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View Poll Results: MacOS users, what do you prefer for a pointing device?
Mouse (regular mouse or magic mouse) 34 31.78%
Trackpad 73 68.22%
Voters: 107. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 19th November 2020, 12:03   #1
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Default MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?

I have been using the macOS for almost a decade now. I have still retained my 2011 21-inch iMac, and am typing this thread on the same machine. The machine just works, and barring some hardware upgrades over the years (DIY), there have not been any major changes to it.

Ever since I got my PC, the mouse (despite being a multitouch one), was not used much, thanks to the awesome gestures of the trackpad. Other than playing games, the trackpad was super intuitive to use and came in handy especially when using apps like Photoshop, SketchUp, video editors etc. Even when typing a review, it's very easy to copy-paste, select, etc. using various gestures on the trackpad.

Here are the Pros and Cons of both from my perspective:

Magic Trackpad:

+ Large surface to work, supports 3D touch (Force Touch)
+ Lower profile makes it easier to rest your hand - the Apple keyboard and trackpads have the same profile
+ Tap / Click both are supported and a larger number of multi-finger gestures supported e.g. pinch to zoom, image rotating, etc.
+ Convenient charging port on the back (new trackpads have rechargeable batteries)
- It is on the expensive side

Magic Mouse:

+ Comes free with iMac
+ Whole top surface is touch sensitive, making it support multiple gestures
+ Compact footprint - especially if you have limited desk space
+ Easy to carry, you can carry one with your laptop and use as needed
- Not the best ergonomically, your wrist might pain after long hours of using the mouse
- Awkward charging port makes it unusable when charging

Having used both of them, I find it a no-brainer to pick the trackpad for working. That said, if you have a laptop (it already comes with a trackpad), then getting a mouse makes more sense.

Here are some pics of my setup that make use of the Trackpad, Mouse or both.

One of my earliest setups. Simple and compact:
MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?-trackpadkeyboard.jpg

Work desk - the MacBook is attached to the display and magic mouse used:
MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?-mouselaptop.jpg

This one's tricky - the Logitech keyboard is paired with both the iMac and the MacBook, while the mouse pairs with the laptop and the trackpad with the PC:
MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?-multisetup.jpg

This is my current WFH setup. Dual display is a boon and the trackpad makes it much easier to navigate across the larger display area:
MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?-current-setup.jpeg

So my question today is, what is your preferred pointing device for macOS and why?

Last edited by GTO : 19th November 2020 at 12:07.
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Old 19th November 2020, 12:11   #2
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Default Re: MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Shifting Gears. Thanks for sharing!

I always used to wonder why people rave about Apple's trackpad. After 2 weeks of using it, I have to admit that it is incredible, especially the big size one on the Macbook 16.

That said, when I use it on my desk and plug it into a monitor, I'm not so sure about ditching the mouse just yet. For now, what I'm planning to do is keep the mouse on the right of my full-size keyboard and a trackpad on the left.
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Old 19th November 2020, 12:35   #3
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Default Re: MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?

Apple's trackpad has to be experienced to believe it, it's THAT good.

My design manager designs and prototypes apps using only the MacBook Pro trackpad

I use mouse only for designing as rest of the times the trackpad with its gesture features trumps mouse's features.

Last edited by Vid6639 : 20th November 2020 at 09:44. Reason: typo fixed.
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Old 19th November 2020, 13:39   #4
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Default Re: MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?

I voted for mouse. I am onto my second MacBook (pro), having bought my first MacBook in 2009. Initially, I used the trackpad extensively and sort of enjoyed it.

But when the magic mouse was released I was the first one at the Apple shop. Got it like a shot and have been using it ever since.

MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?-img_3720.jpg

I rarely use the track pad these days. Whenever I take the my MacBook Pro with me, (which is very rare), I stick the magic mouse in the bag as well.

No need for the MacBook on the road, I take my iPad (Notice my brand spanking new iPad Air 4th generation! )
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Old 19th November 2020, 13:43   #5
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Default Re: MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?

Trackpad any day. After getting pains in the thumb, and no decent ergonomic position even with special mouses, I started using the trackpad. It really has to be experienced to understand!

That said, it took a week to adjust and be as productive with the trackpad.
Coming from the mouse, its a very different use case, and to unleash the full power you have to master the multi touch gestures.
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Old 19th November 2020, 15:47   #6
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Default Re: MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?

Trackpad while using the laptop on it's own - Its so good!!.
But I use mouse (Logitech MX Performance MX) while using home office setup (Separate keyboard, monitor and mouse).
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Old 21st November 2020, 09:52   #7
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Default Re: MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?

Apple trackpads are just brilliant IMO, the response and natural feeling of gestures, make me lean a bit more towards trackpads overall. Maybe in a iMac setup a a mouse and trackpad could also make sense, not just one or the other.
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Old 21st November 2020, 10:05   #8
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Default Re: MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?

Somehow I feel comfortable with the wireless mouse for my MacBook Pro even though the Mac trackpad is much better than the other (Lenovo) laptop I have at home. I am just 2 years into the Apple-verse, that's probably the reason.
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Old 21st November 2020, 10:08   #9
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Default Re: MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?

I love the trackpad on my Macbook Pro laptop but since a year now I have changed to Mac mini and at times I do miss the trackpad since I use a normal logitech mouse.

I'm always in 2 minds whether to order the trackpad or get a better multi device mouse.
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Old 21st November 2020, 10:24   #10
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Default Re: MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?

This is a super interesting thread for someone who is recently bitten the MacBook's trackpad bug! For the longest time, I was under the impression that a mouse is irreplaceable, but macOS has made me think otherwise.

I have been seriously considering buying a new Magic Trackpad 2 for my WFH setup since the gestures are so convenient. I really wish Windows gets some good alternatives in the near future (recent laptop trackpads are actually pretty good).
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Old 21st November 2020, 12:27   #11
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Default Re: MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?

MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?-img_20200917_114829.jpg
I've been a Mac user for close to 18 years now and I have had my share of good and bad experiences with several input devices like the Magic Mouse, the gigantic MacBook Trackpad and now I'm presently using a budget multi-device mouse, the Dell MS5320W. I have been using the Mid 2017 13" MacBook Pro for all of my edits and college work and though often called a gimmick, I had really gotten used to the quick inputs from the TouchBar. TouchID was also a breeze letting me save passwords to the dozens of sites we need to securely access today. The man of the match though, nevertheless was the enormous Force Touch Trackpad. I feel there's a dearth of quality stuff quite like it. Scrubbing through the timeline, pinching in and out, swiping around inertially and so many other feedback mechanisms truly spoil you.
MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?-lid-closed-setup.jpg
Thanks to the lockdown, I switched to a USB-C Monitor Desk Setup and since I had a budget in mind, I really couldn't afford to spend any more money on Apple's Magic Trackpad, though it was my first pick. I realised I'd also be losing out on TouchID and the TouchBar, which frankly becomes second nature after many years of use. Despite the cost, I really wanted to keep the setup clean, and so I decided to get a Wireless Mouse and Keyboard.

Functionality Losses on a Typical Mouse
  • No gestures.
  • Lack of inertial scrolling (hardware limitations of the mice).
  • Button Incompatibility with MacOS (Non-Logitech Mice) due to poor driver support.

Finding A Mouse
The best choice in the market for a pro-level mouse was something from the Logitech MX Master Stable but all of those were above Rs. 5000, until a few months ago. The MX Master had quite a lot of features which I truly wanted, but I really couldn't justify spending 9k on a mouse, and the sad part is, they only come with a 1 Year Warranty. However, I started looking for other mice which packed 70% of the features of the MX Master series :- sideway scrolling, re-mappable buttons and I finally decided on a Dell Mouse, the MS5320W, a Multi-Device Mouse, which I've been loving from the last few months.

  • 3 Year Warranty.
  • 7 Buttons : Left, Right, Scroll Click, Two Left Sided Buttons
  • Horizontal and Vertical Scrolling
  • Incredible battery life rating (So far so good!)
  • 3 Device Support for near instant pairing.
  • Tracks on every surface I've tried.
  • High on ergonomics.
  • 1/4 Price of a MX Master Mouse - Amazon Link here

  • Native Driver Support for Mac lets you use only 10% of this mouse's potential.
  • Needs SteerMouse to correct Con#1
  • Right Handed Mouse due to the Ergonomics.
  • Sideway scroll does not feature an accelerator sensor.
MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?-dell-mouse.jpg

Adjusting to The Mouse
Hate to admit, that I really had a tough time adjusting to the Dell Mouse and its buttons and I even resorted to using the MacBook in the Open Lid Configuration just so I could reach out and awkwardly use the familiar Touch Bar. But after using this for over 6 months now, I'm a big fan of a mice and desk workflow and after tweaking the Mouse with SteerMouse, it has boosted my productivity to quite a great extent!
MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?-open-lid-mode.jpg

Bonus : iPhone or iPad as a TrackPad for Mac
If you want to use an iOS device as a Mac Trackpad, try El Trackpad! It's pretty good and hopefully will keep getting better. If it doesn't help, might as well take the leap and get the Magic Trackpad.

Last edited by fluidicjoy : 21st November 2020 at 12:30.
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Old 21st November 2020, 12:31   #12
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Default Re: MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?

I have been using the Magic Mouse both in my office and home for my iMac's. apple should give an option either to get the mouse or trackpad while being the new Mac, so the user can choose because, I have 2 spare mouse and keyboard idle

Off Topic: Also, I sorely miss the numerical keypad on the Magic Keyboard, It is really difficulty when you want to use the calculator or create an Invoice to your customer :(
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Old 21st November 2020, 13:33   #13
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Default Re: MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?

I have magic mouse and the magic trackpad as well, but both can not replace the MacBook trackpad since I use the laptop everywhere in the house. Once you fully unlock the trackpad potential, thereís no going back.

I was planning to get a tray dock for external keyboard and trackpad so the layout resembles like a traditional Macbook keyboard but never got around getting one. Since I havenít used the magic mouse for more than a year now, I donít think Iíll put more money into it.
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Old 21st November 2020, 14:11   #14
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Default Re: MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?

Originally Posted by blackwasp View Post
So my question today is, what is your preferred pointing device for macOS and why?
After trying a lot of options including the magic mouse - finally using a logitech MX master mouse. With the programable buttons and secondary scroll wheel, I find it far more useful than the apple mouse.
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Old 21st November 2020, 14:45   #15
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Default Re: MacOS users : Mouse vs Trackpad?

Trackpad is awesome and voted for the same. I have been using Mac since 2012 and had purchased a magic mouse as well but never really liked it because of the much better experience offered by trackpad especially when you are really using laptop in your lap.
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