How to disable inertial scrolling on your Mac

When the original iPhone launched ten years ago, it instantly captivated audiences with its smooth implementation of the multi-touch user interface and attention to detail like rubber band scrolling, which continues to scroll content after your finger has stopped moving until it gradually comes to a halt.

Also known as inertial scrolling, this feature eventually made its way into macOS to support Mac computers with a multi-touch trackpad or Magic Mouse. Since this behavior may not appeal to everyone, we’ve put together this quick tutorial to teach you how to disable inertial scrolling with just a few clicks.

Pointer Control in Mac System Preferences

How to disable inertial scrolling on Mac

1) Click the Apple icon  and choose System Preferences.

2) Pick Accessibility.

3) Scroll down the left sidebar and select Pointer Control.

4) Click the button labeled Trackpad Options.

Tip: If you prefer Apple’s multi-touch-based Magic Mouse over your Mac’s built-in trackpad or Magic Trackpad, click Mouse Options instead.

Trackpad Options in Mac Pointer Control settings

5) Click the dropdown menu next to Scrolling, then make your choice for what happens when you lift your finger from the mouse or the trackpad:

  • With inertia: Scrolling comes to a gradual stop.
  • Without inertia: Scrolling stops immediately.
Trackpad scrolling settings on Mac

Optional tips:

  • Drag the slider labeled Scrolling Speed to adjust the speed at which you scroll through documents and windows using the trackpad.
  • To turn off scrolling, untick the box next to Scrolling.

6) Click OK to save the changes.

Disabling inertial scrolling makes content manipulation on your Mac akin to Windows PCs in that content stops scrolling right after your finger has stopped moving on a trackpad or Magic Mouse. Mice that have a scroll wheel or lack a multi-touch surface like that found on Magic Mouse don’t support inertial scrolling on macOS.

Walter Isaacson’s authorized biography of Steve Jobs claims that inertial scrolling for multi-touch screens was created by Apple’s interface designer Bas Ording. Realizing the importance of inertial scrolling, Jobs warned Samsung not to rip off the feature as it quickly became a lovable part of the original iPhone software and, later, of macOS.

Have you tried disabling inertial scrolling? Try it now to remind yourself of the pre-iPhone days, then come back here to share your thoughts with fellow readers in the comments.

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