I just recently started using Mac OS X Lion. Everything is working very well but I do miss the swipe of three fingers which made me go back and forward when I was browsing.

There is a new feature in Lion that uses the three finger swipe to jump between applications. I have tried to turn that of, but still no result.

Any Ideas of how to get the old three finger swipe back?


5 Answers 5


I looked into it and here is what I found. In Lion the swipe to navigate is grouped in System Preference > Trackpad > More Gestures under the "Swipe between pages" option. Under that option, you get A) Scroll left or right with two fingers B) Swipe left or right with three fingers C) Swipe with two or three fingers

Option A is the new navigation method featured in the new Safari during the WWDC keynote. It is the new feature in Lion. You SCROLL left to go FORWARD, right to go BACKWARD. You get the cool page flipping effect with this but developers need to update their code to support this feature.

Option B is the original swipe to navigate method used in Snow Leopard after the introduction of the Magic Touch Pad. You SWIPE left to go BACKWARD, right to go FORWARD. Many cool apps support this feature only at this stage.

Option C is the best of both world. Try to use it and play around in the new Safari... it is a bit confusing to navigate with both 2 fingers and 3 fingers swipes in the opposite directions :p

  • Good well explained answere. I will give you the correct answere! even thou Cosu was faster. I can report that two finger swipe isn't working for me, but changing to three finger swipe it works like it should. Thanks!
    – Fore
    Jul 3, 2011 at 13:27
  • @williamli do you know if it's possible to reverse the swipe direction in Option B? I need to use option B, because I would often end up going back when overscrolling, which I wanted to avoid, but the swipe LEFT TO GO BACK, is very unnatural compared to the other swipe directions and actions on the trackpad.
    – kapad
    Mar 15, 2020 at 19:22

From what I've read, Lion uses a two-fingered swipe to go back and forth. Have you tried that?


Go to the trackpad preference pane and change "swipe between pages" from 2 fingers to three fingers. That should fix it.


You can use BetterTouchTool to configure that and customize any gesture.


To go back in Safari you just use two fingers instead of three now like the person above me said. The movements are backwards now though, like on an iPhone or iPad. Just visualize that you are touching the screen with two fingers instead of three, and that's the new motion. If that made any sense(:

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