How to Left-Click on a Mac

Use a mouse or adjust trackpad settings

What to Know

  • With a mouse: Connect it and go to System Preferences > Mouse > and select Left under Primary mouse button.
  • Without a mouse: From System Preferences > Trackpad, uncheck the box next to Tap to Click.
  • The left-click function is also known as a primary click.

This article explains how to left-click on a Mac with a mouse or using the built-in trackpad. Instructions apply to Macs running on macOS Big Sur (11.0), macOS Catalina (10.15), and macOS Mojave (10.14).

How to Left-Click on a Mac With a Mouse

Follow these steps to set the primary clicking function to the left button on a compatible wireless or wired mouse.

  1. Connect a wired or wireless mouse. If it’s a Bluetooth mouse, access System Preferences > Bluetooth or click the Bluetooth icon in the menu bar to find and connect your accessory.

    Bluetooth icon highlighted from System Preferences on macOS
  2. Go to System Preferences > Mouse > Primary mouse button. Select the radio button next to Left.

    Left option chosen as the Primary mouse button from macOS Mouse settings
  3. Now your mouse will use the left position as the primary click area.

How Do You Left-Click on a Mac Without a Mouse?

Without a mouse, use your Mac’s built-in trackpad to set left-click behavior.

  1. From the Apple menu, go to System Preferences > Trackpad.

    Trackpad icon highlighted from macOS System Preferences
  2. On the Point & Click tab, uncheck the box next to Tap to click.

  3. Set the amount of pressure you need to apply to register a click using the slider under Click to select Light, Medium, or Firm.

    Tap to click deselected and click intensity options highlighted from macOS Trackpad settings

    The sound of the click changes according to your choice. Clicking is quietest with Light selected and produces the loudest noise with Firm. The Silent clicking option applies only to the Force Touch Trackpad settings.

How to Left-Click With a Force Touch Trackpad on a Mac

If your Mac has a Force Touch trackpad, primary or left-clicking actions take on advanced behaviors in specific programs by clicking and pressing an item. To take advantage of these tools, first ensure you’ve enabled Force Touch functionality. 

Apple introduced the Force Touch trackpad in the 2015 15-inch and 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro models. It's on the latest MacBooks and the Apple Magic Trackpad 2.

Enable Force Touch Trackpad Behaviors

From System Preferences > Point & Click, select the box beside Look up & data detectors and choose Force click with one finger.

Force click trackpad settings on macOS

At the bottom of the Point & Click dialog box, make sure you’ve selected Force Click and haptic feedback. Turning this selection on gives you a choice between clicking and tapping behaviors for Look up & data detectors.

Examples of Force Touch Trackpad Functionality

Use the Force Touch trackpad to perform some of these shortcuts on your MacBook with a force left-click.

  • Display all active windows of an application: From the Dock, click an app to reveal the App Expose, a menu of options related to the app. Then, select Show All Windows to display all the active windows for that particular program.
  • Look up information: In Safari or Mail, look up a word or address to get a definition from the dictionary or directions from the Maps app.
  • Change a file name: Force-click a file name or folder to edit it.
  • Preview a file: Force-click a file to view it using the Quick Look feature on macOS.
  • How do you right and left-click on a Mac at the same time?

    If you need to right-click and left-click simultaneously, try enabling Mouse Keys. Go to System Preferences > Accessibility, then select Pointer Control > Alternative Control Methods. Place a check next to Enable Mouse Keys. F11 is equivalent to a left-click with Mouse Keys enabled, and F12 is equivalent to a right-click.

  • How do you change the right-click to a left-click on a Mac?

    First, go to System Preferences > Mouse, then go to the Primary Mouse Options section to swap your left and right mouse buttons. Then, under Primary mouse button, select Right. Your typical right-clicks will now be left-clicks.

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