Disable Inertia Scrolling in Mac OS X

Nov 29, 2011 - 10 Comments

Apple Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad weird behavior resolutions

Flick down with two fingers on a trackpad or Magic Mouse in Mac OS X and you’ll experience inertial scrolling, where after your finger has stopped moving the page continues to scroll in the intended direction until it slowly stops. This fluid and natural scrolling experience comes from the iOS world, and while it works quite well on the desktop, it’s not for everyone.


Here’s how to disable inertia scrolling systemwide in Mac OS X for any version of system software that you may be running for trackpad and touch surface devices:

Turning Off Inertia Scrolling in MacOS Sierra & OS X EL Capitan

Modern versions of MacOS and Mac OS X allow users to disable inertial scrolling through the Accessibility panel:

  1. Open System Preferences from the  Apple menu
  2. Go to Accessibility
  3. Choose Mouse & trackpad
  4. Click on “Trackpad Options”
  5. Look for Scrolling, then select “Without inertia”

Disable Inertia Scrolling in macOS

Disabling Inertia Scrolling in Mac OS X Mountain Lion, Lion

Disabling Inertia Scrolling in older versions of Mac OS X including Lion, Mountain Lion, and is done through a slightly different setting section:

  • Open System Preferences from the  Apple menu
  • Click on “Universal Access” and then click on “Mouse & Trackpad”
  • Near the bottom, click on “Trackpad Options” button
  • Next to the “Scrolling” checkbox, click so that “without inertia” is set then click “OK” and close out of System Preferences

Disable inertia scrolling in OS X Lion

Intertial scrolling is now off. Try to scroll now, and even if you flick your fingers the scrolling will end immediately when you lifted them from the trackpad, just like it’s 2005 again.

What about inertia scrolling in older Mac OS X versions?

Note that in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, intertial scrolling was called “scrolling with momentum” instead, and the option was contained within the standard Trackpad & Mouse preference panel.

From OS X Lion onward through OS X Mavericks, El Capitan, Sierra, and onward, it’s simply referred to as Inertia Scrolling, but disabling it remains an option if you’re not a fan of the behavior.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks

10 Comments

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  1. Joseph says:

    Alternately you can enable inertial movement of everything! If you hold two fingers down and us another finger to move them. Some features use different amount of fingers depending on the gesture.

  2. Alexey says:

    How is it possible to turn on/off this scrolling automatically when I switch to certain applications (like Illustrator) ?
    Any ideas?

  3. fox says:

    I love scrolling with momentum but how do I disable that annoying bounce once the end of the content is reached?

  4. paolo battino says:

    so funny! So the option is now under “Universal access”… therefore it means that anyone not wanting to use the inertia is a person with “special needs”…. ;-)

    …can’t believe…

    • I’m someone with “special needs”. Apple don’t seem to rushed to ‘disable’ the trackpad on my computer, thus making my computer useless to me. Patrick

      • Paul says:

        You can try going to System Prefs > Accessibility > Mouse / Trackpad > “Ignore built-in trackpad when mouse is connected”

        That is probably the best option to disable the trackpad but aside from that it would be a bit technical to attempt to force it to not work. Some users physically disconnect the camera in their computer, for example, which could be applied to the trackpad as well, but that is obviously extreme for something like this.

  5. Tiffany says:

    THANK YOU!!! This has been driving me absolutely bonkers! I didn’t even think to look in Universal Access :)

  6. Gary says:

    The path to get to this setting is different on OS X 10.11:
    1.Open System Preferences from the  Apple menu
    2.Accessibility
    3.Mouse & trackpad
    4.Click on “Trackpad Options..”
    5.Scrolling > Select Without inertia

    • I’ve tried all the points suggested by you and everyone else but I haven’t been able to disable the Trackpad. I’ve spoken with at least four Senior Advisors at Apple as far back four weeks ago. Just a couple of hours ago, I spoke to another Advisor who told me to install Sierra. I expressed my reluctance to do that but he just insisted that I followed his instructions. No, I’m left with the problem of the active Trackpad even do I’ve done everything discussed here and on the advice of senior Advisors in Apple. Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance. Patrick

  7. Martijn says:

    The intertia options aren’t there for me. I’m running El Capitan, but I don’t have a trackpad, and therefor no “trackpad options” either.

    However, the mouse also has interia scrolling, which is just as irritating. But mouse options doesn’t show an intertia checkbox.

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