Adding right click to a Macbook Pro

mbp_rc

Surprisingly, one of the most common complaints we hear from people trying out macs are the fact that there isn’t a right click. The latest version, the unibody, has an option that remedies this, but older versions are stuck without. While you could always plug a USB mouse in, that is hardly a hacker’s solution. [spiritplumber] sent us this mod he did, adding right click functionality to his Macbook Pro. It is worth noting that this is meant for the 2006 to 2008 version of the Macbook Pro. You’re on your own for different ones.

[spiritplumber] points out that there are test points on the back of the track pad that emulate certain events.  One of wich, just happens to be a right click. He shows us how to wire this, to a home made contact button under the right corner of the track pad. This can be potentially hazardous to your macbook, so be careful and follow his tips for soldering. If you want, you can do the same to the opposite side for your left click, or just leave it the way it is. You can see a video of it in action after the break.

Comments

  1. Timothy says:

    Awesome. About time someone did this

  2. dwebster says:

    This is pretty cool, however there is an option in these macbook pros for right click that allows you to put two fingers on the trackpad and click. It becomes second nature quite quickly.

  3. james mason says:

    there is an option in the menu for right clicks, just put 2 fingers on the trackpad and click

  4. james mason says:

    above not written when i started writing

  5. cnelson says:

    Seems like a lot of work, why not just check “Tap trackpad using two fingers for secondary click” in the keyboard / mouse preferences.

  6. Kevin says:

    You can enable secondary clicking (two fingers on the trackpad) in System Preferences or you can hold CTRL while clicking; while neat, this is pretty unnecessary.

  7. Josh says:

    Now… I hope we all know that there is a setting on almost every macbook/macbook pro that allows you to right-click by clicking the big button while two fingers are resting on the track pad… System preferences > keyboard and mouse > Trackpad > Check “Tap trackpad using two fingers for secondary click”

    Example run through:

    http://www.noheat.com/2007/06/19/enable-right-click-on-mac-book-pro-or-powerbook/

    And, if your mac laptop is too old, apparently you can also use this (though I have not tested): iScroll2 http://iscroll2.sourceforge.net/

  8. applecheese says:

    hacker just got pwned.

    nub

  9. cde says:

    This is for older Macbooks not compatible with that System Pref option. That option is for the newer ones.

    @ Kevin: People don’t like having to hold ctrl. Thats the whole issue.

  10. jesse says:

    may i offer a correction? Macs have had right-click functionality since at least the first version of OS X. the problem is how you actually right-click – at first it was control-left click, which still works, but is sort of obnoxious. then somewhere around the first MacBook Pro, you were able to place two fingers on the trackpad, and click the trackpad button – sounds odd but it’s become second nature to me now. works quite well. you can turn it on in System Preferences.

  11. jesse says:

    yeah, nevermind. @cde, word. understood.

  12. virion says:

    I know this feature exists of OS X with two-finger tapping, but it would be nice to have it setup like this for XP, where you have to press the button as well.

    @ cde: do you mean Powerbooks? I have a Rev. A Macbook Pro and it supports this option. The MBP was the first model to support two-finger clicking.

  13. Garrick says:

    ALL “MacBooks” have had two finger right clicks from the beginning.

    On that note, unless I am dragging files, I almost never use the physical mouse button.

  14. Jim says:

    DUH! control + left click is right click, and u probably wonder how do we select multiple items since control + left click is right click, right? well u hold down the command (apple) button and left click.

    so why tear open ur Mac to do something easy? isn’t a hack supposed to be something that makes something easier?

  15. james says:

    “It is worth noting that this is meant for the 2006 to 2008 version of the Macbook Pro.”

    As people have stated, the option pointed out by cnelson exists for the 2006 to 2008 version of the Macbook Pro.

    I’m using a 2006 MBP to write this comment. And I have this option selected.

  16. someone says:

    Stop being so ignorant people and watch the video! He was clearly not running osx, so it is a perfect hack!

  17. khani3s says:

    Two fingers, control + click etc…
    Just put a button to do the right click, Steve Jobs !

  18. slimjimmy says:

    Amen to that, khani3s. Doesn’t matter how much you want to fondle your touchpad, a right mouse button does it just as well.

  19. vbrtrmn says:

    The pictures the author posted are about worthless, he needs to learn how to focus his camera. Working off of blurry pictures of circuit boards leads to costly mistakes.

  20. LOLDONGS says:

    hey guize i herd u can put 2 fingers on the pad and it makes teh right click!!!!!1

    omg i’m so smurt for figuring this out too bad none of u l0sers did!!!!1

  21. John Lambo says:

    fail

  22. Doug says:

    Yes the photos suck. Anyone who can’t dechiper what is being done from the test or photos, has no business trying to duplicate a hack.

  23. Bryan says:

    Has anyone ever looked at the back of the track pad????? I have, those pictures are so blurry you can hardly make out the SMT chips let alone the contact points to solder to, and there are a lot of point on the back of that tiny board. Need better pictures before I try this with my MPB, I can live with two finger right clicking for another day. Just a side note……..windows on a mac…….not in parallels……….please……shoot me

  24. gabriel says:

    screw expensives mac. here i give you:

    ***How to add middle click to the eeepc!***

    $ sudo apt-get install xbindkeys xautomation
    $ echo (xbindkey ‘(Menu) “xte ‘mouseclick 2′”) >> ~/.xbindkeysrc.scm
    $ xbindkeys &

    alternatively, add xbindkeys to the gnome session or .xinit and voila… the useless menu key on the right is a middle click.

    …pansy macs… right clicks… pffft.

    cheers

  25. DarkFader says:

    Heh, I can’t even remember I enabled the two-finger+click option. Apple should update their default settings or attention the user after installation with funny popup notification balloons.

  26. mario says:

    What is with you mac fanbois defending stupid unintuative ideas?

    There is a massive 3 inch wide mouse button down the bottom of the touch pad, why the hell not have a left and right button?

    If it offends steve jobs so much so “novice users” dont get confused, make the left and right buttons act like a left click until you change it in preferences.

    But hey, nothing more fun that having to do street fighter style ctrl-click combos to get something as easy as a right click done.

  27. notatard says:

    First of all, the 2 finger click thing works even on older powerbooks and ibooks with a firmware hack. My wifes iBook g4 has been running right click since apple introduced it in the mbp and the right-click software came out for older macs.

    Second, right clicking via a dedicated button is retarded. It is the old, cheap way to do things and i much prefer the user configurable software method.

    If you have a trackpad with fixed buttons, what happens when you use the tap to click option, how do you right click then?

    Either way, no need to solder, take apart, or hack your macbook or mbp for right click functionality.

  28. I will take better pictures when I have a digital camera that isn’t my cellphone :) my good camera is about 7000 miles away from my current location.

    Also: The double-tap-click thing is nice, but how do you play bioshock with it?

  29. Riley August says:

    Have you guys ever ACTUALLY tried to use the two-finger click to do anything other than click a file? Right-dragging is literally impossible, holding rightclick for a menu in symmetron and left clicking is impossible, there are all kinds of tasks this is useful for.

    Why do you think every OTHER computer has a right mouse button? Don’t say Windows, because the RMB came LONG before that.

  30. mick says:

    wtf is wrong with all you? Why are you on hackaday? I guess all you dont do hardware hacks cause its not always about the destination but more of the journey. now go back to wowing people with ur overpriced PC’s and tiny winy’s

  31. mac anti-fanboy says:

    I found this project awesome, and these comments to be hilarious. Everyone missed the boat on how this is HACK A DAY, meaning it’s all about how fun it is to actually execute the hack than to settle for something less.

    And these total Mac fanboys (“HOLDING CTRL DOWN WORKS VERY WELL FOR ME KTHXBAI” = blind defense of brand, not intelligence) are seriously providing with enough comedy to write a routine.

  32. fuzzmanmatt says:

    It is kind of inciting a troll post.

    I have a PowerBook from 2004 that supports two-finger right-click, but the software isn’t really supposed to be designed to need a right-click.

    And on the newest MacBook Pros, the trackpad IS the button!

  33. piku says:

    Macs have no right mouse button because when you buy one, Apple cut your other fingers off to prevent you from going back to a PC.

    It’s also really easy to switch from ‘two finger tapping’ on the track pad to ‘flicking the V-sign at people’, which we have to do a lot when people point out our Intel Macs are really just expensive PCs now.

  34. Ulfur says:

    Hey cool that someone did this…
    However, I find it kinda pointless.
    You’d probably spend more time hacking it than you would getting used to the two finger clicks.
    I use context menus heavily and despite being a PC user for 20 years this just didn’t bug me one bit when I switched to Mac.

    The pricetag on the otherhand… well, what can I say :P

  35. Chris says:

    As many have stated, there are other ways to right-click on a Macbook Pro. That said, I think it’s pretty cool that this guy found another way to hack up the hardware. That’s the point of this site, right? To open things up and make them work the way that *you* want them to.

  36. mac anti-fanboy says:

    @chris: exactly

    @piku: LOL

  37. Mike says:

    As others have said, and I just feel like repeating (and defining more clearly):

    This is a redundant hack. *ALL* MacBooks and MacBook Pros have supported two-finger right-clicks from the beginning. This is not a trait that is unique to the unibody MacBook/MacBook Pros.

    Furthermore, many late-model PowerBook G4 and iBook G4 models *also* support right-clicking with two fingers if they are running OS X Leopard 10.5. The trick here is that their trackpads must be capable of multi-touch. If you can two-finger scroll, you can two-finger right-click.

    So to summarize: all Mac laptops going back to early/mid 2006 support two-finger right-clicks.

    But hey, if you feel like cracking open your Mac needlessly, go for it.

  38. DanAdamKOF says:

    I don’t understand this. Why are you guys reading hackaday if you’re making fun of someone for opening up his hardware to add functionality to it? Surely creating an extra button with no change in outside appearance isn’t a bad thing?

  39. joandrade says:

    yeah, or you can control+click.

  40. beta says:

    I’m glad some are amused by the fanboys spamming away here. However, I’m honestly just disturbed by some of the complete nutcases who grow so attached to and fond of a brand that they throw reason out the window.

  41. glass says:

    @DanAdamKOF as they’re macheads who don’t get it. theres obvious usage scenario reasons for why one would want to have the right click as a seperate button as well, but I guess those guys never used programs made for two buttons(like some of apples own sw, yay….).

    or using something else than macosx.

    it’s a cool hack – but what would blind fanboys who don’t understand what they’re holding and doing know about cool hacks.

  42. zapdoodle says:

    The reason people are commenting on it is because it purports to fix a problem that already has a trivial, built-in solution that the original author made no indication of even being aware of.

    I don’t know if the guy knew about the menu option or not, a lot of people don’t. But if he hacked up a multi-thousand dollar piece of equipment without even checking the preference menu (or, just configuring X) then that is kinda silly. It also doesn’t help that the built-in multitouch is just cooler (it does more than just context-click.) That’s like modding a car to run on leaded gas.

  43. smart@$$ says:

    duh u could do control and click or 2 fingers on trackpad then click or if ur clicking on teh desktop u could just click and hold it.

  44. brsnow says:

    zapdoodle nailed it right on the head. And the thing that most on here are missing is its not just one or two finger clicks, its a multitouch pad. It supports some basic gestures like pinching for zooming, twisting for rotating and swiping for scrolling. And all the people who are poo pooing macs for the price, I’ve had many laptops over the years, but just got my first mac laptop, a MBP a little while ago. It is honestly the best laptop I have had as far as appearance, ruggedness, and quality. So it was worth the marginally higher price, not to mention the face that I have the versatility or running both OSX and whatever else I want including windows.

  45. Bertrix says:

    I have the versatility or running both OSX and whatever else I want including windows.

    Buying a non-mac system does not mean you cannot use macoxs

  46. hey… original poster here (sorry for blurry pix, I only have a cellphone as a camera).

    I know that you can ctrl+click, or two-finger-tap-click and so on. That’s cool.

    But I like playing starcraft and using right-click-drag in the software package I use to do PCB design :)

    And well… I really can’t call a laptop mine if I haven’t done something to it ;)

  47. Tony Lewis says:

    I have a first generation MacBook, and it sure as hell DOES support two-finger right-clicks.

    There’s even a download to enable this on iBook models, both the G4 and the G3.

    Don’t listen to the FUD!

  48. tanv says:

    some of the comments posted are just ludicrous. yes im referring to these fanboys!

    the two finger trackpad option is a useful option certainly. but that mouse buton is urely big enough to have a second button.

    i know it may feel inordinately complicated for some people to handle more than one mouse button or even the thought that there could be a second mouse button but it does have its uses.

    ive gotten used to double tap in mac os but im thinking that it will be especially useful when using windows. especially on the move when i dont wanna use a mouse.

    so its a great mod and il be implementing this asap!

    any chance of better pics tho?

  49. lospuertos says:

    Oh i’m deff going to apply this to my mbp!

    to all the complaining fanboyz: stfu and if you don’t understand this just move on.

    i have a triple sli, triple ssd, triple ddr3 tdr w7x64 system and i use my mbp with my iphone when im on the go.

    but i want to play starcraft and cs1.6 and it has to be on a proper windows boot.

    using a mouse is the workaround but it’s not something to settle with.

    love it!

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