How to Enable the Three Finger Drag Gesture on Mac Trackpads in OS X
The ability to perform a three-finger drag gesture on Mac and MacBook trackpads allows users to move windows and items on screen with a gesture rather than the usual click and drag, this feature is well liked by many Mac users and has been in OS X for quite some time.
Once residing in the normal Trackpad settings of System Preferences, the latest versions of OS X (El Yosemite and Capitan 10.11 and newer) has moved the dragging gesture settings for Trackpad elsewhere though, and so if you want to enable this feature or just try it out on your own Mac you’ll need to dig a little deeper than usual through the system settings.
Enabling Three Finger Drag on Mac Trackpads in OS X El Capitan
In OS X 10.10.x and OS X 10.11.x and newer you’ll find the option under Accessibility as follows:
- Open “System Preferences” from the Apple menu
- Choose the “Accessibility” preference panel
- Scroll down the list on the left side and select “Mouse & Trackpad”
- Click the “Trackpad Options” button
- Check the box next to “Enable dragging” and pull down the menu alongside to select “three finger drag”, then click “OK” to set the preference
- Close out of System Preferences as usual and try the feature out
Three finger drag is quite literal, meaning you hover the cursor over a window title bar and place three fingers on the trackpad surface and drag them around to move the window, no clicking or pressing down on the trackpad surface is required.
While you’re in that settings screen you may also want to adjust the scrolling speed of the trackpad, which is also in the Accessibility portion of Trackpad options.
This feature works with a Magic Trackpad, 3D Touch Trackpad (the same thing as Force Touch), and standard multitouch trackpads built into any MacBook, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro. Once enabled it should work flawlessly, though every once in a while you may encounter issues with dragging which requires specific troubleshooting methods to resolve.
Thanks to iDownloadblog for the reminder about where this feature relocated to, it’s one of those gestures you either love to use with the Mac trackpad or hate, but regardless it’s welcome to recall exactly where the settings option is located in OS X.