How to use Magic Trackpad 2 with desktop Macs

Within just a few months of its introduction, iPhone, iPad, iMac and MacBook users all now have access to Apple's user interface innovation

Apple, Force Touch, OS X, iMac, Mac, iOS

As predicted, Apple is deploying its latest UI innovation, Force Touch, across the Mac platform, creating parity with its iOS offering as it does. So, how can you use the Magic Trackpad 2 with your desktop Mac?

All Apple devices

At a fairly hefty (for an interface device) $129 cost, Magic Trackpad 2 brings Force Touch to the desktop. It features an edge-to-edge glass surface area that is almost 30 percent larger than the previous trackpad.

The four force sensors tucked away beneath the trackpad surface are smart enough to tell when you click anywhere on the ‘pad and will detect what levels of pressure you apply. This enables you to perform a number of different actions with a single touch. With the introduction of Magic Trackpad 2, this is now available across all current Apple devices, from the iPhone to iPad, iMac to MacBook Pro.

Also read: Apple’s Force Touch the future of mobile interfaces

Bluetooth 4.0

Magic Trackpad 2 requires you run a Bluetooth 4.0-enabled Mac computer with OS X v10.11 or later. This means not every Mac is compatible – has a good list of which Macs support which Bluetooth versions. As a general rule, most Macs introduced in 2012 and some made available in 2011 should be compatible with the new trackpad. Notable exceptions include the late 2011 MacBook Pro models and late 2011 iMacs. However, some reports claim you can make these trackpads work with older Macs, though Apple doesn’t recommend this.


If you have a compatible Mac, you should connect the trackpad to the Mac using the Lightning to USB cable; switch the trackpad on and the device should automatically pair with your Mac in Bluetooth Preferences.


The trackpad works a little like an iPhone, offering a Force Touch surface you can use to move the pointer and exercise gesture-based commands. It is smart enough to tell the difference between non-imperative hand rest positions and actual commands. You can set up gestures and create your own optional commands in System Preferences>Trackpad.

How to use Magic Trackpad 2

Just like Force Touch on the latest Apple laptops, the UI feature lets you easily access items while reducing the number of steps required. It also supports Multitouch.

Click: Press anywhere on the trackpad for the equivalent of a mouse click, or enable ‘Tap to click’ in preferences if you’d prefer to use a more familiar tapping motion to click.

Force click: Press firmly anywhere on the trackpad until you ‘feel’ a deeper click. You can use this to gain more contextual information about an on-screen item, such as to access word definitions or take a look at a preview in Maps.

Two-finger click: Click with two fingers to open shortcut menus, or tap with two fingers to achieve this if you have previously enabled ‘Tap to click.'

Pinch to zoom: Just like on an iPhone, you can zoom in or out of photos and webpages using the trackpad.

Swipe: Swipe left or right with two fingers to flip through webpages, documents or iBooks.

Also read: 11 Force Touch commands for Mac users

App control

The trackpad also offers useful tools for getting around apps, for example: Pinch closed with four or five fingers to quickly open Launchpad to find and launch applications, or swipe left or right with three or four fingers to switch between full-screen apps. Or swipe up with three fingers to access Mission Control.

More information

You can access more information about using the trackpad in Help>Mac Help in the finder menu, just search for "trackpad."

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