I am using an early 2009 MacBook.

Is there any way or any APP that can make Solid-state scrolling trackpad on my MacBook behave like Multi-Touch trackpad

Solid-state scrolling trackpad supports two-finger scrolling, tap, double-tap, and drag capabilities, while Multi-Touch trackpad supports inertial scrolling, pinch, rotate, swipe, three-finger swipe, four-finger swipe, tap, double-tap, and drag capabilities.

Can gestures from Multi-Touch trackpad, be available to Solid-state scrolling trackpad?

  • 7
    I don't think the hardware actually supports it.
    – user6124
    Commented May 31, 2011 at 10:47

4 Answers 4


You could try with some software like Better Touch Tool, but that's not guarantied it will work, since it's more of a hardware limitation.

Another solution would be to buy a Magic Trackpad.

  • any one tried 4 finger gesture on solid-state scrolling tracking with Better Touch Tool? I don't know how to configure it on my MacBook
    – I-M-JM
    Commented Jun 4, 2011 at 6:05
  • 1
    It won't work as the software can't imagine where 4 fingers are when the hardware will only report if one or two fingers are sensed during a scroll detection.
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 4, 2011 at 15:55

Sadly, there is no way and no app to add this functionality.

The hardware simply wasn't designed to track two (or more) independent touches. You get two finger (wide contact point) scroll but that's it.

You would need to add more hardware like a video camera to see three fingers and analyze the movement optically (or add expensive circuitry and somehow hook into a free port like bluetooth, USB and add a kernel extension to get that added input to the Human Interface system.) It's more practical to find a buyer that wants your mac and put that money towards a mac with true multitouch hardware than to add multitouch capability after the fact.

  • +1 @bmike has it right: the device literally cannot detect what you want it to detect. It's as if you asked, "how can I get my MacBook's SuperDrive to also read 3.5 inch floppy disks?"; the electro-mechanical device is simply incapable of doing what you want, no matter how you modify the software. Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 2:39

I recommend reading this article from TUAW. It basically says that the internal chipset on the new multi-touch trackpads is different to older trackpads and that is why out-of-the-box, Mac OS X Snow Leopard will not be able to add the gestures to your trackpad.

Having said that, the same article points you to this hack in MacRumors in case you feel a little adventurous and want to try and hack your OS to change how it works with your older trackpad. I cannot vouch for this method as my Mac already has a multi-touch trackpad so I have not used this hack. I also do not know of anybody who has used it. I am only pointing you in that direction in hopes that it is what you're looking for.

If there's a hack, there might just be a way. :) Good luck!

  • That hack was to add four-finger gestures to older multitouch trackpads before snow leopard came out, not to add gestures to non-multitouch trackpads.
    – ughoavgfhw
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 20:08
  • 1
    You can hack the software all you want, but the hardware can't detect more than two contact points.
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 4, 2011 at 15:59

I've experimented with a lot of hacks and apps for the trackpads to simulate the Magic Trackpad's gestures, but still avoid adding another accessory to carry around. Personally, I've found JiTouch to be wonderful in this respect: http://www.jitouch.com/

Hope this helps!

  • David - this software is great for changing how multi touch is interpreted but doesn't add multi touch where there is none.
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 16:49
  • It will allow gestures on any hardware that has the underlying technology to recognize input from x number of fingers. That's all one could ever hope for. Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 16:56
  • But were here answering 2009 MacBook questions where the OP wants multitouch on hardware that isn't. It's a great answer, just not for this question.
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 6, 2011 at 17:11

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