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MacBook Trackpad Not Working: Why & How to Fix It?

Updated on Friday, June 14, 2024

iBoysoft author Anna Yuan

Written by

Anna Yuan
Professional tech editor

Approved by

Jessica Shee


Whether you are using a MacBook Air or a MacBook Pro, using the trackpad to scroll the webpage or perform right-click on Mac must have been one of the habitual behaviors in your daily life. However, if anything goes wrong with your MacBook trackpad, like Trackpad on MacBook is lagging, it can be a headache.

If you're reading this article, you might currently be experiencing an issue – the MacBook trackpad not working. Though this issue is rare, sometimes it does happen without any warning. It's a really annoying problem because, without the ability to use your trackpad, your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro is almost useless.

So, let's take a quick look at the solutions for the MacBook trackpad not working and you may also find why your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air trackpad not working.

MacBook trackpad not working

Update macOS to fix MacBook Pro not working

When the trackpad not working, right-click is not working on your Mac either. And your Mac double-click won't work as usual. The first thing you can do is check if your MacBook Pro needs a software update. Usually, Software updates could resolve any trackpad issue within seconds.

To do so, click the Apple logo in the menu bar, and select About this Mac > Software Update. If the Mac you're using has new firmware available, download and update it, too.

MacBook software update

When you see the prompt window like the above screenshot, it's time to download and update macOS to the latest version. Because some earlier macOS may contain bugs and cause your MacBook Pro trackpad not to work normally.

MacBook trackpad not working: Reset trackpad

Most of you may have changed the Mac trackpad settings according to your own preferences, then your Macbook Pro trackpad not clicking issues may happen. What's worse, it may make your MacBook touchpad become unresponsive.

To let the trackpad on your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro get back to work, do the following:

  1. Click the Apple logo at the top left corner of the menu bar.
  2. Select System Preferences > Trackpad.
  3. Under the Point & Click tab, uncheck the box of Tap to click and the box of Force Click and haptic feedback. 
    reset trackpad on Mac
  4. In the Scroll & Zoom tab, select the Scroll direction: Natural.

These settings should return your MacBook trackpad to its default state. Now check if your trackpad is working now.

Trackpad not working on MacBook: Reset NVRAM/PRAM

NVRAM or PRAM holds the dedicated configuration settings for your system. Either can be at fault for your touchpad issues. So resetting NVRAM/PRAM should be helpful to fix the MacBook trackpad not working.

Restart or start your Mac and immediately press and hold down the Option + Command + P + R keys for 20 seconds. Release the key combinations when you hear the second startup sound from your Mac. If you have a T2-based MacBook, release the keys after the Apple logo appears and disappears for the second time.

reset NVRAM on Mac

If you have an Apple M1 Mac, you don't need to reset NVRAM manually as it auto-resets if necessary at every time your Mac startup. This should reset the PRAM/NVRAM, so check whether your trackpad works and move on if it fails to work.

Delete plist files to fix the Macbook Air trackpad not working

macOS uses the plist files to store your preferences for various aspects of the Mac, such as mouse and trackpad. So to fix the MacBook trackpad not working issue, like drag and drop not working on Mac issue or any other problems, you should delete those files. These files related to the trackpad help force macOS to rebuild and reset the preference to default.

 Note: You'd better make a Time Machine backup of your Mac before deleting plist files to ensure that you can always undo things if something goes wrong.

  1. First, launch Finder and then hit Command + Shift + G key combinations to display the "Go to Folder" screen. Then type in "~/Library/Preference/" and click Go.
    Preference plist files
  2. In the Finder window that displays, look for the following files: 
    delete trackpad plist files on Mac
  3. Delete these files, reboot your Mac and check whether the MacBook trackpad now works as intended.

Why isn't my trackpad working on Mac?

If the MacBook trackpad not working, macOS bugs or some sort of software malfunctions within your MacBook Air/Pro may be to blame. You might need to update your MacBook. Furthermore, incorrect trackpad settings may also cause the MacBook trackpad not to function.

Besides, it could be due to hardware problems as a result of some sort of accident or an internal component that has broken or been damaged. Anyway, you can run Apple Diagnostics to verify it.

Regardless of the reason, you can use the aforementioned solutions to fix the MacBook Air trackpad not working or MacBook Pro trackpad not working problem.

Final thoughts

Hopefully one of the solutions above helped you get your trackpad working again. If none of these steps worked, you might have a hardware problem on your MacBook Pro trackpad. Take your MacBook to the Apple store or other authorized repair shops.