no mouse? How to right-click on a Mac

A lot can be done with a mouse click. You can do even more with a right-click; edit, copy and paste a photo, unpin an app, print a document, reopen a closed web page and much more. But how do you do that using the trackpad on your Mac? Modern Macs no longer have physical trackpad buttons to press, so it’s not that easy. You can buy a mouse for your Mac or learn the features built right into macOS. Here’s what you need to know.


1. Ctrl-click the keyboard

In macOS, the equivalent of a right-click is called a control-click because you need to hold down the control key on your keyboard and click with the trackpad (or a mouse), which opens a new context menu. You can Ctrl-click an icon in the Dock for a remove option, Ctrl-click a file for editing options, or Ctrl-click a web page for the option to have to reload.


2. Tap the trackpad with two fingers

Trackpad settings page

You’ll probably need two hands to control-click, so if that’s too cumbersome, there’s an alternative. By default, you can click the trackpad with two fingers to perform the same action as a control-click.

This functionality can be adjusted when opening system settings and click trackpad. Assure yourself Secondary click (the control-click feature) is enabled. If you have Tap to click enabled, you can right-click with two fingers.


3. Right-click a corner of the trackpad

click corner

If you don’t like the two-finger click option, you can designate a corner of the trackpad as a designated right-click button. Set this up under System Preferences > Trackpad by pressing and selecting the secondary click dropdown menu Click in the lower right corner or Click in the lower left corner. Instead of using the Ctrl key or two fingers, you can now just click the corner of the selected trackpad and the right-click menu will appear.


3. Right-click Accessible

access options

For those who need a more accessible option, press Option + Command + F5 to open the Accessibility Options menu. You can click Enable mouse buttonsthen use those Function + Control + I Shortcut to open a right-click menu for the currently selected program.

mouse buttons

You can also click Enable Accessibility Keyboard to add a virtual keyboard to your screen. This way you can click control on this keyboard and click with your mouse where you need the right-click menu.


Bonus: Force click for more options

force click

While this isn’t the same as right-clicking, Apple’s force-click feature is another way to gain more functionality(Opens in a new window) from a simple click. Force Click lets you firmly click one (or three) fingers to look up text online, preview links, view files in Quick Look, add dates to Calendar, open App Expose, and more.

To use Force Click, you need a 2015-later MacBook or MacBook Pro, a 2018-later MacBook Air, or the Magic Trackpad 2. Set it up System Preferences > Trackpad and make sure Lookup & Data Detectors and Force click and haptic feedback are activated.

Enforce click settings

You can use the drop down arrow below look up to switch between using one finger or three fingers to force click.

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