It only took about 30 seconds after the iPad was announced for everyone to start wondering how (or if) we’d be able to hook up our iPad to a Mac and use it as a giant touchpad. Of course, now Apple has released the Magic Trackpad, but its paltry 21.8 square inches of touchable, clickable real estate can’t hold a candle to the iPad’s 45.2 inches. And getting the iPad to play touchy-feely with your Mac isn’t nearly as hard as it sounds. Several apps in the App Store accomplish this small feat, and they all work in pretty much the same way. We like an app called Mobile Mouse ($2.99), but getting any of the others up and running follows much the same procedure.
After installing the Mobile Mouse app on your iPad, head over to the developer’s website (mobilemouse.com) to grab the desktop server software. This allows your Mac (or Windows) computer to receive commands from your iPad. Both devices need to be connected to the same Wi-Fi network in order for them to find each other.
Fire up Mobile Mouse on your iPad and make sure it sees the server software running on your Mac. We tested several machines and didn’t have any trouble with our iPad seeing our Macs right off the bat, but if you do hit a snag, help is available in the app and on the developer’s website.
Mouse away! You can now control your Mac from your iPad. You can tweak the settings to adjust mouse sensitivity and other options.
For even deeper control of your Mac, you can pop up a keyboard and use it for everything from entering web addresses to entering text. And Mobile Mouse even offers up media controls, making it a perfect companion to a living-room Mac hooked up to your home stereo.