How To Right Click On A Mac (any Mac)
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How to Right Click on A Mac (any Mac)

It's usually Windows users that wonder how to right click on a Mac.

Look at a Mac mouse. Where are the buttons?!? The mouse itself is actually just one big button.

How do you right click on a Mac when it only has one button?

Mouse Buttons

The mice made for PCs usually have at least two buttons, and is designed for the right hand because right-handed people are more common in the world.

The left-most button on top of the mouse is the main button because that's where the dominant index finger sits on right-handed people. Pressing that button is simply called a "click" because of the sound it makes when you press it.

(It's not called a "left click" because it's the main button, and the term was coined before multi-button mice were created.)

What's a Right Click?

Pressing the right-most button is called a "right click". Right-clicking usually provides a shortcut to various commands without having to search through the various menus at the top of your screen.

This menu is convenient because it only presents commands that apply to the item that you click on, and changes depending on the context of your right click. That's why the menu is called a "contextual" menu.

The Shortcut

Whether you have an old one-button mouse, new Magic Mouse, or a laptop with a trackpad, there is one sure-fire way to simulate a "right click" and get a contextual menu:


When you hold down the "control" button at the bottom of your keyboard while clicking with your mouse or trackpad, your Mac will present the contextual menu. This works whether or not you turn on the right-click feature on your Mac.

The New Apple Mouse

Apple has wised up since the early days of one-button mouse. It now makes two mice: A wired USB mouse, and a wireless bluetooth Magic Mouse.

Each of these mice can detect whether your finger is pressing on the left side or the right side.

When you have the secondary mouse button (or right-click feature) turned on, simply pressing down on the right side of the mouse will result in a contextual menu, or right-click.

The Apple Trackpad

All of Apple's laptops come with a trackpad built in. No need for a mouse. They also make a standalone trackpad you can wirelessly connect to your desktop.

Simply pressing down or tapping on this trackpad results in a click.

You can use the control-button feature I mentioned above. OR, you can use the double-finger click.

Pressing down on the trackpad with two fingers next to each other results in the secondary click (or right-click) that produces the contextual menu.

Enable Right Click on Your Mac

Turning the feature on is simple.

Go to your System Preferences. From there, you'll select either your Mouse panel or Trackpad panel. Either set the right side of your mouse button as the "Secondary Button", or turn on the "Secondary Click" for your trackpad.

I hope this answers the questions, "How do you right click on a Mac?" and "How to set up right-click on a Mac." If you have any comments, or more advice, please add them below.

Street Talk

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