The New BetterTouchTool 3: A Quick Review
News • June 7, 2019
It’s true that Apple doesn’t offer many customization options within the macOS system. At the same time, we cannot ignore tools like BetterTouchTool. In case you don’t know yet, BetterTouchTool is one of the most popular utilities for macOS input tool customization and automation.
In fact, we had covered this tool when we were listing the best macOS automation software out there. But, of course, a tool like BetterTouchTool deserves much more attention. Now, fortunately, the updated version is out: BetterTouchTool 3.
In this article, we will have a look on what BetterTouchTool 3 is bringing to the table. More importantly, we will try to provide you a clearer idea on how helpful this tool is.
BetterTouchTool is a unique twist on automating your Mac that gives you precise control over your input devices, such as the mouse, trackpad, touch-bar, gestures etc.In practice, however, BetterTouchTool can do much more. It basically allows you to select from a number of triggers and actions. This combination doesn’t necessarily have to be keyboard or mouse-related.
For instance, you can ask BetterTouchTool to open a particular application when you do a four-finger tap on screen. Similarly, you can launch Siri or control the Apple remote using some convenient key combinations. In addition to these, BetterTouchTool also brought a feature named Snapping Zones, which make it easy to arrange windows on your Mac screen.
What’s New in BetterTouchTool 3
Let’s have a look at the most important thing that BetterTouchTool 3 is bringing.
A Brand-New UI
One of the biggest problems with BetterTouchTool was the kinda tough UI it had. Of course, BetterTouchTool was a usable tool, but customization was a long shot. Even a Pro macOS user would have needed some more time to master BetterTouchTool.
If you look at the screenshot above, you can see how confusing the old UI was. There are more chances to get lost in the complexity than to easily set up automation. Apparently, BetterTouchTool 3 fixes this. It does so by introducing a brand-new User Interface.
The current UI of BetterTouchTool 3 is extremely intuitive and lovable. Even if you haven’t used a single tool for macOS automation before, you would find it easy to use BetterTouchTool 3.
More importantly, you will be able to automate actions in your macOS system with lesser efforts. As soon as you open the tool on your Mac, you can see an interactive screen, guiding you through the steps. First, you will have to choose a trigger from the available options and then pick one or many actions from the available list. Now, you would be knowing that BetterTouchTool has a diverse collection of triggers and actions.
As you can see in the screenshot below, I have set up a three-finger-double-tap gesture for screenshots. This means my Mac would capture a screenshot when a double-tap using three fingers at a time. That sounds so cool, huh? The brand-new UI is going to change how you essentially use BetterTouchTool 3.
It’s true that the new UI dominates the scene when it comes to BetterTouchTool 3. However, there are some other features worth noting.
– BetterTouchTool 3 now offers support for MIDI devices. In a recent release, the developer has added support for advanced MIDI functions as well.
– iCloud Drive is available as one of the options for synchronization. You will be able to choose iCloud if you need the perfect Apple-ecosystem-experience.
– Of course, there are some bug-fixes and minute improvements in the UI.
These are the big changes you could spot in BetterTouchTool 3. As we said earlier, the User Interface is surely the show-stopper. By the way, BetterTouchTool 3 allows you to access the old configuration UI in case you’re still interested. You can do it from the drop-down menu of the BetterTouchTool icon.
BetterTouchTool 3 — A Quick Review
Wondering how is it to use BetterTouchTool 3 for automation? Keep reading to find our hands-on review.
With its new User Interface on place, this macOS automation tool has become incredibly easy to use.
The installation process does not take more than a few seconds, but you will have to give admin privileges to the tool.
Just open BetterTouchTool 3 from Spotlight or Mission Control and you’d not see anything. That is because BetterTouchTool 3 hides itself in the menu-bar app. You can go to the menu bar; choose the configuration UI you want and BetterTouchTool will launch itself.
When launched, you can see a screen like the one shown in the screenshot. The tool would now guide you through the process of setting up automation commands. You can choose the trigger from a big list of options, assign the right actions and hit the Save command. Let’s take a simple example:
Here, I have created a customization command for the trackpad. This is what happens: when I tap two times on the touchpad with three fingers, it will launch the Screenshot utility. Thereafter, I can take the screenshot of the whole screen, an individual window or something specific.
As long as BetterTouchTool 3 is running in the background, this new gesture would work. By the way, you can add multiple triggers and actions to one single profile.
Customization at Best
BetterTouchTool 3 offers the best level of customization in every sector, you know. This is one of the reasons why the tool requires administrative privileges to your computer. We can’t cover all things together; so, we will check out the major areas.
Depending on the action you have chosen, BetterTouchTool 3 allows you to customize and configure. Let us take the case of the screenshot profile we set up. As you can see below, the configure tab allows me to fully customize how the screenshot function works.
You can set delays, decide how filenames are created and the type of screenshot utility. Even within this tiny section, there are multiple tabs. This is the level of customization you can expect in BetterTouchTool 3.
Customizing Your Input Devices
Apple supposedly makes your input devices at the best convenience. However, you may want to make a few changes of your own. For instance, you may want to customize the tracking speed of the trackpad or amount of pressure you have to apply for certain clicks. Fortunately, everything is available on BetterTouchTool 3.
BetterTouchTool 3 allows you to control every input tool on your Mac. This includes your touchpad, trackpad, Touch Bar and even other accessories like Keyboard and Magic mouse. You can have an immense variety of trigger-action combinations for all these devices.
When you have selected a particular input device, you can go to its settings. For instance, what you can see here is a screenshot of Trackpad Settings. Spread across eight tabs, BetterTouchTool 3 allows you to have a complete control over your Trackpad hardware-software symphony.
Similarly, you can customize the behavior of other devices like Magic mouse, normal mouse, Touch Bar. As the developer himself warns, most of these settings are advanced and experimental. You need some level of command over your Mac to explore them completely.
Window Snapping is one of the best features we have found in BetterTouchTool. And it deserves a mention of its own. It’s a great way to arrange multiple windows on your desktop. As you know, macOS does not have window snapping feature by default. However, BetterTouchTool 3 brings this by automatically resizing and arranging your windows.
To set this up, you have to create some snap areas. As you can see in the screenshot, four snap areas have been created. Now, you can easily drag your windows to these spaces, and it will fit in quite correctly. Once again, BetterTouchTool offers too many customization options here. You can decide how the snap appears as well as set up modifier keys.
Setting up the feature takes just a few seconds, but it can save you a lot of time if you’re a multitasker.
Touch Bar Control
The MacBook Pro default TouchBar requires some level of control from your side. But BetterTouchTool 3 makes that possible. As you can see below, you have a dedicated control panel for Apple Touch Bar. Here, it is possible to change how your Touch Bar seems and functions. You can also go ahead and explore advanced options if you’re interested.
Using BetterTouchTool 3 is way better than trying out those not-so-cool Touch Bar customization utilities. It is a lot cleaner too.
Some Other Features We Loved
Let’s have a look at some of the small but really useful features in BetterTouchTool 3.
– Screenshot Editor: BetterTouchTool 3 comes with a built-in screenshot editor. You can configure this when you set up a screenshot command. This is a great tool when you want useful editing functions for the screenshot. Way better than Preview, on any day.
– Clipboard Manager: Setting this up takes some time, but BetterTouchTool 3 has a clipboard manager as well. This would allow you to control what you store on the clipboard. You can also set up some advanced triggers, using a profile.
– Sync: If you have installed BetterTouchTool 3 on multiple devices, you would love the Sync function. This makes sure that all your gestures and profiles are synchronized across devices. This is great if you have a Mac at home as well as office.
As we said, these aren’t big features, but they can make your life better.
As of now, BetterTouchTool 3 is available for macOS only. It’s developed by a wonderful person who listens to the users. For instance, if you cannot find a feature in BetterTouchTool 3, you can request it and he would probably include the same in the next release.
BetterTouchTool 3 offers multiple license plans. There’s a Standard license that costs you $7.50. This would give you updates for 2 years. However, you can pay $21 for the Lifetime license, which ensures continuous updates for the rest of your life.
What’s more, BetterTouchTool 3 is available on Setapp as well.
It should be noted that there are no differences in terms of features. All features are available in all versions; just the number of updates vary.
BetterTouchTool 3 also offers a free trial for 45 days.
The Bottom Line
We have been using BetterTouchTool for quite some time and it has made our lives easier. With the new update, BetterTouchTool 3 UI has become really cool. Compared with the number of features you get, the pricing is quite reasonable as well. Altogether, it’s currently one of the best customization tools for macOS.