OS X Lion 10.7: Reverse Scroll Direction

   Posted February 26, 2011 by David Kirk in Apple Mac

In the development versions of OS X Lion, Apple has inverted the scroll direction. This is a logical progression to a more gesture oriented system; however, for many users it is confusing and breaks old habits. It is always hard to do exactly the opposite of what was previously learned. To revert to the older scrolling direction, follow these steps.

The reversed scroll direction in OS X Lion 10.7 really threw me for a loop. I use the two-finger swipe up and down to scroll web pages all the time. Now it seems inverted. I’m sure I’ll eventually need to convert over to Apple’s new method, but for now, I just have to revert it back to the older scroll method.

1. Select System Preferences
2. Select Trackpad
3. Uncheck the box When using gestures to scroll or navigate, move content in the direction of finger movement.

how to reverse scroll direction in os x lion

You can also reverse the scroll direction using a Terminal command. This is useful if your hardware doesn’t bring up the option to uncheck the When using gestures to scroll or navigate, move content in the direction of finger movement checkbox.

1. Open Terminal.

2. Execute the following Terminal command:
defaults write ~/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences com.apple.swipescrolldirection -bool false

3. Log out of your account for the change to take affect.


About David Kirk

David Kirk is one of the original founders of tech-recipes and is currently serving as editor-in-chief. Not only has he been crafting tutorials for over ten years, but in his other life he also enjoys taking care of critically ill patients as an ICU physician.
View more articles by David Kirk

The Conversation

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  • http://blogs.tech-recipes.com/jimmyselix jimmyselix

    man, this really got me right away. thought my touchpad was freaking out for a bit 😉

    • http://www.tech-recipes.com David Kirk – Founder/Editor

      AHahahah… yeah, as the OS goes toward iOS, changing the scroll seems logical… but yeah, it’s painful for me. I never even realized that the scrolls on the two devices were opposite. Shows how observant I am. 🙂

  • Flyinrider

    On older macs like mine it does not give you that option since it has the older style trackpad. However after connecting a new bluetooth track pad and putting the scroll option back to the old way, the macbook track pad followed as well to the old way of scrolling.

  • Evangelist

    Back being sane again 🙂

  • Sean

    is there a way to reverse it without connecting a bluetooth trackpad?

    • roger

      Any usb mouse gets you a configuration that also lets you change it.

  • Michel

    Maybe I’m weird, but is it possible to reverse the scroll direction on MacOS 10.6? I’m switching back and forth between Lion and Snow Leopard, so obviously I want both to behave the same, but I prefer the new way rather than the old way. Any hidden settings magic in the Terminal or something like that?

  • Simon Hayward

    Thank you!  This post will probably explode as Lion was released today

    • http://www.tech-recipes.com David Kirk – Founder/Editor

      FIngers crossed!  Thanks for visiting, Simon.

  • Clarkc56

    just uncheck scroll direction: natural

  • Travis Ellis

    Dear goodness Thank you!
    This was bothering the crap out of me.

  • Jon

    You have saved my sanity!!!  Thanks!

  • Sean

    Thank you so much! This saved me!

  • Kostastnt

    I have connected 2 usb mouses and 1 bluetooth mouse in my macbook late 2007.. still the option is hidden..

    any solution?

  • Casey Bird

    Really it speaks to the intuitive natures of both setups.  I’m sure that you’re plenty observant.  😉

  • Casey Bird

    Apparently, it’s not ANY usb [device].  Is there a command line/manual way of changing this?  (Please say yes and detail it.)

    • http://www.tech-recipes.com/ Rob Rogers

      The Terminal command for reversing the scroll direction has been added to the tutorial.

    • Dglenn9000

      I just went to my mouse setting and unchecked “Move content in the direction of finger movement when scrolling”  Works like it use to now.

    • Dglenn9000

      I just went to my mouse setting and unchecked “Move content in the direction of finger movement when scrolling”  Works like it use to now.

  • http://www.tech-recipes.com/ Rob Rogers

    We’ve added the necessary Terminal command to the tutorial.

  • Anonymous

    knowing the terminal command exists takes away the feeling of lonely hopelessness… 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I just got used to it in an hour or two. It’s much more natural now, more like the iOS.

    I honestly wish the whole trackpad was inverted now..