Before installing Lion, I could use the "double finger left/right swipe" gesture to go back and forward in the history in Google Chrome.

After installing Lion, I can't find any mouse gesture that implements this.

The new version of Safari uses a single finger swipe to go back and forward in history. Is there any way to emulate this in Chrome? Or, failing that, is there any other gesture for back/forward in Chrome?

  • 2
    I think Chrome should adhere to the OS Lion default of two fingers and implement it.
    – user8036
    Jul 21, 2011 at 6:50
  • BetterTouchTool Aug 4, 2011 at 20:32

12 Answers 12


IDK about the Magic Mouse but three finger swiping works on the Magic Trackpad

By default swiping between pages is set to two fingers in Lion. However chrome doesn't currently recognize two finger swiping but it does recognize three finger swiping.

To enable three finger back and forward swiping simply go to the Magic Trackpad preferences and set "Swipe between Pages" to "Swipe left or right with three fingers".


Google has updated Chrome to work with a one finger swipe for the Magic Mouse and a two finger swipe for the Magic Trackpad in Lion.

  • Three finger swiping works on MacBook Air too. Thanks.
    – Jonas
    Jul 20, 2011 at 17:41
  • 2
    To whoever down voted me, I miss read the question the first time I answered and edited to my answer. Clearly it has helped a few people so I am leaving it up. So next time please at least comment if you are going to down vote. Jul 20, 2011 at 20:30
  • You can set it to both 3 and 2 fingers so when apps become compatible you can use 2 fingers for them.
    – Jonathan.
    Jul 24, 2011 at 1:53
  • Does this 3 finger swipe interfere with switching spaces in lion?
    – jmlumpkin
    Aug 4, 2011 at 12:15
  • 2
    two finger swipe works for me...
    – Tuesday
    Mar 23, 2012 at 3:08

There is a setting for this and it can be turned off / on: enter image description here

To get there, go to Settings -> Mouse -> More Gestures


As of a late v16 version of the browser, Chrome now honors the preference of single-finger swipe to navigate back and forth. I am unsure of exact version numbers, however, in the v16 series after this feature was implemented, it was shortly followed up by an arrow that will float over the page and drift left or right, pointing either back or forward, and when that arrow is dragged over at least half the page, it is fully opaque and will actually cause the desired navigation to appear.

In either v17 or v18, that changed so that a small quarter circle with an arrow on the edge pops out from the relevant side of the page (left = back, right = forward), and when it stops animating any further out from the page edge you can lift your finger in order to cause the desired navigation to occur. If you don't wish to navigate back/forward, simply scroll horizontally in the opposite direction and collapse the arrow/pop-over.


I could not find a way to make it work with core utilities but I found a way to make it work with BetterTouchTool. First of all, disable three finger scrolling in the system preferences and then download and install BetterTouchTool, open its preferences and add the following settings for the Magic Mouse or Trackpad:

  • Click "Add new gesture"
    • Gesture: Two Finger Swipe Left
    • Assigned Action: 3F Swipe Left (Page Back)
  • Click "Add new gesture"
    • Gesture: Two Finger Swipe Right
    • Assigned Action: 3F Swipe Right (Page Forward)
  • the only solution that worked.
    – elexhobby
    Aug 4, 2020 at 23:55

Holding ⌥ Option while swiping with two fingers will do back and forth in Chrome, Firefox, Finder etc. if you have set OS X to change space with two finger swipe (the default setting).

Conversely, if you have set OS X to go back/forth with a two finger swipe, holding the ⌥ Option key while swiping will then switch spaces.


In system preference, in trackpad set swipe between pages to "swipe with two or three fingers"

This lets you use three fingers for apps that don't support two fingers but also use two fingers on apps that support it (currently on safari supports two fingers I think)

Note: to go back you swipe from right to left with three fingers, but for 2 fingers you swipe from left to right. (and etc with forward)


Three finger swipe works, and this what happened to Chrome:



I found this whole thing quite frustrating too. I have used magic prefs for some time, and it seems that under OSX Lion, they have actually removed the system wide forward and back buttons, however: ⌘+[ and ⌘+] will do forward and back respectively in my experience pretty much system wide.

I set the following:

OSX: Disable all the shiny new features: http://www.ivoryhaze.com/temp/mouse.png

Magic Prefs: bind the gestures so that two finger swipe is the keyboard shortcut, and if you set it to three finger swipe to switch spaces it does the whole left right iOS style thing they have done with Lion. http://www.ivoryhaze.com/temp/magicprefs.png

This is tried and tested working for me this morning, and i can actually carry on with my work now. - Good luck, i am sure it will work for you too.

( ps. magic prefs is a free preference pane app which is available from a google search i would post the link, but im all out of my allowed hyperlinks for this post!)


Felt your pain! I have Magic Mouse. Took me a few days to figure out what I think power users feel is right balance:

  • change mouse prefs to "swipe with one or two fingers" (to restore system-wide back/forward gesture metaphor to Chrome, Finder, etc)
  • you lose system-wide Spaces back/forward when you do this, but just hold down Option key with two-finger swipe to get it back (without having to lift right hand from mouse (as required for [ and ] shortcuts)

The above solution ("1 or 2 fingers" setting) also retains the cool (to me) back/forward animation in Safari (vs. "2 fingers" setting).


You can easily get the single finger forward/back in Chrome just like Safari by using the free BetterTouchTool

Add a Chrome specific gesture to bind the gestures.

For a magic mouse:

  • Single finger swipe left => cmd+]
  • Single finger swipe right => cmd+[

For a trackpad:

  • Three finger swipe left => cmd+]
  • Three finger swipe right => cmd+[

You can go back and forward with one finger swipe left/right in the new Chrome Dev Channel as you do in Safari.

It's not quite polished as Safari, but i think they will fix it ASAP.


Here is how to do it in macOS Ventura (version 13.3).

Go to System Settings, Scroll down and select Trackpad, Click on More Gestures, and on the Swipe between page select your preferred way. I went for "Scroll Left or Right with Two Fingers" option.

Screenshot of location for more gestures

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