If I go into Settings > Trackpad and enable Tap to click, I can enable the settings Dragging and Drag Lock.

What is the difference between these two settings?

It appears that they are doing the same exact thing when I try to use them. From my understanding, if I don't have drag lock enabled, I should be able to double tap then drag a window, after I lift up my finger, the dragging should stop. However, that is not the case, I must tap again in order for the dragging to stop.

  • FYR The Settings location for trackpad dragging has been changed, it is now Settings > Accessibility > Mouse & Trackpad > Trackpad Options > Enable Dragging.
    – Jasha
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 13:13
  • For anyone on Ventura (macOS 13 or later), the location in System Settings is now Settings > Accessibility > Pointer Control > Trackpad Options Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 14:39

2 Answers 2


I believe I figured out the difference:


  1. Double tap and hold to begin dragging.
  2. Release the mouse.
  3. Depending on the amount of time that has passed, moving the mouse will do one of the following:
    • Brief delay: moving the mouse continues the dragging, essentially behaving the exact same way as drag lock. The cycle is then repeated once you release your finger.
    • Longer delay: dragging is stopped.

Dragging & Drag Lock:

  1. Double tap and hold to begin dragging.
  2. Release the mouse.
  3. Moving the mouse will continue dragging.
  4. Tap once to stop the dragging.

It's that brief delay that was throwing me off. There doesn't seem to be any way to customize the length of this delay. One thing that does help, though, is figuring out exactly how long this delay is. One method for figuring this out is the following:

  1. Drag an icon from the dock a tiny bit so that if you were to release it, it wouldn't be deleted.
  2. Release the mouse.
  3. Observe how long it takes for the icon to move back to its place. That is the exact amount of minimum time that you should wait when you are finished dragging something.
  • 12
    Would love to be able to customize/disable that delay. If anyone has any tips please share!
    – devios1
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 22:18
  • That brief delay you're mentioning is acknowledged by Apple here: _without drag lock: Double-tap an item, then drag it without lifting your finger after the second tap; when you lift your finger, the item stops moving. The item can still be dragged for a fraction of a second (so you can reposition your finger if it’s at the edge of the trackpad). To immediately prevent further dragging, tap the trackpad once. _ support.apple.com/guide/mac-help/… Commented Apr 5, 2021 at 6:33

If you enable Drag Lock after you do your desire change you must tap you finger to release dragged item but if you disable it if you do your desire change you only need to put up your finger form trackpad.

  • 1
    I'm on Mac OS X 10.6.6, and that's not how it works for me. It appears that they both do the same thing.
    – Senseful
    Commented Jan 28, 2011 at 20:08
  • @sense I am on OS X 10.6.6 too, but it works for me, I don't know the reason!
    – Am1rr3zA
    Commented Jan 28, 2011 at 20:46
  • I'll probably take it into Apple, then.
    – Senseful
    Commented Jan 28, 2011 at 21:03
  • a lot of people move on the trackpad with lots of little "pats" instead of a long drag. so for that to work, there's a ~0.5s drag lock timer that expires when drag lock is off. Commented Mar 4, 2018 at 5:54

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