How do I right click on my mouse of trackpad?

If you've just switched to the Mac, you may find yourself a bit confused by how the Mac's mice and trackpad work.

The Mac famously doesn't come with a mouse or trackpad that has a distinct right-mouse button, but that doesn't mean you can't right-click on the Mac. Whether you use the built-in trackpad on your Mac laptop, a Magic Trackpad, a Magic Mouse, or a third-party mouse that has a distinct right button, here's how to enable right-click menus on your Mac.

How to right click on any Mac

Regardless of how your Mac is set up, holding down the control key on the keyboard and pressing your primary mouse or trackpad button will open a shortcut or contextual menu, providing the same functionality that most Windows switchers are accustomed to seeing from a right click.

If you have a third-party mouse that has a right physical button, OS X should recognize the button and map it accordingly after you plug in the mouse. If you like having a different button as your right click, you can customize which button is primary — left or right — in the Mouse system preference pane.

You may also want to check your third-party mouse maker's web site for Mac drivers: Some of the better ones, like Logitech, offer very sophisticated tools for programming not only buttons, but other great functionality like optic tracking speed and acceleration, scroll wheel motion, chording, and more.

How to turn right click on for a Magic Trackpad or MacBook trackpad

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click on the Trackpad icon.

  3. Make sure the Point and Click tab is selected.
  4. Check Secondary click.

Once it's activated, you'll be able to right click by tapping the trackpad with two fingers simultaneously. You can change the preference to click in the bottom left or right corners, if you prefer.

How to turn right click on for a Magic Mouse

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Click on Mouse.

  3. Check Secondary click, and choose either "click on the right side" or "click on the left side" depending on your preference.

What do you think?

Do you prefer using a trackpad when you're on your MacBook, or do you opt for the Magic Mouse? Let us know in the comments below!

Originally written May 2015. Updated October 2016 to reflect changes in macOS Sierra.