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Multi-touch behaviors on new Macbook/Pro Unibody Laptop Macs
Four-finger swiping on multi-touch trackpads have a few interesting behaviors not shown in the Trackpad System Preferences panel.

As documented, a four-finger down swipe executes ExposÚ, while a four-finger up swipe shows the desktop. Without any intermediate steps, a four-finger swipe (up or down) will bring the windows back to their prior locations. The System Preferences window makes it appear as though after swiping up, the user must swipe down to return to a normal view, and after swiping down, the user must swipe up to exit ExposÚ.

However, when using ExposÚ, it is possible to scroll through the ExposÚd windows using two-finger scrolling in any direction. Then a four-finger swipe up or down can be used to select the highlighted window as the new frontmost window.

With Spaces active (i.e. more than one Space being shown), two fingers can highlight different spaces. A four-finger down swipe activates ExposÚ within the Spaces; a four-finger up swipe whisks the desktop to the selected Space and shows only the desktop. A four-finger left or right swipe switches to the selected Space and opens the application switcher overlay.

A four-finger left or right swipe opens the application switcher overlay. Two finger scrolling then highlights different applications. A four-finger tap then selects the application. (That is the hint I'm most proud of; the system will recognize up to a four-finger tap!) This happens whether the option for "tap to click" is on or off. Also, four-finger swiping in any direction while the application switcher overlay is open takes precedent. A down swipe will activate ExposÚ and the application switcher overlay will disappear.

Pinching in any location where icons are present (desktop, icon view in Finder) works just like the user would expect. A pinch makes the icons smaller, and a reverse pinch makes the icons bigger. This only works with Finder as the active application. Reverse pinching in QuickTime activates full screen mode. Pinching during full screen returns to the last screen size. Pinching in Mail affects text in messages as expected.

Three finger swipes only work if the application is the active application, and if the pointer is inside of the application window. Three finger swiping in Mail, up and down, moves the selection from the current email up or down once, respectively. (This also works in Address Book, but only in the Contacts column.)

Three finger swiping in Finder activates the backwards and forwards buttons like it does in Safari. (This also works in iCal, but will move forwards or backwards one day/week/month, depending on the direction of the swipe and the current view.)

Oddly, no finger gestures work in iTunes, other than two finger scrolling. Videos can not enter full screen by reverse pinching. Three finger swiping won't select the next song. Pinching and reverse pinching don't change the text size.
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Multi-touch behaviors on new Macbook/Pro Unibody | 10 comments | Create New Account
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Multi-touch behaviors on new Macbook/Pro Unibody
Authored by: PCheese on Oct 31, '08 11:01:07AM

Three finger swipe left and right works in Mail as well, to select the previous or next message.

Pinching in the Finder works only if "Zoom using trackpad" is enabled in the Advanced pane of Finder Preferences.

iPhoto's has some interesting variations as well.
- In thumbnails view, three finger scrolling in any direction simulates the arrow keys in that direction. Pinching resizes the event thumbnails.
- In magnified photo mode (double-clicking a photo), only left and right three finger swipes work.
- In edit mode, pinch zooms the photo. Three-finger swipes work in all directions, though up and down correspond to previous/next just like left/right.
- In full screen mode, only left/right three-finger swipes work, but pinch zooms the photo.

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Multi-touch behaviors on new Macbook/Pro Unibody
Authored by: A. Square on Oct 31, '08 03:33:23PM
The "four finger tap" to select the application in the application switcher doesn't work for me, and it's driving me a little bit nuts: I can open up the application switcher and select an application without moving my hand off the trackpad, or moving the cursor on the screen, but I can't actually accept that choice. Annoying!

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Multi-touch behaviors on new Macbook/Pro Unibody
Authored by: mrwright613 on Nov 01, '08 02:39:31PM

reverse pinch also works to activate full-screen when in quick look

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Multi-touch behaviors on Macbook/Air/Pro 2008
Authored by: drmacnut on Nov 02, '08 10:11:53PM

Just for sake of those owners of the previous generation of 2008 MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro portables who may be reading this thinking they got left out, actually many of these gestures work those Macs as well (but may indeed be undiscovered by the user!). The ones that don't are all the four-fingered gestures now included in the Unibody Macs. All the two and three finger gestures work.

I really like now being able to resize icons in icon view mode (in Finder) and being able to go back and forth using three-finger swiping (as in Safari, Address Book, iCal, etc). Let's hope there's more to come in the future without it getting too confusing.*

*oh how I wish Apple would make a glass trackpad with a changeable display under it which could accept touch and gestures dynamically depending on context. </dream>

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One more behavior
Authored by: tchenj on Nov 02, '08 10:24:55PM

Found another one :)
In preview and quicklook, to advance one page of a continuous document three finger swiping works.

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Multi-touch behaviors on new Macbook/Pro Unibody
Authored by: Chamius on Nov 11, '08 12:16:01PM

Is it me or the 4-finger gestures are very inconsistent in the way that you select what you want:
1) The Expose view is basically 4-finger-down-swipe + 2-finger-selection + 2-finger-tap to select.
2) The Task switcher is basically 4-finger-side-swipe + 2-finger-selection + 4-finger-tap to select.

They should really have made the latter a 2 finger tap to select. It's very unusable to do finger 4-2-4, not to mention that the 4-finger tap is flakey.

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Multi-touch behaviors on new Macbook/Pro Unibody
Authored by: mietek on Nov 26, '08 12:25:18AM

Actually, the 2-finger tap in Expose mode doesn't do anything for me...

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Multi-touch behaviors on new Macbook/Pro Unibody
Authored by: Hes Nikke on Jun 15, '09 09:53:15PM

Does anyone know how to make it mouse3? I would love to 2 finger click for mouse2 (right click) and 3 finger click for mouse3 (middle click). This would make opening a new tab for the link under the pointer a breeze.

vacuums do not suck. they merely provide an absence that allows other objects to take the place of what becomes absent.

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Multi-touch behaviors on new Macbook/Pro Unibody
Authored by: PCheese on Nov 20, '09 10:28:01AM

You can command-click a link to open it in a new tab.

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Multi-touch behaviors on new Macbook/Pro Unibody
Authored by: pawz on Jan 19, '11 11:15:51PM

Um, the whole point of gestures and four-finger taps and stuff is that you can perform more functions with less hands.

Having to use a second hand to use the command key is just crazy. Why isn't command-click a gesture as well ? Has anyone found a way to make it one ? I've looked at several third party extensions and none I've seen support it.

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