ("Red Green Blue" - lets you change your mouse's light colors) and programmable buttons.

Mice have their downsides as well. You need a flat surface to use them, and they are inconvenient and difficult to use on the move.


In summary, if you Mac's trackpad becomes unresponsive, we suggest first making sure all your settings are set to default. If that doesn't help, you should try updating your macOS. Resetting PRAM, NVRAM and SMC should also get the trackpad functioning again. CleanMyMac X can also be used to clear any files that may be causing interference.

If none of them work, there is a chance your trackpad can be broken. You can try replacing it by yourself at home, or you can take it to a specialized service center. If you don't want to do that, you can just buy one of our recommended external mice.

Muaz Ashrafi

Hi! I am Muaz, a Mass Communication major. I like to think I am a free urban spirit. I write blogs with a focus on tech and gadgets. When I'm not writing, you can find me with my headphones on, relaxing to some good house EDM music. I'm also a hobbyist photographer, you can find me on Instagram @mzwithacamera.


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