How to Use a Multi-Button Mouse With Your Mac

Assign a primary and a secondary mouse click in System Preferences

macOS and OS X fully support mice of any style. The process of enabling multi-button mouse support depends on the type of mouse. macOS and OS X sense the type of mouse and display the appropriate configuration information.

Instructions in this article refer to macOS 10.15 (Catalina). However, the procedure is similar in older versions of macOS and OS X.

Use the Secondary click check box to enable multiple mouse buttons.

How to Enable Multi-Button Support on a Magic Mouse or Gesture-Based Mouse

The Apple Magic Mouse requires OS X 10.6.2 or later, and the Magic Mouse 2 needs OS X El Capitan (10.11) or later to work correctly with a Mac. Other gesture-based mice may require specific minimum versions of the Mac operating system, so check your mouse's system requirements.

  1. Launch System Preferences by clicking the System Preferences icon in the Dock or by selecting the System Preferences item under the Apple menu.

  2. In the System Preferences window, select the Mouse icon to open the Mouse preference pane.

    System Preferences on a Mac.
  3. Go to the Point & Click tab.

    Point & Click tab of Mouse preferences
  4. Select the Secondary click check box.

    Mouse preference screen showing secondary click option
  5. Use the drop-down menu below Secondary Click to select the side of the mouse surface that you want to use for the secondary click. Choose either right or left.

    Secondary click options in Mouse preferences
  6. Close System Preferences to save the change.

How to Enable the Second Button on a Mighty Mouse

The Mighty Mouse preceded the Magic Mouse. Apple sold it from 2005 to 2009, then changed the name to Apple Mouse and sold a Bluetooth version until discontinuing the device in 2017.

  1. Launch System Preferences by clicking the System Preferences icon in the Dock or by selecting System Preferences under the Apple menu.

  2. In the System Preferences window, click the Mouse or Keyboard & Mouse icon—depending on the version of the Mac operating system you use—to open the preference pane.

  3. Click the Mouse to see a pictorial representation of your Mighty Mouse.

  4. Each button on the Mighty Mouse has a drop-down menu that you can use to assign its function. The default configuration has both the left button and the right button assigned to Primary Click.

  5. Use the drop-down menu associated with the button you want to change and select Secondary Click.

  6. Close System Preferences to save the change.

How to Enable the Secondary Mouse Button Function on a Generic Mouse

Most mice use the drivers built into the Mac operating system. However, if you use a third-party mouse that includes its own Mac mouse drivers or preference pane, follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Otherwise, follow these instructions:

  1. Launch System Preferences by clicking its Dock icon or selecting the System Preferences item from the Apple menu.

  2. In the System Preferences window, click the Mouse or Keyboard & Mouse icon to open the preference pane.

  3. Click the Mouse tab, if needed.

  4. Assign the Primary Click mouse button to either the left or right mouse button. After you make your selection, the secondary click function is assigned to the remaining mouse button.

  5. Close System Preferences to save the change.

If you use a single-button mouse or don't want to click the secondary mouse button, press and hold the Control key on the keyboard while clicking the mouse on an item. This action creates the equivalent of a secondary click.