Get the Most Out of Your Magic Trackpad

By Dan Hinckley

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It is no secret, Apple believes in touch interfaces. Its almost as if they were inspired by the computer interfaces shown in the movie Minority Report in 2002. Since the success of their iPhone touch interface Apple has introduced more and more touch devices, improved gesture techniques and options on their notebook computers and most recently the Magic Trackpad.

The trackpad of course is believed by Apple to be a viable replacement for the mouse interface. I’m guessing that the Magic Trackpad is part of Apple’s long term plan to prepare users for an operating system on their Macs that combines the best features and functionalities of iOS and OS X. It is true that the trackpad is increasing in capabilities and improving its usability but I’m still a bit doubtful on the ability to replace a tool like the mouse that has been such a central part of the computer experience.

Apple doesn’t seem to be helping their case either. Unlike most Apple products, the installation process for the Magic Trackpad was a bit more complicated. But I must admit that once you have the device installed it is a delight to use. It combines the easy to use trackpad of the Apple Notebooks with a larger surface area that makes it easy to use on the large screen iMacs. As always, the features of the MagicTrackpad is what makes it a great device and what makes it a critical part of the long term Apple strategy.

Magic Trackpad Gestures

The Magic Trackpad’s Gestures are designed to make it easier to interact with files and applications that you’re working with. The trackpad currently supports 12 main gestures.

  1. Point – This gesture is what allows users to navigate around their desktop. It will be interesting to see if Apple incorporates this gesture at some point into the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
  2. Click – The gesture allows you to select or interact with an object on your screen
  3. Double Click – Some applications require additional input from the user for interaction. Tapping twice on the Magic Trackpad acts as a double click on the mouse
  4. Right Click – Its been years since Apple only supported 1 button mouse input, but many still believe that “right click” doesn’t exist in the Mac environment. To Right Click on the Magic Trackpad tap the screen with two fingers at once
  5. Click & Drag – To click and drag a window or object around your desktop, tap and hold the trackpad and slide your finger around the pad to drag it around the screen
  6. Two Finger Scroll – One of my favorite features of Apple’s trackpad. To scroll up and down a browser window, through files in Finder or other areas, touch the trackpad with two fingers and slide them up and down, left and right
  7. Rotate – To rotate an image clockwise or counter-clockwise, simple tap two fingers on the trackpad and twist them like you were hands moving on a clock.
  8. Pinch & Zoom – To zoom into or out from an image or object, touch the fingers to a trackpad and either pinch or spread your fingers in an application that supports the input
  9. Screen Zoom – To zoom into a part of your screen, press control and then slide up or down with two fingers on the trackpad
  10. Pageback and Pageforward – Some applications like Safari and iPhoto allow you to quickly jump to the previous page or image. Touch three fingers to the trackpad and swipe left or right.
  11. Switch Applications – To switch between open applications, touch four fingers to the trackpad and swipe left or right
  12. Activate Expose – To enable the expose feature of OS X on your Magic Trackpad, touch four fingers to the trackpad and swipe up and down

The features are a great start for a touch interface interaction with OS X. It will be great to see what other gestures Apple or other developers will be able to come up with for the Magic Trackpad.

About Dan Hinckley
Dan Hinckley is an experienced Mac user who converted to Apple products when they introduced them on Intel Processors. He loves helping others get more out of their devices! Subscribe to to get the latest from Dan and the Maciverse Team!! Find out more about Dan:

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