Automatically Disable Touchpad When Mouse is Used in Ubuntu Linux [Quick Tip]

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If you often use the mouse with your laptop, you wouldn’t want the touchpad to interfere with that accidental touch. It’s a good idea to disable the touchpad when using an external mouse.

You disable touchpad manually, but it would be a lot better if your system automatically turns off the touchpad when you plug in the mouse.

Unfortunately, Ubuntu or some other Linux distros do not have this option in the default system settings. It is the desktop environment that is guilty here.

But don’t worry. There are other ways to automatically disable touchpad when mouse is used in Ubuntu and other Linux partitions that use GNOME desktop.

Disable touchpad when mouse is plugged in Ubuntu

Automatically Disable Touchpad When Mouse is Used in Ubuntu Linux [Quick Tip]

One of the best applet indicator, Touchpad indicator allows you to disable the touchpad on demand, automatically disables the touchpad as you type and when a mouse is connected.

Ubuntu and derivative distributions like Linux Mint etc can use the official PPA to install the touchpad indicator. Open a terminal and use the command below:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:atareao/atareao
sudo apt update
sudo apt install touchpad-indicator
Once installed, run the touchpad indicator.
You will sit on the top or bottom panel.
Open preferences to set the touchpad indicator. Automatically Disable Touchpad When Mouse is Used in Ubuntu Linux [Quick Tip]

Here, go to the Actions tab and turn on the “Disable touchpad when the mouse connected ” option.

Automatically Disable Touchpad When Mouse is Used in Ubuntu Linux [Quick Tip]

I also recommend running the touch indicator automatically on each boot if you use an external mouse extended. In this way you won’t have to enable the manual touchpad pointer every time.

Go to the General Options tab and turn on Autostart.

Automatically Disable Touchpad When Mouse is Used in Ubuntu Linux [Quick Tip]

For GNOME users
If you use the GNOME desktop in any Linux distribution, you can use the GNOME extension called the Touchpad pointer that claims to provide similar options as the character of the touchpad we’ve just seen.

However, when I tried to use it in Ubuntu 17.10, the touchpad was not automatically disabled despite the touchpad cursor showing that the touchpad was disabled. You may give it a try and see if it works for your Linux distribution.

Should it not be in the default system settings?
Honestly, I am surprised that Ubuntu doesn’t include this option in default system settings. Even Windows 10 has this option. In fact, Ubuntu or several other Linux distributions have limited options when it comes to customizing the behavior of the mouse and touchpad.

You can install additional programs to tweak the touchpad behavior but it will be much better if these options are provided in the default system settings. What do you think?

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