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How To: Turn Off Lion’s “Natural Scrolling”

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So you’ve been living with Lion for a week now, and try as you might, you just can’t get your head around that blasted reversed scrolling thing. Want the old way of scrolling back? It’s an easy fix.

OS X Lion’s “natural scrolling” isn’t for everyone. It’s modeled after the way that iOS scrolls, which makes sense for touchscreen devices because the metaphor of literally grabbing a page or photo or whatever, and moving it, works. It’s a little more problematic for laptops and desktops where your touch interface is a trackpad or a Magic Mouse. Some users have found it to be a much more intuitive means of scrolling — that this is how it should have always been done in the first place. Others can’t get their minds or their fingers to process this radical shift in decades of ingrained user interface design.

It took me a day or two to get the hang of it, but now I rather like it. But I completely sympathize with those who just want it to go away. So here’s how to bring back the good old days of scrolling.

Open System Preferences, and click on the Trackpad icon. Select the Scroll & Zoom tab, and you should see this:

Trackpad Preferences

The very first item on this list is “Scroll direction.” Lion defaults to “natural,” but on click of your mouse or trackpad on the checkbox next to this, and you’ll be back to scrolling down to go up right away. Lion even proves that you’ve made the change by altering the little video to the right of the options, showing that the movement of your fingers and action on the screen are now reversed. Or as you may prefer to think of it: just right.

That’s it. You can close System Preferences (the change you made is saved automatically) and away you go.

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

2 thoughts on “How To: Turn Off Lion’s “Natural Scrolling”

  1. For those who do not have the newer style of mutlitouch trackpads, Lion offers the same capability in System Preferences. On older MacBook/MacBookPro/MacBookAir, you can go into System Preferences->Trackpad and uncheck the box that says, “When using gestures to scroll or navigate, move content in the direction of finger movement.” On Macs that have mice, you can go into System Preferences->Mouse and uncheck the box that says, “Move content in the direction of finger movement when scrolling or navigating.”

  2. I made myself stick with the new scrolling style for a few days… Now it seems perfectly natural, can’t imaging going back to non-natural scrolling now.

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