Loud Trackpad Button Solution (for the 2008 Unibody MacBook & MacBook Pro)

27Dec08

Picture 2.pngAfter several months of use, my largest gripe with the new range of MacBooks and MacBook Pros is the new buttonless trackpad. The first month was plagued by a bug that prevented trackpad clicks being registered reliably. While this was extremely frustrating it always felt like a software issue that could be resolved in time. To the relief of many, Apple fixed this with a software patch at the beginning of November.

However, hardware problems are much more difficult to overcome and it has been a hardware issue that has ruined my experience with my new MacBook Pro until now. It seems that some users (including me) are bothered by the click action of the new trackpad. When pressed it emits a loud, hollow sounding click that becomes extremely irritating in quiet environments. It feels cheap and nasty when compared to the trackpad button on my MacBook Air and even my old first generation white MacBook.

Looking for a solution I came across a few blog posts suggesting the rather drastic solution of stuffing the space between the battery and the underside of the trackpad with Kleenex. This seemed a little half-baked and maybe even dangerous (given Apples recent track record with batteries its probably not advisable to place sheets of combustible material on top of the battery).

However, after flipping over the MacBook Pro and popping out of the battery, the user can access the underside of the trackpad where they will find one tri-blade screw. Although these types of screws typically require a special tool, this particular one is easy to turn with the edge of a small flat blade screwdriver. Turning the screw clockwise reduces the travel required to execute a trackpad click and dampens the sound emitted. Turning the screw counterclockwise increases the travel and force required and increases the noise made when the trackpad is depressed.

From experience I would advise turning the screw clockwise an eighth of a turn, testing the trackpad button and repeating until the desired trackpad button action is achieved. Turning the screw too far results in an inability to click the trackpad at all. If this happens, back off a little by turning the screw counterclockwise an eighth of a turn.

After successfully adjusting my own MacBook Pro I can report that the trackpad button is now as quiet as my MacBook Air resulting in a much more pleasant day-to-day user experience.

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9 Responses to “Loud Trackpad Button Solution (for the 2008 Unibody MacBook & MacBook Pro)”

  1. 1 spatel600

    man this is a great find. i got my mbp yesterday and was completely annoyed by the noise. job well done!

  2. I’ve found the noise of the Trackpad a bit excessive as well. I’ve been experimenting with the Trackpad settings in System Preferences and find that the combination of “Tap to Click” and “Dragging” works well with a little practice.

  3. 3 OmeuNOME

    thanks for the tip, my trackpad not only make too much noise, but also don’t work every time I click…

    I did what you said and know the button works allways and no noise :D

    really apreciate ;)

  4. 4 Geoffrey Diamond

    You are my hero! Well, I guess I should try this first… but, if it works… you’ll be my hero!

  5. 5 Steve

    Amazing tip! Thank you so much.

  6. 6 Johnson

    Is there a solution for the late 2009 macbooks, which doesn’t have a removable battery compartment????

    • I believe that removing the battery exposes the underside of the trackpad. But to remove the battery you would need the right sized triblade screwdriver; not easy to get hold of.

  7. 8 Andy

    This was driving me crazy too! In system pref / trackpad you can select one finger tapping and then choose which bottom side of the trackpad you want to use. Change those settings and then try to click a link on a webpage without pressing down like on the older models but just tapping. It was weird to get used to (like switching from a PC!) but it seems to be getting easier. The only thing that is still a pain is scrolling down on websites, but atleast I’m not hearing that clicking every other second. Hope that is helpful!

  8. Excellent article. I absolutely appreciate this website.
    Stick with it!


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