April 24, 2024

How to Enable and Disable Your Chromebook’s Touchscreen

Enable and Disable Your Chromebook

Is your Chromebook’s touchscreen functionality failing or malfunctioning? Do your kids often toy with your Chromebook’s touchscreen and mess up files and system settings? Turning off your touchscreen could fix these issues.

This tutorial highlights the steps to disable and enable the touchscreen functionality on Chromebooks. Ensure you have an alternate input device—touchpad or external mouse—before disabling your Chromebook’s touchscreen.

How to Disable Your Chromebook’s Touchscreen

There’s no option to disable your Chromebook’s touchscreen in the ChromeOS settings menu. To turn off touch input in ChromeOS, you must first enable the Chrome Flag for debugging keyboard shortcuts.

Enabling the “Debugging Keyboard Shortcuts” flag allows you to enable and disable your Chromebook’s touchscreen and touchpad.

  1. Open the Google Chrome browser, paste chrome://flags/#ash-debug-shortcuts in the address bar, and press Enter.

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While Chrome OS doesn’t offer a direct menu option to enable or disable the touchscreen, there’s a handy trick using a keyboard shortcut combination to achieve this:

Here’s how to enable and disable the touchscreen on your Chromebook:

1. Enable the Chrome Flag (One-Time Setup):

  • Open a Chrome window on your Chromebook.

  • In the address bar, type chrome://flags and press Enter.

  • This will open the Chrome Flags page, which contains experimental features.

  • Warning: Be cautious when enabling flags, as some might cause instability. It’s recommended to only enable the flag mentioned here and avoid changing other flags unless you’re comfortable with potential risks.

  • Search for the flag named “Debugging keyboard shortcuts.” You can use the search bar at the top of the flags page to find it quickly.

  • Click the drop-down menu next to “Debugging keyboard shortcuts” and select “Enabled.”

  • A button will appear at the bottom of the flags page that says “Restart.” Click “Restart” to reboot your Chromebook.

2. Enable/Disable Touchscreen with Keyboard Shortcuts (After Restart):

  • Once your Chromebook restarts, you can now use keyboard shortcuts to toggle the touchscreen functionality.

  • Press the Search key (magnifying glass key) + Shift key + T key simultaneously. This will disable the touchscreen.

  • To enable the touchscreen again, press the same key combination: Search key + Shift key + T key.

Remember: You’ll need to perform these steps (enabling the flag and restarting) only once. Afterward, you can use the keyboard shortcut (Search + Shift + T) to turn the touchscreen on or off as needed.

Alternatively, press the Search key, paste chrome://flags/#ash-debug-shortcuts in the search bar, and press Enter.

  1. Open the “Debugging Keyboard Shortcuts” drop-down menu and select Enabled.
  1. Reboot your Chromebook to effect the change. Select Restart or Relaunch in the bottom corner.
  1. When your Chromebook comes back on, press Search + Shift + T to disable its touchscreen.

Your Chromebook’s touchscreen should no longer respond to finger taps or touches—even in tablet mode. If your Chromebook works with a stylus, disabling the touchscreen also turns off stylus input.

Pro Tip: Press Search + Shift + P to disable your Chromebook’s touchpad or trackpad.

Chrome Flags are experimental and unstable features in beta testing phases. Turning on the “Debugging Keyboard Shortcuts” flag may or may not disable your Chromebook’s touchscreen. Also, enabling the flag could cause your Chromebook to malfunction.

How to Re-Enable Your Chromebook’s Touchscreen

You can re-enable your Chromebook’s touchscreen by pressing Shift + Search + T on your keyboard.

Restart your Chromebook and press the key combination again if your screen doesn’t detect touch input.

ChromeOS also re-enables your Chromebook’s touchscreen when you disable the “Debugging Keyboard Shortcuts” flag in Google Chrome.

  1. Open Google Chrome, type or paste chrome://flags/#ash-debug-shortcuts in the address bar, and press Enter.
  1. Open the “Debugging keyboard shortcuts” drop-down menu and select Disabled.
  1. Select Restart or Relaunch to reboot your Chromebook.

Control Your Chromebook’s Touch Input

Contrary to popular belief, disabling your Chromebook’s touchscreen won’t reduce battery drain. The touch digitizer that powers your Chromebook’s touchscreen remains operational even if you disable the touchscreen functionality.

Update and reboot your Chromebook if you can’t enable or disable your touchscreen. Contact your Chromebook manufacturer or visit a computer repair shop if you have trouble enabling or disabling your touchscreen.