I've never really been a huge fan of trackpads but after playing with the official Apple Magic Trackpad using Lion, I have to admit, I loved the full screen swiping and using two fingers to swipe Chrome web pages.

I'm a programmer by trade and do VERY minimal art work using Pixelmator.

What are your impressions of using Apple's multitouch trackpads?

  • Since this question can't be definitively answered, I'm going to make it a Community Wiki. Commented Jul 27, 2011 at 14:11

4 Answers 4


I have both the Magic Trackpad and the Magic Mouse, and IMO the trackpad works really well for browsing, navigating in the general system, and is a very natural way to interact with the computer.

That being said, it is not precise enough to be used when you need to do photo/video editing, and in those rare occasions I use the mouse.

I also do programming, but barely use the mouse/trackpad when I'm coding.


  • Very easy to navigate in pages (Web browsing, preview, etc.)
  • Enable one to use the built-in gestures, and that make a huge difference in day-to-day computer usage
  • Ideal for an "HTPC" usage of your Mac : I frequently casually use my Mac from the couch, and not having to move a mouse is a definitive plus.


  • Precision
  • Doesn't fully replace a mouse
  • You'll miss the gestures as soon as you'll use a different computer.
  • I like your answer and it has convinced me NOT to buy one. I tried the gestures on my MBP with Lion (track pad) and while it was the same, I can't say it really gave me anything after using it for a long time. Maybe I'm just too old-school. I do remember the Commodore 1351 after all. lol (or was it the 1531?)
    – cbmeeks
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 15:43
  • Tip: If you do programming, only XCode will work very very well with the trackpad. It has so many custom gestures for XCode (like navigate to prev file with two finger swipe, etc). Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 5:15

As a web developer as well I use the Magic Mouse and get almost all the functionality (gestures) in Lion with the benefits of precision when I need it. I used the Magic Trackpad for a while (borrowed from a friend) and it didn't work as well for me compared to the Magic Mouse.

  • I voted you up even though I'm actually not a fan of the magic mouse. I scroll stuff around too easily. Especially text editors that for some reason, always keep a horizontal buffer even though the text doesn't spread out wide (ie Textmate).
    – cbmeeks
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 15:41
  • I had the same issues when I first got it. However, I'm a little better with it now and the gestures in Lion make it worthwhile for me.
    – Nate Bird
    Commented Jul 29, 2011 at 15:45

As a counterpoint to many of the answers already posted, I find Apple's multitouch trackpads essential to my use of a computer. I've never particularly liked using mice, but I could never tell why until I used a trackpad for the first time on my iBook G4. Since then (and especially with the increase in gesture support over the years), I've gone all-trackpad all the time.

I find trackpads to be, in general and in my usage, to be much more precise than mice: I find delicate operations in Photoshop much easier to perform and I find hitting small buttons in interfaces to be much easier. (This is probably because I have better fine motor control in my fingers than in my wrist and arm. I generally operate a mouse using the muscles in my upper arm such that my elbow moves along with the mouse.)

I use the multitouch gestures all the time, particularly two-finger scroll and right click, three-finger-drag, the various four-finger swipes, and the five-finger pinches. I don't use tap-to-click or back/forward gestures because I frequently accidentally trigger them.


I've got one recently. So far the only thing I am happy about is that my employer paid for it. If I put it right next to my wireless keyboard, it is constantly picking up accidental brushes of my fingers when I am fumbling for the arrow, return, or delete keys.

Probably this will change as I learn not to be careless around it. It is nice to have access to all the gestures supported in Lion, but I don't think I will be giving up my mouse even if I get used to the Magic Trackpad. One big reason is that the force required to register a click is far more than on most mice and specifically on my Logitech MX1000.

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