Apple Magic Trackpad vs Mouse: Comparison

When discussing Apple’s peripheral options, one of the most difficult choices people have to make is between the Magic Trackpad and an Apple mouse. Whilst a mouse may seem like the obvious choice, if you’re used to using a Macbook Pro or Air then the Magic Trackpad may be more appealing.

The Magic trackpad is a touch-sensitive pad that allows users to navigate and interact with their Mac in a more intuitive and gesture-based manner, and it’s much like the touchpad you’ll find on Macbook laptops.

A traditional mouse relies on physical movement and clicks to operate, though the Apple Magic mouse has been designed to be more like the trackpad than a standard mouse.

With no right and left click buttons or scroll wheel like a standard mouse, there’s definitely a lot of similarities between them.

As the owner of both for several years, I’m in a pretty good position to give an opinion on the similarities and differences between them.

So, if you’re not sure which one of the two to opt for, I’m going to run through which one that I find best, and the activities I use them for.

Apple Magic Trackpad: A Modern Approach

The Magic Trackpad boasts a minimalist design that encompasses with Apple’s aesthetic well – simple, yet effective. Most people think it’s the same as the Macbook trackpad, and although it’s similar, it has a rougher texture than the pad that comes engrained into your Mac – it’s much bigger too.

And its larger surface area is what offers room for various gestures, making it ideal for users who prefer touch-based interactions like swiping, pinching, or rotating. Ergonomically, it reduces the strain on your wrist as you don’t need to move the device itself.

For macOS users, gesture support is perhaps the most important thing to consider. Both the magic trackpad and the magic mouse allow you to take advantage of this, but the multi touch gesture support that the trackpad offers is better.

Multi-touch Gestures with the Magic Trackpad

The Magic Trackpad’s strength lies in its support for multitouch gestures, which are deeply integrated into macOS.

Gestures like a three-finger swipe to switch between full-screen apps or a two-finger scroll offer a fluid and dynamic user experience. This makes it ideal for navigating through large documents or web pages.

The ability to pinch and zoom may not seem essential, but it can be ideal in certain scenarios. For example, those that use Microsoft Excel a lot will appreciate capabilities like pinch to zoom and scroll quickly whilst they work.


The design of the Magic trackpad can take some getting used to, but some users find the flat, stationary design more comfortable for their wrists.

The Magic trackpad makes navigating your display pretty easy, and when combined with a large surface for ideal for gestures and movements, it’s easy enough to get things done.

It allows your hands to stay in a more natural position than when using a mouse, especially one like the Magic mouse which is minimalist but not designed with ergonomics in mind.

Suited for Drawing and Sketching

Another thing that the large surface area makes the Magic trackpad suitable for is drawing. It essentially mimics the experience of using a touchscreen, and anyone that’s tried drawing with a Mouse knows how difficult it is in comparison.

The Magic Trackpad seamlessly integrates with the Apple ecosystem, as well as offering features like Force Touch, which adds another layer of functionality to the device. But enough about the Magic trackpad – let’s take a closer look at the Magic mouse as a competitor.

Apple Magic Mouse: Classic and Familiar

In contrast, the Magic mouse has a more traditional design and is especially well-suited for precision tasks like graphic design.

It’s comfortable in the hand, and it actually requires less learning curve for those accustomed to a typical mouse setup due to the lack of buttons.

I think that it’s one of the best mice for Macbook Pro owners. And, there are a couple of main reasons why the Magic mouse may be better choice for you.

Precision and Control with a Mouse

A mouse, on the other hand, excels in tasks that require precision. Its feedback and ability to make fine, controlled movements make it preferable for detailed work in applications like Photoshop or Illustrator.

The lack of scrolling wheel can mean that it takes a while to get used to. However, most of us are used to using a mouse already, and though it’s a little different than the standard, it still functions in the same way.

Lightweight and Traditional

As well as being traditional and comfortable for most of us, the Apple mouse stands out for being lightweight. At just 99 grams, it’s not quite in the same ballpark as many gaming mice, but it’s certainly better than the trackpad in this regard.

When you consider that you’ll probably have the carry the Magic keyboard too if you’re looking for something portable, the smaller Magic mouse is better in this regard as it allows you to switch off and pack it up easily.

Normal Gesture Support

The Apple Magic mouse still supports simple gestures, though not as extensive as the Magic trackpad offers. The ability to zoom is one of these, though it doesn’t come as switched on when you first order the mouse.

It’s easy to turn these on and off in System Settings – features like double tapping the mouse with two fingers taking you to Mission Control is a great example – there are many different Apple mouse gestures you can use.

Conclusion: Making the Right Choice

Choosing between the Apple Magic Trackpad and the Magic mouse comes down to personal preference, and the specific use cases you have in mind for each.

Personally, I usually only use my Magic trackpad for drawing for the most part, but if you value gesture-based controls, a sleek design, and deep integration with macOS, the Magic Trackpad might be worth checking out.

For most people though, the precision and familiarity of the Apple mouse are going to appeal more. If you’re looking for something to help you complete your daily tasks, it’s the wiser choice of the two.



Full-time writer, Apple fanboy and macOS supremacist. Currently running: 16" Macbook Pro w/ 64GB RAM & M1 Max. Already wants to upgrade to the M3 😫😭

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