Lion: Reversing Trackpad Scrolling

Like Snow Leopard, Apple’s OS X Lion includes a two-finger trackpad gesture for scrolling through windows and documents. The scrolling action in Lion, however, is exactly backwards compared to Snow Leopard, which has turned out to be a major annoyance to at least some new Lion users. If that’s you, switching back to Snow Leopard’s scrolling style is easy to do.

Apple changed how the two-finger scroll gesture acts in Lion so it matches single finger scrolling on the iPad and iPhone. That means when you swipe down, the contents of the selected window pulls down, too. The scroll gesture in Snow Leopard focuses on the window scroll bar, so swiping down moves the bar down, making appear as if the window contents is moving up.

If you’d rather go back to Snow Leopard’s scroll gesture, do this:

  • Choose Apple menu > System Preferences
  • Select the Trackpad Preference Pane, then click the Scroll & Zoom tab
  • Uncheck Scroll direction: Natural

Now your scroll swipe gestures in Lion will follow the window scroll bar instead of the window contents.

Lion Scrolling PreferencesLion lets you switch back to Snow Leopard’s scroll gesture

I found that it took about half a day for me to get used to Lion’s scroll gesture, and now scrolling with the trackpad on my Mac running Snow Leopard feels backwards. Luckily for Mac users that aren’t warming up to Lion’s new ways, Apple didn’t decide this is a feature that shouldn’t have a user changeable preference.