How to right click on your mouse or trackpad on Mac

macOS Big Sur turning on right-click
macOS Big Sur turning on right-click (Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

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 (such as the Logitech MX Master 3), here's how to enable right-click menus on your Mac.

How to right click on 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, macOS 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 website 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. Launch System Preferences from the Dock or by clicking the Apple button in the top left corner and clicking System Preferences.
  2. Click on the Trackpad icon.

To turn right click on, launch System Preferences, then click on the Trackpad icon. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Select the Point and Click tab.
  2. Choose the checkbox next to Secondary click.

To turn right click on, click the Point and Click tab. Click the checkbox next to Secondary click. (Image credit: iMore)

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. Launch System Preferences from the Dock or by clicking the Apple button in the top left corner and clicking System Preferences.
  2. Click on Mouse.

To turn right click on, launch System Preferences, then click on the Mouse icon. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Click the checkbox next to Secondary click, and choose either "click on the right side" or "click on the left side", depending on your preference.

To turn right click on, click the checkbox next to Secondary click. (Image credit: iMore)

In the market?

There are lots of awesome MacBooks available now! Check out our favorite models of the year.

Can't live without right click on Mac?

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!

Updated November 2020: Updated for macOS Big Sur.

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

1 Comment
  • I think it is a bit weird, but I have no problems using the trackpad when I'm on a MacBook. I even prefer it. I have a magic mouse in the bag, but rarely get it out. When on a MacMini though, I reach for the mouse. I have a magic trackpad, but it is usually pushed aside.