Using the Multi-Touch trackpad in Mac OS X v10.5, 10.6

The Multi-Touch trackpad found on the MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro is a button in itself; you can click almost anywhere on the trackpad. The Multi-Touch trackpad also provides access to multiple gestures using two, three, or four fingers.

Learn more about some of the useful keyboard and trackpad tips and shortcuts available in Mac OS X v10.5 and v10.6.  Note: For information about gestures and trackpad options with OS X Lion, see OS X Lion: About Multi-Touch gestures.

Portable Macs that have a Multi-Touch trackpad include:

  • MacBook Air (Late 2010) and later
  • MacBook (Late 2009) and later
  • MacBook Pro (late 2008) and later

For assistance identifying your Apple product, please see Tech Specs.

If you are unsure whether your portable has a Multi-Touch trackpad, see How to determine that your portable has a Multi-Touch trackpad.

Note: For more information about Multi-Touch trackpads that have a separate button—such as on the MacBook Air and certain MacBook Pro models—see MacBook Air and MacBook Pro (Early 2008): Useful keyboard and trackpad tips and shortcuts.


The speed the mouse pointer moves depends on how quickly you move your finger across the trackpad. To fine-tune the tracking speed and set other trackpad options, choose System Preferences from the Apple () menu, then Trackpad from the View menu.


Finger position while tracking

For more accurate tracking, navigate the cursor with one finger at a time on the trackpad. For comfort, you can rest your thumb near or along the bottom of the trackpad, much like the thumb position from previous trackpads. If this is your preferred finger position, rest your thumb along the bottom edge of the trackpad. The glass multi-touch trackpad can sense when your thumb is resting on the edge of the pad.

Note: Resting your thumb on the trackpad (above the bottom edge) may result in accidental gestures such as scrolling, zooming or rotating.

  • To ensure accurate tracking and gestures, make sure you are not hovering other fingers closely above the tracking surface. This can cause the trackpad to react as if there are multiple fingers being used.
  • To ensure accurate finger gesturing response, use fingertips or slightly curled fingers. 

Deleting text

  • Forward deleting deletes characters to the right of the insertion point.
  • Pressing the Delete key deletes characters to the left of the insertion point.

To forward delete, hold down the Function (fn) key while you press the Delete key.

Tap to click

  • Turned off by default.
  • Enable by clicking the checkbox.

Tap on the trackpad to select an item (equivalent to clicking on the bottom of the trackpad).

Secondary clicking

  • Turned off by default.
  • Secondary clicking or “right-clicking” lets you access shortcut menu commands.

To secondary click, enable Tap to Click in Trackpad preferences, and then tap two fingers on the trackpad. Or use Trackpad preferences to set up a secondary click zone in the bottom left or right corner of the trackpad. You can also secondary click by holding down the Control key while you click.

Two finger scrolling

  • Two-finger scrolling lets you drag to scroll quickly up, down, or sideways in the active window.
  • This option is on by default.

Application-specific gestures

The following trackpad gestures work in certain applications. When you perform these gestures, slide your fingers lightly on the surface of the trackpad.

For more information, see Trackpad preferences or choose Help > Mac Help and search for “trackpad.”

Two-finger rotating

Two-finger rotating lets you rotate photos, pages, and more.

Two-finger pinching

Two-finger pinching lets you zoom in or out on PDFs, images, photos, and more.
Screen Zoom

Magnifies an area of the screen.  Click Options... to customize the behavior of this feature.

Three-finger swiping

Three-finger swiping lets you rapidly page through documents, move to the previous or next photo, and more.

Four-finger swiping

  • Four-finger swiping up or down for Exposé.
  • Four-finger swiping left or right to Switch Applications.

You can change the default behavior by clicking Options in Trackpad preferences.

Last Modified:
84% of people found this helpful.

Additional Product Support Information

Start a Discussion

in Apple Support Communities
See all questions on this article See all questions I have asked
United States (English)