The first touchscreen Chromebook came out all the way back in 2013, and since then, users have enjoyed modern touch input for everything from games to note-taking apps and more. However, during my time as a Chromebook Expert at Best Buy, there’s one thing that I’ve come to realize and that’s the fact that not everyone loves or prefers a touchscreen device, no matter how convenient they may be.
It’s not only the touchscreen though – the Chromebook hardware’s touchpad can also be finicky or cumbersome and in the way for some users, and it’s common that typing without lifting one’s palms up off of the keyboard space could cause erratic behavior such as accidental clicks out of text fields, navigation away from the desired webpage and more.
Today, I’m going to show you a cool trick that will allow you to disable and re-enable your Chromebook’s touchscreen and or touchpad at will so that you can get the best experience while computing on Google’s popular operating system. We’ll be using something called a Chrome developer flag, so if you’re unsure what these are, check out our handy guide. You can follow along without fully understanding flags though, as they’re just quick ways for developers or testers to enable new and experimental features without completely changing the OS, so let’s begin.
Enabling Debugging Shortcuts
The first thing you’ll need to do is to tap the ‘Everything button‘ on your Chromebook’s keyboard. That’s the magnifying glass icon that’s positioned on the far left where Caps Lock would be on a Windows device. Type in “
chrome://flags” without the quotation marks and hit enter.
You’ll be taken to a new page called “Experiments”. These are your flags! Now, use the search bar on the page (not above it for the browser, that’s different) to search for “Ash debug shortcuts”. To the right of this flag will be a dropdown box that says “Disabled”. Click that and change it to “Enabled”. A blue “Relaunch” button will show at the bottom-right of the window, prompting you to do so in order to apply the flag’s effects. Clicking it will cause your Chromebook to go dark and reboot.
Debugging keyboard shortcuts
Enables additional keyboard shortcuts that are useful for debugging Ash. – Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS, Android, Fuchsia#ash-debug-shortcuts
Disabling the Touchscreen or Touchpad
Awesome! Now that you’re back up and running, you should know that there are no visual controls for disabling or re-enabling the touchscreen or touchpad. In fact, you’ll be using a keyboard shortcut instead. Go ahead and press “Search + Shift + T” to toggle touchscreen capabilities. You won’t receive any audible or visual input stating that it’s been done, but if you attempt to touch or swipe your screen now, nothing should happen – voilà!
You can re-engage touch capabilities by pressing the exact same combination on your keyboard, and you’ll see immediately and without fail that the touchscreen will begin working again. Similarly, you’ll press “Search + Shift + P” to toggle your Chromebook’s touchpad on and off. Once you press this combo, you’ll no longer be able to tap, swipe, or even scroll on the pad until you disengage it by pressing that combo again.
I’m interested in hearing in the comments who among you is going to be using either of these shortcuts and this flag, or if you’re too closely tied to your touchscreen or touchpad. Regardless, it’s a fun experiment. I know that many people will appreciate such a thing, though there’s no guarantee that Google will keep it around forever, so enjoy it while you can!
I just want the instructions!
1. Tap the ‘Everything button‘ on your Chromebook keyboard
2. Type in
3. Search for “Debugging keyboard shortcuts” and enable it
4. Click the “Relaunch” button at the bottom right of the screen
5. Press “Search + Shift + T” to enable or disable your touchscreen
6. Press “Search + Shift + P” to enable or disable your touchpad
7. Enjoy it while you can!