Am I using the Magic Trackpad correctly?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Jacobi, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. Jacobi macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2012
    #1
    I've had a Magic Trackpad for over a week now and am finding that it strains my wrist quite a bit to use it. My wrist rests on my desk in front of the trackpad, but my fingers all hover over the trackpad, requiring my wrist to be flexed upward the whole time.

    Are you supposed to relax your hand on the pad when using it? Or is there something else I'm missing in terms of positioning my hand or the pad correctly?

    I'm not entirely certain, but it seems like this is less of an issue on my Macbook Air's trackpad. Maybe that's because it's flat while this one is angled upward? Or I'm stretching further because the Magic Trackpad is larger?

    I'd greatly appreciate any suggestions anyone has and am interested to hear if others have had similar experiences.
     
  2. TexasChemE macrumors 6502a

    TexasChemE

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2011
    #2
    Maybe try using it closer to the bottom? Try adjusting how close the trackpad is to your hand, that could help as well.
     
  3. steve217 macrumors regular

    steve217

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2011
    Location:
    NC
    #3
    I alternate hands when using the trackpad to limit strain so the trackpad moves from one side of the keyboard to the other.

    I mostly use the trackpad for browsing so I also keep a wired USB Wheel mouse for the precision stuff.

    As for wrist strain, a long time ago, I switched the mouse to my non-dominant (left) hand and learned as many keyboard shortcuts as possible. I believe this has prevented much wrist fatigue throughout my IT career (25 years and counting).
     
  4. OddyOh macrumors regular

    OddyOh

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Location:
    Regina, SK, Canada
    #4
    I bought the trackpad a few months ago, but never really got into using it. I love the gestures, but hate the pain in my wrist.

    But your mentioning the angle of it got me thinking, so I tried propping up my trackpad with a CD jewel case (remember those?). I think I like that better now. Seems like it's too slippery, but it's the right height, and I can still click with it.

    Maybe one of those mousepads that has a gel wrist pad built in might work, keep it in one place.
     
  5. mtreys macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2012
    Location:
    College Station, TX
    #5
    I agree that the Trackpad causes pain. I had learned to use it on occasion but I still have my Magic Mouse that I usually use. I haven't figured out the best way to minimize the strain put on your wrist from continuous use of the trackpad yet...
     
  6. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #6
    I agree that the lack of angle can cause wrist strain. The stand alone TP does have an angle built in but the laptop built in variety is flat unless you create your own angle using a stand etc. I bought a stand alone a while back for my imac, but can't use it for long periods of time, even increasing the angle didn't work for me. It's a good device, but nature seems to dislike it when used for long periods of time.

    The MBA / MBP is not such an issue..when used on a riser I don't seem to suffer as much.
     
  7. recharge23 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2012
    Location:
    Seoul, South Korea
    #7
    man, i was looking forward to buying one soon but now i'm having second thoughts. there's gotta be a solution!
     
  8. mfram macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Location:
    San Diego, CA USA
    #8
    I stick my Magic Trackpad on a mouse pad with a soft wrist rest.
     
  9. Macman45 macrumors demi-god

    Macman45

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Location:
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    #9
    That's what I do....It does help a lot...I don't think any input device used over long periods of time is ergonomic enough to avoid RSI and subsequent pain down the road.
     
  10. OddyOh macrumors regular

    OddyOh

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Location:
    Regina, SK, Canada
    #10
    Cool, I found a mouse pad with gel wrist pad I wasn't using, so I'll give that a go.

    Off topic sort of, but as far as mice, I swear by these...bit a learning curve, and expensive, but never looked back after getting used to it.
     
  11. GizmoDVD macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2008
    Location:
    SoCal
    #11
    I hate Mice. I use my trackpad for everything. It's seriously my favorite Apple product. I wish someone would make one for Windows that was decent,.
     
  12. chaseychasem, Sep 12, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2012

    chaseychasem macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    #12
    I tried one today at the Apple Store and was impressed, though for some reason I can't imagine using the Magic Trackpad for certain tasks, e.g. word processing involving careful selection of very small segments of text. The internal touchpad on my MBP is right in front of me en route to the keyboard, and it's easy to use fingers on both hands at once to do almost anything. Somehow I imagine one-handed frustration with the Magic Trackpad to the right of my keyboard (even paired with an existing gel wrist-rest), but perhaps that's a failure of imagination on my part.
     
  13. Signal-11 macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    2nd Star to the Right
    #13
    If the surface of the mousing area is soft, as is generally the case, you'll notice that the click of the trackpad becomes soft and requires a much harder push to register.

    Overall, the Magic Trackpad doesn't work as well as the built in trackpad on MBPs/MBAs for a number of reasons that people have mentioned here - angle, placement, etc.

    Still a great device, tho.
     
  14. OddyOh macrumors regular

    OddyOh

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Location:
    Regina, SK, Canada
    #14
    Yeah, the soft gel pad doesn't really work. I have the prefs set to 'tap to click', instead of having to click the entire pad, but either way I don't use it much at all, too painful. I do use it to swipe my mouse pointer to the bottom corner to trigger the screen saver, but that's about it. Much more effective with the mouse. Oh well. Thanks for the ideas in this thread.
     
  15. Ledgem macrumors 65816

    Ledgem

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hawaii, USA
    #15
    I've read other comments remarking on not using the trackpad for "prevision work" involving spreadsheets. I don't really understand it. If you're clicking my physically pressing down then it makes sense, but is that really how most people are clicking? Tap to click, quickly double-tap (or three-fingers down) and drag to simulate holding down a mouse button, and two-finger tap for right-clicking. It's quite easy.

    I have my trackpad sitting on a mouse pad with a gel wrist rest. The mouse pad makes physical clicking (by pressing down) difficult, but I do all clicking by taps anyway. The trackpad is right next to an Apple bluetooth keyboard, so there's no issue with having to reach farther to use my Macbook Pro's keyboard.

    Spreadsheet and word processor work is effortless with the trackpad. I've even used it for some Photoshop editing, although for heavier editing I still prefer to break out my Wacom tablet. At this point, the only thing I break out my mouse for is gaming.
     
  16. chaseychasem macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    #16
    Well, two things: I press down to click and don't want a wireless keyboard.
     
  17. Ledgem macrumors 65816

    Ledgem

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hawaii, USA
    #17
    You don't need a wireless keyboard. As long as your desk configuration allows for it, an external keyboard can be placed near the trackpad as well. The point is to get off of the laptop keyboard to make using the trackpad a bit more ergonomic.

    Similarly, tapping to click (which always struck me as a major benefit of touch pads) instead of physically pressing down is a good solution to your (and probably most other people's) issues with "precision" work with the trackpad.

    If you're unwilling to make changes to your setup or usage patterns for what ever reason, then it's understandable that you might encounter issues with the trackpad. I'm not criticizing anyone's setup or usage preferences; I've merely stated things to try to get the most out of the trackpad.
     
  18. Signal-11 macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    2nd Star to the Right
    #18
    While tap to click is ok, it's not a complete solution.

    Try this. Pull up your Keyboard Viewer and tap out vs click out a sentence using the on-screen keyboard. Most people, probably you included, will be faster at clicking the keys out because requires less finger lift-off than tapping.
     
  19. chaseychasem macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    #19
    But the wired Apple keyboard is not available in a tenkeyless iteration any longer, unless one wants to pay a premium. That's what I meant. On my MBP, the trackpad is directly in front of me en route to the keyboard, as stated. With the trackpad especially I'd want to minimize rightward transit time, so to speak, and a full-width keyboard would hinder that.
     
  20. Ledgem macrumors 65816

    Ledgem

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hawaii, USA
    #20
    In theory you're correct, but I just tested it for myself and I can't say that it felt particularly sluggish. You raise a good point, though, but I have to ask how applicable it is for most people and common applications? I have no doubt that there are valid cases where tap-clicking can't replace physical clicking, but I strongly suspect that there are a lot of people who simply haven't gotten used to tap-clicking and reject it for that reason.

    I'm having trouble visualizing your ideal setup. You dislike the idea of having to move your right hand (assuming you're a righty) from the trackpad to the keyboard, but you're OK with shifting up and down from the trackpad to the keyboard? Doesn't that get uncomfortable for your left arm? When my right hand is on my trackpad, my left hand is usually resting on or near the keyboard. When I use my Macbook Pro's trackpad and keyboard, I don't rest my left hand by the keyboard (unless the system is on my lap, in which case the hands naturally fall into place). Shifting my right hand between the keyboard and trackpad is much faster and easier.

    Of course, that's just for me. I'd assume that most people would have a similar experience, but if it doesn't work for you, then it doesn't work. I hope you can find a solution!
     
  21. chaseychasem macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    #21
    To an extent I'm having trouble visualizing things myself. When I'm using the internal keyboard and trackpad on my MBP, everything is right there, directly in front of me, and I have to pass the trackpad to reach the keyboard, so the experience feels more integral. But I do find myself using both index fingers, for example, to perform highlighting, dragging, sometimes scrolling, and so forth. Since I don't tap to click, I see a weird learning process involved with the Magic Trackpad or right-handed calisthenics. Maybe the distance involved with tenkeyless vs. standard width is beside the point.
     
  22. Ledgem macrumors 65816

    Ledgem

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hawaii, USA
    #22
    For me, most desk surfaces that I place my computer on are too high to comfortably use the built-in trackpad and keyboard for long periods of time. Hence, the trackpad (or a mouse) and an external keyboard are necessary. If your computer is low enough that you can use the built-in stuff comfortably, then there's certainly no need to go with something external.

    You use two hands to perform some gestures, or just to click and move the cursor at the same time? That's interesting, and no doubt explains some difficulties with the touchpad. It reminds me a bit of my wife - she developed a very interesting way to two-finger scroll, where she would place two fingers down but then only move one of them; when we upgraded her to a system that supported multi-touch gestures, this triggered zooming instead of scrolling. She had to re-learn how to two-finger scroll the way that Apple had intended (which wasn't a difficult transition).

    Most of Apple's touch-based things seem designed around the expectation that the user is tapping. The option to double-tap to lock selection, and the more recent three-finger gesture for highlighting and dragging (which is really a fantastic gesture - wasn't supported on my old 2008 Macbook Pro's internal trackpad, unfortunately) seem to confirm that. Tapping may feel weird to you at first, but how about trying it out for a week or so? I think you'll find that it makes things a lot easier than physically pressing down on the trackpad.
     
  23. chaseychasem macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2012
    #23
    Sorry, I meant to say that I do use multifinger gestures, but in the case of scrolling I sometimes employ fingers on both hands if dragging along the scrollbar is involved. As for working at home, I plan to go clamshell once the TBD is refreshed soon.
     
  24. Signal-11 macrumors 65816

    Signal-11

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2008
    Location:
    2nd Star to the Right
    #24
    Not just in theory but practice as well.

    For repetitive movements that require multiple precise, accurate input, tapping is not really a good option. Tapping, while very good on Apple trackpads, every so often doesn't register the way that the user intended.

    There are other actions that are nearly impossible to do well with just taps - click and drag, for example, which is a very widely used action in spreadsheets and graphics apps.

    Personally, I like the trackpad and use the MBP trackpad for most of my work. I alternate between tapping and clicking, as suits my mood and workflow.
     
  25. Ledgem macrumors 65816

    Ledgem

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Location:
    Hawaii, USA
    #25
    The tap doesn't register the way the user intended? How does it register? Every so often I encounter a problem with a gesture (four-finger spread to reveal the desktop occasionally is interpreted as a four-finger swipe to enter Mission Control - it's fairly rare, though), but tapping has never been one of them. Which isn't to say that because it works for me, it must work for everyone else, but I can't really imagine how it could turn into something else.

    Clicking and dragging: the "three-finger drag" (as Apple calls it) is the solution here. Before that I used to quickly double-tap and then drag, but the three-finger drag is faster and there's less chance of producing an unwanted gesture. This is one of the newer gestures; as I mentioned before, my early 2008 Macbook Pro did not support the three-finger drag, even though the trackpad was multitouch-capable. I first gained that functionality when I started using the Magic Trackpad.

    A lot of this comes down to personal preference. But to go further on my experiences, I was slightly nervous when I upgraded from my early 2008 Macbook Pro. It was the last model that had a distinct button for clicking on the trackpad, and I really didn't like the idea of pressing down on the trackpad to click. It seemed like clicking and dragging would be much more difficult that way. It's only been a few weeks since I've upgraded, but I haven't missed that button. I probably used it less than 20 times per year, anyway; tapping has been wonderful for me. There's only one program where tapping is a bit of a pain (FlowJo), but I don't use it that often anymore.

    My advice would be to go through the Trackpad preferences and check out the various gestures. Some may have been added since you last looked, and they may still be disabled. Enable them, customize them (some allow you to select an altered version of the gesture), and then try them out. They may not be able to fully replace clicking, but who knows? Maybe they can!

    Actually, this reminds me of one major gripe I have with OS X... tapping to click doesn't work on the user login screen. So I do physically click once every week or so after a reboot... grumble grumble.
     

Share This Page