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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction System 10.7
In Mac OS X Lion, Apple for some reason assumed we all want to scroll backwards. Here's how to undo that annoying behavior.

Simply open System Preferences, go to Trackpad, and uncheck the box at the top saying 'When using gestures to scroll or navigate, move content in the direction of finger movement.'

[crarko adds: This was the very first thing I did after the scrolling in Safari started driving me nuts. I also found it absolutely essential to check 'Ignore accidental trackpad input,' as the sensitivity of the Trackpad on the MacBook had been greatly increased.]
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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction | 26 comments | Create New Account
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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: macavenger on Jul 21, '11 07:48:11AM

Actually, Apple had very good reason for this change (no, it isn't backwards): It mimics the natural scrolling behavior found on the iPhone and iPad. That is, when you drag downwards, the PAGE moves downwards, showing more of the upper portion, and visa-versa. It makes total sense when using the iPhone/iPad, why would it suddenly be "backwards" when using a desktop? Granted, it is different than we are used to, but that doesn't make it backwards. That said, I also disabled it given that I have a scroll wheel mouse, not a touchpad. When/if I get a touchpad, I'll re-enable the behavior.

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Aluminum iMac 20" 2.4 GHz/3GB/300GB HD



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: leamanc on Jul 21, '11 07:58:38AM

From reading around the web, it seems that this setting might be in the Mouse pane of System Prefs for some people; for others, it is not showing up at all.

On my late '09 11" MacBook Air, I found the setting in Mouse, and it reads: "Move content in the direction of finger movement when scrolling or navigating". I unchecked it to get normal scrolling back.



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: cycomachead on Jul 21, '11 12:29:18PM

The setting exists both under the Mouse and the Trackpad panes. However, it depends on which devices you are using.

If you have a trackpad, then change it there, if you have a muse, under the mouse. If you have both (which is readily possible on a laptop or with a magic trackpad) then you can possibly have different settings for each, but that could be rather awkward.



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: BrentT on Jul 21, '11 08:06:11AM

I have been using the iPad for a year so I found that with a Magic Mouse the default Lion setting easier to get used to. I just think about pushing a piece of paper up the screen. When I use that analogy it makes more sense. It was a little funny for the first hour but now I am used to it. Note that Apple considers this the "natural" way to scroll.



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: hamarkus on Jul 21, '11 08:09:02AM

Maybe I am wrong but the speed translation (moving your fingers on the trackpad x mm or turning your mouse scroll wheel by x degrees moves things by y pixels) seems to be constant for the scrollbar. But since more content in a scrollable view means moving the scrollbar moves the content more, this inverse scrolling has a highly variable speed translation (quite the opposite to iOS devices where the speed translation was always unity).



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: kiltbear on Jul 21, '11 08:41:18AM

Give it a try "the new way". My understanding early on was that there were arguments about which way/how the windows should move. Are you moving the "paper" or are you moving the "viewport". The viewport won out.

Try it. The feedback is so instantaneous that you'll correct what you are doing without even thinking about it.



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: BoxOfSnoo on Jul 21, '11 10:22:37AM

Yes, it's not hard to get used to, but when you're in a multi-platform environment it's much harder to do the switch. Until I get rid of my Windows machines this is going to have to go back to regular mode.

I also can't seem to change the mouse wheel independently, possibly because I have a Logitech mouse. If I could do that I'd find it much easier to adapt.



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: Mike Perry on Jul 21, '11 09:17:00AM

Alas, if you don't have a trackpad, the trackpad preferences don't work and you can't fix the scrolling direction. I can change the scroll direction on my four-year-old MacBook but not my trackpadless iMac. That matters because trackpad scrolling is used by many scrolling mouse, including my Microsoft one. I suspect the number of Macs using scrolling mice must run in the millions. They are out of luck.

Let's hope Apple fixes that in 10.7.1. There should be two scroll direction preferences, one for mice in the Mouse preferences and one for trackpads in the Trackpad preferences. Many users might want to make each work differently.

Anyone know if there's a command line way to fix this?



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: aalegado on Jul 21, '11 09:42:21AM

You don't need to have a Trackpad in order to see the Trackpad settings pane to change the setting. The scroll direction is available under the Mouse settings.

What bugs me (and I'd read about this beforehand but had to see it to believe it) is that you cannot set the Mouse and Trackpad to have different scroll direction behaviors, i.e. behaviors you might think appropriate to each device. Whichever one you set last (Mouse or Trackpad) will determine how both devices operate.



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: Unsoluble on Jul 21, '11 09:59:58AM

I'm not on my Lion machine right now, so I can't tell you exactly where to look, but I can confirm there is definitely a preference in there for the mouse as well as for the trackpad. They're linked, so you can't have one set one way and the other the opposite, but you can at least re-reverse your mouse's scroll ball.



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It's in the Mouse settings
Authored by: cycomachead on Jul 21, '11 12:30:46PM

If you have a mouse, it's at the very top of the Mouse settings pane and is worded differently.



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: ptb@mac.com on Jul 21, '11 02:22:25PM

defaults write -g com.apple.swipescrolldirection -bool false



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: ViewRoyal on Jul 21, '11 09:55:47AM

This change makes so much sense, especially if you are using a multi-touch trackpad (multi-touch is the new focus of interacting with OS X).

"Scrolling" is really "dragging". A page is an object just as text and graphics are objects on a page. If you drag a graphic on a page, you logically expect that object to move in the same direction that you are dragging... not the opposite direction. The same applies to the page itself. If you drag the body of a page, it should move in the same direction, not opposite (as it used to do).

Scroll bars have been "demoted" in Lion. They are invisible unless you either drag a page or move the cursor over a window edge. The scroll bars are no longer the "object".

Although this is a change from previous versions of Mac OS X, it is a change for the better, and it makes perfect sense.

If you are using a previous version of Mac OS X, and are thinking of moving to Lion, you should download a free application called "Scroll Reverser". It will help untrain you from dragging pages the old way (in the opposite direction), and train you on the new, logical way so that you are ready to roll when you upgrade to Lion.



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: DaphneDiane on Jul 21, '11 11:09:29AM

After trying the new way for a bit it clicked for me and actually feels a lot more natural then the old way. Especially when thinking about other gestures like pinching which work from the point of view of the contents not the viewport.



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: lilwashu on Jul 21, '11 11:58:46AM

I had to uninstall Intellipoint (Microsoft mouse software) before the option to disable reverse scrolling appeared. After disabling the option and reinstalling Intellipoint all is well.



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: harrisj on Jul 21, '11 12:57:32PM

I want to learn the new way, but since my employer forces me to use Windows, we need a hint to reverse scrolling in MS Windows :P



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: Bruce Bowden on Jul 21, '11 06:03:08PM

I have installed Scrollvetica to practice Lion's 'reversed' scrolling while I await my new iMac. After 1 day, its not quite there but as a regular iPad and iPhone user I don't think I'll take long to adapt.

My wife has Lion installed and first opened the new iPad-like Mail. She didn't even notice the scroll change - it looked like a iPad so she treated it like one.

For us 'Natural' scrolling feels natural.



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10.7: Fixing Reverse Scrolling where option is invisable.
Authored by: gxw on Jul 21, '11 07:26:50PM

Like other people, the option to change the reverse scrolling did not appear in the mouse pref pane on my iMac and I do not have a track pad.
How I fixed this was by unplugging the Microsoft mouse I use and plugging in an Apple mouse. The option was in in the mouse preferences pane as soon as I opened it.

Upgrading to the latest Intelipoint (version 8) drivers did not help as I tried that first.



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: andrewz on Jul 21, '11 11:08:28PM

If you have a non-Apple scroll mouse, this option does not appear in the Mouse preference pane. It's possible to reverse the scroll direction using the defaults command in the Terminal.

defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences com.apple.swipescrolldirection -bool false

You'll need to log out for the change to take effect.

Credit: The Mac Admin
http://themacadmin.com/?p=494



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: Mike Perry on Jul 22, '11 07:44:40AM

Someone suggested: "You don't need to have a Trackpad in order to see the Trackpad settings pane to change the setting. The scroll direction is available under the Mouse settings. "

Unfortunately, as someone else has noted, what appears on these panels is very hardware specific. On my late 2006 iMac the Mouse preferences screen is sparse. It only has adjustments for tracking speed and double-click speed, along with radio buttons for setting the left or right button as the primary mouse button. It's so bare, I can't miss anything else.

This is interesting. I just activated my Microsoft Bluetooth mouse. Now, I get a more complex Mouse preferences that does include the shadowy "Move content" checkbox.

The good news is that I can turn Bluetooth off and, although the "Move content" checkbox disappears, the Preference sticks. My iMac is normal again and just like my MacBook. Yeah!

I've nothing against Apple's rationale for changing trackpad behavior. I just believe that it's more intuitive to have mouse scrolling behave differently. Users should be able to set both behaviors separately.



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: nomadman on Jul 22, '11 09:41:42AM

This is interesting. My Trackpad panel does not say either of those things. It has a radio button list on the left and a video display area on the right. The top choice under the tab "Scroll and Zoom" says "Scroll direction: natural. Content tracks finger movement" not "When using gestures to scroll or navigate, move content in the direction of finger movement."

Additionally, there is no "Ignore accidental trackpad input," choice anywhere on the panel. BTW I have a Summer 2009 Macbook Pro 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo.



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: DrLex on Aug 04, '11 02:33:40AM

The new way of scrolling is all good if you're only going to work on Macs running Lion. For the trackpad it certainly makes perfect sense and the two-finger scrolling is unique to Macs anyway so there is no potential for confusion on PC laptops. But for a mouse it is different. The concept of mapping the top of the scroll wheel to a movement in the same way as swiping fingers over a trackpad is less obvious to start with. But I could get used to it, if it weren't for the fact that I have to work five days a week on a PC with an almost identical scroll wheel mouse and I also occasionally boot my Mac into Boot Camp.

The end result is that I scroll in the wrong direction in all operating systems about half of the time. I really would appreciate a separate setting for the mouse and trackpad in Lion. Or, a simple way to reverse the scroll direction in other operating systems :)



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: DCPhotoist on Dec 16, '11 09:44:27AM

I feel the need to comment here. I'll preface this by saying I was a human computer interaction (e.g. usability) researcher for years, not that I am the foremost expert but I do have some background. I think there are a couple reasons why this "reversed scrolling" is a mistake (my opinion only).

First of all the gesture associated with the scrollbar is different from a touch screen interface where you grab and drag. It would correspond more closely to clicking a scrollable screen with a mouse and pulling in an up or down direction. However when you use the trackpad to scroll, there is no grab (click). Intuitively you are controlling the scrollbar, which should operate in the reverse direction.

The second reason is that it simply feels wrong because we are used to the opposite paradigm. I'm not saying there is no room for innovation in interface design. But, why do you think the QWERTY keyboard never changes. It is not necessarily the best design, but it is what we are all used to. And, there is something to be said for consistency.

All that said, Apple usually gets it right. And, one thing I think they did do right was to make this a user preference. So, even the try to change the world, they let you change it back if you prefer.

Just my 2 cents worth...




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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: cepheids on Jan 16, '12 08:58:46PM

is there any way i can +1 your post?



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: ustamills on May 25, '12 06:09:16PM

The reason reversing the scrolling is silly is because a touch screen scrolls something different than a trackpad scrolls.

The touch screen (ipad, iphone) moves the content under the glass.

The trackpad moves the screen (a window onto the content, sortof), even if you are only scrolling just one of the windows. This mimics the scroll bar behavior of old (errr... that is still there on the screen).



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10.7: Reverse Reversed Scrolling direction
Authored by: godette on Aug 27, '12 01:33:08AM

Many, many, many thanks for this post. I had the same problem too and it was driving me insane! Note: If you do not have a trackpad, then click on the Mouse button in Preferences and untick 'natural scrolling' box right at the top of the window. That will restore the old way of scrolling. Now I just have to unlearn my new habit. Amazing how fast habits form.



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