If you cast your mind back to the early 2010s, trackpads were nowhere near as popular as they are today. Sure, you would get them on some laptops—but many users preferred the red TrackPoint in the middle of the keyboard instead.
Of course, we shouldn’t forget that mice have also been around for more than a while. They remain the go-to with desktop computers, and you could also buy them as accessories for your laptop, making them ideal companions on the move.
However, it might now be time to ditch your mouse for a trackpad. Keep reading to discover six reasons why.
What’s the Difference Between a Trackpad and a Mouse?
A mouse is an external accessory for your computer or laptop. To make your mouse work, you’ll need to either connect it via Bluetooth or a USB (or PS/2 port for older machines). Once you’ve paired your devices, you will usually place your hand on top of an object shaped like an oval; you can move the cursor by dragging your hand and click on an option on your screen using the buttons at the top.
Contrastingly, many modern computers will include a trackpad—though you can buy external versions too. Trackpads don’t work too differently from mice, but you’ll navigate the cursor around your screen by moving your finger along the surface. You can also click on items; on a Mac, you can do this from anywhere on the pad.
Since you now know the differences between a trackpad and a computer mouse, we can move on to explaining why you should consider ditching the latter. Below are five reasons.
1. You Might Find a Trackpad Easier to Use
In the beginning, you’ll probably need a little practice to get used to how a trackpad works. However, once you’ve passed that initial learning curve, you shouldn’t have many—if any—issues.
Trackpads allow you to move your cursor around the computer screen and select items without you needing to perform any drastic actions with your entire hand. Instead, you only need your fingers.
Another thing worth keeping in mind is that, while some are better than others, gestures on trackpads tend to be pretty accurate. And if you find that yours is too sensitive, you can always change this in your computer’s settings.
2. You Don’t Need to Worry About Extra Equipment
Granted, you can buy external trackpads. But considering that your laptop most likely has one—and certainly will if you own a MacBook—you probably won’t need to.
If you regularly use your laptop in more than one place, taking a mouse with you is an extra thing to tick off your to-do list. And if you forget to pack it, you could derail your entire day—likewise, if you lose it.
Contrastingly, you don’t need to worry about bringing a trackpad that’s already on your computer. Similarly, you’ll save yourself the stress of worrying that you could leave it somewhere.
3. You Can Be More Productive
When you use your computer’s mouse, several issues beyond forgetting to bring it with you could hamper your productivity. For example, it might stop working when plugged in; perhaps not so much of an issue if you have a laptop, but a huge one if you use a desktop computer.
Depending on your working style, you might also find that using a mouse results in specific instances, like selecting texts, longer to complete.
Since using a trackpad is often more controlled, you can perform tasks in a fraction of the time you would do with a mouse. And by doing this, you can either get more done or finish your day earlier.
4. More Versatility
Using a computer mouse can work if you only work on your computer from a table or other flat surface. But after that, things get a lot trickier.
In comparison, you’ve got plenty more options when using a trackpad. Even if you had an external one, you could still work on your computer without strictly needing a flat surface.
If you use a trackpad built into your laptop, you can use it almost everywhere. Working while on the train to work, waiting in an airport lounge, or sitting on a beanbag in the office all suddenly become a lot less painful than if you were to try the same things with a mouse.
5. Less Maintenance Required
When you first unbox a computer mouse, everything works without issues. After a while, though, your trusty navigator will start to gather dust, dirt, and various other things that could impact its performance.
If your mouse has a lot of dust or dirt, you might have to try harder to perform your day-to-day actions. Similarly, if the surface you’re using it on is dirty, the mouse might not work as well as it should.
In comparison, trackpads don’t need anywhere near as much maintenance. Unless the amount of dust and dirt gathered is significant, everything should continue to work as usual.
6. Trackpads Can Be More Hygienic
Following on from the previous point, computer mice aren’t always the most hygienic form of office equipment. If you use one with your family computer, the chances of everyone disinfecting the mouse before logging on is minimal. Similarly, mice loaned to you by the company you work for have likely had several hands touch them in the past.
Of course, you should still clean your trackpad regularly—a wipe using a mixture that won’t damage the equipment will do. However, trackpads can still be a lot more hygienic than mice.
For example, when you use a trackpad, the chances of someone else using it as often as they might your mouse isn’t as high—unless you have a family laptop. You also probably wouldn’t throw an external trackpad into your bag without putting it in a case, whereas doing so with a mouse is a bit easier.
Trackpad vs. Mouse: Is It Time to Switch?
The way we use our computers is changing forever, and more people have become used to not using a mouse with their device. Trackpads offer a convenient way to perform the same tasks but with a fraction of the effort required.
Having read this article, you should have a good idea of the differences between a mouse and a trackpad—and why you might want to use a trackpad instead. All that’s left to do is either start learning how to use your computer’s built-in one or invest in an external pad.
macOS gives you a few options to tweak your mouse and keyboard controls, but these apps let you customize them completely.
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