Asya Karapetyan
Content marketer, who specializes in Mac how-to guides
November 8, 2021
12 minutes to read

If you are new to Mac, you might not know how to right-click on your iMac or MacBook. This article will explain how to right-click on a MacBook using the touchpad and how to do this on an iMac using a mouse, as well as alternative ways. right click on Mac

Contents:

  1. What does a right-click do on a Mac?
  2. How to right-click on a MacBook’s using a trackpad.
  3. How to right-click on a Mac mouse.
  4. How to right-click on a Mac with a keyboard.
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What does a right-click do on a Mac?

A right-click on a Mac opens a context menu for any file or program. The context menu provides additional options for files, buttons in applications, or even texts in text editing applications. For example, with a context menu for a file, you can remove it, rename, duplicate, copy, share, add tags, hide, and do other actions. With the context menu for an application in the Dock panel, you can select to quit it, hide, set up to automatically open it at Mac startup, and more.

context menu on Mac
context menu for an app on Dock panel

Using a mouse to control click on a Mac seems simple. However, when it comes to using a MacBook’s trackpad, doing a right-click might be complicated for new users.

In this article, we will share all the possible methods to right-click on a Mac and bring up the context menu.


How to right-click on a MacBook’s trackpad

Since 2008, Apple MacBooks have come with new trackpads. Although there are not many visible differences, the functionality of the device itself has increased significantly. While the old trackpads understood gestures of 2 fingers, the new generation of Apple trackpads have multitouch support and understand gestures up to 4 fingers, providing the option to right-click on the trackpad.

Before you right-click on your MacBook using the trackpad, make sure that this option is turned on. You can set it up in the macOS Preferences.

How to enable right-click on a MacBook’s trackpad

  1. Open System Preferences.
  2. Go to the Trackpad section. Preferences window with Trackpad section highlighted
  3. In the Point & Click tab, enable the option Secondary click and choose one of the possible methods:

    • Click or tap with two fingers – this is the default setting on a MacBook. You will need to tap or click on any place on your trackpad with two fingers.
    • Click in the bottom right corner – this option is more familiar for Windows users. You will need to click in the bottom right corner of your trackpad.
    • Click in the bottom left corner – it is the same as the previous option but more convenient for left-handed users.
    Trackpad preferences window with secondary click option highlighted Once you set up the secondary click, you can easily right-click on your MacBook and call the context menu to your screen.

    In Preferences, you can also configure the pressing force for clicks on a trackpad. In the same tab, move the cursor from Light to Firm with regard to pressing force. And finally, you can set up whether the trackpad clicks will imitate a sound like real clicks with a mouse or whether they will be silent. For this, enable or disable the Silent clicking option.

    Trackpad preferences window with clicking pressing force highlighted

How to right-click on a Mac mouse

Touchpads in Apple MacBooks deserve high-star reviews. With them, you can do everything without any external device. However, in most cases, it is more convenient and more familiar to use a computer mouse. An Apple computer mouse is called a ‘magic’ mouse.

An Apple mouse doesn’t have any buttons like simple computer mouses. To right-click on a Mac, you just have to press the right side of the mouse. It is a simple gesture and you will get used to it very quickly.

Apple magic mouse right-click

right-click on Mac

How to right-click on Mac with a keyboard

Besides using multi touch gestures on a MacBook’s touchpad or using a magic mouse on iMac, you can call the context menu in macOS using your keyboard.

To right-click on a Mac without a mouse, simply press and hold the Control key and tap or click an item on your screen.
This option is a default shortcut in macOS and you don’t need to configure anything to be able to use it.

Right-click keyboard shortcut on a Mac

shortcut to right-click with keyboard on Mac

Conclusion

We hope that after reading this article, you’ll feel much more confident about using your new Mac. If you have a MacBook, we recommend exploring more options of the trackpad. They greatly facilitate work on a computer, and a right-click only takes a couple of milliseconds. You can find more useful articles for Mac users in Nektony’s blog.

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