OS X Lion How To Reverse Scroll Direction

By | 2011/07/20

OS X 10.7 Lion has reversed the typical scroll direction used. Thankfully, changing this is an easy fix!

Note: Mouse (if plugged in) and Trackpad have separate settings for scrolling!

1. Locate the Mouse and / or Trackpad options in System Preferences.

2. In the Mouse option uncheck ‘Move content in the direction of finger movement when scrolling or navigating’.

3. In the Trackpad option uncheck as shown below:

Newer Macs look like the image below. Under Scroll and Zoom, uncheck ‘Scroll direction: natural’.


Older Macs look like the image below. Uncheck ‘When using gestures to scroll or navigate, move content in the direction of finger movement.’



33 thoughts on “OS X Lion How To Reverse Scroll Direction

  1. Scott

    What if we want to embrace the new scrolling paradigm?

    Is there a way I can change the scroll direction in Linux?

    1. scott Post author

      Yeah in Linux you can reverse the ZAxisMapping values in /etc/X11/xorg.conf. That should work.

      This would reverse scrolling:

      Option "ZAxisMapping" "5 4"

  2. Sandy

    Thank you!! I was hoping there was a way to change it back. The new scrolling was really getting on my nerves!

  3. Jay

    Did anyone notice that changing this natural setting to return scrolling to its traditional method has an impact on all system wipe swipes? All swipes – like switching between full screen programs are now reversed as well. This is annoying. You can either have traditional scrolling with reversed swipes, or reversed scrolling with traditional swipes. You can’t have both.

    1. scott Post author

      It might be possible to change vertical scrolling only in the file /Users/username/Library/Preferences/com.apple.driver.AppleBluetoothMultitouch.trackpad.plist

      Editing this file requires you have xcode installed.

      1. Jay

        Hi Scott, seems changing the scroll direction does nothing while natural is enabled – almost like natural overwrites all trackpad device settings in its plist. When natural is disabled, the setting in the device plist does change scroll direction. Super frustrating. Seems there is no way to change the scroll setting independent of the natural setting, which is required to be kept enabled to retain ipad like directional swiping. I really hope there is a solution for this.

        I also tried the Scroll Reverser app mentioned by Zag below, and it reverses scrolling AND swipes when enabled, acting exactly like the natural setting in full. So it doesn’t help either. I was hoping scrolling would be the only thing affected, but I am wrong there.

        I am surprised more people aren’t annoyed by this. In my days of Googling, I haven’t found anyone else who is annoyed by this. I surely can’t be the only one.

  4. Rolo Hope

    omg Thank you so much for this lol!!!! I just installed the OS X Lion and the scrolling direction is killing me lol but Thank you very much for this so I can change it back!!

  5. Zag

    These solutions are fine if you have a trackpad and/or super mouse. In my system preferences, I get a “No trackpad found” and there’s nothing under the mouse box that I can adjust.

    But I found my own solution! I downloaded SCROLL REVERSER. And it worked! Its located here…


    1. Bruno

      Thanks Zag, that app you linked works great =D

  6. njt

    This is not a solution. If you have a macbook for example, following the above fixes it for the mouse, but then wrecks it for the trackpad….reverese the procedure above and the trackpad works, but now the mouse scrolling is med up!

    Each needs a separate setting: Trackpad=natural scrolling, Mouse=Uncheck natural scrolling.

    Unfortunately, you cannot set the setting for the trackpad and mouse separately.

    Trackpad is generally better than the mouse for navigating with all the new gestures etc, but as always is hopeless if you wanted edit spreadsheet is excel for example, when you need a mouse….I have to keep going into settings and changing them every time I open a spreadsheet, or need a more exact control provided by a mouse (Adwords account changes is another example that cannot be done with a trackpad.

    They each have settings in Lion OSX but they are not independent of each other….driving me nuts!!

    1. Chris

      I noticed the same thing. I want the settings to be separate and in fact the UI makes them appear separate. But underneath, one causes the other to toggle. Very very annoying. Has anyone found a ‘defaults’ setting for this that might alleviate the issue?

    2. TP

      wow this is driving me crazy as well… has anyone figured out a solution to independently change the two?

  7. Sparky

    Very nice. Why the hell Apple decides to “make it easier” for me is anybody’s guess. Scrolling and gesturing and the like worked just fine. I’m not at all happy, btw, that my four finger gesture no longer takes me to the top of the webpage that I was browsing. Guess I’m gonna have to give Apple four fingers – one at a time…!

  8. John

    Thank you very much for taking the time to post this information. That “natural scrolling” just wasn’t doing it for me!

  9. robobass

    i have a non apple mouse and i want to change the scrolling direction.. but it doesn’t have any of those options shown above on my comp…i use a Microsoft Laser mouse 6000…if any one knows how to fix this ..PLEASE HELP!

    thanks 🙂

  10. clicclic

    Zag: Thank you so much. The little app ‘Scroll Reverser’ works with my Microsoft Basic Optical Mouse v2.0. The Lion reversal is reversed! Thank you so much Pilot Moon for saving me from despair (and $70 for an Apple mouse).

  11. robobass

    i found a link that showed me a thing to put in the terminal to fix the problem 🙂 but thanks for the help anyways 🙂

  12. Br

    It is the most annoying situation…who on earth made the decision to change the direction of scrolling. I am constatnly correcting my self only to again within seconds. What a frsutrating wate of time!!!!

  13. Br

    Un tick scroll direction natural, this seems to solve the problem

    1. Jay

      You’re joking right? This does nothing for swipe direction.

  14. KK

    My mouse keeps reverting back to Natural scrolling. I turn it off and then it reverts straight back to natural scrolling.

  15. Jack

    The Mac developers seem to be following their brothers and sisters at Microsoft – changing something in the GUI, not because it makes it better, but simply for the heck of it, forcing us to figure out how to put things back to rights. Sheesh!

  16. Ann S

    THANK YOU – 5 days into Lion, and I was about to go crazy. I appreciate your tips (esp. including one for older macs). Thank you!

  17. mb

    thanks so much! A very unintuitive preset for Apple.

  18. Sharon

    After I upgraded my OS to Lion I could no longer scroll in the right direction with the Microsoft Wireless mouse. Thanks for the tip . I unchecked the box and voila!!!!! I’m moving in the right direction again


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