Mac OS X – How do I Right-Click with Trackpad, Single Button Mouse, or Magic Mouse?

   Posted October 23, 2010 by David Kirk in Apple Mac

A stumbling block for those who have been reared on Windows systems but moved to a Mac is using a single button mouse or trackpad. Using these simple directions, you’ll be able to “right-click” on your new Mac in no time.

The term “right-click” is now almost universal. When people use this term, they are usually describing how to get a context sensitive menu for an object on the screen.

On OS X systems such as Apple’s mac computers, you can simulate a right-click by holding down the control key while performing a mouse click or trackpad click.

With modern trackpads, one can also perform a right-click by tapping the trackpad with two fingers.

With Apple’s Magic Mouse, you must lift all your fingers off the mouse and click with one solitary finger on the right-side of the mouse.


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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  • aurea

    I’ve been using Mac OS X for about 3 years now, but always on a laptop. So when I recently started using a mouse and couldn’t find a way to right-click something, I was ready to tear my hair out. Your post was very useful — I’m happily right-clicking away. Thanks!

  • aurea

    Should’ve mentioned that it was a one-button mouse I now use. Thanks 🙂

  • sachin

    you can use a windows mouse and right click away. thats use a 2 button mouse and it will work

  • deborahjb

    Is it different now? When I used my old iMac I would just hold down the single button until a dialog window opened up…like click & hold.

  • Anonymous

    In addition to the ctrl-button trick already described, you can simulate a Windows-style right click one-handedly on a Mac laptop by putting two fingers on the trackpad when you click the mouse.

    • Stuee

      Yeah, as it says in the article ;-p

  • Anonymous

    i need to know how to do it with one button so i don’t use control click

  • Anonymous


  • Austin

    The “Mouse” Preference pane lets you select a button to use as secondary click.

  • Techies Point

    If it is A12963Vdc model mouse then click on the apple icon on the top left corner of your iMac and select System Preferences , click on the mouse icon and check the ‘Secondary click’ check box.

  • Thanks for the tip: I’ve been debating about whether to move over from the dark side to mac, but the lack of the right mouse button is a real stumbling block.