Scrolling with a third-party mouse looks horrible on macOS

Scrolling with a third-party mouse looks horrible on macOS

These components are quite interesting!

Jul 11, 2021

If you’re using a third-party mouse on macOS, you must have noticed that the scrolling experience is… janky?

Nope, you’re not looking at a video running at 10 FPS. This is how scrolling using a third-party mouse looks on macOS.

For reference, here’s how scrolling with the same mouse looks on Windows 10:

The first time I noticed this behaviour was a few years ago while using a Logitech MX Master 2. At first, I thought this was just an issue specific to that mouse, but after years of using third-party mice, it’s evident it’s because of the OS.

I don’t know why the default scrolling settings on macOS behave this way. I suppose it’s because the OS is optimized for the more “digital” scrolling of the Magic Trackpad and Magic Mouse… but it’s just a theory.

Anyway, the good news is that you can achieve a smooth scrolling experience:

Unfortunately, you can’t get there by tinkering with the macOS settings alone. Third-party software is required to achieve a buttery smooth scrolling experience.

I’m using SmoothScroll. It’s a paid software (~9 EUR/y). I’ve been using it for years, and it’s always promptly updated on new releases of macOS.

Other alternatives are:

  • MOS: A lightweight open-source tool used to smooth scrolling and set scroll direction independently for your mouse on macOS
  • SteerMouse: SteerMouse is a utility that lets you freely customize buttons, wheels, and cursor speed. This offers way more customization options than SmootScroll and MOS.
  • USB Overdrive: The USB Overdrive is a device driver for macOS that handles any USB or Bluetooth mouse, keyboard, trackball, joystick, gamepad, or gaming device from any manufacturer and lets you configure it either globally or on a per-application, per-device basis.

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