All trackpad gestures on MacBook and external Magic Trackpad + Force Touch capabilities

Apple’s Magic Trackpad lets you use a variety of multi-touch gestures. This is facilitated by the considerable working surface of the device. Useful actions can be performed with one finger or several: by pressing, swiping, bringing together or spreading. And the trackpad on Macs with Force Touch also handles pressure clicks on its surface for tactile feedback.

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List of multitouch trackpad gestures in Apple laptops and external Magic Trackpad

For more information on these gestures, go to the menu Apple () → System settings and click on “Trackpad“.

trackpad gestures in MacBook and external Magic Trackpad

In this section, you can not only find out which gestures are supported by your Mac, but also change them or disable them altogether. The gestures described are supported by the Magic Trackpad or the built-in multitouch trackpad in Macbook.

Click by clicking… One short press on the surface of the touchpad is enough to simulate a click of the left mouse button.

Click to click - trackpad gestures in MacBook

Right click. To recreate the secondary click, press the surface of the touchpad with two fingers.

Right click

Smart scaling. When viewing a webpage or PDF document, double-tapping the touchpad with two fingers will intelligently zoom in or out.

Smart scaling

Scrolling… Swipe up or down with two fingers to scroll the screen. This gesture replaces the mouse scroll wheel operation. You can turn off trackpad scrolling. To do this, you need to follow the path Apple → System Preferences → Accessibility → Mouse and Trackpad → Trackpad Options and uncheck the box from the item “Scrolling“.


Image scaling… You can zoom in or out as needed by pinching or spreading two fingers.

Image scaling

Turn. To rotate a photo or other object, rotate two fingers on the touchpad relative to each other in the desired direction.

Image scaling

Swipe to navigate between pages… To display the previous or next page, simply swipe left or right on the touchpad with two fingers.

Swipe to navigate between pages

Opening the “Notification Center”. The action center can also be opened with a simple gesture. To do this, swipe left from the right edge of the trackpad with two fingers.

Opening the

Dragging objects… Moving three fingers across the screen allows you to drag the object. To place it in the right place, you just need to click or tap on the touchpad. But in the settings “Accessibility»Can be customized and dragged with one finger. To do this, you need to follow the path Apple → System Preferences → Accessibility → Mouse and Trackpad → Trackpad Options… You must select the item “Enable drag and drop”, And then select one of the modes from the pop-up menu.

Dragging objects

Search and data detectors… Pressing the touchpad with three fingers will allow you to go to search for a word or action with addresses, dates, phone numbers and other similar data.

Search and data detectors

Show Desktop… To display the desktop, spread your thumb and three other fingers.

Displaying the desktop

Launchpad display… Just pinch your thumb and three fingers together to display Launchpad.

Launchpad display

Display Mission Control For this element to appear on the screen, just swipe up with four fingers. But in some versions of macOS, this gesture uses three fingers instead of four.

Mission Control Display

Exposé (show windows of all open programs)… You have to swipe down with four fingers to show all the windows of the program you are using.

Exposé - show windows of all open programs

Switch between full screen programs. Four-finger swiping left or right on the touchpad allows you to navigate between desktops or full-screen programs.

Switching between full screen programs

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Programs that add new gestures for a MacBook trackpad or external Magic Trackpad

The third-party BetterTouchTool and jitouch apps make it easy to create new trackpad gestures in your MacBook or external Magic Trackpad.

Download BetterTouchTool.
Download jitouch.

How to use a trackpad with Force Touch (force click)

An important feature of the Force Touch trackpad is its ability to force click. To do this, it is necessary not only to press on the surface, but also to apply some additional effort. This method will enable you to activate both additional features of some programs and system functions of a computer with macOS.

A short video of Force Click Actions can be viewed by following the path Apple → System Preferences → Trackpad → Select and Press, and then hovering over the checkbox “Search and data detectors“.

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Examples of using the trackpad with Force Touch?

Here are some of the popular Force Touch use cases for Mac:

  • Search. You can force click on text on a web page or in an email message in Mail. This will allow you to get additional information about the text, taken from the “Dictionary”, Wikipedia, etc.
  • Addresses… By forcefully clicking on an address, you can see its location on a map.
  • Developments… Force clicking on dates and events will add them to your calendar.
  • Flight numbers… Pressing firmly on the flight number will allow you to get information about it.
  • Link preview. You can force-click a link in Safari or Mail and see a preview of the web page you want.
  • Shipping tracking numbers… If you force click on the tracking number in Safari or Mail, you will see delivery details in a pop-up window.
  • File icons. You can force-click on a file icon to Quick View its contents.
  • File names… Force-clicking a file name in the Finder or on the desktop will change the file name.
  • Dock… You can force-click an app in the Dock to open the App Exposé tool. This will show all open windows of the selected program.
  • Mail. Force-clicking on the attachment while composing a new message with an attached image or PDF activates the markup feature. It can be used to place signatures over the attachment.
  • Posts… You can force click on the conversation text displayed in the sidebar. This will allow you to view the details and attachments. If you then forcefully click on the buddy’s icon in the chat header, then you will see his contact card in a pop-up window.
  • Reminders… If you forcefully click on a reminder, you can learn more about it.
  • The calendar… Force clicking on an event will give details about it. If you forcefully click on a meeting participant’s icon, their contact card appears in a pop-up window.
  • Map marks… You can try to forcefully click on some place on the map, which will make it possible to mark it with a pin.
  • If an animated map or globe is included in the iMovie timeline, you can force click on it. This will open the style menu.

Force click can be used in several ways in this program:

– Force clicking on a region will rename it.

– Pressing with effort on a note in the keyboard editor or in the editor of the score will make it possible to delete it.

– If you press firmly on an empty area of ​​the Software Instrument track, an empty region will be created MIDI

– Pressing firmly on an empty area of ​​the Drummer track will create a Drummer region.

– Force click on an empty area of ​​the audio track to add an audio file.

– Press firmly on an empty part of the keyboard or score editor to add a note.

– You can force click on the region’s automation area to add automation points to the region’s boundaries.

– Pressing hard on the region while dragging will help zoom in on the timeline

– Press firmly below the title of the last track to display the track creation dialog.

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Other Force Touch trackpad features

QuickTime and iMovie. In these applications, you can press down to adjust the rewind speed by pressing the forward and backward buttons.

iMovie… When a video clip is stretched to its maximum length, the trackpad will vibrate to alert the user when the end of the clip is reached. As you add titles, you will get a tactile feedback when the titles are anchored to the beginning or end of the clip. And weak responses will follow the guides that appear in the viewport when you trim clips.

Map scaling… By increasing the pressure on the zoom button, you can speed up the zoom in or out of the selected map fragment.

Rotate the map. You may feel a slight jolt when you rotate the compass north in Maps.

Spotlight. The jolt will be felt when you move the Spotlight search bar to a standard horizontal or vertical position.

View. You will feel a nudge as you align forms, text, and other markup elements with each other.

Viewing photos. When scrolling through a photo of an album or moment in time, for a faster change of photos, you can apply additional pressure to the arrows.

Rotate photos. When you rotate a photo after cropping in Photos, you will feel a jolt when the rotation angle reaches zero degrees.

GarageBand. Do the following to get a feel for the Force Touch trackpad:

  • Move the track volume slider to the “0 dB” position.
  • Move the track pan knob to the center position.
  • Dragging tracks to a new position to change their order.
  • Move window borders to the point where windows disappear or appear.
  • Move the boundaries of the track title to the point where the title elements disappear or appear.
  • Moving the main program window to the point of disappearance or appearance of control buttons.

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How to change trackpad preferences in MacBook or external Magic Trackpad

You can adjust the required pressure on the trackpad by following these steps:

1. Go to the menu Apple → System Preferences

2. Click on “Trackpad “

3. Click on the “Select and press“.

4. Find the parameter “Pressing force»And move the slider to the desired location. Note that the click sound changes along with the pressure setting.

You can completely disable pressing with effort. To do this, uncheck the “Strong pressure and tactile feedback“. Doing so will disable all features described in the trackpad preferences panel.

Examples of actions performed by pressing with force will work only when the parameter “Strong one finger pressure“. This setting is located on the tab “Select and press” In chapter “Search and recognition of data“.

If a laptop with macOS was released earlier than 2016, then you can turn off the sound of pressing the trackpad using the parameter “Silent click“.

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Force Touch trackpad must be on to respond to taps

The Force Touch trackpad is unresponsive when turned off. This is due to the need to provide power to provide a tactile response similar to a click. This rule applies to both the Magic Trackpad 2 and the Force Touch trackpads built into Mac notebooks.

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