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5 Quick Fixes For the MacBook Pro Trackpad Not Working

Experiencing issues with your MacBook Pro trackpad can be frustrating, especially when you rely on it for daily tasks. You’re not alone in facing this, and many users have encountered similar challenges.

If your MacBook Pro trackpad isn’t working, consider updating the firmware, resetting the SMC and PRAM, tweaking trackpad settings, or deleting property list files. Regularly updating macOS can also prevent trackpad issues. If problems persist, consulting Apple support or visiting an Apple Store can provide further assistance.

Discover the simple yet powerful tweaks and insights about your MacBook’s trackpad that can transform your user experience and ensure it always performs at its best.

Trackpad Not Working? Common Fixes

The trackpad is an essential component of the MacBook experience. When it malfunctions, it can disrupt your workflow and productivity. Thankfully, there are several quick fixes to get it back on track. Let’s explore some of the most common solutions.

Update Firmware

One of the first things to check when your trackpad isn’t working is whether there’s a firmware update available. Apple often releases updates that address hardware and software issues. To check for updates:

  • Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner.
  • Select “About This Mac.”
  • Click on “Software Update.”

If an update is available, follow the on-screen instructions.

Reset the SMC

The System Management Controller (SMC) is responsible for many low-level functions on Intel-based Macs. Resetting the SMC can often resolve issues related to power, battery, and other system performance issues, including trackpad malfunctions.

For MacBooks with non-removable batteries:

  • Shut down your MacBook.
  • Press and hold the Shift, Control, Option, and Power buttons simultaneously for 10 seconds.
  • Release the keys and power on your MacBook.

For MacBooks with removable batteries:

  • Shut down your MacBook and remove the battery.
  • Press and hold the power button for 5 seconds.
  • Reinsert the battery and power on your MacBook.

Reset the PRAM

Parameter RAM (PRAM) stores certain settings which can impact the functionality of your trackpad. Resetting the PRAM can be a quick fix for trackpad issues.

  • Shut down your MacBook.
  • Press the power button and immediately hold down the Command, Option, P, and R keys.
  • Keep holding the keys for about 20 seconds and then release.
  • Your MacBook will restart.

Delete the Property List Files

Over time, property list files on Mac can become corrupted, leading to various issues, including trackpad malfunctions. Deleting these files can often resolve the problem.

  • Navigate to ~/Library/Preferences/.
  • Locate files with “” and “”
  • Move these files to the trash and restart your MacBook.

Update Your MacBook

Keeping your macOS updated is crucial for the overall health and performance of your MacBook. Apple frequently releases updates that fix known bugs and improve system stability.

  • Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner.
  • Select “System Preferences.”
  • Click on “Software Update.”
  • If an update is available, download and install it.

By following these steps, most trackpad issues can be resolved. However, if the problem persists, it might be time to consult with Apple support or visit an Apple Store for professional assistance.

Still Not Working? Tweak the Settings

Sometimes, the solution to a malfunctioning trackpad lies not in system resets or updates but in the settings themselves. Here are some tweaks you can make to restore your trackpad’s functionality:

When Double-Click Is Not Working

A non-responsive double-click can be frustrating. Before assuming it’s a hardware issue, consider adjusting the settings.

  • Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Trackpad.
  • Under the “Point & Click” tab, adjust the “Double-Click speed” slider. Sometimes, setting it to a medium speed can make a difference.
  • Ensure that the “Secondary click” option is set to “Click or tap with two fingers.” This ensures that the Mac trackpad gestures for right-clicking are enabled.

When The Pointer Is Hard to Control 

If your pointer seems jumpy or too fast/slow, it’s likely an issue with sensitivity settings.

  • Navigate to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Trackpad.
  • Under the “Point & Click” tab, adjust the “Tracking speed” slider. Finding the right balance can make your trackpad feel like new.
  • Additionally, ensure that “Tap to click” is enabled. This allows you to tap the trackpad lightly to register a click, rather than pressing it down.

When Mac Trackpad Is Unresponsive

An unresponsive trackpad can be due to interference from external peripherals or settings that have been inadvertently changed.

  • Check if any external devices, especially USB devices, are connected to your MacBook. Sometimes, these can interfere with the trackpad’s functionality. Disconnect them and check if the trackpad works.
  • Navigate to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Accessibility > Mouse & Trackpad. Ensure that “Enable Mouse Keys” is turned off. When turned on, this feature allows the keyboard to replicate mouse movements, which can make the trackpad seem unresponsive.
  • Lastly, consider checking for any external mouse interference. If you have an external mouse connected, it might be overriding the trackpad settings. Disconnect the mouse and see if the trackpad becomes responsive.

Fine-tuning these settings can often restore your trackpad to its optimal performance. However, if these tweaks don’t help, it might be indicative of a deeper issue that requires professional attention.

How to Use Mac Trackpad

The trackpad offers a plethora of gestures designed to make navigation a breeze. From zooming in and out of pages to switching between apps, mastering these Mac trackpad gestures can transform your user experience.

Pinch to Zoom: Place two fingers on the trackpad and move them apart to zoom in, or together to zoom out.

Swipe between pages: Using two fingers, swipe left or right to navigate between pages or full-screen apps.

Mission Control: Swipe up with three fingers to view all open windows and desktops.

App Exposé: Swipe down with three fingers to view all open windows of the current app.

How to Disable Trackpad on Mac

There might be instances where you’d want to disable the trackpad, especially if you’re using an external mouse.

  • Go to Apple Menu > System Preferences > Accessibility.
  • Under “Mouse & Trackpad,” check the box that says “Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my MacBook Pro trackpad not clicking?

This could be due to a hardware issue, dirt or debris under the trackpad, or a software glitch. Try resetting the SMC and PRAM, checking for software updates, or cleaning the trackpad gently with a soft cloth.

Can I use my MacBook if the trackpad is not working?

Absolutely! You can connect an external mouse to navigate. Additionally, if you have “Tap to Click” enabled, you can tap on the trackpad instead of pressing it down.

How do I know if my trackpad issues are software or hardware-related?

If the trackpad issues persist even after trying all the software-related fixes (like resetting SMC, PRAM, updating macOS), it might be a hardware issue. In such cases, it’s best to consult with Apple support or visit an Apple Store.

Does updating macOS improve trackpad responsiveness?

Yes, Apple often releases updates that address known bugs and improve system stability, including enhancements for the trackpad. Always ensure your macOS is updated to the latest version.

Is it expensive to replace a MacBook Pro trackpad?

The cost can vary based on your MacBook model and whether you have AppleCare+. It’s recommended to get a quote from an Apple Store or authorized service provider.

Can third-party applications cause trackpad issues?

Yes, some third-party applications, especially those that modify trackpad behavior or gestures, can cause conflicts. If you suspect an app is the culprit, consider uninstalling it and checking if the issue persists.

How often should I clean my trackpad?

Regularly cleaning your trackpad can prevent many issues. Use a soft, lint-free cloth to wipe it down gently. Avoid using liquids directly on the trackpad.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, when faced with a non-responsive MacBook Pro trackpad, consider the quick fixes mentioned here: firmware updates, SMC and PRAM resets, trackpad setting adjustments, and property list file deletion.

Regular macOS updates can also prevent issues. For persistent problems, seek assistance from Apple support or visit an Apple Store.