Natural Scroll Direction On The Mac

There are a multitude of settings that can be changed and adjusted in the macOS System Preferences. Sometimes I think it is a little overwhelming. One group of settings is for the Magic Mouse and Trackpad. There are all kinds of ways to setup your Magic Mouse to work on your Mac. Case in point is the “Scroll Direction”. A few macOS versions ago Apple introduced the “Natural Scroll Direction”. When that first came out, it threw me for a loop. The “Normal” Scroll Direction worked just the opposite. That was what I was used to so it took a while to come around to the Natural Direction. Just as a quick overview, here is how Magic Mouse and Trackpad Scroll Direction work.

Scroll Direction

I just got done helping a friend setup a new MacBook Air. Of course, it came with macOS Catalina which is set to “Natural” Scroll Direction as Default. Having always used the “Normal” Scroll direction, that really threw my friend. So, I helped him set it to what he was familiar with. Here is the “Natural” Scroll Direction in System Preferences:

Natural Scroll Direction

Do you see what it says there? The “Content tracks with finger movement”. If you slide your finger down on your Magic Mouse or Trackpad, it pulls the document down. If you slide your finger up, it moves the document up on your screen. This, according to Apple, is supposed to be more “Natural”. When you move your finger up the page goes up, when you move it down the page moves down.

The “Normal” Scroll Direction is just the opposite. To activate the “Normal” Scroll Direction you just have to uncheck “Scroll direction: Natural” in the Magic Mouse or Trackpad System Preference area:

Normal Scroll Direction

Now when you move your finger down on the Magic Mouse, it makes the page go up which is just the opposite of “Natural”. It is like you are pulling your App down to view more of the page sort of.

OK, so I know what some of you will say. The “Normal” Scroll Direction is what is really “Natural” and the “Natural” Scroll Direction is just weird! That is what I thought at first until I tried using “Natural” for a while. 


This is not big deal really, you can set the Scroll Direction anyway you wish. I just wanted to go over them both. I can assure you that all future Macs are going to be set to the Natural as Default, but at least for now, you can change that behavior, even though that would be unNatural! 😂