Ever since I upgraded from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion, my MacBook Air doesn't wake from sleep when I touch my trackpad. I have to physically click it in order for it to wake up, which can be quite annoying sometimes since I'd rather not have to press the physical button underneath the trackpad (and it's easier to just tap it when your finger or move your finger on it, as if you're moving the cursor around on the screen).

Does anyone know why it doesn't work the way it did on Snow Leopard?

  • Does it show the login screen after waking from sleep?
    – Arjan
    Jul 30, 2012 at 6:56
  • @Arjan No. Is it supposed to?
    – Nathan
    Jul 30, 2012 at 6:59
  • Not unless you want it to. Just asking as the login window needs pressing the trackpad too.
    – Arjan
    Jul 30, 2012 at 7:07

3 Answers 3


In Mac OS X 10.7, aka Lion, Apple removed the ability to wake the Mac by moving the mouse. This stopped knocks to the table and pets moving the mouse accidentally from waking the Mac.

By clicking or pressing a key, you are being more deliberate about your intention to wake your Mac. Ideally it should help avoid waking your Mac accidentally and save a little power.

As ever, this improvement benefits some users more than others.

  • Would you happen to know if tapping the trackpad when the tap to click function is enabled is guaranteed to wake the system? I feel like my MacBook Pro running El Capitan often wakes up when I just touch the trackpad.
    – intcreator
    Apr 23, 2016 at 19:30

I don't know if this is a setting which has changed, but my first thing to try with any hardware or sleep issues like this is to reset the System Management Controller (SMC). I find this usually fixes all sorts of sleep, boot and external monitor issues.

On my 2011 13" MBP these happen at least once every couple of months.

  • Someone I know has a MacBook Pro and they also have to click the trackpad physically rather than just tapping it. Do you think Apple possibly removed it in Mountain Lion for some odd reason? If so I hope they add it back, since that was useful little feature. :/
    – Nathan
    Jul 29, 2012 at 5:44
  • This was actually changed in Lion :( My Macbook Pro does the same thing.
    – Caesium
    Jul 29, 2012 at 11:03
  • @Caesium Oh. Darn. :( That's pretty stupid - I don't see why they changed that. Rather than making it better, it just made it worse if anything. That was nicer to just touch the trackpad to wake it up (or just wake up the screen) rather than having to physically click it.
    – Nathan
    Jul 30, 2012 at 5:31
  • @Nathan I can see how it would help save power though. A click would would be detectable in hardware much more easily than a tap.
    – garrow
    Jul 30, 2012 at 7:11
  • @garrow Oh yeah, that is true.
    – Nathan
    Jul 30, 2012 at 7:21

This has always been the behavior for me. Sometimes even clicking doesn't do it, and I have to press the spacebar. Note that tapping the trackpad is generally not considered a click in this context. Even if the screensaver is running, tapping the trackpad just undims the screen, without closing the screensaver.

  • Hmm, when I had Snow Leopard it worked. I think they changed it in Lion as someone in the comments in the answer below said. That was really dumb of them to change that. Maybe it didn't wake the actual computer from sleep but I know that the screen woke up (not just undimmed but when the screen actually turned off by itself). I wish they never changed that. :(
    – Nathan
    Jul 30, 2012 at 5:33
  • Personally I prefer it this way. With the old way, it was too easy to accidentally wake the computer.
    – asmeurer
    Jul 30, 2012 at 7:04
  • Yeah that's true. But an option for it would be nice.
    – Nathan
    Jul 30, 2012 at 7:09
  • Also very annoyed by this. It kills the ability of programs like Synergy to wake a client screen from the parent computer. Aug 20, 2012 at 10:14

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