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Apple Magic Trackpad 2 review: Solid performer doesn't feel essential

Susie Ochs | Oct. 21, 2015
Force Touch just isn't fully baked on the Mac yet.

I know it’s not exactly fair to compare the multilayered touchscreen of my iPhone 6s with the Magic Trackpad, even if the gestures are pretty similar and they did name it magic, after all. But my iPhone is just better at recognizing what I mean when I interact with it, from better rejection of accidental touches to better understanding my intent when I hard-press the screen. I’m sure I’ll get used to the Magic Trackpad—in fact, one setting in Accessibility is already helping a lot. More about that below.

Ergonomics are a drag

Trackpads aren’t typically comfortable for me to use all day. I love the gestures, but I do a lot of clicking and dragging to select text and drag files around. Holding my thumb down on the trackpad while moving the cursor with my index finger would lead to shooting pain across the top of my hand before the day was out.

slide 10 apple magic trackpad 2 
The Magic Trackpad has a bit of tilt to it, but trackpads in general are uncomfortable for me to use for long periods of time. Credit: Roman Loyola

The Magic Trackpad is helping me retrain myself to only tap to click, and tap with two fingers to right-click. To click and drag, now I just tap with three fingers and drag away—no pressure needed at all. It’s so much more comfortable. After a little practice, I could even use it to crop photos.

accessibility three finger drag
Changing this Accessibility setting really helped solve my problem of Force Clicking when I didn't mean to.

To enable three-finger drag, head to System Preferences > Accessibility > Mouse & Trackpad, and click Trackpad Options. Click the box for Enable Dragging, and select three-finger drag. Thanks to this feature, I’m tapping over clicking almost exclusively, which should be better for my hands, plus reduce the number of accidental force clicks.

Bottom line

If you’re buying a new iMac, I would definitely choose the Magic Trackpad 2 over the Magic Mouse 2. But if you’ve got a Mac without a Force Touch trackpad, you might consider waiting until Force Touch becomes more ubiquitous and essential than it is now. Force-clicking a file in the Finder to Quick Look it is convenient, but not a game-changer. However, with more developer support, Force Touch could eventually be a handy enough feature to justify a new trackpad.


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