Disable the Touchpad on a Chromebook
by Jim Mendenhall
Tags: Chromebooks, Chrome OS, Chromebook Tutorials
Google is constantly updating the Chromebook’s operating system, Chrome OS, however, some basic features available in other operating systems are still unavailable on Chromebooks. One such feature is the ability to disable the touchpad on a Chromebook when you plug in an external mouse. Almost any USB mouse will work with a Chromebook, but many people would like to disable the touchpad when using an external mouse.
Disabling your touchpad is easier as of Chrome OS version 48
Chrome OS developers, as of version 48, have added the ability to disable both touchpads and touchscreens. However, this feature is still rather unintuitive to find.
First, you need to enable an experimental flag named “Debugging keyboard shortcuts” at chrome://flags/#ash-debug-shortcuts
After restarting, you’ll be able to use the following keyboard combinations to toggle touchpads and touchscreens on and off.
To toggle a touchpad, press <Search> + <Shift> + P
To toggle a touchscreen, press <Search> + <Shift> + T
While this functionality is available in the underlying system, Google developers, as of Chrome OS version 36, have not included a setting for disabling the touchpad in the system settings. However, you can temporarily disable the touchpad with a couple of terminal commands.
Press ctrl+alt+t to open a new terminal window.
The command you will use is inputcontrol
To list all of our current input devices, we type
This list device IDs and names for all mouse type devices currently connected to the Chromebook. You can see that I have a wireless Logitech mouse connected via USB and a Cypress APA Trackpad.
To disable the Cypress Trackpad, we simply type inputcontrol —id, then the ID of the trackpad, in this case, 13. Then ‘Device Enabled’=0
inputcontrol —id=13 ‘Device Enabled’=0
To re-enable the touchpad, we can run the same command again (by pressing the up arrow) but this time we want to change the 0 to a 1
inputcontrol —id=13 ‘Device Enabled’=1
For now, you’ll need to do this every time you restart your Chromebook. And be aware that the device IDs can change when restarting the computer.
Hopefully, one day the developers of Chrome OS will add this feature in the system settings, but for now, at least you can disable the touchpad manually.