Better Touch Tool Puts You In Control Of Gestures On Your Mac [50 Mac Essentials #48]

Better Touch Tool icon

Once you’ve downloaded Better Touch Tool and started to explore what it has to offer, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

It’s an app that lives up to its name. It greatly enhances your experience of using a Mac by letting you add your own custom gestures. But despite the name, it works beyond your Mac’s trackpad or Magic Mouse. You can use it for keyboard shortcuts too, or with a standard USB mouse. Even an Apple Remote.

Most of the time, there’s not much to see except a Menu Bar icon. Better Touch Tool (let’s call it BTT from now on) works behind the scenes, monitoring which application you’re using and what your fingers are doing on the trackpad.

You can easily setup gestures and assign them to shortcuts. You want the Application Switcher to appear when you do a three-finger swipe downwards? Sure. You want to open a particular folder, file or URL when you do a single tap in the bottom-right corner? No problem.

And there are so many gestures to choose from, way more than the basic ones Apple offers in System Preferences. Ever heard of a “Two Finger TipTap Left”? Or tried a four-finger click? You can do those.

What’s so impressive about BTT – aside from the price – is that it lets the wonderful touch surfaces on our computers work to their full potential. You have a Trackpad; with BTT you can really make it work for you.

It’s possible to set up dozens, even hundreds of actions and gestures, but I suspect most people will only need a handful. Just little tasks they do frequently, which would be so much better and easier if activated by a gesture.

I suffer from wrist strain through using the Command+Tab Application Switcher so much, so I’ve set up a BTT gesture to get to it another way (four finger click, since you ask).

Amazingly, BTT is free. Donations are accepted, mind you, so don’t be shy. It is, without a doubt, an essential extra for your Mac. Go get it now.

(You’re reading the 48th post in our series, 50 Mac Essentials: a list of the great Mac apps the team at Cult of Mac value most. Read more, or grab the RSS feed.)

  • ddevito

    My friend thought my Magic TrackPad was a mug warmer  :p

    Seriously though this is cool, downloading now…thanks!

    BTW – does anyone know how this compares to JiTouch? I currently use that and works moderately well. 

  • djgrahamj

    MagicPrefs is better IMO.

  • FriarNurgle


  • whitts_dad

    It also has a built in window snapping feature.

  • Snoop

    Now I finally have something to do with all those Mortal Kombat 2 Fatality codes I memorized in 8th grade.  Can I have my mac yell “FINISH HIM” at me when I send an email?

  • enamic5

    It does work well, but uses an incredible amount of memory on my machine.

  • gilest

    Here’s the BTT prefs window:

  • Tom Nawara

    Standard Command + Tab switcher = 4-finger swipe

  • Jake Ehrlich

    The absolute best way to take advantage of Better Touch Tool is to use it with a BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platform, which is amazing!!! Check it out:

  • Jake Ehrlich

    The absolute best way to take advantage of Better Touch Tool is with a BulletTrain eXpress Keyboard Platform, which is amazing!!! Check it out:

  • tommylinsley

    BTT froze my macbook.

About the author

Giles TurnbullGiles Turnbull is a freelance writer in England. He also writes for the Press Association and The Morning News. You can find out more at his website, and follow him on Twitter @gilest.

(sorry, you need Javascript to see this e-mail address) | Read more posts by .

Posted in 50 Mac Essentials, Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , |