Weekly Poll: Which Input Device Do You Use for Your Mac?

Once upon a time, the Apple Mouse was just another reason for Windows PC users to hate Macs. Putting aside bizarre physical designs like the hockey puck, Macs seemed stubborn in their insistence on a primitively simple input device. When PC users were enjoying multiple buttons and even scroll wheels, we were still rolling our eyes and wondering why they needed anything more than one universal button.

When the Mighty Mouse came, many Mac users, including myself, realized that the PC folks might have been right about fancy mice. Having multiple clickable controls and a dedicated input for scrolling turned out to be a significant improvement!

Unfortunately, the scroll ball turned out to be the most frequently failing thing Apple had designed since the G4 Cube. Some users suggested rolling it on paper, others literally gave weekly toothbrush treatments to the cursed thing, just about everyone was forced to admit that it was a lousy piece of hardware.

After decades, it seems Apple has finally gotten in right. The Magic Mouse is, hands down, the best mouse I’ve ever used. Though some still complain about the shape being not ergonomic enough, I’ve used it extensively since it was first released with zero issues. Multi-touch scrolling is a dream (no ball!) and the bonus of gestures is far beyond what I could’ve hoped for in a mouse.

However, some still insist that third party tools are the way to go. Still others are content to use a trackpad 100% of the time and have absolutely no need for a mouse. The Magic Trackpad is certainly a fantastic input device and offers desktop Mac owners even more versatility and functionality than the Magic Mouse.

Today we want to know what you use for input on your Mac. Are you a purist, bent on only using Apple products or do you have a third party input device? Do you mostly use a mouse or a trackpad?

For my part, I use my Magic Mouse most of the time and my MacBook’s trackpad when I’m not at my desk. After you vote, leave a comment below telling us about your setup! Which products do you own and use?


  • cargath

    I think the Magic Mouse is really, really frustrating. Such a great idea, but such a bad execution. The shape is not the problem. But having to lift the finger from the right “button” in order to do a left click is the most annoying thing i ever experienced on an input device. Also, Apple refuses to deliver a “better” mouse driver. I’ll never understand how a company famous for design and user experience after years still fails at producing a mouse. Apple mice, in my opinion, are totally unusable. When using a mouse as an input device for my Mac i use a Razer mouse. The Razer driver seems to overwrite the crazy cursor movement of Apple mice so it becomes usable.

    But then again, Apple is the only company putting tolerable trackpads into their laptops, so i don’t have to carry a mouse around. That’s one of the main reasons i use a Mac, not a PC. I even got the Magic Trackpad. Works great and safes some space on a small desk.

  • http://sensorydispensary.com Scott

    Just the Trackpad on my MBP. I’ve never been a fan of using a mouse, no matter how fancy they make them.

    sb

  • Chris

    I use both the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad; it really depends on what I’m doing. If it’s precision work like using Photoshop or Illustrator, then the mouse is the way to go. If I’m reading, composing text, or surfing the web, I prefer using a trackpad.

    As a side note, the Magic Mouse is the best designed, easiest to use mouse Apple has ever produced.

  • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

    I got a Magic Trackpad along with my Mac Mini i5, and it’s great. Can’t imagine going back to a normal mouse right now, as I’m already so used to using gestures.

  • Adam

    I use my MBP in clamshell mode 90% of the time with a Magic Trackpad and Apple’s wired keyboard. I’ve got a usb mouse that I plug in for the random Portal 2 game, but otherwise my mouse using days are pretty much behind me.

  • http://awdl.co.nz Jason Koning

    I use my Magic Trackpad to move the cursor around the screen (left) & my Magic Mouse to left & right click. Seems to work pretty well.
    Not a fan of the shape of the Magic Mouse though, it certainly hasn’t done my RSI any favours (hence using the Trackpad).

  • snownado

    the trackpad for most everyday usage.

    a mouse if i’m playing a game that functions better with a proper right button and scroll wheel or if i’m doing anything in photoshop other than very basic work.

    a wacom tablet to do any really heavy photoshop work.

  • aaron

    I use my MBP’s built-in track pad on Sundays. Use a magic mouse on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, I use a Wacom tablet.

  • Stanley

    Wacom Intuos4 drawing tablet and Apple Trackpad.

  • JAn

    A few days ago I have just sold the Magic Mouse. It is designed to surf websites and look at videos and pictures but not for professional use. I went back to my mighty mouse which works fine but has a quality problem with the scroll pointer.

    Additionally I have invested in the old keyboard with the number keys on the right side.

  • Finseth

    I use a Razer Mamba mouse when at my desk and otherwise my MacBook’s trackpad..

  • Nic

    I use the Magic Mouse with my MacBook… and since I am using an older black MacBook, I don’t have a multitouch pad.

    However, I have the feeling I might still be using the Magic Mouse, which I love. HOWEVER…

    I could NEVER use this mouse without Andreas Hegenbergs most amazing Better Touch Tool (which, amazingly is free). It turns the Magic Mouse into what Apple should have done in the first place.

    (Or maybe not… I understand that Apple wanted to keep it simple, and it does take a little time to adjust the various settings in Better Touch Tool, since the Mouse can be over sensitive. But I do have touch actions for nearly everything I use. If you do take a look, please take a good look and try with the two finger tip-tap actions… they are fantastic (and never prone to a false movement).

  • Flo

    I use a small Bluetooth mouse from Microsoft with my MacBook Pro. ;)

  • Paul C. Jones

    My Magic Mouse has retired as soon as I got Lion and Magic Trackpad. The mouse era is over. I was reluctant at first and it did take me a few days to truly get used to it, but I prefer it over mouse now and I am pretty quick with it as well. It’s all just a matter of getting used to. I do Photoshop and Illustrator and other development apps and I don’t have any problems with it.

    I know and have been observing dozens of my friends and family members using their MacBooks. They are mostly non-geek users, some of them do design and development work. Simply put, they do NOT care about mouse. They’ve already been using either built-in trackpad or Magic Trackpad exclusively. I even asked them what they thought of mouse vs. trackpad. ALL of them replied, “I just got used to trackpad now and it’s easy and more natural to me. It’s too much hassle to have to use mouse. I love trackpad!” Especially younger ones (teenagers and college students) are very quick with trackpad. Only those who’ve been around and stuck in the classic PC days complain.

    It is not controversial that OS X will be more and more like iOS: Strict sandboxing, simpler and single-focused apps, touch interface, and even tighter control over both software and hardware. The kind of computer that doesn’t require geeky babying. The kind of computer that says NO to excessive features. People are tired of apps that crashes and apps with steep learning curve. Everything will change. It’s going to be exciting next 5 years for sure.

  • Konstantin

    I use both at the same time — magic mouse is the main input in my right hand, and magic trackpad is on the left – to quickly use spaces & other lion gesturers.

  • Justin

    I feel handicapped without the extra buttons on my Logitech mouse, using SteerMouse to customize the button functions per application, and right-click gestures for window minimizing/hiding/zooming (and much more) using xGestures. I’ve tried a Magic Mouse along with BetterTouchTool, and while I love the scrolling and swiping gestures, overall I find it less ergonomic and can’t match the versatility.

    • http://iaian7.com Iaian7

      Absolutely agree, I’ve been using Logitech mice and SteerMouse on my macs for years. Tried the magic mouse and found it to be really cool, but completely unusable (same left/right click issues as the previous mighty mouse – I *need* physical buttons to *quickly* work in graphics and 3D).

  • molecule-eye

    I switch between my MBP’s trackpad and a third party Logitech mouse. No voting option for that. Unfortunately the scroll wheel doesn’t work on a Mac very well, at least not like Apple mice do, where the scrolling is finer and smoother.

  • http://www.perezfox.com Prescott Perez-Fox

    I use a Wacom Tablet. To be specific, it’s an Intuous 3, 6×11 wide format. The wide format is great for dual-screen setups.

    Unfortunately, Wacom discontinued the 6×11 format, so I suggest everyone hunt the web and see if you can find one.

  • John

    I have a MightyMouse and a Magic Trackpad but mostly I stick to using my Logitech MX 1000 laser mouse. I like all the buttons on it and the ergonomic (for righties) design. I don’t like the flatness of the MightyMouse and using a TrackPad for me is only something I do when I don’t have the space to whip out a mouse.

  • John

    What input device I use depends on what I’m doing and which Mac I’m using. Typically, I just use my 2009 MacBook Pro’s trackpad, although sometimes I’ll attach a corded mouse. My iMac currently has a corded Macally mouse.

    On the other hand, our home theater Mac mini has a wireless Apple keyboard, Magic TrackPad, and a MS wireless mouse of unknown vintage (picked up for 50¢ at a yard sale). When I originally set up the Mini I thought the TrackPad would be enough, but after a short time it became obvious that it wasn’t enough. For some things a mouse is just better or easier.

    However, both the TrackPad and the mouse, have aggravating issues that stems, I believe, from the fact they are both wireless. With the TrackPad there is an inherent imprecision of the fingertip, and the cursor “drifts and lags” when when being moved regardless of the device used. Trying to get it directly over an open, close, or expand button (or any similar control feature) is a frustrating exercise. These problems don’t exist when I use a wired mouse.

  • http://youtube.com/thisisadamb Adam B.

    I use, on multiple systems (including laptops) a two-button mouse with a scroll wheel, and, I don’t want to get any flak for this, with a ball. No LED’s, no lasers, a ball. I learned how to use a mouse with a ball in 1984 with my first Mac and I have yet to encounter a better method for pointing and clicking. I can make fine adjustments by lifting one side of the mouse. That has never worked for me for any type of optical mouse. The first one I tried that with would shoot the mouse pointer to the far edge of the screen, just the opposite of what I was trying to do. Trackballs make my arm hurt and have no fine control, and touchpads are worse.

    I just wish I could find a few more good ones to stash away for the day when one of the mice I’m using more stop working.

    • Alex

      I bet you use a serial-USB adapter to use your mouse, too. How’s that working’ for ya?

      I miss OS 9 because it had window shade and popup window. Oh, customizable Apple Menu was the best thing in the world.

      Enjoy living in the past. I’m off to using my modern equipment now.

  • Joe P

    When I switched to mac, I forgot about mice that didn’t compare ti the touch gestures, but as a designer I NEED the mouse’s precision

  • http://www.mothsoftware.com Beatrix Willius

    Have been using a Wacom tablett for over 12 years now. It’s way faster and more precise than both mouse or trackpad. The lack of scroll arrows is so very annoying.

  • silverpie

    Depends on which machine I’m on. Laptop: the built-in trackpad. Desktop: a trackball (from the Evil Empire): since my work machine has a classic mouse, I need something different at home to deal with RSI.

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