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Friday, July 9, 2021

Force Touch on MacBook: How it works

So there’s a huge key difference with the trackpad and that’s the removal of the button beneath the trackpad on the last generation multi-touch trackpad. So basically, how that one worked was it was basically a big glass surface and underneath it was a tiny button similar to a mouse and when you push on the trackpad, it would click on the button and register a click or some kind of action.

So now it has replaced the four pressure sensors on all corners of the trackpad. How that works is basically it measures the sensitivity or pressure placed on a trackpad and it registers some kind of click. By now you’re probably wondering ‘how do I know if I clicked something.’ Well, in the middle of the actual trackpad is a haptic engine. This thing basically replaces the clickable button because it sends little pulses of vibrations. It doesn’t actually feel like a vibration at all because it sends it in a very small pulse. So if you were using the MacBook by itself and you really don’t have any experience of the old generation MacBooks, you could be fooled by saying yes, I feel something being pressed. That’s really how it feels when you’re using the haptic trackpad.

Now say you line up the old MacBook Pro and the new MacBook Pro and you try pressing both of them, you can tell a big difference. One, you can actually tell the resistance on the upper portion of the trackpad on the old MacBook while the new MacBook has even resistance on all sides. You can actually program that in the software, depending on what you want to register as a Force Touch or Force Click.

Another difference between the trackpads is when you have the MacBook turned off. On the old MacBook, you can still press the trackpad. It wouldn’t do anything because your MacBook is off. On the new MacBook, it wouldn’t do anything. It’s just a glass surface, it doesn’t click or move, and doesn’t have any feedback. That is probably the biggest way to tell whether or not you have a Force Touch Trackpad on your MacBook.

For the past couple of days, I’ve been using the Force Touch Trackpad a lot compared to my 15-inch MacBook Pro. And honestly, I kind of dig it more than the old trackpad: one, it’s very easy to use. I have even pressure on the top side of the trackpad, which I really did not like on the old generation MacBooks and it just feels really natural and very custom to the old MacBook. It feels very similar, has a similar experience.

The only thing I would be worried about is the engine burning out at some point but honestly, thinking about it, it won’t. If it happens within the first year, you’re covered under the Apple Care warranty. So honestly, it’s really cool and interesting. I’m sure more and more notebooks will be having it. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has it now, the new MacBook will have it. And I’m guessing the MacBook Air and 15-inch MacBook Pro will have it sometime along the line later this year or maybe even next year.

Other than that, the functionality between these two trackpads are very similar. The only big difference is you can program what the Force Touch click would do. On some cases, you could actually make it do definitions, you can also bring up addresses and open up maps within an address that’s posted with a data text or email. I’m pretty sure more third-party application developers will take advantage of Force Touch equipped Macs and give them different functions so it could be a whole new way to interact with your laptop and Mac.

Make sure to leave me some comments below. 

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