Guide to Pointing Devices for Apple Computers

If you have an Apple computer, you already know that your device is built from premium materials. The OS and software experience is typically smooth as butter, too, with no slowdowns or crashes in sight.
But did you know that Apple also makes some excellent peripheral devices, including two types of external pointing devices? The Magic Mouse and the Magic Trackpad have that great Apple design aesthetic, and they’re very effective even as basic mice and trackpads.
That said, they’re anything but basic. There are plenty of hidden features tucked away inside these pointing devices. And the internal trackpad that ships in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro is powerful as well.
Check out the specs and features of each of these pointing devices, plus some hidden or lesser-known features for each.

Magic Mouse

The Magic Mouse (technically called the Magic Mouse 2) is sleek and beautiful, with a distinctively Apple look to it. It has a gentle curve to it, with a smooth glass top. There are no buttons or markings of any kind, save for a subtle Apple logo near where your palm will rest.
The bottom of the mouse has two long feet that enable smooth sliding on most surfaces. There’s also a power switch, the mouse’s sensor and a Lightning port on the underside. (More on that questionable port placement in a minute.)
The Magic Mouse is a Bluetooth device that will work with any Mac running OS X 10.11 or later. But what you might not realize is that the Magic Mouse is also compatible with all recent iPads, since they now offer full mouse support over Bluetooth.
The big selling point for the Magic Mouse is that just about the entire surface of the mouse itself is multitouch enabled. There are no physical buttons, but you can still click, double-click, and right-click just like you would on any other mouse. You can also use simple swiping gestures to scroll through documents, or swipe between web pages.
Here are all the default commands you can do via multitouch, per Apple:
  • Right-click: click the right side of Magic Mouse
  • Scroll: slide one finger either up or down
  • Smart zoom: single-finger double-tap in a PDF or webpage to zoom in or out
  • Mission Control: two-finger double-tap
  • Swipe between full-screen apps: two-finger swipe left or right
  • Swipe between pages: single-finger swipe left or right to go back or forward
If you’re worried about accidentally triggering a gesture and don’t think you’ll ever want a particular one, you can turn them off or even remap them in System Preferences.

Magic Mouse Drawbacks

The Magic Mouse has a few drawbacks that could be frustrating. First, the lack of real click. Like other Apple devices, the Magic Mouse doesn’t actually have any tactile click to it. There’s a speaker inside that plays a click-like sound, but no physical movement. Some users (and reviewers) dislike this in a serious way.
Second, the charging port. It’s on the flat bottom of the device, rendering the mouse completely useless while charging. Thankfully, you’ll only need to charge it once a month.
Lastly, it’s not particularly ergonomic. Those with wrist and arm pain aren’t going to have a good time with this one. Otherwise, the Magic Mouse is an impressive pointing device that pairs well with any Mac.

Magic Trackpad

If you love the experience of using an Apple trackpad (and they are indeed excellent, as trackpads go), now you can get that experience on a desktop via the Magic Trackpad. The Magic Trackpad is essentially an external version of the trackpad from the MacBook Air/Pro. It brings all those excellent multitouch gestures to the iMac, Mac Mini and Mac Pro. There’s gestures for all sorts of functions; check out Apple’s full list.
The trackpad gestures don’t all match the Magic Mouse ones, which can be a drawback if you’re switching from one to the other.

Internal Trackpad (MacBook Air and MacBook Pro)

If you already have an internal trackpad on your MacBook Air or Pro, you don’t need a Magic Trackpad at all. You might want to pick up a Magic Mouse if trackpads aren’t your style, but be aware that the gestures aren’t the same.

Got a MacBook? Protect It (and Its Trackpad) with an Upsie Warranty

Your MacBook hardware forms an integral part of your daily routine. Work or play, it’d be hard to get life done without it. But your MacBook isn’t invincible, and neither is its trackpad. Just like any other component, the trackpad can fail, especially if your MacBook suffers frame damage that bends or buckles the trackpad surface.
Why not get yourself some peace of mind by purchasing an Upsie warranty for your MacBook Air or MacBook Pro? For a surprisingly affordable upfront fee, you can get two or three years of extended warranty coverage for your MacBook, including accident protection. Accidentally drop it, spill on it, or even drop something heavy on it — accidents are covered with Upsie after a small $25 deductible. Additionally, you can have your local Genius Bar make all covered repairs.
If you’re an iMac owner, you can protect your iMac as well. Unfortunately, Upsie doesn’t offer coverage for external peripherals like the Magic Mouse at this time.
Ready to get that sweet extended warranty coverage so you’re protected against whatever comes your way? Don’t wait — buy your Upsie extended warranty today.

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* This article is over 6 months old and may or may not be updated.