Mouse and Trackpad Tools: Getting the Most Out of Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad

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Like all its hardware, Apple also royally charges its input devices. For the current versions of Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad requires Apple 89 respectively stately 149 euros. The changes to the previous versions – especially with the mouse – within manageable limits (see box). If you can put up with the predecessor generations – or if you really want to do so because of the still replaceable energy cells – you should look for second-hand devices of the first generation. These are available at comparatively low prices. But even such used equipment is more expensive than a lot that the competition has to offer. The significant added value of Apple’s “magic” input devices lies in their touch-sensitive touch surfaces. Not only are they able to detect how many fingers are on them, they can also detect gestures. This results in practical ways to make daily work on the Mac more effective. Many of the following tips also work on the trackpads that are integrated with the MacBook models.


After some failed design attempts, Apple has created a product with the “Magic Mouse” that has been with us for a while. But does it deserve the attribute “magical”?

Magic Settings

The system settings of macOS offer numerous tuning options for mouse and trackpad. In the second line of the system settings you will find the entries “Mouse” and “Trackpad”, which lead to important settings. For the Magic Mouse you can set the direction of scrolling in the “Show and Click” tab, ie whether the content of a document or a web page should follow the movement of the finger like a touch screen (“natural”), or content contrary to the vertical movement on the screen Surface of the Magic Mouse to move – so they are pushed. The option to turn off “secondary clicks” is a remnant of times when Mac mice had only one key. If you switch these off, you must hold down the [ctrl] key if you want to use the mouse to open context menus. Left-handers can put the secondary click here on the left side of the mouse. Also known from iOS devices is the “Intelligent zooming”: Enabled, you only have to double-tap on the Magic Mouse, for example, to zoom under the mouse pointer images. If the cursor does not move as you like, adjust the speed of the pointer movement. Far more interesting are the options in the register “Further gestures”. Here you can enable the option to scroll between pages with a horizontal swipe via the touch interface. If you use apps in full-screen mode, the second option of the settings is interesting: A horizontal swipe with two fingers, you can switch between full-screen apps. If you use the Mission Control system feature to toggle between active applications, you can set to activate them by double-tapping the top of the Magic Mouse.

The fine differences

The two Magic Mouse generations are almost indistinguishable. While the first generation used their energy from two AA cells, the second generation covers their energy needs with a built-in battery. This one loads by Lightning socket. Much was mocking Apple, because the port is located on the bottom of the mouse – so simultaneous loading and using is impossible. However, an empty second-generation Magic Mouse will only need to be plugged in for just under a minute to allow it to work for hours.

Bigger are the differences between the Magic Trackpad generations. The new white generation is also equipped with a built-in battery and Lightning socket. Although the Magic Trackpad 2 is shorter, but wider than its predecessor, it offers an overall larger touch surface. In addition, Apple has integrated into the current, wedge-shaped Trackpads the introduced with the iPhone 6S as a “3D Touch” Force Touch function: The hardware registers the strength with which one presses, and can perform depending on different actions.

Lining Up the Trackpad

Despite register names of the same name, the setting options in the Control Panel for the trackpad differ. Under “Show and Click” you can set aside the above-mentioned secondary click and the pointer movement whether a mere tapping on the trackpad should be equivalent to a click. It is also possible to activate a three-finger tip that looks up a tagged word in the system dictionary or performs actions on dates, addresses, phone numbers, and other data. In addition to scroll direction and smart zoom, the scrolling and zooming tab offers the ability to zoom in and out of images using the two finger gestures known from iOS devices. Also handy in dealing with images is the ability to rotate images with a two-finger gesture in 90-degree increments. In the “More gestures” tab you will find other options in addition to the familiar scrolling function, switching between full-screen apps and activating Mission Control. Swipe with two fingers from the right edge to show the message center. The App Exposé feature can be activated by either swiping down three or four fingers. The Launchpad is a program starter that displays all apps installed on the Mac. You can invoke this system feature by moving thumbnails and three fingers of one hand on the trackpad. The opposite gesture eventually causes macOS to display the desk.

Magic Mouse and Trackpad Practical Tools


The BetterTouchTool is probably the most comprehensive and powerful way to tune your Magic Mouse and trackpad. However, the paid software also requires the most training time among the applications presented. First select an application installed on the Mac, then concatenate it with a gesture from a richly populated selection menu. If the letter gestures from jitoch are not enough, you can use the help of BetterTouchTool to create any gestures as triggers. In addition, the program offers the convenient “Window Snapping” feature, but it requires the use of the system preferences settings to enable it, and then adjusts the size of a program window as it is dragged to the edge of the screen.The optional iOS extension “BTT Remote “connects iPhone and iPad to MacBooks via Bonjour and turns them into trackpads or has these function keys deployed.Finally, the powerful software also understands the interaction with the Siri Remote, Touchbar, Apple keyboards and mice from other manufacturers, which are also new tricks The speed of clicks can also be adjusted with the tool.

Price: 8 Euro


The paid software Inklet transforms Apple Trackpads into graphics tablets. If you move around with a finger or a stylus, Mac applications like Pixelmator, Acorn or Adobe Photoshop will detect this as brushstrokes. Especially on the new larger trackpad comes the automatic palm recognition to fruition, which prevents unwanted inputs. In conjunction with the current generation of Magic Track Pads, inputs are also pressure-sensitive, so that you can use the effort required to control the line width, for example.

Price: 30 US Dollars


The free application offers five three- and four-finger tip gestures for the trackpad and three three-finger tip gestures for the Magic Mouse. These can be linked to commands of specific applications. If you tap your middle finger between the index and ring fingers resting on the Magic Mouse, you can start and pause media playback from any app or switch between the tabs in the browser. Since the eight gestures can also be combined with any key combinations, the resulting possibilities are far-reaching.

Price: Free


MouseWizard offers a set of predefined gestures for the Magic Mouse, to which you can assign specific actions. The special feature are two virtual side buttons in the edge area. Via a control screen you can adjust their positions. By pressing the side buttons you can, among other things, send the Mac to sleep mode; Use a two-finger swipe to increase the playback volume. Unique feature of Mousewizard is the trackpad mode: when this is activated, you can use the Magic Mouse in landscape orientation like a trackpad.

Price: 5 US $


Magicprefs (Photo: screenshot)

The Magicprefs integrated into the system settings leaves nothing to be desired when it comes to configuring Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad. Even a simple tap or click can be assigned an action that can eventually lead to running a self-created AppleScript. It is also possible to swap spaces between spaces or to call up the Spotlight system search. The active area of ​​the trackpad can be narrowed down so that, for example, the palm of the hand on it does not affect the recognition of the inputs. In addition, for example, the speed of the mouse pointer can be adjusted and accelerated by up to 200 percent. But with all these advantages, MagicPrefs also has a catch: the software has not been actively developed for five years, so any future update of macOS can chill the useful program.

Price: Free
Web: magicprefs .com


Like MagicPrefs, jitouch installs itself in the macOS system settings and also offers numerous gestures for Magic Mouse and Touchpad to which actions can be assigned. The concatenation of gestures with keyboard shortcuts is also possible. Each gesture is shown in an animated preview and can be adapted for right and left-handed people. The unique feature of the English-language software is the ability to execute letter gestures with two fingers on the trackpad: writing a “B”, for example, opens the default browser. If you like it more precisely, start with a painted “C” Chrome and an “S” Safari. Although it takes a lot of practice on the slim surface of the Magic Mouse, jitouch can also activate the letter gestures on their backs. To improve detection, it is recommended that you configure the finger and ring finger distance settings.

Price: $ 8

Tuning for the Magic Mouse

If the input device is too flat, it can help with an artificial hump. For example, the American auto parts manufacturer Hybrid Racing sells the Fix, a 16-US-expensive silicone attachment designed to improve the ergonomics of the device.

If the Magic Mouse feels too slender on the side, it can be tight 20 Euro Magic Grips from Elevation Lab help. The plastic elements are mounted on the side of the mouse to improve handling.

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