USB-Powered Magic Trackpad

Out of the box Apple’s Magic Trackpad is a battery-powered device. While this may be convenient for some, others prefer a wired connection. Since Apple neglected to offer a wired version, MacRumors Forums user markbog decided to convert his new trackpad to run off the USB. [via TUAW]

I don’t like using batteries in desktop peripherals, they’re horrible for the environment compared to wired power, and there’s no need for batteries when it’s just going to be sitting on a desk all day. So I took out the batteries in the Magic Trackpad, stripped an old USB cord down to the red and black power wires, and attached them to a battery-sized dowel. Works great!

10 thoughts on “USB-Powered Magic Trackpad

  1. This is the most craptastic thing I have ever seen on this site, and I have been reading it a long time. Battery chargers are $7; let’s not go around defacing perfectly nice electronics, m’kay?

  2. I understand the sentiment behind the project, but with a claimed battery life measured in months, before taking on a hack like this I’d look a little harder for some other candidates for battery replacement around the house. Perhaps a cordless hedge trimmer with a dead battery pack and replacements either unavailable or hopelessly overpriced…

    But the new trackpad, Magic Mouse, and their wireless keyboard could really all use built-in mini-USB ports for power, data, and recharging when batteries are installed. A DIY solution is unfortunately the only one when you consider Apple’s irrational aversion to wires and interoperability.

    Plus, if you could find a way to move data on the same USB cable, you could turn off the bluetooth radio and save even more milliwatts. And as a fringe benefit, you could plug the trackpad into a netbook and use it on an airplane without worrying about the outside chance your Bluetooth transmissions might crash the plane (or more likely, incur the wrath of a flight attendant).

  3. As a longtime Mac user, I have a slightly different problem with this: it involves sacrificing one of the way-too-few USB ports on the computer. Just plugging a keyboard, iPod, and printer into my desktop iMac fills all available USB 2.0 ports. After that, you can either add a bunch of cumbersome hub clutter or go wireless.

  4. Wacom makes comparable product for half the price, and it already runs on USB power. Why would anyone purchase the Apple product at all, let alone purchase it just so they can mangle it?

  5. Well, I’m glad you tried this.  Had I just spent $69 for a Magic Trackpad, I’d be a little worried that the 5 volts from the USB might damage it, since it’s designed to run on about 3 volts (two AA cells in series).  I know it’s unlikely, but I’ve seen stranger things happen.

    Also, I see it’s been about 16 months since this post.  Would be nice for the author to post a follow-up.  Has this thing withstood the test of time?

Comments are closed.


I make cool stuff and write about other people making cool stuff on If you have something you think I should see, send me a tip.

View more articles by Adam Flaherty