How to use Trackpad gestures on your MacBook

If you’ve ever transitioned from a Windows laptop to a MacBook, you must have noticed that there’s a huge difference between the two platforms. Not only is MacOS interface smoother and cleaner, but it feels fluid in the sense that you can literally glide through your work and different windows like a breeze.

Talking of gliding, the MacBook’s touchpad feels like it glides too when you know how to use it properly.

Yes, there are no left and right-click buttons, but that makes it all the more intuitive, and once you know what you can do with simple gestures, your productivity will increase multi-folds!

Let’s take a look at all the gestures you can use with your Mac:

Basic Gestures

The following gestures may seem obvious and some maybe ingrained in you if you use an iPhone or most smartphones these days.

Left and Right-click

Since there are no buttons on the MacBook’s touchpad, a simple one-finger tap and two-finger tap replaces those functions. Tap with one finger anywhere on the trackpad for a left-click, and tap with two fingers for a right-click. Similarly for both functions you can even press the touchpad on the lower end.


Zooming in and out is exactly how you’d do it on an iPhone and iPad. Just use two fingers and perform a pinch and un-pinch gesture. However, when you’re on a picture or a document, you can also double tap with two fingers to zoom in and double tap again to zoom out.


Yes, just like you would on an iPhone, but with two fingers. Simply put two fingers on the touchpad and move it up and down to scroll through your documents or Safari, etc.

Advanced Gestures

These may not exactly be advanced gestures, but since not many people know about the following, it can be said that these are more advanced and can save you time and increase productivity.

Show Desktop

You can always press F3 to show all windows open on your MacBook, or press Cmd-F3 to show the desktop.

However, both these functions can be performed with gestures as well. To show all open windows on your MacBook, simply swipe down on the touchpad with three fingers (or four, depending on which version of MacOS you are using) and all open windows will line up for you to choose.

To show the desktop by removing all open windows away temporarily, simply take three fingers and your thumb, and perform an un-pinch gesture.

Launchpad and Mission Control

Mission control can be called upon simply by swiping three fingers (or four, as mentioned above) in an upward motion.

You can summon the launchpad by doing to opposite of showing desktop: by pinching with three fingers and your thumb.

Notification Centre

You regularly need to check your notifications, and instead of going on to the top right corner and clicking with your mouse, you can simply swipe two fingers inwards from the edge of the left side of the touchpad. You can make it go back by swiping two fingers back in the opposite direction.

To get a visual on all these productive and insanely useful gestures, just go to System Preferences > Trackpad, and you’ll be able to see a GIF of all the gestures, making it easy for you to understand.

You can easily learn all the gestures from here and even make custom changes if you have to. Good luck and enjoy your newly-found productivity hack!


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Anas Dilshad is a Digital Marketing Expert and works with MacAppers. I love to share everything related to Mac. Feel free to ask any query about Mac at my Twitter Profile @anasdilshad1



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