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No-Nonsense Guide For How To Right Click On A Mac

6 min read

Apple products are synonymous with minimalist design: anything that's superfluous has been deleted, anything that cramps its style gets left behind. So much so that many people who have made the jump from Windows to Mac will notice straight away that there's no right click on Mac.

Instinct may tell you that how to right click on a Mac is to click the right side of the trackpad or the Apple Mouse. But no matter where you click, it's still the left click.

So what's the need to have a right click on Mac? Well, left click, your common everyday kind of click, takes the user forward, accepting the next logical step in the flow. However, right click allows the user to open more paths to take, it yields a host of alternative actions.

The need for these secondary actions and the physical loss of the Mac right click button has left many people hunting for the elusive Mac right click and turning to the internet to ask, "How do you right click on a Mac?"

How To Left Click On A Mac

Just so you know, there's no need to be floored by the absenteeism of mouse buttons altogether, being able to left click requires little to no effort.

Simply apply pressure on the mouse or trackpad until it makes an audible click. There you have it, how to left click on a Mac.

How to right click on a Mac using Control + click

If you ask Apple, "How do you right click on a Mac," the Genius recommended right-click solution is to press down the Control key while you click.

Holding the Control key switches your Apple mouse to the right-click mode. While it might feel like a stretch, it's worth trying out because keeping your hands close to the keyboard is often the most efficient way to get things done. Most keyboard warriors will prefer this handy trick as there are also thousands of other keyboard shortcuts that can be performed in a similar way.

Whether you use a trackpad or an Apple Mouse, this solution will work every time. However, if you're not used to using keyboard commands or prefer a more customized experience that feels right to you, below are more ways to get your Mac set up right from the start.

Set up your System Preferences for mouse or trackpad

To right click using a trackpad, Apple Mouse, or a mouse from another manufacturer, the first place to familiarize yourself with is the System Preferences on your Apple device. System Preferences is an application on your Mac that allows you to configure and control the way you like your Mac to be set up.

Open System Preferences from the Dock:

  1. Move your cursor to the bottom of the screen
  2. Click on the cog icon to open System Preferences

    system preferences mac launchpad

Alternatively, you can open System Preferences from Finder:

  1. Move the cursor to the Dock and click the face icon to open up a Finder window
  2. Make sure Applications is selected from the sidebar
  3. Click on the cog icon to open System Preferences (you may have to scroll down the list to find it)

    application folder Mac

Yet another way to open System Preferences is from Launchpad:

  1. Click on the rocket icon in the Dock at the bottom of your screen to open Launchpad
  2. Select the cog to open System Preferences (you can type System Preferences into the search bar as well)

Now that you have System Preferences open, you can use the Mouse and Trackpad options to program your setup in a way that feels right for you.

system preferences Mac

How to right click on a MacBook

A trackpad is the built-in mouse on Apple MacBooks. It's the sunken rectangle where your finger can zoom like an ice skater over the surface, making the cursor loop-the-loop or zip from side to side drawing Zoro-like slashes across the screen.

There are a number of ways to choose from to right click on Mac: tap with two fingers, click in the bottom right corner, click in the bottom left corner. Take your pick!

How to right click on Mac trackpad:

  1. Open Trackpad from System Preferences
  2. Ensure the Point & Click tab is highlighted at the top of the Trackpad window
  3. Check the box next to "Secondary click"
  4. Choose from the dropdown menu the command you would like to have as your Mac right click

right click on Mac trackpad

How to right click with Apple Mouse

If you have a Magic Mouse, Apple's own mouse, you're in luck. Magic Mice are already equipped with a right button to click. You might just have to set it up in the System Preferences.

How to right click on a Mac Mouse:

  1. Open Mouse from System Preferences
  2. Switch to the Point & Click tab at the top
  3. Check the box next to "Secondary click"
  4. Choose from the dropdown menu the command to become your Mac right click

Even if you have a trackpad on your MacBook, don't be afraid to invest in a Magic Mouse if you like a robust setup.

Right click on Mac using a third-party mouse

Not using a trackpad or Magic Mouse to do your clickity-clicking? A third-party mouse will often need to be configured before using it like a native one, as its drivers may overwrite those of your Mac's. Follow the instructions given by the manufacturer to install your mouse correctly. Then head to Mac's Mouse System Preferences as per the instructions above to adjust the controls in a way that suits you.

Completely customize your gestures

If you're just starting to discover Mac's possibilities, it will be helpful for you to customize input devices according to your needs, and this is very easy to do using BetterTouchTool. BetterTouchTool is the app that puts total control at your fingertips, as it allows you to customize a variety of input devices.

Make your gestures do whatever you want:

  1. Open BetterTouchTool from Launchpad
  2. Click Add New Gesture to create custom commands
  3. Use the dropdown selector Touchpad/Mouse Gesture to take your pick from the defined gestures, or create your own with Custom
  4. Add in keys to the gesture by selecting the checkbox next to the relevant key
  5. Open the Predefined Action menu and click to select the action

Some fun commands might include corner clicks to bottom left to empty Trash or pinch with thumb and three fingers to capture a screenshot.

BetterTouchTool app commands

Organize your Mac menu bar

Customization doesn't just end with how you use your mouse. Customizing the menu bar will improve the speed at which you can use your Mac as it's a feature you'll use all the time.

The menu bar is always at the top of your screen. No matter what software, browser, or window you're in, the menu bar is always at hand. Bartender is the app that not only helps you to declutter your bars but also organize the tools you want immediate access to.

If you find it distracting having too much going on up there, Bartender can minimize the bar, so it's squeaky clean, and then easily focus on what matters.

To hide icons from your menu bar:

  1. Open the Bartender app
  2. Select Menu Items
  3. Click on any Menu Item you would like to hide
  4. Click Hide from the "Menu bar item should" field
  5. Repeat this process for any remaining menu items you don't need to have on show
    Bartender hide items menu bar

In the end, it's up to you to find the most efficient way to right click on Mac. Whether it's using the keyboard, custom gestures, or two fingers, if you get it right from the start it will soon become muscle memory.

Best of all, you can get your Mac working the way you always imagined using Setapp. The apps mentioned in this article: Bartender and BetterTouchTool are just two of over 150 available on Setapp.

What's Setapp? In short, it's a subscription service, which means you won't have to pay full prices for apps and tools you need in the future. It allows you to discover apps that will improve the way you work and play on your Mac. And it's free to try for seven days. Don't miss your chance!

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