I prefer to disable the trackpad on my macbook when an external mouse is attached via bluetooth, so that I don't accidentally hit it and to discourage me from using it, which I find un-ergonomic.

However, sometimes I'll move the macbook to the sofa or another room and forget the bluetooth mouse. In those cases I'm stuck with no mouse controller at all. So I would like to be able to re-enable the trackpad. However, I find that hard to do, using just the keyboard.

This is how far I've gotten:

pointer control options in the accessibility settings

It's that second checkbox I need to toggle, but I can't find a way to manipulate it without a mouse. Can it be done?

I actually did manage it using "Mouse Keys", but... mouse keys are quite annoying, since they disable the regular action of nine buttons on the keyboard. I also tried "Head Pointer", which is even more annoying in my opinion.

So I'm hoping there is some way to use the keyboard to do it, I might have overlooked.


You can enable full keyboard access to easily navigate the on-screen controls using the Tab and arrow key.

Go to System Preferences → Keyboard → Shortcuts and check the checkbox shown towards the bottom that reads, Use keyboard navigation to move focus between controls.

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Now with the above set up, you can simply open System Preferences using Spotlight (which itself can be launched using the keyboard shortcut Command + Space), then use the keyboard shortcut Command + F to move focus to the System Preferences search field. Now type Mouse and trackpad and select the result that reads Mouse and trackpad easier to use.

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This would take you to the desired preference pane. Now you can easily use the Tab key to navigate to the required checkbox and toggle the setting.

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P.S.: With full keyboard access, on-screen controls can be navigated using the Tab and/or arrow keys. A control can be activated or toggled using the Space or the Enter key, and dialogue boxes dismissed using the the Esc key.


If you want to disconnect your Bluetooth Mouse, just turn off Bluetooth.

You will need a (free) utility called blueutil to turn it off. See this answer for full details on where to obtain and how to use.

You can use AppleScript to disable Bluetooth as well.

Once disconnected, your track pad will begin working again.

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