How to turn off natural scrolling in Mac OS X Lion

If you believe everything you read on Twitter, you’d think the Apple universe has come unstuck following the arrival of OS X Lion. 

“it definitely feels like mac’s version of Windows Vista”, writes @Pizzi, "Oh, Lion. Every time I touch the touchpad, my brain cries a little bit." says @benhammersley, "May be going mad. Has Lion reversed the swiping direction for scrolling?" asks @lukepeters.

The biggest complaint, it seems, is “natural" scrolling which feels like the most unnatural thing in the world. To save you a headache, we thought we’d quickly tell you how to rid your Mac of this evil with a quick change of the preferences. 

  1. Open System Preferences (under the Apple menu, top left-hand corner).
  2. Click Trackpad.
  3. Select the Scroll & Zoom tab.
  4. Deselect Scroll direction: natural.

 

That’s it, you’re all done, it really is that simple. OS X Lion will now go back to scrolling exactly as it did under Snow Leopard, and erm, like every other computer out there.

The inverted scrolling, or "natural" scrolling as Apple is calling it, is designed to make the document or page you are moving follow the motion of your finger, like it does on the iPad or a touchscreen phone. One of the confusing things is that the scroll bar at the side of the doc will then be travelling in the opposite direction to your finger, which visually we found disturbing.

In the same area of the System Preferences you'll also find the controls for all your other gestures, so if you are struggling with your swipes, you can see exactly what each does here and customise things to a certain degree.

It doesn't take too long to get used to the changes the Lion makes, but like all things, give it a day or so and you'll find a natural path that lets you navigate around. We've found that full screen apps (Safari, Mail, iCal) work really well with three-finger swiping left-to-right.

Next we're going to try and tackle the horrific faux leather look in iCal...

Stroke of genius or OS X Vista? Let us know in the comments below.