For right clicking, there are two ways when using the trackpad

  • Control-click, i.e. tapping the trackpad while pressing Control key
  • two-finger-tapping

Can they be used exchangeably?

If not, when to use which?

2 Answers 2


Yes, they can be used interchangeably. The two-finger tap is a shortcut employed by OS X for more convenience / accessibility, however, it has exactly the same function as the control-click.

  • thanks. in guest Ubuntu via virtualbox, right-clicking by tapping the right region of the trackpad doesn't do anything, while two-finger tapping does work like right-clicking in PC. I am not sure if keystrokes in guest Ubuntu should be the same as in Ubuntu directly installed on a computer, or same as in OS X. See apple.stackexchange.com/questions/242407/…
    – Tim
    Jun 12, 2016 at 14:45
  • @Tim I will look at your other question – meanwhile, if this answer helped you, please mark it as accepted
    – Munesawagi
    Jun 12, 2016 at 14:47

In most apps, macOS treats Control-click the same as a right-click. However, some programs such as games and virtual machines listen to the keyboard not as a series of keystrokes but as whether each key is held down at each moment. These programs will receive the Control keypress and the left-click separately, without macOS transforming them into a right-click.

So feel free to use Control-click in most places if that’s easier for you. However, when playing games or using a VM you might have to use the two-finger click for the program to recognize it.

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