How to Turn off Mouse Acceleration in OS X

Mouse acceleration can be incredibly annoying to some users, especially if they recently switched from a Windows-based PC to the Mac. What it does is accelerate your mouse movements if you move your mouse faster across the surface. This is a quick way to get from one side of the screen to the other with minimal actual movement involved. This can be a big downside if you’re a frequent gamer or your work requires precision mouse movements. Thankfully, there are a few ways to get around mouse acceleration and make your mouse move more like it does on Windows.

Permanent Fix Through Terminal
By entering the command below into terminal, you can kill mouse acceleration entirely. If you use a mouse that has adjustable sensitivity levels, this functionality may present itself more obviously after this adjustment is done. Here is how you do it:

  • Open Terminal from the (Application > Utilities) menu.
  • Enter the following code:
    • defaults write .GlobalPreferences com.apple.mouse.scaling -1
  • Close Terminal and reset the computer.

You can disable this adjustment at any time by repeating the steps and replacing the -1 with a 1.

USB Overdrive
Let’s say you have a really cool gaming mouse that has buttons and dials all over it. Have you noticed that the functionality of these buttons aren’t quite what they are in Windows? You could go searching for a Mac utility from the manufacturer or you can combine the driver functionality with a mouse acceleration adjustment tool in USB Overdrive. This is a great all-in-one solution for users who don’t want to have a bunch of apps handle a single peripheral. The free version is fully functional, though it does give you a 10-second delay at the System Preferences panel when you launch the app before you can make any changes.

Official Third-Party Mouse Drivers
Several manufacturers of high-end gaming mice have started to make officially supported drivers for their products that allow you to directly or indirectly influence the amount of acceleration applied to your mouse cursor movements. It would be a good first step (if you use a third-party mouse) to take a look at the manufacturer’s official support site and see if there are any Mac support drivers available and give them a try.

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Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.