Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Is it possible to set the magic trackpad options with the menu topics:

  • Point click,
  • scroll & zoom,
  • etc.

by using the Terminal?

share|improve this question

You can use defaults to edit property lists. But Magic Trackpads and laptop trackpads have different settings, and they are stored in different places in different versions of OS X.

Here's some commands from the .osx file by @MathiasBynens:

# Trackpad: enable tap to click for this user and for the login screen
defaults write Clicking -bool true
defaults -currentHost write NSGlobalDomain -int 1
defaults write NSGlobalDomain -int 1

# Trackpad: map bottom right corner to right-click
defaults write TrackpadCornerSecondaryClick -int 2
defaults write TrackpadRightClick -bool true
defaults -currentHost write NSGlobalDomain -int 1
defaults -currentHost write NSGlobalDomain -bool true

# Trackpad: swipe between pages with three fingers
defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleEnableSwipeNavigateWithScrolls -bool true
defaults -currentHost write NSGlobalDomain -int 1
defaults write TrackpadThreeFingerHorizSwipeGesture -int 1

The first ones don't enable tap to click on the login screen in Mountain Lion. -currentHost wouldn't be needed in all cases. It modifies files in ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/ that are specific to the current computer and have precedence over files in ~/Library/Preferences/.

You can diff the output of defaults read to find keys for preferences.

See also these questions:

share|improve this answer
While I would never dream of blanketly applying everything in the .osx file, it's a superb living reference. Even version specific too. – Jason Salaz Sep 24 '12 at 12:41

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.