Howto fix a too sensitive touchpad on Linux

If your touchpad is too sensitive (meaning the cursor jumps around when you either put your finger on the touchpad or you remove your finger from the touchpad) then here’s how to fix it:

Open a terminal window and find out the ID of the touchpad:

The output should look something like this:

So the touchpad (an Alps in my case) has ID 13.

Now let’s list the properties (settings) of the touchpad:

The output should look something like this:

The setting to look for is “Synaptics Finger”:

The “298” is the ID of the setting and the “12, 15, 0” values represent FingerLow, FingerHigh and FingerPress. You can read about their meaning here

Start increasing the first 2 values each in increments of 2 with the following command. The changes become active immediately. If the touchpad is still too sensitive then keep on increasing those values until the problem is solved.

The syntax of the command is:

In my case the values that solved the problem were:

Once the proper values are found they can be made permanent by adding them to the InputClass of the synaptics config file:

If the problem can not be solved by changing the FingerLow and FingerHigh values then there are a ton of links in Google that discuss this problem. An excellent resource is https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Touchpad_Synaptics

10 thoughts on “Howto fix a too sensitive touchpad on Linux”

  1. I’ve tried changing these settings with not much success. So, finally I put an old plastic screen protector (for phone) over the touchpad. This seems to have helped. Still testing.

  2. Hi Patrick, thank you very much for the help!

    I wasn’t looking to decrease the sensitive of the touchpad but to disable it while typing, and this tutorial makes me realize that I had to turn on Palm Detect. I was really having a hard time so thank you again!!

  3. I hate to gravedig, but there are no posts about this anywhere else. I also have an Alps touchpad but there is no “Synaptics Finger” setting for it within xinput. When I try to change the setting using the command you listed above, xinput returns “property ‘Synaptics Finger’ doesn’t exist, you need to specify its type and format”.

    How do I get around that?

    1. Hi Travis,

      I changed laptops which does not have the issue so can’t test it. But try listing the various settings and see if there’s an identifying number you could use instead of it’s name.

      Best,
      Patrick

    2. I had the same issue on a Dell E7440 running Ubuntu MATE 18.04. The issue appears to be a bug https://bugs.launchpad.net/elementaryos/+bug/1592432

      In bug response #3, one person suggested installing xserver-xorg-input-synaptics. Did that (sudo apt-get install xserver-xorg-input-synaptics) and after a restart the list-props showed synaptics in the output. For me, just installing the package seems to have stabilized (no longer jumping around as much) my mouse when using the trackpad. I’ll need to live with this a bit longer before I know this is resolved for me.

  4. I can’t thank you enough. I also have an ALPS touchpad, therefore I started with your settings and tweaked them a bit. It seems that 36,39 are the right values for me.

    One thing though. I’m pretty new to the linux world, but the 50-synaptics.conf file had this comment:

    # DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE, your distribution will likely overwrite
    # it when updating. Copy (and rename) this file into
    # /etc/X11/xorg.conf.d first.

    Therefore I made a xorg.conf.d directory in /etc/X11, copied the original file and modified that copy. I guess I’ll have to reboot to see if it worked.

    Again, thank you so much.

  5. Patrick, Thanks for your help on this. I’ve been try to resolve this on my Dell M5040 laptop with the Alps touchpad for a year at least off and on. What made the difference was raising the finger values to 94, 97 on this laptop. It was driving me crazy and I was just about to give up on this laptop. Thanks very much.

    1. Keith,

      You are most welcome. There are more challenges on my Dell Lattitude E6520 with Alps touchpad. On Fedora 23 vertical edge scrolling does not work anymore while horizontal edge scrolling does work. Odd regression as it worked fine on F22. Two finger scrolling works fine too but that’s not my preferred way.

      Best, Patrick

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