How to use a third-party mouse on Mac

The Apple Magic Mouse is a great Mac peripheral, but it has a fair share of disadvantages that keep users, especially newbies, from buying it. Hence, many tend to use third-party mice on Mac. This leads to the omission of some awesome trackpad gestures that are otherwise available on the Magic Mouse.

But there is a way out! I recently found a workaround when setting up a Dell mouse and now it launches all macOS gestures without issue. Let me show you how to properly set up a third party mouse (like Dell, HP or Lenovo) and use these smart gestures.

How to connect a wireless mouse to Mac

First of all, let’s connect your mouse to your Mac. Do not worry. Even if your mouse’s packaging says “compatible with Windows,” chances are high that the mouse will work with your Mac.

There are two types of wireless mouse on the market, one with Bluetooth and the other with 2.4GHz wireless USB connector.

Change Basic Moue Preferences on Mac

With your mouse connected to your Mac, change the settings according to your preference. After all, the mouse is the one that allows you to navigate macOS.

1. Disable natural scrolling.

First of all, you need to adjust the scrolling options. You must have noticed that as soon as you connect your mouse to your Mac, moving the wheel up and down does the opposite of what you want. This is because on Mac, you’re used to using the two-finger swipe up gesture to move a website or page down.

However, when using a mouse, it feels natural to move the wheel in the opposite direction. You need to turn off natural scrolling to prevent this from happening.

To do this:

  1. Go to System Preferences.
  2. Select Mouse Preferences.
  3. Deselect the Scroll Direction: Natural check box.

2. Set the speed of tracking, scrolling and double-clicking.

macOS allows you to set different speeds for mouse control:

  • Tracking Speed: This speed refers to how quickly your Mac detects mouse movement. The faster the tracking speed, the faster the gestures.
  • Scroll Speed: Determines the number of pages to scroll when you turn the wheel button. The higher the scrolling speed, the faster the page will scroll. I would not recommend that you change this speed.
  • Double-Click Speed: As the name suggests, it determines how fast a double-click can be tracked. The higher the speed, the faster your Mac will detect click gestures. If you increase this speed, your Mac will recognize even the slightest mouse clicks.

3. Enable Spring Loading.

I’m sure you are aware of this feature when you hold a file over a folder and the folder opens. Well, Apple has disabled this gesture for third-party mouse by default.

To enable, go to System Preferences -> Accessibility -> Pointer Control -> Mouse and Trackpad -> enable Spring Loading. The shorter the spring load delay, the faster the folder will open when you hover a file over it.

Use Mac trackpad gestures with a regular mouse

One limitation of using a third-party mouse with a Mac is that you can’t use Mac trackpad gestures, such as three-finger swipe to switch windows or three-finger swipe up to open Mission Control.

Do not worry! Using a third party tool called xGestures, you can also use some of the Mac trackpad gestures with a regular mouse. Follow these steps:

  1. First, download and install xGestures on your Mac.

xGestures is a free tool that helps you map custom gestures to your mouse.

  1. Now go ahead and download the three Apple scripts .
    This will allow you to use the three-finger window toggle gesture and the three-finger swipe up to use the mouse flight control gesture.
  2. Save these Apple scripts in a separate folder and do not delete these Apple scripts.

Note : Removing these Apple scripts will disable Mac gestures on the mouse.

  1. Now go to System Preferences -> open xGestures.
  2. Choose whether you want to perform a gesture by holding the middle button (scroll wheel) or using the left or right button.
    You can even configure it to perform a gesture when you hold down the Command button.
  3. Go to the third tab – Applications.
  4. Check the box next to Enable Global Gestures and select New Gesture.
  5. Swipe right while holding the middle button.
    A “Correct” message should appear on the window screen.
  6. Select Gesture Action as Run AppleScript.
  7. Select the file ctrl Right for the left gesture and ctrl left for the right gesture.
    This is because when you switch the window from left to right, you are actually swiping to the left by performing the “Control +” → gesture.
  8. Similarly, add gestures for swiping left (Ctrl file to the right) and swiping up (Ctrl file up).
  9. Click Apply Settings.
  10. Go to the Options tab and select Launch xGestures.

You can now use the three-finger gesture on Mac with your mouse. I have attached the GIF above to show how it works. (I hold the middle button while performing these gestures.)

Note : The service may be closed suddenly due to background macOS processes. Just go to System Preferences -> xGestures -> Options -> Launch xGestures to re-enable it.

I hope with the help of this tutorial you will be able to use a third party mouse on a Mac and trigger all of the trackpad gestures.

by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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