Magic Trackpad is a portable, Bluetooth® trackpad made for Mac devices. It automatically connects with your Mac, so you can start using it as soon as it’s out of the packaging. Part of the trackpad’s appeal is its gesture features. Gestures are the swipes, taps, and other physical motions that you make on the trackpad that cue particular actions on the computer. Essentially, it’s like a bigger version of the trackpads on MacBooks.
When you first activate it, it will be set to respond to default gestures, but you can easily go into your preferences and change the gesture controls to what you like.
Customizing Magic Trackpad Gestures
Make sure that the Magic Trackpad is turned on and that it is connected via Bluetooth to your computer. Note that views may differ depending on your OS version and whether or not you are using a MacBook or a Mac desktop.
- Go to your System Preferences > Trackpad. Do not go into your Mouse settings. You won’t find the Magic Trackpad there.
- Go to Set Up Bluetooth Trackpad. If you just turned your trackpad on, it may take a while for your computer to detect it.
- Once detected, navigate back to the main Trackpad window.
Adjusting Basic Trackpad Settings
Some customizations you may want to make to your trackpad are similar to those you would make on a mouse or laptop trackpad. You can find these options under Point & Click and Scroll & Zoom.
- Point & Click: You can set up your basic tap click commands and tracking speed (how fast the cursor moves) under this first tab.
- Scroll & Zoom: These gestures control the direction in which you want objects on your screen to move according to your gestures. It will also determine the gesture to zoom in and rotate images.
These are the gestures that you’ll typically be using most often, so spend more time customizing these trackpad features to your preferences. You can always figure out the “fancier” gestures later. But for basic set up, these will do.
If you go into the More Gestures tab, you’ll find advanced gestures. Though you may not use these gestures all the time, they are still helpful if you know what you’re doing. You’ll notice that some commands give you finger combination/gesture options while others, like Show Desktop and Launchpad, will only let you disable or enable the feature.
If your gestures aren’t working on the trackpad, but your trackpad still is, right away, go into your System Preferences. You may have accidentally disabled something or forgotten the gesture you assigned. If that isn’t the case, try the following:
- Also, make sure that you aren’t accidentally placing an extra finger on the trackpad when you go to make your gesture.
- Jewelry and other Bluetooth devices could be interfering with your technology, as well. If there are multiple devices hooked up to Bluetooth, disconnect some of them to “make room” for your trackpad. Take off any bracelets or rings you may be wearing on that hand.
- Clean the surface of your trackpad with a dry, soft cloth. If your trackpad is wet or lotion rubbed off from your hand onto the surface, it can reduce and interfere with trackpad sensitivity.
- Check your trackpad’s battery level. Do this by going into your trackpad’s System Preferences.
If this fails, start your Mac in safe mode and do some investigating.
Magic Trackpad versus Magic Mouse
If you are a laptop user, you’ll be more familiar with the benefits and frustrations of using a trackpad over a mouse, but if you’re a desktop user, the opposite is true.
The Magic Trackpad is a large, separate trackpad from the computer. It is not attached to it by anything other than Bluetooth connectivity. It is ergonomic in its design and gives your hand a bigger surface to work on. It does take up more space and tends to be more expensive than the mouse.
The Magic Mouse is just like the trackpad, but a mouse. You can still perform gestures on it, but you are using a mouse at the end of the day. You would customize these mouse gestures as you would with the trackpad.
At first, Magic Trackpad looks simple, but the more you use it, the more you understand what you’re getting yourself into. By using gestures, we can use computers in a far more natural and easy way than with the standard mouse. It’s almost like — magic!