Before computer mice and trackpads were invented, people had to use a key on a keyboard to navigate around a computer screen. Although this changed when newer, more ergonomic pointing devices hit the market, mouse keys remained.
Today, this accessibility feature is still present in macOS. You can use this to your advantage if your trackpad or mouse isn’t working or if you don’t want to take your hand off your keyboard. In this guide, we’ll show you how you can do that.
How to Enable and Activate Mouse Keys
Mouse keys on macOS can be found by going to System Preferences > Accessibility > Pointer Control > Alternate Pointer Methods, To check the first option enable mouse keys, Now you will see a popup on the screen that says Mouse Keys.
Once this feature is activated, only the dedicated keys for moving the cursor will not type anything. To type, you must disable mouse keys.
One way is to do it manually each time, by going to System Preferences and turning the feature on and off. Another (faster) way to do this is to click alternative button to the right of mouse keys feature and enable Press the Option key five times to toggle Mouse Keys checkbox.
That way, instead of toggling the feature on manually, you can simply press alternative Press the key five times to turn the feature off and on whenever you need to use your keyboard keys normally.
Using Mouse Keys Control
Once mouse keys are activated, macOS turns a set of keys on your keyboard into “mouse keys”. If your keyboard has a number pad, you can use 7, 8, 9, 4, 6, 1, 2And 3 keys to move the cursor. But, if it doesn’t have a number pad, you can use 7, 8, 9, You, hey, Jay, KAnd Took keys. If you press and hold a key, the cursor will continue to move in that direction.
When you need to click, just press the key in the middle of this grid. With a numeric keyboard, that is 5 key. With a regular keyboard, it is I key.
Customize mouse keys to suit your needs
Apple includes three sub-features in the mouse’s settings, each of which can help you customize it to suit your needs. You can find these options by going to System Preferences > Accessibility > Pointer Control > Alternate Control Method > Enable Mouse Keys > Options, Then choose from the options available to you.
- Initial Delay: This slider lets you control how long it takes the system after you press the mouse key to move the cursor. The longer delay prevents the cursor from moving if you accidentally press a key.
- pace: This slider lets you decide how fast you want the cursor to move when you press and hold a key.
- Disabling Trackpad: This feature lets you disable the trackpad when you are using the mouse keys. It also prevents unnecessary cursor motion that may be causing your trackpad tapping. To enable it, check Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse keys are on alternative.
If you’re using mouse keys because your trackpad isn’t working, it may be because you’ve already used these settings to disable it.
Using the mouse is better than using the mouse keys
Although mouse keys are an easy solution when your mouse isn’t working, it’s normally only fit as a temporary solution because it’s slower and more inconvenient than a mouse or trackpad. Fortunately, you may be able to get your mouse or trackpad working again without too much trouble.
Have you considered recharging your mouse or trackpad or replacing its battery? Or, have you tried pairing it with your computer again? Most often than not, these are the two solutions you need to do to get a reason why a mouse or trackpad is working with your Mac again.