Like most Apple peripherals, the Magic Trackpad 2 just works, but sometimes they do go wrong. Here’s a simple troubleshooting guide.
If you bought your trackpad with your Mac, then it should already be paired. Simply turn it on, sliding the small power switch at the back to green, and it should work. It will also probably need to be charged, so once you get a chance, connect it using its USB charging cable and charge it up to full.
If you bought your trackpad separately, the recommended way to pair it is to ensure that it is turned off, connect it to your Mac using the USB charging cable, and turn it on using the small power switch at the back. It should then appear in the Bluetooth pane, and pair automatically. Leave it connected so that it charges up fully, and then disconnect the cable.
If your trackpad won’t pair, disconnect it, turn it off, and leave it for at least ten seconds. Then try again. If it still won’t pair, check that your Mac is really compatible with the Magic Trackpad 2, and consider contacting Apple support; if it is compatible but will not pair, the trackpad is probably dead.
Stops working altogether
If your trackpad stops working altogether, and there is no click, for example, check that it is turned on, well charged, and that your Mac hasn’t crashed (with a kernel panic, in particular) or dropped its Bluetooth connection. The latter are most common in El Capitan 10.11.4-10.11.6, and appear to be faults in the operating system or its drivers.
Repeatedly disconnects and reconnects
If your trackpad connects, then quickly disconnects, and so on, ensure that it is well charged. Connect it to your Mac using its USB charging cable, and prepare a substitute input device such as a mouse. When the Magic Trackpad is well charged, disconnect it from the Mac and turn it off, using the small slider switch at the back. Leave it for at least ten seconds, then turn it back on.
When it reconnects, it should have a stable Bluetooth connection again. If it does not, check for possible sources of Bluetooth interference; it may be worth restarting your Mac too. If the wireless connection remains very unstable, contact Apple support, as the trackpad has most probably suffered a hardware failure. This is rare.
Other Bluetooth problems can sometimes be fixed by connecting a subsitute input device, disconnecting the trackpad in the Bluetooth pane, then reconnecting it.
Trackpad settings won’t stick
If you keep having to set it up in the Trackpad pane, and it does not remember those settings, locate its settings file, which should be ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothMultitouch.trackpad.plist (that’s in the Library folder in your Home folder). Move that into a folder such as Documents. Then set the trackpad up again: those settings should stick properly.
You may have noticed that, when your Mac first starts up, until your have logged in, your trackpad operates using default settings – for example, you cannot tap to click. This is because you cannot alter those default settings which apply to all users, before they have logged in.
Charging and battery life problems
If the trackpad’s batteries hold little charge, you may need to keep it connected to your Mac using the USB charging cable until you can replace it. Its internal batteries are not user-serviceable.
Try turning it off, waiting ten seconds or so, and turning it back on. It might seem silly, but the chances are that will get it working again. This is because the Magic Trackpad 2 contains chips to operate the device, including its click, and for Bluetooth communications. There is no means of resetting them, other than powering the trackpad down.
Another good general test method is to try pairing the trackpad with another Mac, to see if the same problem recurs. If it does not, suspect an issue with the software or hardware of the original Mac.