Mouse vs trackpad

I’ve spent the last week using the Magic Trackpad 2 instead of a mouse, and I finally had to go back to the mouse, at least for everyday use. I was wondering, though: Is there a use case where the trackpad really shines?

I use a mouse (an older Logitech) but keep a trackpad to the left of my keyboard for panning and zooming in Logic.


I’ve been using the Magic Mouse 2 recently and really like it. Kind of a blend of trackpad and mouse. It has good ergonomics too.

To your question, the trackpad is good for pinch and spread, etc. but those work on the MM2 too. I used trackpads for several years due to RSI issues, switching to a mouse when I needed precision for CAD & graphics work. I began using the MX Master full time and it provided relief.

I recommend the MM2, and plan to buy one for school.

I typically work with dozens of windows spread across at least twelve Spaces on three displays. Using a trackpad with multi finger gestures to swipe between spaces, invoke Mission Control, and bring up Expose is absolutely wonderful.

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I had trained myself to use a mouse left-handed (I’m a righty) which was handy (haha) but for the last 8 years or so I’ve been trackpad only on my desktops - partly because it’s simpler to have gestures etc. overlap with laptop and ios devices, but also because I think there’s less risk of RSI (which is what drove me to mouse with the opposite hand in the first place).


@ismh, that’s a good idea. I use SketchUp quite a bit and you pan and zoom a lot. I’ll try that out.

@JohnAtl, my mouse is also MM2. I know a lot of people don’t care for the MM but I like it too. Do you use Better Touch Tool with your MM?

@ACautionaryTale, I get dizzy with more than about half a dozen windows open. I have a second monitor, which helps. I don’t use either Mission Control or Exposé very much. To be truthful, I keep forgetting about them.

@dfay, a coworker of mine did the same thing, for the same reason. My dad used to say he might as well have been born without a left hand; I’m pretty similar.

I’ve started dabbling with BTT. I set up some gestures on my laptop trackpad, but find them a bit fiddly as I learn them. My laptop is nearly always clamshelled too. Not sure what gestures I would need on the mouse, as there doesn’t seem to be things I do repetitively with the interface. I find Launchbar to be more helpful in the daily use of my machines (and still lots to learn there).

Do you have gestures or shortcuts you use often?


Since 2009 though I think I’ve been using medium-sized trackballs like this since before then.

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Use M570 similar Logitech Bluetooth trackball. Have a drawer full of alternates, Apple and Logitech devices.

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When it comes to using a trackball like that, I’m all thumbs :roll_eyes:
I did have great success with this one, used with the index and/or middle finger. I did miss the scroll wheel.

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I’m on Team Both as well—trackpad to the left of my keyboard and mouse to my right. I can’t use the Magic Mouse though, the thing is an ergonomic nightmare.

For me, the usage is broadly split into navigation vs. interaction: I navigate pages, views, etc. with the trackpad and perform click operations with the mouse. I much prefer the trackpad for things like scrolling around because it’s a less mechanically complex motion and thus causes me less strain over time.


I was a long-time Windows and mouse user before I retired a few years ago. Less than a week after retirement I bought my first Mac, a shiny new 2011 MacBook Air. I learned to use a trackpad. When I transitioned to an iMac I got a Magic Trackpad. The process of using it feels more natural to me and I don’t worry about RSI. In my estimation, a trackpad is a win-win.


I use a Magic Trackpad 2 under my right hand for gestures and often for scrolling and panning. It causes RSI flare-ups for me though if I do too much with it. I probably wouldn’t use it at all if it hadn’t come with my iMac.

Following up on the off-topic part of the discussion: most of my pointing is done with a trackball under my left (non-dominant) hand. That’s included a Kensington Expert Mouse and more recently a Kensington SlimBlade. Both worked fine mechanically (their software less well) but the buttons eventually failed on them. I just got a CST L-Trac. It’s supposed to be pretty much indestructible (and looks the part) but I haven’t had a chance to use it yet. These are all large ball devices. The smaller ones, along with most mice, feel like toys in my larger hands.

I’ve had a lot of RSI issues with mice over the years and can’t imagine using one again.

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I’ve tried the Magic Trackpad and Keyboard at my desktop, then also pairing a Logitech MX Master mouse. Sadly it just didn’t work for me.

I’ve ended up just popping my MacBook Pro 13” on the desk, using it’s keyboard and trackpad, with my 29” 4k monitor behind so I can still use dual monitor setup.

I keep on trying to go back to the desktop keyboard mouse/trackpad setup, but seem to come back using my MacBook Pro itself.

For me the main reason I love the trackpad input with MacOS is BetterTouchTool, gestures for window management, archive email messages, lock desktop, open common apps, enter common text snippets, etc.

I am not a designer, I am a developer, I would prefer to only use keyboard. On Windows keyboard shortcuts are great to change bt programs, execute, and do a lot of things. On my Mac I use a mouse … the trackpad i haven’t get adjusted to it…

You might like LaunchBar. It provides a nice way to use the keyboard for many tasks.

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Will give it a try. Thank you.

I find that because of my MacBook Pro, using a mouse is extremely clunky because of the easy and seamless use of gestures in my workflow, even with a Magic Mouse.

I also use BTT for a few things, and that makes a big difference.

You beat me to the punch. I was going to suggest LaunchBar as well. I marvel every day at how much I can do with my hands on the keyboard because of LaunchBar.

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It’s a beautiful thing.
I use it mainly to launch apps, but am learning the other super powers as well.
I have Caps Lock mapped to F18 using Karabiner-Elements, so to open MATLAB, it’s CapsLock then M, Carbon Copy Cloner: CapsLock CCC, etc. Launching a Terminal in the current Finder folder using Keyboard Maestro: CapsLock KMM :arrow_right: TER . So much faster than mousing around.

Oh yeah: log in to my Suntrust account using 1Password to fill username and password: CapsLock SUN, log into my credit card account: CapsLock CHA .

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