How to Adjust Trackpad Settings in Mac OS X Lion - dummies

How to Adjust Trackpad Settings in Mac OS X Lion

By Bob LeVitus

If you’re using Mac OS X Lion on a notebook Mac, you have a System Preferences pane called Trackpad. This pane lets you configure tracking and clicking speed as well as the gesturing behavior of your Mac’s built-in trackpad.

Note that in 2008, Apple began equipping all its notebooks with a new and improved Multi-Touch trackpad. These features distinguish the new model from its predecessor:

  • It’s 40 percent larger than the original MacBook Pro and MacBook trackpads.

  • It’s fabricated from high-tech glass, so it’s even smoother and more touch-friendly than the original trackpads.

  • The entire trackpad is the click button; you just tap anywhere on it to click.

  • It supports multi-finger gestures that use up to four fingers at once.

If you have an older notebook with the older style of trackpad, you may not see all of the controls listed here:

  • Move the Tracking Speed slider to change the relationship between finger movement on the trackpad and cursor movement on-screen.

  • The Double-Click Speed slider determines how close together two clicks must be for the Mac to interpret them as a double click and not as two separate clicks.

  • The Scrolling Speed slider determines how quickly or slowly pages scroll when you drag two fingers up, down, left, or right on the trackpad.

  • If you have a pre-Multi-Touch trackpad, you have the following check boxes available:

    • Choose the Use Two Fingers to Scroll check box, and when you use two fingers right next to each other and drag up or down on the trackpad, you cause a window’s contents to scroll up or down (rather than moving the cursor, as would happen if you did this with a single finger).

    • The Zoom While Holding check box lets you zoom in and out by holding down a specific key (the default is the Control key) and dragging two fingers on the trackpad.

    • If you choose the Clicking check box, you can tap your finger on the trackpad once to make your Mac recognize that gesture as a click.

    • Choose the Clicking and Dragging check boxes to tap and drag on the trackpad without having to click the trackpad button.

    • Choose the Drag Lock check box to keep an item selected after dragging until you tap the trackpad again.

  • The Trackpad Options check boxes let you tell your laptop to ignore the trackpad while you’re typing or when a mouse is connected.


If you have one of the new Multi-Touch trackpads, your Trackpad System Preferences pane offers a slightly different set of options for one-, two-, three-, and four-finger gestures, slider controls, gesture controls, and demonstration movies.