‘Touch Alternatives’ brings iPhone gestures to macOS Big Sur

Apple’s new macOS Big Sur 11.3 update includes a feature that could make it easier to use iPhone and iPad apps on a Mac.

Thanks to Apple’s full-stack development efforts, Macs equipped with M1 chips can run iOS and iPadOS apps natively. However, as applications designed for those operating systems assume touch inputs, navigating them can be tricky on a Mac without a touchscreen.

To make it easier to use the iOS and iPadOS apps on Mac, Apple has added a new feature in its latest macOS update, released Monday, called Touch Alternatives. Essentially, it adds iOS-like functionality to Mac controls.

For example, Touch Alternatives allows users to perform gestures such as tilt, tap and slide on a Mac keyboard and trackpad. Mac users will also be able to emulate game controller-like actions in iPhone and iPad games that are compatible with game controllers.

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Users can enable Touch Alternatives by tapping an application name in the top menu bar and clicking Preferences.

As Apple notes Apple Silicon Mac owners will also be able to switch between portrait and landscape orientations when running iOS or iPadOS applications.

While most iPhone and iPad apps will be available on Mac, some will not appear in App Store searches because they require a unique feature for iPhone or iPad. Developers can also make their apps unavailable on Mac. To see a list of supported mobile apps, users can click the “iPhone and iPad Apps” filter at the top of the search results.

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ApplemacOS Big Sur 11.3 The update also introduces new features in Apple Music, support for PlayStation and Xbox game controllers, and other minor additions.

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