Shreyas Jani

I'm a web designer & software engineer based out of Mumbai.

I write about technology & love documenting the world around me through photography.

Disable "tap and drag" feature on Ubuntu 20.04

1 June 2020

MacOS's touchpad gestures have spoilt me. So much that I end up swiping at the touchpad repeatedly hoping for the workspace to change but watching at my screen in disbelief and later realizing I'm on Ubuntu. Heck, even pinch to zoom doesn't work out of the box.

Getting Ubuntu running on the MacBook air seemed a bit like setting up Arch Linux for the first time. Although, that's too far fetched, I kinda hoped Day 4 running Ubuntu on the MacBook, I might actually get some spare time to do some other things apart from work and setting up the MacOS.

With the awesomeness of the touchpad gestures gone, I'm stuck with an acceptable pointer experience with Ubuntu. The movement is snappy, the accuracy is appalling at times. My brain freezes whenever I have to interact with checkboxes. But more than that, whenever I am clicking through multiple Chrome tabs, I accidently end up dragging one tag and end up "undocking" it from the main Chrome window. It's been a nightmare browsing files on VS Code's sidebar as well. I unintentionally end up moving directories here and there and end up creating more work than I originally intended to.

Thankfully, there is a way to disable the drag and drop and keep tap to click enabled in Gnome.

On the terminal, run

gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.peripherals.touchpad tap-and-drag

to know if tap and drag is enabled or not. If it is enabled, the output should return true. To disable it, simply replace get in the above command with set and append false to it.

The command should look like this:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.peripherals.touchpad tap-and-drag false

Running

gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.peripherals.touchpad tap-and-drag

should now return true.

Sure it doesn't help with the pointer accuracy, but it's saved me a hell lot of time not moving files and directories accidentally.