I often notice that I like trackpads more than most people do. Given the choice, I find that most people pick a mouse, but I choose a trackpad.
This preference is mainly due to habit, I’m sure. I’ve been using MacBooks as my primary computer for over half my life, and Apple makes really nice trackpads, so I’ve gotten used to them.
However, I think having the right settings enabled is essential to loving your trackpad. Here are three settings I can’t live without, and turn on immediately any time I get a new MacBook:
- Enable tap to click. Tapping is not just easier than clicking, but noticeably faster.
- Maximize tracking speed. This way I can move the cursor from one edge of the screen to the other in one flick of a finger. (I think this one is why I haven’t taken the time to learn nearly as many keyboard shortcuts as many of my fellow software developers. I’ve never been bothered by the time it takes to do things with my cursor!)
- Enable three-finger drag. Without this, dragging is fatiguing and probably a cause of repetitive strain injury. With it, dragging is effortless. (They really buried this one in macOS Mojave. It’s under System Preferences > Accessibility > Mouse & Trackpad > Trackpad Options… > Enable dragging > three finger drag.)
We all have different needs and preferences, but I bet most people would prefer these settings if they turned them on and gave themselves a little time to get used to it. However, I think most people never try them, and maybe don’t even know they can.
I suspect this is part of why nobody seems to love trackpads as much as I do. If I were in charge, I’d make these settings default!