459

In System Preferences > Mouse there's a setting "Scroll direction: natural", which I don't like, so I unset. The problem is that this also unsets the setting for Trackpad, which I do like.

How can you have different settings for mouse and trackpad?

(In case you can't understand the rationale for wanting them different, and think this is a ridiculous question, here is the reasoning. Mice have had scroll wheels for decades, and the direction of the wheel turning has always been in sync with the motion of the scrollbar. This is, in my opinion, the most natural way to do things, even though it is the opposite of what Apple calls "natural". On the other hand, I'm perfectly willing to use Apple's "natural" scrolling for trackpads, because the metaphor here is that you're moving your fingers across a page, just as if you were using an iOS device's touchscreen. The idea that Apple treats these as the same thing, when they are conceptually completely different is very odd to me. I don't want to change a decades-old habit with the mouse, just because Apple changed their idea of how a trackpad should work. I embrace the trackpad change because it makes sense to anyone who uses an iPhone or iPad (and I use both) but I'm not willing to rewire my brain's way of using the mouse.)

10
  • 1
    Related question: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/17966/… I have two answers there, both updated for Sierra
    – Nate
    Jan 3, 2017 at 22:21
  • 22
    I wish I could upvote this multiple times
    – stefan.s
    Sep 6, 2017 at 7:01
  • 20
    I hate the fact that I cannot set them separately. Apple, please, you already show the setting separately in trackpad and mouse, why the heck sync them? What a stupid design.
    – Logan Yang
    Apr 17, 2019 at 14:59
  • 3
    Apple must sell you a poor design before it can sell you the fix.
    – null
    Oct 2, 2020 at 5:33
  • 1
    @null I don't see Apple selling a fix. I only see them irritating users by making a horrible design choice. What fix are they selling?
    – iconoclast
    Oct 21, 2021 at 18:34

11 Answers 11

113
+100

I made a free application to solve this issue in recent versions of macOS (10.15+). It also allows you to disable scroll/mouse acceleration and configure the number of lines to scroll per mouse wheel click.

Screenshot

It's meant to solve the problem in the simplest way possible. It's also open source so if you're a bit paranoid about letting an app "control your computer", feel free to look at the code and build it yourself!

https://github.com/ther0n/UnnaturalScrollWheels

20
  • 2
    Thank you! I'm lucky to find this question right after your app release. I'm using macOS Mojave. I tried the Karabiner Elements but it doesn't work. Your app is working flawlessly! Thank you!
    – leoce
    Jul 28, 2020 at 1:44
  • 2
    I've tested this on Mojave and it works beautifully. I hope this answer gets more attention. Jul 28, 2020 at 20:39
  • 2
    This should be the accepted answer, thank you @aptgetrekt for you work! Btw, it works very well on Big Sur as well.
    – Tomas
    Nov 23, 2020 at 8:56
  • 3
    Very nice to find an open-source solution, thank you very much @aptgetrekt
    – sesm
    Nov 23, 2020 at 17:44
  • 4
    This is the best solution, open source and easy to setup and install.
    – utphx
    Jan 10, 2021 at 1:05
236

I had the same problem when I started to use macOS.

I installed this little utility, which lets you reverse the scrolling behavior only for the mouse:

Scroll Reverser for macOS

17
  • 6
    Scroll reverser doesn't work reliably after waking up from sleep... Nov 8, 2015 at 10:38
  • 3
    @binaryanomaly I checked and the "scroll direction: natural" on Mouse settings still affects the trackpad. El Capitan 10.11.1 Nov 17, 2015 at 11:00
  • 3
    Unfortunately you're right - it's two places for 1 setting :( weird. Back to Karabiner for now. Nov 18, 2015 at 8:16
  • 7
    @GuidoPreite It appears that I have falsely blamed Scroll Reverser in my previous comment though. The problems did not disappear with the removal of Scroll Reverser. They did however go away after updating the Logitech Control Center. Sorry for spreading wrong information and I hope you would take the trouble to update your answer yet again.
    – Roy Prins
    Nov 11, 2016 at 20:22
  • 3
    Is it for real that you can solve this horrible 'functionality' with such a simple app? I feel ecstatic that I finally found something that solved this problem. This should have come from Apple in the first place.
    – KumarM
    Oct 6, 2017 at 19:51
79

Update 2020/12/03: As other's have pointed out, this is not a feature of Karabiner in newer versions.


It appears that this is integrated in the Karabiner app so it works out of the box without any custom XML (which are described above).

You'll need the following settings:

  • Karabiner Preferences > Change Key > Karabiner core settings > Exclude devices > Don't remap Apple's pointing devices
  • Karabiner Preferences > Change Key > Pointing Device > Reverse scrolling direction > Reverse Vertical Scrolling

Set the Enable Natural Scrolling setting in the Mouse/TrackPad PrefPane to 'enabled'. This allows for the internal trackpad to work as it's supposed to. Any connected non-Apple external mouse will scroll in their own natural way.

10
  • 2
    Nice! One less utility to launch & have in the background.
    – iconoclast
    Jul 25, 2015 at 23:41
  • 5
    Karabiner is awesome.
    – e9t
    Oct 16, 2015 at 8:34
  • 2
    Karabiner worked for me on El Capitan where Scroll Reverser didn't. Feb 23, 2016 at 19:00
  • 18
    So this no longer works in Sierra. Anyone found a working solution in the meantime?
    – swongu
    Sep 22, 2016 at 17:51
  • 20
    Karabiner doesn't work with Sierra. They recommend using Karabiner-Elements instead, but that one doesn't seem to offer this option. So Karabiner is no longer a solution.
    – orrd
    Apr 25, 2017 at 22:43
41

I found myself in the exact same boat (preferring Natural for TrackPad and normal for Mouse), and in case anyone attempts to do the same, I did file a bug report against Apple for this. They closed it rather briefly with the words "This is intentional" and no other explanation.

I'm guessing that it's a common request, and they're just tired of hearing it.

7
  • 11
    It's possible that they just don't get it, since I'd be willing to bet practically no one at Apple actually uses mice with physically scrolling wheels. (That would be like using a Mac at Microsoft: anathema to management.) For someone who didn't give it much thought it might seem to make sense, but if you use all three devices (iOS devices, Apple mice or trackpads, and wheel mice) you quickly realize Apple's decision was a horrible one.
    – iconoclast
    Sep 30, 2014 at 14:50
  • 40
    "This is intentional" is just Apple's way of avoiding that it admitted it did something wrong. For all of Apple's supposed attention to detail, small usability problems like this are quite ubiquitous in OSX. May 13, 2015 at 0:03
  • 4
    they need to get UNTIRED of hearing it -- when so many people have this issue, it's a REAL issue -- with the end of Steve Jobs so ends the quality of Apple...
    – aequalsb
    Mar 7, 2017 at 15:09
  • 1
    wow, this is very naive. In what way would fixing this bug help selling apple mice...?
    – vidstige
    Apr 16, 2018 at 20:33
  • 2
    @vidstige I dunno, maybe having more people using Macs would encourage them to buy other Apple things? Or promoting the idea that Apple is consumer-friendly? Or that they at least care about their consumer's wishes? I mean, maybe I'm just naive in thinking that dismissing a major concern from a significant segment of your potential market is a bad idea. Or maybe you didn't think it through, and should try again.
    – Nic
    Jul 26, 2018 at 23:59
24

Based on Tien answer, I tried to find some Logitech software that could help me. I have a Anywhere MX 2 mouse and the Logitech Options software really "fix" this problem for me! It can be downloaded here:

https://www.logitech.com/en-us/product/options

Here is how I set it:

Logitech Options with 'Standard' scroll direction

Having scroll direction: standard here and natural scrolling on macOS Sierra settings make it work as it makes sense: natural scrolling on trackpad (two thingers up scrolls down) and standard scrolling on the wheel (roll the wheel "back" scrolls down).

Hope it helps!

8
  • 1
    I don't see these options on Mac OS X 10.12.1. I have a Unifying Mouse, but I cannot add it to the Logitech Options. I guess that needs to be done before I can modify its options?
    – Erik
    Nov 1, 2016 at 22:25
  • You just need to install Logitech Options Logitech software.
    – BrunoJCM
    Nov 10, 2016 at 15:48
  • 1
    Apparently, it only works with wireless mice.
    – erickrf
    Dec 20, 2016 at 15:59
  • 3
    To the top you go.. Jan 10, 2017 at 19:40
  • Logitech Options only works with some Logitech mice. Even if you have a unifying mouse, it's not a guarantee to be supported.
    – lenooh
    Feb 24, 2017 at 23:22
16

You can also use Karabiner:

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<root>
  <devicevendordef>
    <vendorname>SOMEVENDOR</vendorname>
    <vendorid>0x1234</vendorid>
  </devicevendordef>
  <deviceproductdef>
    <productname>SOMEPRODUCT</productname>
    <productid>0x0001</productid>
  </deviceproductdef>
  <item>
    <name>custom</name>
    <identifier>custom</identifier>
    <device_only>DeviceVendor::SOMEVENDOR, DeviceProduct::SOMEPRODUCT</device_only>
    <autogen>__FlipScrollWheel__ Option::FLIPSCROLLWHEEL_VERTICAL</autogen>
  </item>
</root>

You can see the vendor and product IDs from /Applications/Karabiner.app/Contents/Applications/EventViewer.app.

3
  • 3
    To elaborate on this process, run the Karabiner app, which opens the customization UI. Then go to the "Misc & Uninstall" tab at the top. There are buttons on this page to "Open private.xml" and "Open EventViewer" which you can use to get the product ID and edit the XML as shown above. Feb 27, 2015 at 13:56
  • Some more details - Replace both occurrences of "SOMEVENDOR" with an arbitrary single word representing your manufacturer (e.g. Microsoft). Replace both occurrences of "PRODUCTNAME" with an arbitrary single word representing your mouse (e.g. MicrosoftSculpt). Replace 0x1234 with the string from "Vendor ID" column in event viewer. Replace 0x0001 with the string from "Product ID" column in event view. Save the xml and hit "Change Key > Reload XML". Make sure to enable the OSX "Scroll direction: natural" in the mouse configuration.
    – Elad
    Jun 16, 2015 at 11:25
  • For step-by-step instructions: apple.stackexchange.com/a/230241/85983
    – Jonathan H
    Mar 8, 2016 at 20:23
14

This little app solved my trouble. Works like a charm. https://pilotmoon.com/scrollreverser/

5
  • Hi welcome to AskDifferent, I find if a question is worth answering it is worth upvoting. Also some instructions rather than just a link may get you more upvotes and make your answer more "future" proof. Please take the time to read the Answer and Question section of the help page.
    – Deesbek
    Nov 28, 2016 at 1:51
  • 2
    Confirmed! Works great on Sierra. Karabiner or Scroll Reverse do not currently work on Sierra, so this is the only solution of the ones currently listed that works.
    – orrd
    Apr 25, 2017 at 22:48
  • Works on Sierra! What a lifesaver! May 5, 2017 at 2:04
  • 1
    In this case @Deesbek there really doesn't seem to be any point to elaborate. It really does work like a charm. If you go to the site and download the app it reverses the scrolls (separately for mouse and trackpad, the whole point of the question). Also, F Apple for claiming this is an intentional decision. That's just lazy.
    – barclay
    May 27, 2017 at 16:27
  • Doesn't work in 10.15, reverses both scrolls. Jan 10, 2020 at 11:08
10

As Tien posted, Logitech now has an app with the option to separate trackpad and mouse scroll directions, but this only works with a unifying receiver or Bluetooth. I have a wonderful Logitech VX Nano that I don’t intend to give up on, which pre-dates unifying receiver.

And Karabiner or Scroll Reverse do not currently work on Sierra.

Instead you can use the free app Reverse Scrolling, which works on Sierra.

https://pilotmoon.com/scrollreverser/ Scroll Reverser

0
7

Both Karabiner and Scroll Reverse do not work on Sierra so far (October 2016). I use a logitech M185 and the app from Logitech instead (http://support.logitech.com/en_us/product/wireless-mouse-m185) and it works. Now I can separate the scroll direction between the trackpad and the mouse.

6
  • does this feature not exist in Karabiner-Elements?
    – iconoclast
    Oct 31, 2016 at 18:26
  • what software from logitech?
    – BrunoJCM
    Nov 1, 2016 at 2:00
  • answering myself on a "answer" below ;)
    – BrunoJCM
    Nov 1, 2016 at 2:14
  • 1
    @iconoclast: No, in Karabiner Elements you can only remap keys. But the Logitec app works pretty well.
    – llasarov
    Nov 12, 2016 at 20:48
  • 1
    I've just tried Scroll Reverser on my MacBook Pro running Mac OS Sierra, and it works perfectly.
    – Liran H
    Jan 12, 2017 at 23:07
7

If you have BetterTouchTool (which is worth getting for its own sake), this can be handled with a single checkbox. It's the checkbox for "Inverse scrolling for normal mice only (use system settings for Magic Mouse & Trackpads)".

Works like a charm.

enter image description here

1
  • 2
    BetterTouchTool is the best value in macOS utilities! I recommend buying a lifetime license! (And no, I do not have any affiliation with the author.)
    – iconoclast
    Nov 18, 2019 at 19:51
6

Clarifying the answer above about Karabiner Settings. To edit the two suggested settings, do the following:

Change Key tab > Exclude Devices > Select "Don't remap Apple's pointing keyboards

Change Key tab > Pointing Device > Reverse Scrolling Direction Select "Reverse Vertical Scrolling"

From here, use Apple > System Preferences > Mouse (or touchpad) and select "natural scrolling"

3
  • 1
    Rather than say "the answer above" it is better to specify whose answer you are referring to. Whether an answer is "above" or not depends on how users sort the answers, and even that changes over time. Also, new answers are added, so directional references become more and more confusing, even if they seemed relatively clear at first.
    – iconoclast
    Jan 6, 2016 at 20:43
  • NB: in the current version of Karabiner (10.18.0 in any event), the first setting has been renamed to "Don't remap Apple's pointing devices".
    – dland
    Apr 27, 2016 at 7:54
  • THIS answer is accurate and correct for me on El Capitan 2017-03-05 -- whereas ALL OTHER answers i read prior to this did not provide the critical two-setting explanation -- therefore i consider "the answer above" and "all the other answers" wrong... and "THIS answer" right
    – aequalsb
    Mar 7, 2017 at 15:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .