How To Fix An Unresponsive Mac Trackpad

Apple’s MacBook trackpad is an essential tool for any user that allows you to access and utilise all available functionalities and graphical interfaces that your hardware has to offer and can’t access using keyboard shortcuts. It is for this reason that when the trackpad stops functioning, it can become a major cause for alarm and frustration, leaving your device feeling unusable when it refuses to respond to any gestures or clicking. It is for this reason, that figuring out how to fix this highly common issue, can be a very valuable piece of information whether it be for current or future use.


Why Is My Trackpad Not Working?


If your trackpad has stopped working properly then it’s possible the problem is something small that doesn’t require any drastic measures. So, the first thing to do is to understand why the problem has arisen. Now, if you’re currently working on something important and you just don’t have time to dealing with the issue immediately, you can always connect an external mousepad to your MacBook, if you have one available.


However, if you don’t then the first thing you have to check is if your MacOS requires an update. So, simply head to System Preferences and check to see if there is a new firmware update available and if there is one, download it. There are many reasons big or small that could be causing the trackpad from functioning, such as a malfunctioning app or that you simply have an overworked system. So your best bet is to just update the device to both solve the current problem and to also prevent it from happening again anytime soon.


How To Effectively Fix Your Trackpad


There are primarily six main ways by which you can solve the trackpad’s unresponsiveness and get it to start working again. Now, as we mentioned before, the simplest way to quickly solve the problem is to use an external mousepad, as that will absolutely not give you any problems to be worried about.


However, fixing the issue is still a priority so check out the following steps you can take below:


  1. Reset trackpad


While resetting your track pad may sound arduous, it’s actually a very simple process. What this does is basically reset your trackpad back to it’s original factory settings. This can help alleviate the problem because most of us tend to alter the settings of our trackpad to better suit our own personal preferences which can occasionally cause the trackpad to become unresponsive. To rest your trackpad, head to System Preferences and untick the Tap To Click option and also make sure that the trackpad’s “Scroll Direction: Natural” is ticked. This should essentially reset your trackpad back to it’s default settings.


  1. Reset NVRAM or PRAM


Most of the time, whenever we have any hardware issues on our MacBook’s one of the fastest and most efficient ways to fix the problem, whatever it may be, is to perform a reset of the NVRAM or PRAM. To accomplish this, make sure you’ve unplug anything external, eg. power cable or type-c hub then follow these steps below:


  1. Turn off Your MacBook
  2. Give it 30-60 seconds before turning it back on
  3. Once it’s on and you see the Apple logo, press and hold press and hold the option, command, P, and R keys
  4. Keep holding them down for about 20 seconds until you hear a chime sound.
  5. After which, release the buttons, and let your Mac turn back on normally


  1. Reset the SMC


For those unfamiliar, the SMC stands for System Management Controller, which is what essentially handles majority of your MacBook’s functionalities from fans, keyboard lighting, display, even your trackpad. Threset protocol tends to vary depending on what version of MacBook you own, so depending on the year your Mac was made, you can follow the steps below to properly reset your SMC.


MacBooks introduced in 2017 or earlier:

  1. Shut down the MacBook, press and hold the power, shift, control, and option keys


  1. Hold all four keys for ten seconds, then release


  1. Reboot the MacBook by pressing the power button again.


For MacBooks 2018 or later (with T2 chip):


  1. Turn off your Mac, and disconnect the power cable


  1. Re-connect after 15 seconds


  1. Wait another five seconds, then reboot it by pressing the power button



  1. Carry Out An Apple Diagnostics Scan


By this point your MacBook’s trackpad should be functioning effectively once again. However, if it still isn’t or even if it is (just as a future precautionary measure) it’s best to do an Apple diagnostic scan to find out if there is something wrong with your device. This will help you confirm whether or not the problem was a simple glitch or something indicative off an underlying problem.


You can accomplish this by:


  1. Unplugging your device from all external devices. This includes any powered usb c hub for instance, or external monitors or power cable.
  2. Turning off your device.
  3. Reboot the MacBook while pressing down the D key 
  4. Your screen should then immediately ask for your language preference, which you can then select.
  5. The diagnostics check should then begin.
  6. If there are any problems, it will give you a detailed list of any issues it found and possible suggestions of how to fix it.



An unresponsive trackpad can be a somewhat stressful thing, but it is something that can be easily avoided. Majority of the time, the problem is never that serious and is a result of an overworked system or a malfunctioning application that’s causing some glitches, so usually a simple restart will suffice. However, if the problem continues then these suggestions, should help solve the problem permanently.

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