MacBook Trackpad Not Working? 4 Troubleshooting Tips to Try

MacBook Trackpad Not Working? 4 Troubleshooting Tips to Try


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It doesn’t matter how much money you might have spent on a tech device—something can and will go wrong.

One of the most common complaints among MacBook users is a malfunctioning trackpad. Whether the mouse has stopped moving, clicking does nothing, or the touch gestures don’t behaving as expected, there are lots of potential issues that can arise.

Today, we’ll run through some troubleshooting tips and discuss a few workarounds to make your Mac usable again.

1. Check for Updates

mac app store updates screen

This sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many people aren’t running the latest version of the operating system, firmware, and drivers.

To see if any updates are available for your trackpad, open the App Store and click on the Updates tab at the top of the window.

Really, you should install any updates that are pending. But for the purposes of fixing your trackpad, you’re interested in anything called Trackpad Firmware Update (or similar). If you come across something, click on the Update button and follow the onscreen instructions.

2. Check Relevant Settings

Assuming there were no updates available (or they didn’t solve your issue), the first port of call should always be your trackpad’s settings. You can fix lots of complaints by simply tweaking a couple of options.

Double-Click Not Working

If your trackpad seems fully functional with the exception of its ability to double-click, it is possible that the time delay for your system to recognize the gesture is set too low.

If you’re new to using trackpads (rather than a traditional mouse) or you aren’t as fleet-fingered as some people, this is a likely cause.

To access the double-click settings, click on the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your screen. Then follow System Preferences > Accessibility and scroll down the left sidebar until you come to Mouse & Trackpad.

mac double click speed settings

You’ll see various options available, but the one you need to adjust is Double-click speed. Turn it down from its current position; somewhere around the middle is adequate for most users, but feel free to go as low as necessary.

Pointer Is Hard to Control

If you find the mouse’s pointer is overly responsive, you could try adjusting the tracking speed.

Once again, click on the Apple icon, but this time head to System Preferences > Trackpad. You’ll see a slider at the bottom of the window titled Tracking speed. As before, a setting somewhere around the middle should be suitable for most users.

mac tracking speed settings

Trackpad Is Completely Unresponsive

If your trackpad is entirely dead, don’t despair—it could also be a simple settings issue.

The way to test this is to check for a physical mouse connected to your system, either via USB or Bluetooth. If you do, try disconnecting it. Does your trackpad now work? In that case, your system has been set up to ignore trackpad input when it detects a mouse.

As long as you’re running OS X 10.7 Mountain Lion or later, you can change this setting by going to System Preferences > Accessibility > Mouse & Trackpad and unticking the checkbox next to Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present.

mac turn off trackpad settings

It’s also possible that your Mac thinks another peripheral accessory is a mouse. Trying disconnecting everything (keyboards, printers, gaming controllers, and so on) from all your machine’s ports and see if it makes a difference.

3. Check Your Mac’s Hardware

More often than not, trackpad issues that aren’t due to settings are caused by various hardware problems. They can originate either from the Mac itself, or from user error.

The Pointer Is Jumpy and Jittery

If your pointer is jumping around the screen, there could be a range of non-serious causes—many of them down to simple human error.

First, check your battery level. If it’s low, plug in your machine and try again—it really could be that simple! Next make sure that jewelry such as wedding rings and bracelets are not catching the pad as you work; they could cause the pad to read multiple signals at once and get confused.

Finally, make sure your fingertips aren’t damp or sweaty. Trackpads and water don’t mix well, and can cause erratic behavior.

Everything About the Trackpad Is Temperamental

Sometimes your trackpad works correctly; sometimes it acts up. Something it lets you move the pointer, while other times it doesn’t. If this is the case for you, more often than not, the problem is your MacBook’s battery


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Swelling and exploding MacBook batteries have been an issue for years. Apple claims it’s expected behavior—which is highly dubious—but either way, its occurrence can impact your trackpad.

Your first move should be contacting Apple support, if your device is still under warranty or covered by AppleCare. If not, and you think you have the swollen battery issue, try taking the battery out and running your machine from main power (you can also pay someone to do this for you). You will almost certainly see a significant improvement.

4. Delete “Property List” Files

If all else has failed, the last trick you can try before conceding defeat is deleting the Property List (PLIST) files.

macOS uses the PLIST files to store a user’s settings and information about bundles and applications installed on a machine. Deleting them will force your Mac to recreate new ones.

Note: Before proceeding, make sure you back up your computer using Time Machine


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To delete the files linked to your mouse and trackpad, open Finder then click Go > Go to Folder. Next, type /Library/Preferences and hit Go.

mac plist file finder

Look for the following plist files and delete them:

  • com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothMultitouch.trackpad.plist (Magic Trackpad)
  • com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothMultitouch.mouse.plist (Magic Mouse)
  • com.apple.driver.AppleHIDMouse.plist (wired USB mouse)
  • com.apple.AppleMultitouchTrackpad.plist
  • com.apple.preference.trackpad.plist

Reboot your Mac, and see if this cured the problem.

MacBook Touchpad Workarounds

If none of the above worked, you probably need to take your machine in for repair. There are lots of repair options available, but the exact route you should take depends on whether or not you have AppleCare.

Even if you do need a repair, there are still some workarounds that you can take in the meantime.

Disable the Trackpad

The most obvious temporary solution is to disable your trackpad altogether and use a standard mouse. The process is simply the reverse of the previously mentioned troubleshooting tip.

Just head to System Preferences > Accessibility > Mouse & Trackpad and tick the box next to Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse or wireless trackpad is present.

Use an External Trackpad

The Apple Magic Trackpad 2 performs exactly the same way as your computer’s trackpad, except it’s an external peripheral that sits on your desk.



Apple Magic Trackpad 2 (MJ2R2LL/A)


Apple Magic Trackpad 2 (MJ2R2LL/A)

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$124.99

It’s perfect if you’re used to using the trackpad


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and find changing a handheld mouse too inconvenient, and it’s completely wireless too. Unfortunately, they’re not cheap, but it’s your only option for a Mac-friendly external touchpad.

Fixing the MacBook Trackpad

We’ve covered Apple’s support options


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in great detail before. You can either use the Genius Bar in an Apple Store, take it to an Authorized Service Provider, or use a non-Apple affiliated independent shop.

You only other option: try to fix your Mac yourself


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. There are lots of tutorials on YouTube, but this is one of the best:

Warning: DO NOT try this unless you’re very confident in your skills. Doing so will void your warranty. If your machine is still under warranty, you should let Apple do the work.

Fix Other Issues With Your Mac

What issues have you stumbled across with your MacBook’s trackpad? Did you find any of these simple solutions helped solve your problems, or was it something more serious?

We’ve written lots of other troubleshooting guides as well. For example, if you have a problem with your MacBook keyboard


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, we can help you fix that, too.


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How to Manage Windows Update in Windows 10

How to Manage Windows Update in Windows 10


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Windows Update keeps changing in Windows 10. Gone are the days when users could block security patches and driver updates. Microsoft has simplified and automated the Windows Update process at the expense of transparency.

We highlight what has changed in Windows Update, explain how it works now, and how you can still customize it to your needs.

What’s New in Windows Update in Windows 10

In Windows 10, updates are mandatory and more automated than in previous Windows versions. With the Spring Creators Update (version 1803, to roll out in April 2018), Microsoft is introducing several updates to Windows Update.

Faster Feature Updates

In 2017, the average installation of Windows 10 feature updates took over an hour. Installing the Windows 10 Creators Update (version 1703) took around 82 minutes. Microsoft has been working on cutting down that “offline time”. For the Fall Creators Update (version 1709), they had already slashed it to 51 minutes on average.

For the upcoming Spring Creators Update (version 1803), Microsoft promises that your fresh Windows installation will be back up and running in no less than 30 minutes.

How do they do it? Many steps required to install updates, which used to interrupt the installation and thus increase your PC’s offline time, will now happen in the background while you’re using Windows. For example, Windows will prepare your content for migration and place the new OS into a temporary working directory before it reboots to install updates.

Windows 10 old vs. new Windows Update model

Should you notice a performance drop prior to the installation of an update, this may be why.

Delayed Sleep

With Windows 10 version 1803, Windows Update will be able to delay Sleep mode for up to two hours. In other words, Windows Update will continue to download updates if the computer is in AC power and not in active use. This means you’ll receive your updates sooner and with less hassle.

New Windows Update Troubleshooter

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 for you, try this new Windows Update troubleshooter, which Microsoft released earlier this year.

Windows 10 Standards

Some Windows 10 editions include the option to defer upgrades for a limited time. Security updates, however, are excluded from this option; everyone receives them automatically.

Meanwhile, Windows 10 Home users have to accept all updates and upgrades that Windows downloads and installs in the background, often combined with a scheduled reboot. Security patches, new features, and settings changes are force-fed alike, some bordering on bloat and adware. The only time when updates won’t auto-download is when the device is on a metered connection.

In many ways, Windows Update is now easier to use and safer for the average person. Unless a user is willing and able to use advanced tools, they won’t miss another security update. From the safety perspective, automated updates are a blessing. On the other hand, users are at the mercy of Microsoft, a company not exactly known for never messing up.

BSoD_in_Windows_8

Let’s see how you can make the best of it.

The Windows Update Basics

Windows Update can work entirely in the background. It will only require your attention when it’s time to reboot. With the right settings, however, you won’t even notice that anymore.

How to Check for Updates

To review your Windows Update settings, head to Settings (Windows key + I) > Update & Security > Windows Update. Click Check for updates to see which updates are currently available.

Windows 10 Check for updates

You might come to this screen and see updates waiting to be installed. That’s because Windows regularly checks for updates in the background. Click the Restart Now button when you’re ready to apply the updates and expect to wait for half an hour or more before your computer is available again.

Change Active Hours

Windows 10 Change Active Hours

The Active Hours feature lets you define up to 18 hours during which Windows Update won’t run. On the Windows Update screen, click Change active hours and make your selection.

This is the closest that Home users will get to stopping Windows Update, short of using a metered connection or disabling their computer’s internet access.

Customize When and How Updates Will Be Installed

Under Advanced options, you can customize how updates are installed. Previously, Windows 10 offered a Notify to schedule restart option in this window.

Windows will now default to your inactive hours to install updates and restart, though it won’t force-restart your computer while you’re working on it. Instead, it will show a reminder when it’s going to restart. We recommend turning On the option to see more notifications about restarting.

Windows 10 Update Options

You can also enable Windows Update to Automatically download updates, even over metered data connections. Though, we recommend you keep this setting switched Off.

The option to Give me updates for other Microsoft products when I update Windows lets you receive updates for Microsoft applications you have installed, such as Microsoft Office or Edge.

Manually Start and Schedule Updates

When you manually trigger the installation of an update (from Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update), you can either let Windows schedule a restart during a time you usually don’t use your device or select a restart time yourself. You can schedule the reboot up to 6 days in the future. Of course, you can also click Restart now to be done with it immediately.

Windows 10 Windows Update Restart

Note that even if you manually schedule a restart time, Windows won’t force reboot when it turns out you’re busy using your computer at the selected time. It will offer to delay the restart by what it estimates to be the best time.

Windows 10 Scheduled Restart

How to Pause and Defer Feature Updates

The option to defer Windows 10 updates is no longer available through Windows Update. Instead, you will see an option to Pause Updates. Go to Windows Update > Advanced options to turn this option On and pause updates for up to seven days.

Windows 10 Pause Updates

Control Windows Update With the Group Policy Editor

Users of Windows 10 Pro, Education, and Enterprise can use the Local Group Policy Editor (LGPE) to finetune Windows Update and defer feature updates


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Windows Update for Business

Go to Windows Search (Windows key + Q) and type gpedit.msc, then select Edit group policy from the results. Inside the Local Group Policy Editor, browse to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Update > Windows Update for Business and double-click the Select when Feature Updates are received entry.

Windows 10 Defer Updates with Local Group Policy Editor

This setting allows you to defer updates for up to 365 days. Pausing or delaying updates is useful in case an upgrade is known to cause issues or has caused you issues and forced you to recover your system (see the section on how to uninstall updates below).

The other policy in this folder allows you to Select when Quality Updates are received.

Windows Update

Jumping back one step, browse the Windows Update folder in the LGPE and notice the following options:

  • Allow non-administrators to receive update notifications: this setting will allow those users “to install all optional, recommended, and important content for which they have received a notification.” Note that if you enable this option, standard users will not only receive Windows Update notifications, they also won’t need elevated permissions to install most updates.
  • Always automatically restart at the scheduled time: this sounds like how Windows Update used to operate. It will force a restart, giving the user between 15 to 180 minutes (depending on how you set it up) to save their work.
  • Configure Automatic Updates: this LGPE item represents a set of features that used to be available through Windows Update. You can let Windows notify you about available downloads, then install automatically or download automatically and notify you about the installation or download automatically and let you schedule the installation. Finally, you can allow the local admin to choose the setting, which should return the option to the Settings app.
  • Do not include drivers with Windows Updates: this option lets you exclude driver updates from Windows Update


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  • Remove access to use all Windows Update features: here we essentially have the opposite to the first setting in this list. Enable this to prevent non-administrative users from scanning, downloading, or installing updates.

How to Uninstall Windows Updates

You cannot prevent the installation of certain updates and due to the way Microsoft now delivers updates, it has also become close to impossible to remove individual updates. But you still have some options.

Use Recovery Options

Should a feature update have gone terribly wrong, you can undo that installation


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. Go to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > View update history > Recovery options. Here you can Go back to the previous version of Windows 10.

Note that you only have 10 days to restore your previous installation. If you wait any longer, Windows will delete the backup files stored under Windows.old


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and you won’t be able to go back.

Outdated: Uninstall Updates via the Control Panel

The option to uninstall updates via the Control Panel is being deprecated. While you will still find the option under Settings > Updates & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options > View your update history when you choose the option to Uninstall updates, which will open a Control Panel window, the list will be bare and you won’t find an Uninstall button, even after selecting updates.

Windows 10 Uninstall Updates

The screenshot above shows what this option used to look like. But since Microsoft no longer offers separate update files, you can no longer uninstall them individually.

Show or Hide Driver Updates Troubleshooter

In addition to replacing updated drivers via the Device Manager or uninstalling recent updates via the Control Panel, Microsoft has also released a troubleshooter that allows you to hide driver updates and thus prevent Windows from reinstalling them until a revised version becomes available.

Download the troubleshooter wushowhide.diagcab from Microsoft; it’s a standalone application, no installation required. From the initial screen click Next.

Windows 10 Show or Hide Updates

The troubleshooter will now detect problems and look for driver updates installed on your system. On the following screen, you can either choose to Hide updates or Show hidden updates.

Windows 10 Hide Updates

Click Hide updates, select the offending update/s, and click Next to resolve the issue.

Windows 10 Hide Updates List

To restore an update, select Show hidden updates from the respective screen, select the hidden update, and click Next.

Windows 10 Show Hidden Updates

The troubleshooter will do its magic and you should finally see a confirmation that problems were resolved.

Windows 10 Hide Updates Troubleshooter

Windows Update Network Settings

In Windows 10, Windows Update offers easy to manage network-related settings that you should examine to avoid exceeding your bandwidth limit or incurring extra charges on a mobile data plan.

Set Windows Update Delivery Optimization (WUDO)

The settings under Windows Update Delivery Optimization (WUDO) let you give Windows permission to download updates from other PCs; either anywhere on the internet, which preserves Microsoft server capacity, or on your local network. The first option could potentially be abused to introduce altered updates. When limiting downloads to devices within your local network, however, you can potentially lighten the load on your own internet bandwidth.

You’ll find this option under Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > Advanced options > Delivery Optimization. If you have multiple Windows 10 PCs on your network, it makes sense to allow downloads from PCs on your local network.

Windows Update Delivery Optimization

Limit the Bandwidth Available to Windows Update

If you want to save even more bandwidth, click on Advanced options from the Delivery Optimization page. Here you’ll find options to limit how much bandwidth Windows can use while downloading or uploading updates. While you can set a monthly upload limit (when sharing updates with other PCs), Windows won’t let you set a download limit. If you stay with default settings, Windows will dynamically optimize the bandwidth allocated to Windows Update.

Windows 10 Download Bandwidth Settings

Set Up a Metered Connections

On Windows 10, Windows Update won’t run if you’re on a metered connection. To ensure Windows won’t waste your limited bandwidth, open Settings > Network & internet > Wi-Fi, connect to the metered connection, maybe a Wi-Fi hotspot you’re tethering from your mobile, then select the network, and toggle Set as metered connection to On.

Windows 10 Metered Connection

Now Windows 10 won’t download updates while you’re connected to this network.

Enable System Restore

Uninstalling and hiding troublesome updates may not be sufficient. If you can’t risk being surprised by a faulty update, we strongly recommend enabling System Restore. In case an update didn’t go so smoothly, you will be able to simply roll back to when everything was OK.

Go to Windows Search, type system restore, and select Create a restore point. An old-fashioned System Properties window will launch. In the System Protection tab, select your system drive, and click Configure… In the new window, select Turn on system protection, define the Max Usage space you can dedicate, and click OK to save your changes.

Windows 10 System Restore

Back in the previous window, you can now manually Create… your first restore point. Windows will now create new restore points whenever your system goes through changes, which includes the installation of security and feature updates.

Ready to Update?

For control freaks, Windows Update is a nightmare. For everyone else, it’s a case of “out of sight, out of mind.” Designed to operate in the background, Windows Update automatically keeps your system safe and running smoothly.

Be sure to prepare before you install a feature update. And if you don’t want to install the next version of Windows 10


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, remember that you can only escape it for so long.


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