Similar to others, I experience the issue where Force Click does not work to bring up the look up window, even in native Apple apps such as Safari. However, in a secondary user account, Force Click works as expected, while the System Preferences pane looks exactly the same.

Where does macOS (10.13.1, in this case) store the preferences for force touch and how to reset them?

Might this be related to the fact that sometimes Cmd+Ctrl+D does not work in my account (despite there not being a conflicting entry in Keyboard→Shortcuts)?

As far as I'm aware I don't have 3rd party programmes modifying trackpad/keys.

  • I would suggest that you reselect "Force Click with one finger" under the "Lookup and data detectors" of the Trackpad settings. I had a similar issue and this resolved it for me.
    – Jake3231
    Nov 29, 2017 at 20:34
  • Thanks, @Jake3231, I have tried that, and it does not solve the issue. Note that 3-finger-tap works in my account as well.
    – zeeMonkeez
    Nov 29, 2017 at 20:37

1 Answer 1


All your settings are stored in something called the defaults system, which at its core is a bunch of .plist files in your Library folder: ~/Library/Preferences/whatever.plist.

You can actually change them with the defaults command in Terminal, although it's generally a good idea to quit the relevant app first. Changing system settings will probably not take effect until you log out. For more information, run man defaults in Terminal.

Try this command:

defaults read -g | grep trackpad

This should show your trackpad-related settings. I don't have a Force Touch trackpad, but here's what I get:

"com.apple.trackpad.forceClick" = 1;
"com.apple.trackpad.scaling" = "0.6875";
"com.apple.trackpad.scrolling" = "0.3125";

Now for some troubleshooting.

Before going any further, it's a good idea to duplicate your global preferences file, ~/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist, in case you lose some settings you want to keep.

To see if one of these preferences is the problem, try doing this with each preference in turn that you got from the previous command:

defaults delete -g com.apple.trackpad.forceClick

replacing with the proper one, of course. You'll probably have to log out and back in to see the changes.

(An important note: Terminal commands generally don't ask for confirmation before doing things. They assume you know what you're doing, which is all well and good until you don't, or make a typo.)

  • Thanks. I suppose my real question is: what are preferences that could interfere with these trackpad settings? deleting or changing the trackpad prefs stored in .GlobalPreferences.plist doesn't seem to have an effect on the functionality.
    – zeeMonkeez
    Nov 29, 2017 at 21:43
  • Hm. What happens if you rename or move the entire .GlobalPreferences.plist?
    – SilverWolf
    Nov 29, 2017 at 21:45

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