Stiff trackpad click action (MacBook Pro MD101 LL/A)

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Hi. I just got a good deal on an open-box MacBook Pro at Best Buy. I've not used a Macintosh since the iMac, and never one with a trackpad. With nothing to compare it to, I'd like your help determining whether the trackpad is defective/malfunctioning. If so I'll have to exchange it.

I understand that the pressure required to click the pad is more than what's needed to tap it, and I have "Tap to click" switched on in Trackpad Preferences. Works great for simple clicks.

However, to click and drag I need the actual, physical click action. I've found that the pressure required to actuate the switch gets greater toward the top of the pad, with the topmost 15mm or so practically unresponsive. It feels and looks as if the pad surface is hinged at the top so only the bottom edge moves when it's pressed. When dragging upward, the click is released when I reach the unresponsive zone or when I fail to increase pressure while dragging.

Is this a genuine instance of "don't worry, they all do that"? Or have I perhaps found the reason why it was returned by the previous customer? I can't imagine this is the intended behavior of the trackpad on an otherwise very nice machine.

While googling about the issue I read an article mentioning trackpad click stiffness due to swelling of the battery, which (in the unit in question, at least) is directly beneath the trackpad. That's worrisome but I don't know whether it's the cause of my problem.

Thanks for any tips,

Pony Pasture
 

pigoo3

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I've not used a Macintosh since the iMac…

What do you mean "since the iMac"? iMac's have been around since 1998…and they're still here in 2015.:)

I've found that the pressure required to actuate the switch gets greater toward the top of the pad, with the topmost 15mm or so practically unresponsive. It feels and looks as if the pad surface is hinged at the top so only the bottom edge moves when it's pressed. When dragging upward, the click is released when I reach the unresponsive zone or when I fail to increase pressure while dragging.

You've described the trackpad operation perfectly.:) The trackpad is hinged at the top…and the closer to the top (closer to the keyboard)…the harder it is to do a physical click.

If you want to do a "physical click & drag"…the way I do it is…press down (click) the trackpad (at the bottom) with the side of your thumb (and keep it there). Then use your index finger to do the dragging.

Doing a physical click & drag is not a one-finger operation.:)

HTH,

- Nick
 
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Ah, I hadn't thought of two-finger non-simultaneous action. I'll try that way, and many thanks for letting me know it's not a defect. Phew, such a relief!

About the iMac, shows how long I've been without Apple hardware. My mostly idle iMac is the clear blue jelly bean kind, second generation I think. Came with OS9, upgraded to the very first OSX and discovered it hadn't the oomph to run OSX well. No matter, it ran 9 just great.

Thanks again for the quick reply, peace of mind, and tip.
 

pigoo3

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Ah, I hadn't thought of two-finger non-simultaneous action. I'll try that way, and many thanks for letting me know it's not a defect. Phew, such a relief!

Since your last Mac was an iMac…and not an Apple laptop. The 2-finger approach for a physical click & drag worked the same exact way with older Apple laptops (approx 2008 and before) that had the trackpad & separate trackpad button. In that case the thumb pushed down & held on the trackpad button…and the index finger did the dragging by swiping on the trackpad.

Looks like this:

images


So the same approach/method is used with the newer Apple laptops with no separate trackpad button (when a physical click is desired).

About the iMac, shows how long I've been without Apple hardware. My mostly idle iMac is the clear blue jelly bean kind, second generation I think. Came with OS9, upgraded to the very first OSX and discovered it hadn't the oomph to run OSX well. No matter, it ran 9 just great.

Yes…those iMac's were quite a while ago!;)

- Nick
 
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I've had several Windows laptops with a similar arrangement, buttons below the trackpad. Given the way Apple mice conceal their buttons I ought to have realized the trackpad took a similar approach.

I'm reminded of Bang & Olufsen, only more so.
 
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Ah, I hadn't thought of two-finger non-simultaneous action.


And 4 finger and five finger operations as well. The Apple Trackpad, is one of the most amazing pieces of tech equipment that i have used, and with the help of BetterTouchTool, i can do just about anything on my Mac, from the trackpad. BetterTouchTool.


iPad Air 2 using Mac Forums App
 
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Looks interesting. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll stay with stock until I get the hang of it; I use Linux and Windows all the time so I've got to learn different habits when on the Mac. Once I'm accustomed to how Apple devices do things I'll give BetterTouchTool a shufty.

(Aside: No, auto-correct. I mean to type shufty, not shifty. Kindly refrain from "correcting" correct, if idiomatic/slangy, words.)
 
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I set tap dragging. Apple hid it under System Preferences -> Accessibility -> Mouse & Trackpad -> Trackpad options -> Enable dragging: without drag lock.

This makes it so you double tap on a title bar to 'grab' it, move it where you want, then tap once to release. This is a default behavior in Windows so I'm kinda used to it.

On your non-Retina Mac it's easy to adjust the click, but requires special tools and will void your warranty if you try to do it. If you take it to an Apple Store they can adjust it in-store probably on the spot (make a Genius Bar appointment beforehand). Takes just a few minutes.
 
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MacInWin

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One anecdote about trackpads: My wife took her MBP on a trip and complained that she didn't like to use the trackpad because it was too hard to click. That statement triggered the "instructor" mode in me, so I got the machine to show her how to use it properly. When I went to click on the trackpad, it was almost impossible to push down! I opened the case and the battery was swollen. Took it out, got a new one immediately and installed it and the trackpad now returned to the designed easy function. So, if the trackpad gets hard to push, check your battery.
 
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@S.SubZero: Interesting, I was wondering whether there was a setting for this. I'll probably try that once I've had time to get accustomed to the new machine. No need to adjust it physically, I was just using it wrong.

@MacInWin: Maybe it was your wife's trouble that I read about earlier, that made me wonder if that could've been a problem here! Fortunately I'm sure now that the device is fine. My mistake, that's all.

Thanks for all the great advice. I'll certainly have other questions as I acclimate to the new environment.

My main problem now is remembering, especially when the iPad is right next to it and I'm switching back and forth between the two: It's Not A Touchscreen!!! <g>
 

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