Turbocharge mice and trackpads

Does your mouse or trackpad move more slowly than you would like? Even if you’ve already maxed out its speed settings in the Keyboard & Mouse System Preferences panel, that might not be enough. If you’ve got dual 30-inch LCD monitors—or other deluxe set up—reaching the File menu with your pokey cursor can feel like a tiring round of the elbow Olympics.

One option is to switch to a third-party mouse. These usually include their own drivers, which may allow for faster cursor speeds. But if you’re using a portable Mac, this may not be a desirable solution. Instead, with just a simple Terminal command, you can give your built-in trackpad or stock Apple mouse a speed boost. Open Terminal, in /Applications -> Utilities, and type one of these two commands, depending on whether your machine has a mouse or a trackpad:

  • If you have a mouse: defaults write -g com.apple.mouse.scaling some_number
  • If you have a trackpad: defaults write -g com.apple.trackpad.scaling some_number

The some_number at the end of each of the above lines must be replaced by, well, an actual number indicating the speed you’d like to use—the higher the number, the faster the tracking will be. As a starting point, the default value for maximum mouse speed is 3.0, and maximum trackpad speed is 1.5. So you might try a starting value of 5.0 for your turbo-charged mouse, and 2.5 or 3.0 for a turbo-charged trackpad.

The easiest way to make your changes take effect is to log out and then log in again (Apple menu: Log Out user name ). Upon login, you should have a more responsive input device. Just take it a bit easy with the increases, as you may find super-fast speeds unusable. Also note that if you ever happen to move the speed slider on the Keybaord & Mouse System Preferences panel again, you’ll override your turbo settings. Just repeat the above Terminal command to reset it.

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