How to configure Mavericks input devices

Erik Eckel takes a look at some of the configuration settings you'll find on Apple's Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad, and Wireless Keyboard.

Apple peripherals

Most Apple peripherals, such as the Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad, and Wireless Keyboard, typically readily connect to Mavericks-powered Mac minis, iMacs, MacBook Pros, and MacBook Airs. Apple maintains a Bluetooth Quick Assist page for troubleshooting the wireless device communications for those occasions when trouble arises. Once connected, Mac users can fine-tune numerous settings.


Users adjust keyboard settings using Mavericks' Keyboard System Preference console, upon which four tabs appear: Keyboard, Text, Shortcuts, and Input Sources. Slider bars appear on the Keyboard tab for setting Key Repeat and Delay rates. A second slider bar permits users to specify when the keyboard is to be turned off due to computer inactivity. Options range from 5 seconds to never.

One checkbox enables using function keys as standard function keys. A second checkbox enables adjusting keyboard brightness (on backlit equipped Mac keyboards) in low light, while a third checkbox enables displaying keyboard and character views in the menu bar. Buttons for configuring Bluetooth keyboards and modifier keys are also present on the Keyboard tab.

The Text tab includes a checkbox for automatically correcting spelling and specifying the language. Shortcut abbreviations are set up using the Text tab, and this is where smart quotes and dashes are enabled and configured as well.

Users can change shortcut settings using the Shortcuts tab, while the Input tab enables changing keyboard languages. The Shortcuts tab also includes a radio button for determining whether the Tab key can be used to move between text boxes and lists only or all controls.


Mouse operations are likely familiar to many users, as the mouse is a frequently adjusted input device. Two tabs populate the System Preferences option: Point & Click and More Gestures.

Users can specify whether secondary (right-clicking) is permitted and whether the right- or left-side serves as the secondary click. The Smart zoom function is enabled using the provided checkbox, as is scroll direction (the default selection ensures content tracks finger movement). Tracking speed is also set from the Point & Click tab using the provided slider bar.

Additional gestures are set using the second, aptly named tab. Users can opt to enable swiping between pages (by scrolling in specific, custom directions) and swiping between full-screen apps (again, in specific custom directions). Another gesture option users can select is double-tapping to open Mission Control.

Both Bluetooth configuration options can be accessed using either tab. Both tabs also display the mouse's battery level.


Trackpad customization occurs using the Trackpad Systems Preference. Three tabs enable adjusting Trackpad operation to specific preferences: Point & Click, Scroll & Zoom, and More Gestures.

Users can specify whether a single tap can be used as a click, a secondary click can occur as a click with two fingers, tapping with three fingers prompts the Mac to Look up, and three fingers moving constitute a drag action. Tracking speed is adjusted using the provided slider bar.

Scroll & Zoom settings enable configuring whether content tracks finger movements and zoom pinch actions occur using two fingers. Checkboxes are also provided for specifying whether smart zoom actions are triggered using a double-tap with two fingers and rotation is supported using two rotating fingers.

Numerous additional Apple gestures are enabled using checkboxes provided on the More Gestures tab. Two options enabled from the location are swiping between pages (using two fingers scrolling horizontally left or right) and accessing Mission Control (by swiping left from the right edge using two fingers). Users can also enable swiping between full-screen applications, accessing App Expose, triggering Launchpad, and revealing the Desktop.

What customizations do you make on your Apple input devices? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.