The MacBook trackpad is a marvellous thing. Assuming that one uses the 'tap to click' functionality exclusively (including the double tap to click-hold within Usability settings) as I do, the physical click button that sits behind the whole of the actual glass hardware can find itself going completely unused. This happened to me, I realised, after letting a friend use the machine to check her email; I heard that solid, subtle clunk for the first time in months.

What I would really like to do is bind this currently redundant button to something that will be used regularly. And, for my workflow at least, this something is Launchpad.

There are two main reasons for this.

  1. I get a hell of a lot of use out of launchpad. I do not use my dock as an application launcher; it instead shows a list of active applications (as per http://www.macgasm.net/2011/04/29/show-active-applications-mac-os-dock-2d-time/) so my launchpad is my main launcher and really the centre of my OS. However, the four-finger pinch gesture used to access the launchpad does not work for me 100% of the time. I'd say it works 95% of the time which, considering I would happily perform said gesture 20 times in a session, at least once per session it leaves me momentarily frustrated. I require a better, more consistent gesture.

  2. I use an iPhone. The physical click to access Springboard has been one of my favourite things about that device from iOS year zero. I think the idea of mirroring this physical click to the mac trackpad and Launchpad would be a beautiful example of cross-device consistency and would instantly become of second nature.

I have Googled around a little and found a few examples of GUI software that can modify inputs, but none that boast the ability to distinguish tap-to-click from click-to-click, if you follow. How low-level would I have to dig to intercept this distinction?

Any advice or direction would be hugely appreciated.


Better Touch Tool will distinguish between physical clicks on the trackpad and non-click taps. I have a desktop so I've only tested this with the Magic Trackpad, but it's likely to work the same with the Macbook's built in trackpad.

One caveat is that it only allows you to map commands to clicks at either the bottom-left or bottom-right edges of the trackpad - a click in the center of the pad wouldn't open launchpad. I haven't delved too deeply into Better Touch Tool, so it's possible that this is only the default behavior. Either way, I think this will do exactly what you need.

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