Use LinearMouse to Customize macOS Trackpad and Mouse Scrolling Directions

Bill Burr jump


Nothing is certain except death and taxes, and working from home, these days anyway.


My day job requires some occasional WFH where I need to connect to my work computer from my home computer. I have a Windows PC at work and prefer to use my MacBook at home – the typing experience is better. Things generally work pretty well, especially after I invested in a USB ethernet adapter for the MacBook.


However, there is something that’s bothering me. While I normally don’t need it, the mouse is a vital piece of any productive workflow. The issue is, macOS has something called natural scrolling for the trackpad and mouse. Natural scrolling is when you swipe up with two fingers on the trackpad or move the scroll wheel up on the mouse, the content on the screen goes up, and if you go the other direction with the trackpad or mouse, the content goes the other direction too. Basically, the content tracks finger movement.


Natural scrolling in macOS


Natural scrolling in macOS is different from what Windows has. In Windows, if you move the scroll wheel up, the content on the screen moves down, and vice versa. As you can guess, it takes some getting used to when I’m running Windows on my MacBook with Microsoft Remote Desktop.


For whatever reason, Apple just did not give users the option to set different scrolling directions for the trackpad and mouse. Users can disable natural scrolling in System Preferences, but the same setting will automatically apply to all trackpads and mice. I’ve made peace with this and I was ready to adapt, but then I saw this video on YouTube, and it turns out there is a very simple solution to my problem. 


There is an app for that and it’s called Linearmouse.



LinearMouse allows macOS users to set per-device scrolling directions.


With the app installed, if you want to change the scrolling direction on the mouse, simply move the mouse a bit or click on any of its buttons, the app will pick up the mouse as the active device, and there you can check the “Reverse scrolling (vertically)” option.


Change mouse scrolling direction in LinearMouse


To change the settings for another device, like the built-in trackpad, an external trackpad, or another mouse, simply use that device and it’ll become the active device, and then you can change its settings. If the app is not automatically switching to the active device, click on the device name on the top to enable it.


LinearMouse - auto switch to active device


Installing LinearMouse is easy too. Just go to and download the installation file. You can even install LinearMouse using Homebrew. To do this, assuming you already have Homebrew installed, simply bring up the Terminal app, and type in “brew install –cask linearmouse”. If you need to install Homebrew, their homepage has all the info you need.


Installing LinearMouse in Homebrew



Bonus Tip


If you find your settings do not persist upon system restart, enable “Start at login” for LinearMouse.

  1. In the General section of the app’s main interface, check the “Show in menu bar” checkbox
  2. Click on the app icon in the menu bar and select “Start at login”
  3. If preferred, uncheck the “Show in menu bar” checkbox in the app’s settings screen


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