Magic Trackpad 2 on button

Apple just released its Force Touch-enabled Magic Trackpad 2, which joins the Force Touch trackpads already built into many of its MacBooks. The significance of the Magic Trackpad 2 sporting Force Touch, is that it essentially brings the feature to everyone without needing to go all out and purchase a brand new machine.

Force Touch is an interesting concept that’s been a part of our vernacular for over a year with the unveiling of the Apple Watch. Since then, the pressure sensitive technology has made its way, in some way, shape, or form, to both MacBooks and the iPhone.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Force Touch is best implemented on the iPhone (as 3D Touch), but it’s an interesting feature on the MacBook as well. Now that pretty much anyone can add the ability to Force Touch via a $129 Magic Trackpad 2 purchase, I figured it was time to showcase some of the things that you can do with the nifty pressure sensitive input method.

One of the cool things that I didn’t recognize that the Magic Trackpad 2 was capable of, was providing subtle force feedback to make you aware of a situation contextually. For example, when you reach zero degrees when rotating a photo in the Photos apps, you’ll feel a “notch” to let you know you’ve hit that particular mark.

The many ways to use Force Touch

By and large, though, the majority of the Force Touch functionality is focused on pressure sensitive input from the user. Apple lists many of the basic Force Touch features on a support document on its website. In this video, I run through many of the items on the list to show you how they work with Force Touch. Here is a sample of some of the items included:

  • Look up: Force click any text in a webpage or Mail message to see definitions, Wikipedia entries, and more.
  • Mailing Addresses: Force click a mailing address to see a quick Maps preview of that location.
  • Flight numbers: Force click a flight number to get quick details about the flight via a popover.
  • Safari links: Force click a link in Safari or Mail to see a quick preview of the webpage.
  • Tracking numbers: Force click a tracking number for quick shipping details via a popover.
  • File icons: Force click a file/app icon to access a Quick Look preview.
  • File names: Force click a file name to quickly edit the file name.
  • App Exposé: Force click an app icon in the Dock to access App Exposé. This shows you all open windows for that app.

If you don’t already own a 2015 MacBook, or one of the newer MacBook Pros with Force Touch embedded in the trackpad, then as I mentioned, your only option is to purchase a Magic Trackpad 2. It’s a solid device, if not a bit on the expensive side. Watch and read our full Magic Trackpad 2 review in order to see if it’s for you.

Watch our Magic Trackpad 2 review

After seeing all that Force Touch can do, and after watching our review of the Magic Trackpad 2, what are your feelings on the technology overall? Do you think it adds true value to OS X?

  • Nathan

    So damn expensive..

    • jamster440

      Way too expensive, sticking with the older one.

    • Ed

      Specially for such a gimmick. File quicklook? really? you can do that with the spacebar. File rename, only requires to select the file and then click on it again on a regular track pad.
      It’s definitively new tech, but it’s not improving functionality.

    • Vince Reedy

      Paid $35 for this rechargeable trackpad 18 months ago. I would say way better than the previous trackpad, but feels like the new one minus force touch.

    • D R

      Yeah. I’d get it, but I still sometimes have to run Windows, and the last time I used it, I got so frustrating trying to figure out how to get to the ‘classic’ desktop from their stupid touch-ui, I splintered the top of my Magic Trackpad. Fortunately, I only have to use it VERY rarely.

      • @sexyhamthing

        Have you even seen a screenshot of windows 10?

        8.1 literally opens x86 apps in the desktop… hell the OS shipped with a desktop tile. It’s not difficult at all.. the start menu worked as it had always worked, it was just full screen. The apps were there if you wanted them.. you clearly didnt… so why were you using them?

  • Merman123

    I’d return that if I were you Jeff…

    • iPhoneWINS

      exactly

  • Eikast

    Without a doubt this new trackpad is expensive. But this trackpad with the new magic keyboard are a delight to look at. Also they’re very pleasant to use. I like that there’s no longer such a steep slope and I love the sound that the keys make. Now some people don’t care about the sound of keys or don’t give a damn about the look of a keyboard or a trackpad. But for those that do and want a rechargeable battery along with force touch, then I think it’s worth getting.

  • iPhoneWINS

    passs

  • Jake Platt

    I have a 2015 MacBook and it is very easy to forget you even have force touch, let alone use it. I certainly wouldn’t pay extra to have it.

  • Everything you described as a use of force touch, I do with quick double click, slow double click, tap-tap-drag, or right-click…but unifying all of those into one form of interaction is pretty neat, simplifies things, just doesn’t bring any new function/use.

  • James G

    I love these types of videos. I just got my Magic Trackpad 2 with my new iMac and this video is just what I needed to see!

  • Haraesh Jayalingam

    Just wondering, most of these features are still available with the 3-finger touch/click gesture right? Except for the haptic feedback

    • philip Mills

      way to much jeff am better get the apple tv 4 instead

  • Dammit; every time Jeff’s demos a new Apple product I have to run out and buy it… 😉

  • Joshua Fulwood

    Do you think this device would help someone disabled in a way that they needed more surface area to use than the built in track pad. I have a user that uses robotic arms to manage macbook and am looking for a bigger surface area for them to use.

  • Shoutin Halls

    I was definitely put off by the price at first, and was about to order the previous model, but I am seriously happy with this one. Works very well with the Pro Apps stuff. I elected for the older USB Extended Keyboard instead of the wireless ones for the extra keys (great shortcuts.) I haven’t seen anything else that works as well for me.

  • ★Charlie Hustle★

    This says u need bluetooth 4.0 to use but not true, my 2011 imac users bt2.1 n the magic trackpad 2 has renewed my love of trackpads. I never used a mouse until a year ago, now I’m going back to trackpads. This thing is expensive but i had a $50 Best Buy gift card so it was the same price as the old one kinda.

  • nochops

    I don’t like the new internal trackpad or Trackpad 2. They might be fine for a touch typist, but for me (and many others from “help” posts I’ve read in Apple Communities) most functions are inconsistent and troublesome whether Force Touch is turned on or off (and whether using a Trackpad 2 or the internal one on a 2017 MacBook Pro).

    Selecting text to change file or folder names in Finder is next to impossible – there is no predictable pressure level or touch “time” that works consistently and most of the time when trying to work on one or more files the associated apps open. Brushing lightly against the pad – unavoidable if you lift your hands at all like most non-touch typists – often causes multiple items to be selected, and if they are files I’ve had a dozen apps open simply by trying to place the cursor. Apple doesn’t have directions for accomplishing these tasks, so those of us used to using an older trackpad have to keep trying various methods, a time consuming effort that yields absolutely no viable results. We’re stuck with major problems – and in my case I can’t just physically switch to a mouse.

    It’s also difficult to tell where the cursor is in any situation – in addition to the haptic feedback being too weak on “medium” and “light” but the force to use it finger-tiring on “hard” (and the click inaudible with just ambient noise), “hard” seems to be the only way to (sometimes) eventually place the cursor – yet many times it’s not visible for several second…or at all…so you have to wait for it to appear before continuing, or try again…because if you start to type you may be in the wrong place. This happens to me several times in a very short period, requiring even more attempts to try to move the cursor – with the only sure method being the arrow keys. That’s just *wrong*.

    There’s also no consistent “time” before an action takes place – lift too soon and nothing happens; too late and the wrong thing occurs; too late with the slightest variation in pressure and two or more things may happen. The times are different in various apps, Finder, browsers…there’s absolutely no consistency. Same with the part of the finger that’s used – again, with Force touch on or off there’s a huge (and inconsistent) difference between using a fingertip and even slightly flattening it out or rolling to the side – and these positions are exponentially complicated by the aforementioned time problems. Add the fact that if you move at all – even the tiniest amount trying to correct yourself and/or the cursor position – an action takes place that you don’t want.

    These are the major issues (there are several others, most subsets of these). I’ve used Apple trackpads for 7 years with no problem and the new internal and Trackpad 2 are horribly more complicated, inconsistent and functionally different. In Apple’s marketing and in reviews it’s noted that turning off “Force Touch” makes them work like the old ones, but that is fundamentally untrue. For me, who can’t physically use a mouse and had to upgrade his computer, it’s a real mess that apparently can only be solved by a firmware change. I’ve contacted Apple support personnel who recognize the problems and are working with Engineering, but no solution is on the board yet.