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I have a Magic Trackpad that I'm using with my iMac.
Everything works great, but I would also like to use the trackpad with my MacBook.

For some reason, it seems that I can only pair the trackpad with one computer at a time.
With the iMac turned off, I turned on the MacBook and went to set up a new Bluetooth device. The trackpad was not found.
I know that nothing is wrong with my connection procedure (I pressed the power button, it was within range, etc), and that nothing is wrong with the trackpad itself (it works fine with the iMac).

I finally got the trackpad to pair with the MacBook by unpairing it with the iMac, turning the iMac off, and power cycling the trackpad.

Then, when I went to re-pair with the iMac, the device was not found (the MacBook was completely off; it was not connected to anything). Only by unpairing with the MacBook and power cycling was I able to re-pair with the iMac.

So, I think the trackpad is trying to tell me that it can only be paired with one computer at a time.

I would like to pair the trackpad with both my iMac and my MacBook not for simultaneous use, but for using with one when the other is turned off or far away.
I have other Bluetooth devices that let me do this just fine, and I can't think of a reason why it would be different for the trackpad.

How can I pair my Magic Trackpad with both my iMac and MacBook for non-simultaneous use?

Ideally without any third-party software.

  • Interesting question! This should work without problems because it's a one-way communication, right? – gentmatt Feb 24 '12 at 21:18
  • Humm, Looks like someone needs to come up with a Bluetooth capable KVM like device for this to work. – MrDaniel Feb 24 '12 at 21:48
  • @gentmatt Bluetooth connections are always two-way. (One of the advantages of this is it supports encryption via the pairing, so your typing is not broadcast in the clear. On the other hand, the power requirements for Bluetooth are one reason a lot of keyboards and mice use their own separate dongles.) – Kevin Reid Feb 25 '12 at 22:14
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No, it can only be paired to one computer at at time according to Magic Trackpad Manual. You would need to un pair and then re pair it to another computer in order to use it on both computers.

Here's the extract from the manual:

After you pair your Apple Magic Trackpad with a Mac, you can pair it again with a different Mac. To do this, you first remove the existing pairing and then pair the trackpad again.

  • 2
    Well, darn! That's less than ideal. I've still got some hope that there's a third party solution though... Thanks for digging up the official word. – Nathan Greenstein Feb 24 '12 at 22:19
  • 1
    You can "pair" the older Magic Trackpads with more than one computer at the same time but can only use it with one at a time. If it's in use/connected to one computer, it won't connect to the other. If you disconnect from the first, you can then connect to the second. – Chris Williams Mar 23 '16 at 0:19
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According to this answer, Magic Track Pads can be paired with multiple devices, just not, as you stated, at the same time.

As long as the track pad is not connected with another device, it will be pairable with an additional one. The trick is to make sure that it's not connected to the other device, since it will connect with the first paired device it sees.

If your machines in question are more than 33 feet apart (the range of bluetooth), you should be fine, but it never hurts to turn devices off when not using them and in-between pairings, just to be safe.

1

What about considering http://synergy-foss.org - an open source tool for sharing mouse and keyboard between multiple machines on one desk?

Support for Maverics is not ready yet :-( but it seems to be coming soon.

  • An alternative to synergy is Teleport. I am using it and can pair my magic trackpad to only one mac at time. – politicus Mar 30 '14 at 13:20
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Keep it simple folks. It can only be paired with one Mac at a time. Simply make sure you have the "Show Bluetooth in menu bar" Ticked on in your Bluetooth preferences on both machines. Then simply left click the icon in the task bar (its normally between the sound and wireless icons) then pull the mouse pointer down to the keyboard in question and click 'Disconnect' Head back to the mac your using and do the same choosing 'Connect'

As long as the keyboard is already paired with each device its as simple as deciding which computer you want to use :) Job done

When you do get around to getting more than one Keyboard be sure to rename them differently add a number or simply add mac mini/ iMac etc..so you know which is which. If you move them much I suggest marking the keyboards underneath also....sigh

EDIT (extra info's)

Ok, battery condition, or simply your Mac's inbuilt cussedness can make pairing frustrating at times, turning your device off and back on again is often the preferred method with reluctant bluetooth devices (remove and replace batteries to be absolutely sure)...on my keyboards I often tap the caps lock to see if the light comes on after I have supposedly turned it off. But, more often than not, the main problem with pairing your bluetooth device will be that it has paired itself to another of your devices (my iPhone is often the culprit as I paired one of my keyboards to it ages ago) Once paired you can then turn bluetooth back on on any other machines or devices you wish (shutting down your connected device may however cause reconnection problems on boot up... so it may be easier to 'remove' the keyboard, or other problem BT device from the machine,iPhone,iPad, or tablet in its bluetooth preferences[ie:"forget this device"]) It really is much easier to have each computer with its own personal keyboard/trackpad.

One last tip I can share for those of us who run multiple machines is to simply 'share screen' to the computer you mostly use. I currently run as my main machine a 27"iMac, but I also have a Mac mini as my main media device(has iTunes and is in charge of all updates,charging etc)And an old Mac Pro just cos I love it... and its still damn quick! so... just allow screen sharing from the other machines to the one you sit in front of the most and your mouse/trackpad and keyboard will give you full control as soon as you can see it in finder. Simply select the machine (Mac mini most often in my case) and you will see in the top right corner of the finder window a 'share screen' and a 'connect to' button. I choose 'share screen' and I can control, modify or use my Mac mini directly from my iMac screen.

  • Just tried this, but Disconnecting from the first Mac does not allow the second Mac to pair. – Stiggler Oct 27 '16 at 20:31
  • If you have any problems or any doubt at all whether your device/trackpad may already be paired with another computer/phone/ipad etc. Simply turn off Bluetooth on ALL your other devices except for the computer you are trying to connect to. Turn off and on again your Bluetooth device [remove and replace batteries if at all unsure] Sometimes it also helps to reboot the computer also. – Carl Harstad Dec 4 '16 at 18:33
  • erm sorry, hit return already! Once connected you can turn your Bluetooth back on for the devices you turned off earlier. Best of Luck :) – Carl Harstad Dec 4 '16 at 18:35
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FYI, After answering another question similar to yours specifically How can I operate 2 XServes and 2 iMacs from 1 keyboard and 1 mouse (both bluetooth)?, I think I may have found a way to let you share your Magic Track Pad between two Macs thanks to Jagra's question. Here is a solution to try.

Actually, it looks like this may work, as note here Share your Magic Mouse between 2 Macs. This should be able to be extended to where both the keyboard and the mouse are Bluetooth and replacing the KVM with a USB switch.

enter image description here

For the setup we used the following hardware:

    1 mac mini (running 24/7 as a home server)
    1 Mac Pro (it’s a hackintosh inside a Mac Pro case)
    1 Apple USB Keyboard and 1 dual-link DVI Monitor
    1 Apple Magic Mouse (Bluetooth)
    1 Belkin Flip KVM Switch (DVI-D 2-Port)
    1 small Bluetooth 2.0 USB dongle

Also I am currently trying to confirm how this works with the following question With a USB bluetooth adapter does the devices pair with the dongle or the computer? My guess that it is paring with some kind of unique Identifier in the USB Bluetooth dongle's hardware.

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Simply remove the trackpad batteries for 20 seconds, put them back on and re-pair.

  • 3
    The question asks about pairing it to several computers at once. – nohillside Dec 10 '12 at 15:55
  • This would be a useful trick to point out, if you put it on the right question. – iconoclast May 3 '13 at 17:45

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