Force Click Equivalency

force click
Non-Force Click

Is there a way to use force click functionality on the existing trackpad?  As you might expect from a company with billions to invest in research and development, the new hardware does add a few unique features that only pressure sensitivity and haptic feedback can provide, but most current force click features do have non-force-click equivalents, or at least approximations.

At this time the list of exclusive functions is fairly short, so it’s easy to rationalize keeping an older MacBook a while longer.  Haptic notchiness and psyclicks give the new trackpad an opportunity to shine, but the old Apple multitouch trackpad is significantly better than the run-of-the-mill, and Force Touch widens the gap.  It’s a well-considered enhancement compared to the gimmicky touch screens bolted onto so many Windows 8 laptops.

As applications evolve to take better advantage, the case to upgrade will be stronger.  For now, a three-finger click provides many of the functions ascribed to the new trackpad without having to “use the force,” and there are some other tricks to further diminish the apparent differential between force and non-force capability.  The more interesting application of Force Touch is on a touch screen, so your hard-earned moolah might be better spent on a Force Touch iPad/iPhone if and when they come around.  On a touch screen platform, Force Touch will probably meet the upgrade criteria — “a starkly noticeable change in experience and capability.

Force Click Equivalents
Force Click Action Multi-Touch Approximation
Variable-rate zoom pinch zoom
QuickTime variable FF/RW two-finger drag
Preview any file three-finger click
Preview Calendar dates three-finger click
Click on any date to create event three-finger click
Preview any link three-finger click
Look up the definition of a word three-finger click
Drop a pin in Maps click and hold
Show all windows from an open app right-click, Show All Windows
Rename any label Click to highlight, Return

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