How to change iPad scroll direction when using a mouse or trackpad

iPad scroll direction - Magic Keyboard with trackpad

If you plan on using a trackpad or mouse device with your Apple tablet to really take your productivity to the next level with Multi-Touch trackpad gestures, you might wanna think about reverting the iPad scroll direction from its default setting, and we show you how.

Natural scrolling vs. unnatural scrolling

By default, iPad scroll direction is set in such a way that makes onscreen content track the movement of your fingers on the trackpad or mouse surface. As a result, the contents of the screen move in the direction opposite to your finger movement on the trackpad.

For instance, drag up on the trackpad and content such as a webpage in Safari will move down, and vice versa — they’re calling it natural scrolling. If you come from Apple platforms, your mind kinda expects scrolling to work that way as this is how it’s always worked in iOS.

Natural scrolling in macOS
Natural scrolling in macOS

On Windows and other non-Apple platforms, however, onscreen contents moves in the same direction as your fingers are moving on the trackpad. As a result, dragging down on the trackpad or mouse surface makes the contents of the screen move down, and vice versa.

Whether you prefer this unnatural scrolling method over natural scrolling is a matter of personal preference. Thankfully, Apple lets you choose between both scrolling methods at will.

Unnatural scrolling in macOS
This is what unnatural scrolling looks like in macOS

Follow along with us as we show you how to change your iPad scroll direction when using an input device like a trackpad or a mouse, and choose between natural and unnatural scrolling.

How to set iPad scroll direction

To adjust how the onscreen content is scrolled, do the following:

  1. Open the Settings app on your iOS device with iOS or iPadOS 13.4
  2. Choose General from the list.
  3. Depending on your accessory, tap Trackpad or Trackpad & Mouse.
  4. On the adjustment screen that appears, enable or disable the toggle Natural Scrolling.

By default, Natural Scrolling is enabled.

iPad scroll direction
Your trackpad settings let you adjust iPad scroll direction

As mentioned earlier in this tutorial, turning this option on will make onscreen content track the movement of your fingers on the trackpad or the surface of your Magic Mouse. If you come from a non-Apple platform like Windows or Linux, it may be a good idea to disable natural scrolling in order to make your iPad feel more familiar to what you’ve been using.

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For consistency, Mac users may want to use natural scrolling in both iOS and macOS.

TUTORIAL: How to disable natural scrolling for your Mac’s trackpad

If you’re not sure whether or not to use natural scrolling, we’d suggest experimenting with the two choices to see which scrolling option works best for you.

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