I'm using an image editing program, and I'm trying to do a large clone. This requires me to keep the mouse button down (virtually, this is on a trackpad) for a long period of time, and any mistake means I have to start all over. (Not to mention, if I get to the edge of the trackpad and still need to push the pointer further I am in trouble!) So I have been looking for a way to keep the software thinking the button is down without having to keep my finger touching the trackpad for an extended period of time.

I read this answer here, which seemed to offer a solution to the problem. However, perhaps I am not understanding what it really means to "double tap", because after setting the option exactly as given in the answer, two literal taps on the trackpad in quick succession do nothing to enable dragging. When I do it in my image editor, I see two modifications made to my image, as if I made two separate taps. If I try it on the top of a window where I would normally click and drag to drag the window around, dragging does not start and the taps are completely ignored. I already have single tap to click enabled, so I know a tap is being registered properly. Setting the "Enable Dragging (with Drag Lock)" seems to have had absolutely no effect.

Is there something else I am missing?

  • quick double-tap on the required area, then click-drag [you can lift off to re-position] then double tap again to drop (though it's been a long time since I used a trackpad, that was always how it worked) 'double-tap' is just tap twice quickly on exactly the same place. – Tetsujin Dec 19 '14 at 18:54
  • trying this on a window... once i quick double-tap, click-drag doesn't actually drag. i seem to be locked out of dragging for about a second. – Michael Dec 19 '14 at 18:55
  • @Tetsujin no, on further experimentation, after double-tapping, click-dragging doesn't drag the window, no matter how long I wait. only after i try to click-drag and release can i then try again and succeed at the drag actually happening. – Michael Dec 19 '14 at 18:57
  • the double tap should 'pick up' the draggable area - though if double-tapping would perform another action on the area you are hitting, that would possibly negate that functionality. I only really remember using it to move windows from the title bar – Tetsujin Dec 19 '14 at 18:58
  • 1
    back in the day, of course, you would also have a left & right click button on a laptop trackpad, meaning you could just resort to 2 hands to do something like this. Test with a Finder window to see if it's just the app that won't behave – Tetsujin Dec 19 '14 at 19:00

After some experimentation, I discovered that it isn't quite a double-tap that is required to activate the drag lock. The second tap of the double-tap need to be held down until the drag is started instead of being released immediately.

So the sequence of steps look something like this:

touch trackpad
release after ~0.1s (or some short period of time)
wait ~0.1s 
touch trackpad
begin drag
release touchpad

And then when I am done dragging:

touch trackpad
release after ~0.1s
  • ah, Glad you got it. My fault, I guess, not tap-tap, click/drag, but just tap-click/drag. – Tetsujin Dec 19 '14 at 19:18

Did you mean to drag something over the screen? You can do this with three fingers.

If this does not work, ckeck your track pad settings to see if dragging with 3 fingers is enabled.

  • Yes, three fingers works, but isn't helpful, because I need to be able to lift my fingers off the trackpad from time to time before the operation is complete. – Michael Dec 19 '14 at 18:54

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