Stupid Simple Mac Tips #48 – Trackpad Ninja Part 3 of 4: May the Force be With You(r trackpad)

Stupid Simple Mac Tips #48 – Trackpad Ninja Part 3 of 4: May the Force be With You(r trackpad)

By Tom Lambotte | September 21, 2020

You’ve read the first two of my Trackpad Ninja tips, have you purchased your trackpad yet?

Very few people know this when it comes to the trackpad on their laptops and the Magic Trackpad: 

There’s no button, but it feels like a button.

Image by Freepik

Mind blown, right?

The trackpad is force-sensitive, so it can tell how hard you’re pressing down. But instead of an actual button that gets clicked, there’s a set of electromagnets that move enough to feel like there’s a click happening. It feels exactly like a regular click. Apple calls this the “Taptic Engine.”

Another cool feature is called “Force Click.”

This is more than a cool Star Wars sounding feature.

What Apple has done is add a bunch of new ways to interact with OS X based on a super-hard press.

When you have successfully pressed hard enough, the Taptic Engine gives you an extra click, and then the OS does extra, neat little things like popping up definitions, web page previews on links, maps, image previews, and more.


  1. Learn the Force Click, click.
  2. Know when it is useful, such as popping up definitions, web page previews on links, maps, image previews, and more.

Cheat sheet:

  • Lookup: Force click the text in a webpage or Mail message to see more information about the text from sources like Dictionary, Wikipedia, and more.
  • Addresses: Force click an address to see a Maps preview of that location.
  • Events: Force click dates and events to add them to Calendar.
  • Flight numbers: Force click an airline flight number to get details about the flight.
  • Link previews: Force click a link in Safari or Mail to see an inline preview of the webpage.
  • Tracking numbers: Force click a tracking number in Safari or Mail to see shipping details in a popover.
  • File icons: Force click a file icon to see a Quick Look preview of the file’s content.
  • File names: Force click a file name in the Finder or on your desktop to edit the file name.
  • Dock: Force click an app in the Dock to access App Exposé. This shows you all open windows for that app.
  • Mail: When composing a message with an image or PDF attachment, Force click the attachment to activate Markup. This lets you annotate the attachment.
  • Messages: Force click a conversation in the sidebar to see details and attachments, and Force click a buddy’s token in the chat header to see their contact card in a popover.
  • Reminders: Force click a reminder to see more details.
  • Calendar: Force click an event to see more details. Force click a meeting attendee to see their contact card in a popover.
  • Map locations: Force click a location in a map to drop a pin there.

Here’s how to turn it on:

  • Go to System Preferences > Trackpad > Force Click and haptic feedback
  • When the box is checked for Force Click, you can change whether you need to apply light, medium, or firm pressure to activate a Force Click just above (the same slider applies to regular clicks)
  • To test it out, do a normal click but instead of lifting up, keep pressing more firmly until you feel a second click to do a Force Click

Here’s how the customization options look:

Good luck and may the Force be with you.

On a vaguely connected point, I’d like to share a hilarious video for Star Wars fans. This IS safe for work and funny as hell. Enjoy!

  • September 21, 2020

About the Author

Tom Lambotte is a legal technology expert, author and the CEO of GlobalMac IT. He helps Mac-using lawyers with super simple technology, security and efficiency strategies that work. He’s on a mission to help attorneys using Apple computers reduce their security risk and get more out of their technology. Get his free 33 Stupid Simple Mac Tips and score some quick wins to boost your productivity.