Speed up Mouse Tracking on Mac OS X

One of my gripes when I switched to using a Mac full time was that I could never get my mouse to track fast enough. Here is a  solution that worked for me.

  1. Open a Terminal Window
  2. Enter the following command to see what your current setting is:
    defaults read -g com.apple.mouse.scaling
  3. This will return a numeric value. To speed up (or slow down) your mouse tracking, you can simply change this number accordingly by typing the following command, replacing the “your_mouse_speed” with a new number such as 5.0. Notice that read has been changed to write:
    defaults write -g com.apple.mouse.scaling your_mouse_speed
  4. The maximum mouse speed on mac desktops is 3.0 (when maxed out in system preferences). I changed my speed to 5.0 for my 24″ iMac and it was noticeably better.
    defaults write -g com.apple.mouse.scaling  5.0
  5. You may need to restart your mac to see the changes take effect.

Update Jan 2010 :  This method also works with the new magic mouse as well.

92 thoughts on “Speed up Mouse Tracking on Mac OS X”

  1. Exactly what I need. Speed up my mouse. Just one problem. What is a terminal window? How do I get too it? Can you give me better instructions?

  2. after setting the new mouse speed value, tru to logout and login back to reload configuration (works for me, after doing that). Gr8 tip tyler.

  3. Just wanted to say thanks for the tip. It worked great for me with 10.6 and trying to make my new Magic Mouse usable.

  4. Never mind. Found it in terminal help and “man”.
    Just substitute “write” with “read”.
    Tnx for the tip anyway. It works perfectly.

  5. Hi,

    Thanks a lot Tyler, this is exactly what I need. I changed the speed for both trackpad and mouse. But I have problems to keep this setting. It works perfectly and then it just goes back to 3 again..

    Do you know why?

  6. Hi,

    Great tip. Yesterday I’ve bought my very first Mac and it’s a big one iMac 27″ (core i5) and was wondering why the mouse was so slow cos this supposed to be a fast machine and I was used to a supermouse on my pc 🙂
    Tx to your tip i’m lookin’ for a speed that fits my needs for now I’m at 8.0

    Danny (Belgium)

  7. Fantastic. It now works the way I want it. It was driving me nuts. Good to see others had the same problem too. I can’t work with a slow mouse. Thanks.

  8. this works pretty well, thanks. do you know if there is a way to change the actual scale that is used in the systems setting dialog box for the mouse? i went back and found that it, in fact, is still using the old scaling and i can no longer use that to adjust the tracking speed once i have entered your command.

  9. hi, i have a problem….

    if i don’t switch on the mouse before starting my mac, my computer doesn’t recognize my mouse. and i have to go to system preferences to make my mac recognize it, but then my mouse returns to be slowly…. so i have to restart my computer again to work your terminal’s tip.

    any ideas to my problem??


  10. Thanks! I just got a new IMac and I was considering returning it because I am unhappy with the font size in the email and the mouse speed. Is there any way to also increase the size of words and numbers on the Internet or make them the same size one every page? I tried adjusting the resolution and size but everything would look good on one page but lousy on another page. Everything will either spread out too much or look like parts of the numbers or letters are clumped up. Will I also have the same problem with size if I get Word, Excel, or Access on the IMac? Will installing Windows have any effect?

  11. Hi Looks good, however iget a rather unusuall error message
    The domain/default pair of (kCFPreferencesAnyApplication, com.apple.mouse.scaling) does not exist

    Any ideas??

    Thanks in advance

  12. Hi,

    Thanks for a nice tip. The question is, why it’s not possible to set mouse speed via mouse settings in GUI?

  13. I’m looking for a way to speed up my typing on the Mac–this is the first web page I’ve come across that addresses anything like this. I’m coming from a PC environment where I work mostly with keyboard shortcuts, and for example will often use option+shift to select words and replace or otherwise manipulate them. However, on the Mac I’m really frustrated because I can’t work nearly as fast as I can on the PC–the actual typing speed (i.e., the rate at which my typing is registered on the screen) is slower than I’d like, and so is the process of selecting and cutting and pasting. In addition, when I’m working quickly, the cursor will often disappear entirely and I’ll have to stop for a few seconds and “find” it so I can keep track of what I’m doing.

    Clearly, the Mac is not made for people who use primarily word processors. Is there a way to fix typing speed similar to this mouse speed trick? TIA

  14. Thanks man it’s really help!

    Just bought a new iMac 2 weeks ago, first time I have Mac though.
    Stressed about magic mouse, really slow in my opinion.
    I set for 24.0 on a OS X 10.6, a bit crazy I think; but it’s suit my need:
    defaults write -g com.apple.mouse.scaling 24.0
    Have a blessed day!

  15. It’s still way too slow! Is there anything I can do? I’m on Lion 10.7.3 beta and 10.7.2 retail. I need it about 50-100% faster (for speed chess).

  16. You ROCK! I can’t believe Apple allows the terminal to do this and doesn’t give users the same ability. Come on, really? It’s like they want to handicap us to work just the way they like. Gots news for you Apple: ‘different’ isn’t always better!

  17. Whoa! This is exactly what I have been looking for!!!! I have tried MagicPrefs and other apps to boost the tracking speed and nothing comes close to my personal preference (I really like the tracking high). SWEET COMMAND AND THANKS FOR MAKING MY MAGIC MOUSE WORK LIKE A CHAMP!

  18. It appears that if you open the mouse settings in system prefs or mess with MagicPrefs (I recommend this tool if you use a Magic Mouse), the scaling reverts back to the default (which is 3 in my instance). I just had to open the terminal window again and reset my scaling to my desired speed.

    Is there a way to prevent this from happening? One workaround is to not open either the mouse or MagicPrefs I guess.

    Thanks. Johnnybrew

      1. Hi Tyler,
        Thank you too but the mouse speed getting fast after I logged in but before I logged my mouse as a dead. It works very slowly. Don’t you know way do make it before loge in?

  19. Looks great, just what I need but I get “command not found”. Made sure I entered correctly but same message. Any ideas?

    OSX 10.6.8

  20. Worked without restarting the computer! 9 worked well for me. Only problem is now the fine movement is disproportionately slow, I guess there’s a setting for that too.

  21. Thank you SO MUCH! IT WORKED! I upgraded my tracking speed from a maximum of 3.0 to 5.0 on my MacBook Pro 13″ running OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.2 and it WORKS! You made a little bit of my life easier man, I have to work with long and large spreadsheets and this just makes it more convenient.

  22. It was great first 15 sec and then suddenly vanished!please what should i do?my arm and back hurts because of stupid mighty mouse that so slow work…..

  23. Now we’re talking !!! Thanks for the fix, I love when things work out this way… you’re awesome brother.

  24. Thank you so much Tyler. I just fixed up an old imac g5 that I hadn’t used since early 2009. I don’t mind the older browsers, the low ram, but I really did mind how damn slow the mouse moved, even at max tracking.

    Interesting to see that Mac has a terminal, like dos inWindows. I had no idea this existed!

  25. Wow! Thanks so much. I just switched from a PC to a Mac and I actually thought my mouse was broken. Then others confirmed that that’s how a Mac mouse works. I really don’t think I could have continued like that. I will say though, even though the speed now makes it usable, it’s still not as natural as the PC mouse movement. I think 24.0 is close to PC. Lastly, does anyone else have issues with the keyboard? I find the Mac keyboard doesn’t always register. I make a lot of typos…

    1. Hi this is still working for me in OS X El Capitan. Which version are you using? You need to do this with an administrator account, perhaps that is your issue?

  26. This worked great for me, but do you think you could find a way to increase the mouse speed, rather than mouse acceleration? thanks

  27. This is wonderful. QUESTION: What is the MAX Terminal setting one can assign and notice an actual speed difference? 10? 100?

  28. Hello Tyler,

    Thanks a lot for the info. I have a macbook pro 2017 and it seems I cant get it to work for me. I am able to set a new value to mouse tracking by writing: “defaults write .GlobalPreferences com.apple.mouse.scaling 5.0” Ive tried numbers up to 30.0 and they are set as they appear when I write the command “defaults read GlobalPreferences com.apple.mouse.scaling”
    However my mouse is still slow as a snail. Any suggestions?

    Best Regards

    1. I have the same problem. I can write the value and verify it’s set but my mouse stays the same. After a reboot, I read the value and it’s back to “3”.

  29. Very useful – worked like a charm! Went from 3 to 5 and the Magic Mouse (A1657) is soooo much faster on a mid-2015 15″ MBP (High Sierra). Makes working with multiple monitors possible. Thanks again!

  30. Thanks a lot Tyler, that apple magic mouse was terrible when I compare it with my logitec, after I apply what I recommend, it’s okay now.

  31. I was going to give up on my magic mouse 2 I just bought. I was so upset. But your fix changed it. I went up to 9.0 and it’s blazing now. As a graphic designer mouse speed is a really big deal. You saved me.

    Infinite thanks.

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