Why OS X Lion’s “Reverse Scrolling” Is Awesome & How To Use It In Snow Leopard

Why OS X Lion’s “Reverse Scrolling” Is Awesome & How To Use It In Snow Leopard

OS X Lion will likely be released in the next couple days, and with it will come a big change that will affect almost everyone out there: Apple’s flipped multitouch scrolling to be more iOS-like, effectively tossing every Mac user with a multitouch device topsy-turvy.

Many people are going to hate Apple’s decision to turn the way scrolling works on its head, but here at Cult of Mac, we not only love it… we think it’s the future. But it’ll take some getting used to. Here’s our primer on how to start training yourself to use Lion’s “reverse scrolling” right now, today, under Snow Leopard.

Adjust Your Thinking

Why OS X Lion’s “Reverse Scrolling” Is Awesome & How To Use It In Snow Leopard

There’s years of muscle memory at work that tells you that when you’re on your desktop or laptop, you scroll by swiping two fingers in the direction you want to go. Doing the opposite is going to seem counter-intuitive at first. In actuality, though, Snow Leopard’s existing method of scrolling doesn’t make any sense

The reason Lion’s new way of scrolling seems so wacky at first is that after almost thirty years of using Macintosh OS, we’ve stopped associating our computer desktop as being analogous to a physical desktop, covered in pieces of paper. Likewise, we’ve also forgotten that a mouse pointer is supposed to represent where our finger is on that desktop.

Let’s think about how scrolling would work in a physical space. Let’s think of a web page loaded in Safari as a long piece of paper, while Safari is a fixed wooden frame around that paper. You can only read words on the paper if it falls within the inside boundaries of the frame. If you wanted to move the paper so that words that were below the lower boundary of the frame were within its viewing pane, you would have to use your finger to push the paper within the frame’s viewing area up towards the top. If you wanted to see words that were to the left of the frame’s viewing area, you’d slide the paper within the frame to the right. And so on.

If you remember that a computer desktop is actually a GUI metaphor for a physical desktop, and virtual objects are meant to manipulated using the same physics as real objects, it becomes clear that OS X Lion’s so-called “reverse scrolling” is anything but. It’s actually realistic scrolling.

Now that the way we think about scrolling has been adjusted, let’s practice.

Emulate Lion’s Scrolling Within Snow Leopard

Why OS X Lion’s “Reverse Scrolling” Is Awesome & How To Use It In Snow Leopard

With Lion likely to drop as early as tomorrow, it might be a good idea to try to start training yourself in using its more realistic scrolling behavior under Snow Leopard. And luckily, there’s a great app for doing just that.

The app is called Scroll Reverser, and it’s a free, easy-to-install utility that will flip Snow Leopard’s default scrolling behavior to function like Lion.

Once you’ve installed the app in your Applications folder, load it up. Just opening the app will reverse your scrolling. Now you’re ready to practice.

Practicing isn’t going to be easy, and ultimately, it’ll be difficult to scroll Lion-style before you reprogram your muscle memory. Just remember to think of your OS X desktop as a physical space and your open apps as pieces of framed paper that you are manipulating by sliding around with your finger. When you scroll in a frame, just remember that you are sliding that paper around on the desk in such a way that more of its contents are visible within the frame, which isn’t moving.

Conclusion

The way Lion handles scrolling is sure to piss some people off, but as you can see:

• “Reverse Scrolling” is actually truer to the Macintosh OS desktop metaphor created by Apple back in the early 80s.

• It’s more intuitive once you get the hang of it.

• It’s a more realistic way to scroll.

• It treats the multitouch trackpad not a as second-glass citizen to the mouse, but as the desktop and laptop equivalent to an iPhone or iPad’s touch display.

Lion’s scrolling behavior is the future. As multitouch becomes increasingly integral to the way we interact with our desktops, the line is going to continue to be blurred between iOS and OS X. Lion’s just the first evolutionary step, and when it comes to scrolling, that’s a good thing. Apple’s re-emphasizing the desktop metaphor it helped create: windows and objects on your computer screen are supposed to represent real objects you are touching. “Reverse Scrolling” isn’t just some obnoxious whim on Apple’s part… it’s one of many steps Apple is making towards the touchscreen Mac.

And hey, if you can read all that and still hate Lion’s “reverse scrolling,” don’t worry about it too much: you can always flip it back to the way it worked in Snow Leopard under settings.

Related
  • dcj001

    “OS X Lion will likely be released tomorrow…”

    It could be released today at 6:00 pm ET !!!

    But it won’t be.

    OS X Lion will definitely be released on the day after tomorrow – Thursday, July 14, 2011.

    I thought that everyone knew that.

    I guess not.

    But, since I said it here, everyone knows it now.

  • joewaylo

    I wonder if Lion will allow you to reverse it’s reverse scrolling.
    Most may prefer the traditional option and want to go back to the way it was.
    It probably won’t be too hard though. If you’re already used to iOS it’s no different.

  • Soho22

    I’ve got no problem with that, I love changing my habits from time to time.

  • Soho22

    Oh mighty oracle, take my sacrifice. 

  • Soho22

    Yes you can change the option as far as I know

  • brownlee

    Wow, you sound awfully authoritative for a guy who isn’t within Apple.

  • TECreasey

    After having an iPad for a while now it seems like the right thing to do. It will seem more natural, once we all get used to it :/

  • tweil10

    Wow I never really thought about it the way you explained it! I guess you’re right! I kind of like the feeling but it’s going to take some getting used to for sure!

  • gerenm63

    Okay, that took all of about 15 seconds to get used to. Unfortunately, I also still have to work with a couple of Windows7 laptops, and they don’t have the option of reversing the trackpad… :(

  • dcj001
  • GregsTechBlog

    I’ve been using reverse scrolling on my MacBook using Scroll Reverser since I heard Lion would use this behavior. It took a day or two to get used to it, but now I love it. It’s a lot more natural. 

  • Shaun McIlroy

    Yeah, you could do that easily in the earlier developer builds.  Makes sense that Apple would allow you to reverse it back considering it would piss people off to no end.

  • Carlos Rincon Eckardt

    I actually find the iOS cross-pollination done on Lion most welcomed and although it does take some time getting used to, once you get the hang off it you do see the benefits,especially on the MacBooks when there’s no magic mouse available

  • juan diego patiño

    At first I hated it, but now does´t bother me, I figured out that when we scroll we tend to watch the scroll bar so when I disabled it I was able to focus on the content and everything was more intuitive *I,m on Golden Master Edition of Lion and I don´t see a way to disable reverse scrolling in preferences* If any know how please let me know

  • juan diego patiño

    At first I hated it, but now does´t bother me, I figured out that when we scroll we tend to watch the scroll bar so when I disabled it I was able to focus on the content and everything was more intuitive *I,m on Golden Master Edition of Lion and I don´t see a way to disable reverse scrolling in preferences* If any know how please let me know

  • ktula

    “Reverse scrolling” is the default setting. If you want to disable it, just uncheck “Scroll direction: natural” under the Trackpad menu in Settings.

  • crateish

    I’ve been using that for a couple of months now. Perfectly comfortable with it now. C’mon, Lion.

  • ktula

    I am neutral on the default Lion behavior of “reverse scrolling.” I think this scrolling will make a lot of sense if i am actually touching the screen like my iPhone or iPad, instead of a trackpad.

  • eyecuejohn

    It took all of ten seconds to get used to it. The current scrolling should be called “reverse”. Much better this way. Looking forward to Lion.

  • joewaylo

    What app has that 3D artistic one on your Mac?
    Looks cool.

  • Justin Ferrell

    System Preferences > Trackpad > Scroll & Zoom > Scroll Direction

  • dcj001

    BumpTop, which was acquired by Google, and is no longer available.

  • kgagne

    It took me ten seconds to hate the new feature.  The screenshot above suggests it’s an optional setting.  I hope so!

  • atimoshenko

    In preparation for Lion turned the feature on in the Smart Scroll app. Bothered me for all of a couple of minutes, but now seems perfectly natural (and makes more sense with the disappearing scrollbar). Also now have no trouble switching back and forth whenever I switch to Windows.

    It’s a pity that human brains are wired to so actively despise modifications of habit, but good for Apple for forcing us to make the plunge every now and again.

  • David Asch

    I bought a trackpad not long after the WWDC was aired. I figured I’d get used to it ready for Lion. I also installed Scroll Reverser at the same time, for the same reason. 

    I’m used to ‘push and pull’ scrolling from the iPhone and iPad; it only takes a short time to get used to it on the Mac, you just have to disassociate from the old scrollbar method. I think of it like reading a broadsheet newspaper: you push that up the table to read further down, and vice-versa ; it starts to make perfect sense after that. I certainly won’t be going back to the old way of scrolling.

  • juan diego patiño

    so bad…

  • juan diego patiño

    I can see it now so I can confirm at least for GME Lion that this feature could be reverted as it was on Snow Leopard

  • jmonrooy

    well it sounds like a good reasoning, but if you download Scroll Reverser, um scrolling horizontally is not reversed

  • David Shanahan

    There will never be a touch screen Mac! How many times does this nonsense have to be debunked? Everyone who’s ever tried using touch screens on upright PCs says the same thing, Steve Jobs has explicitly said it too, your arm rapidly gets tired! It doesn’t work and it never will, what will happen is that desktop Macs will start coming with touch pads as standard instead of mice.

    The problem is touch pads and scroll-wheel/touch-sensitive mice aren’t oriented the same way as the screen, unlike the touch surface of a tablet, so using the same scrolling convention as a tablet doesn’t work, it’s confusing and counter-intuitive.

    On the Mac, and all other desktop OSs, scrolling was never meant to be based on a “direct manipulation” metaphor like iOS touch devices, it’s always been based on the user moving a virtual slider control, that’s what the scrollbar widget was for. Before the wheeled mouse you always scrolled by grabbing the widget and sliding it in the direction you wanted to go in the document window – down for down and up for up. The wheeled mouse simply continues this metaphor with the wheel representing the slider widget. Suddenly changing this to try to make non-touch devices like desktop and laptop PCs work like direct manipulation devices is a recipe for confusion and frustration, particularly for the many Mac users who have to regularly use other desktop OSs!

    I’ve used the new “unnatural scrolling” and realised I *could* get used to it, but given that I would then face difficulties every time I use my other computers at home and work, and that it’s not at all “natural” for non-touch devices like Macs, why should I?

  • Maxx Cobb

    It is reversed for me…

  • Maxx Cobb

    It is optional definitely
    - I’m running Lion now and can turn it off if I want.

  • Maxx Cobb

    Didn’t like it at first, but knew if I left it a few hours it would work for me – and it did! Reverse scrolling #FTW!

  • kgagne

    Thanks for the confirmation!

  • Barry Mazor

    “More intutive once you get the hnag of it”?

    Oxymoron as feature.

  • michaelvermaak

    I’ve also been using scroll reverser for a few months. You quickly get used to it and it now feels so natural. Wacom need to update their drivers as it’s the old way on both Snow Leopard and Lion for now.

  • brownlee

    Steve Jobs hasn’t said there will never be one. All Steve Jobs has said is there will never be a vertical one. 

    There will be a Mac with a touch display in the next five years. 

  • brownlee

    Should be reversed.

  • koopapoopas

    Once you realize that you don’t need scrollbars to take up space, it makes sense.

  • Will Mason

    John, I can almost agree with you…but I tend to agree more with @dshan:disqus …but that is not my point. Apple did a great thing here…they gave us the CHOICE.

    I encourage you to bring to light that Apple has over simplified Spaces and NOT given us the choice. I believe there move is smart in that they will probably achieve greater adoption…but why take away the features from the power users? Just give us a toggle switch.

  • Gen Arron J Hunt

    Took less then 10 minutes to adapt, now I prefer it. 

  • arya

    I quite like it. Needs a little habituation at the beginning, which I did by using the app you suggested. It feels more natural to me, or realistic in how John Brownlee concluded it. Helps a lot when i tried using Lion.
    Had an interesting story about the scrolling in Lion. My dad comes from older generation (was born 1949) and has never used computer by himself. I helped him to type a letter, then asked him to review what I wrote. I only told him to put two fingers on my MBP trackpad to scroll, without telling him the direction. He moved his fingers (scrolled) exactly the way Lion does it. A bit of evidence of its naturalistic to me.
    :)

  • Mike Retondo

    WOW! you don’t have a clue about how the Mac scrolling works do you. It has nothing to do with 30 years of mussel memory. It works the way it does because it was the most intuitive. People didn’t have to learn to scroll that way it came naturally and hears why.

    You are not moving the page up and down, you’re moving the scrollbar’s ‘Thumb” up an down. When you click on the down arrow of the scrollbar you’re moving the Thumb down and as consequence of that is that the page moves up. If you pull the scroll ball or wheel backwards i.e. towards you AKA downwards, it’s the same thing, the Thumb move down. That’s what you’ve been doing for the past 30 years and it came as second nature to users.

    Writers use to say how backwards it was to click on the up arrow and have the document scroll down. But usability studies showed time and time again it was the correct interface. Users new intuitively that the scrollbar is a control and they could use the arrows to move the Thumb or drag the Thumb directly or click in the area above or below the Thumb to move it. And they knew that the Thumb represented the relative place within the complete document. So if the Thumb moved upwards they new it was going to show them a page higher up.

    Now that the iPod has come along things have changed a little. With a Pad/Tablet you’re touching the virtual page itself i.e. glass. So it makes sense and is intuitive that you touch the glass and push up (away from you) to make the page scroll up. With Lion this new feature make perfect sense ONLY for track pads but NOT for mouse scroll balls/wheels. The fact that Lion has changed has changed scroll balls/wheels is idiotic.

  • Mike Retondo

    Oh, one more resin this is soooooooo stupid for mice scroll balls/wheels.  This will drive Windows users nuts when they come into the Apple stores to try out a Mac. Also as a Mac owner since the Mac 128K but a Windows/Mac developer and needing to use both systems I’ll go out of my mind switching between systems. I can change my home Mac back to the old style but I can’t change the work systems. The test systems have to stay with the default Mac settings. If I were a Lion beta developer I can tell you that myself and all the other users around me would be screaming at Apple right now for making them schizophrenic.

  • Darren Mo

    “The fact that Lion has changed has changed scroll balls/wheels is idiotic.”

    Um…reverse scrolling is only for a multi-touch trackpad or a magic mouse…now, what were you saying was idiotic?

  • David Randolph Koski

    We graphics professionals have been scrolling this way for decades within image editing apps, page layout apps, vector illustration apps, etc. Doing the same in the OS presents no problems. It’s easy to switch back and forth between methods: all you need is a visual cue (like a grab hand icon) as a reminder.

  • ctmaddison

    I pretty much agree with you brownlee – Steve Jobs said touchscreen won’t be vertical for the “dead weight arm” issue but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen an apple patent for an iMac pedestal stand which slides the monitor down to a horizontal position so it’s much more like a real-world desktop.

    Think it will be a good few years before complex GUI’s become touchscreen (photoshop for example) but you you’re probably not far off with the 5 year mark.

    I’ve tried the reverse scrolling and though it takes a little getting used to it really does make more sense.

  • David Asch

    Yes, you’re right, if you’re using a trackball/scrollwheel it would be counter-intuitive; this method has definitely been designed for trackpads – it’s no secret that Apple are concentrating on laptops and the iOS devices – but also, new Macs are shipped with the Magic Mouse, so it wouldn’t be such a problem to get used to.

    As for Windows users in Apple stores, by the same reasoning surely nobody would ever buy a new make of car because the indicator stalk is on the opposite side of the steering column to their current car?

    I can’t really see what the fuss is about, it’s only scrolling that’s different and it probably won’t be long before other platforms adopt it.

  • d_n

    if you’re using a trackball/scrollwheel it would be counter-intuitive

    That’s why I wished Apple let you invert the scrolling for the trackpad only & not the mouse.

  • d_n

    I agree. I think this feature is just another forward-thinking innovation by the company that thinks different.

  • Junaidkureshi

    Im trying it, its so confusing, but it has logic behind it, trying to make my self use too of it.

  • Junaidkureshi

    ok i giveup, im using the old style scrolling, there must be an option in lion for traditional way.

  • joewaylo

    http://download.cnet.com/Real-

    Looks like someone reacquired it. Windows only though.

  • Pavel Penkov

    Why should anyone waste time to learn a feature which offers zero increase in productivity? I guess readers of this blog are pretty comfortable with scrolling.

  • Magenta

    What that means is to a brand new computer user, it is more intuitive.
    To someone who has to unlearn something counter-intuitive, they will need to get the hang of it.

  • Polydoros Katharakis

    This utility “Scroll Reverser” is VERY jerky! Nothing to do with the Lion implementation. Also inertia is disabled.. The whole experience of reverse scrolling is not very pleasant. In Lion is perfect.

  • Eduard Tiesto

    nothing is intuitive if i have to ”get the hang of it”

  • SalvadorRudy

    That is very smart of Apple

  • Mike Rathjen

    Steve quotes:

    Video iPod:
    “I’m not convinced people want to watch movies on a tiny little screen.”

    iPad:
    “There are no plans to make a tablet. It turns out people want keyboards.”

    iBooks:
    “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that
    people don’t read anymore. Forty percent of the people in the
    U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at
    the top because people don’t read any more.”

    Vertical Touch Screen:
    “We’ve done tons of user testing on this and it turns out it doesn’t work. Touch surfaces don’t want to be vertical. It gives great demo, but after a short period of time you start to fatigue, and after an extended period of time, your arm wants to fall off.”

    Considering the track record, he’ll release a vertical touchscreen next year.

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  • robert Kamphuis

    This is going to be a mess… I have to use some windows computers at work, and use a Mac at home. Do I need to retrain twice a day?! 

  • robert Kamphuis

    This is going to be a mess… I have to use some windows computers at work, and use a Mac at home. Do I need to retrain twice a day?! 

  • Jason B

    Exactly right. One only needs to look at the older generations to see how natural this actually is.
    I was working for a newspaper and every time my boss wanted me to scroll to what was above, she used the Lion scrolling. Very confusing for someone who grew up moving the slider bar instead of the page itself! “go back up”, she’d say, meaning she wants to go “down” in my world.

    Lion scrolling is so much more intuitive.

    Just think of it as pushing the page, like on an iphone or ipad.

  • TylerHoj

    I think the iPad already broke me in. I downloaded the app and am already scrolling like I have been for years. Thanks for the tip COM! 

  • Derekvdp

    Does someone know a program that does this for Windows (7)? Otherwise I might get a problem when I switch OS’

  • Chris

    How about changing the scrolling direction for a scroll-wheel-mouse? is this possible without changing the direction of the touchpad?

  • Chad Horohoe

    Awful feature. Disabled it immediately.

  • George Deng

    other examples: metric system instead of the english; tau (2?) instead of pi; reversed electric charge (+ becomes – and vice versa); etc…

  • Craig Volpe

    That was unnecessarily rude. I’m using a mouse and when I installed Lion it reversed the scroll wheel behavior.

  • Craig Volpe

    I don’t agree that either way is more realistic. It really just depends on your perspective and what you are imagining the scroll wheel is supposed to be moving. If you imagine it is “pushing the desktop”, then yes the new scroll behavior makes sense. But you can also imagine the scroll wheel is moving a camera up above the desktop, and in that case the old method makes sense. Just the expression “scroll down” could mean both things; either I want to see farther down the article, or push the page down so I can see earlier in the article.

    What I’m really confused about is if Apple wants to change the UI perspective from thinking in terms of moving a camera or the scrollbar on the side, then why haven’t the keyboard directional arrows also had their behavior changed? With Lion, shouldn’t pressing down on the keyboard push the desktop down? As it is, the arrows on my keyboard are still scrolling things as if the are controlling a camera or the direction the side scrollbar moves.

  • avksom

    the new scroll just isn’t ergonomic.. you mostly scroll down pages and the down gesture is far more natural than the up gesture since it’s much easier to contract than extract muscles.. a good thing it’s just a matter of changing a setting in Lion to get it back to the old scroll.

  • Lon Lawrence

    Actually everyone is talking about how Lion moves pages the same way that iOS does, which is not totally correct, and it’s the reason everyone is having a hard time with Lion. On my iPad, the screen moves in the direction I move my finger, which is what Lion does BUT ONLY IN THE VERTICAL MOTION. Lion is backwards of the iOS on horizontal movement. On my iPad, when I move my finger to the right, the page moves to the right and new text appears on the left. In Lion, when we do a three-finger horizontal scroll to the right, the screen moves to the left. THAT’S TOTALLY ASININE. And, while you can change the direction of the vertical scroll in preferences, you can’t change the BASSACKWARDS horizontal scroll. PLEASE, SOMEONE MAKE AN APP THAT WILL ALLOW US TO GET BACK TO REASON!

  • Craig Volpe

    Another problem I found is apps that zoom in and out such as Google Maps now treat scrolling up on the mouse wheel as zooming out. That might make sense if the mouse surface was parallel to the screen, as then you could think of a scroll up sending a camera up in the air; but considering the mouse surface is perpendicular to the screen, it doesn’t make any sense to me. Moving your finger towards the screen should make view zoom in, and moving your finger away should make your view go away from the earth.

    Even though I’ve gotten used to it for most situations, I’ve decided to turn it off; at least until I get something other than a traditional mouse. Problem is I don’t see the option you describe in your article. When I click “Trackpad” it waits indefinitely for me to discover a bluetooth trackpad and I can’t see any options. anyone know how I can reverse mouse scrolling if I don’t own a bluetooth trackpad?

  • Craig Volpe

    Help! How do I reverse mouse scrolling if I don’t owns trackpad? My mouse wheel direction has been reversed, but when I go to System Preferences – Trackpad, it waits indefinitely for me to connect a bluetooth trackpad before showing me any options.

  • Kevin Perera

    Not sure what you’re referring to on the horizontal scrolling point. My installation of OSX Lion with Natural Scrolling turned on works consistently in both the horizontal and vertical scrolling directions, on my Macs that use mice and trackpads. The data always moves in the direction I’m scrolling.

  • mai duc chung

    The usual idea is that you would use NFC to set up the link between the two devices and then do an automatic hand over to a different protocol for doing the actual transfer of data – eg Bluetooth,iphone 5

  • dacloo

    Bullshit article.
    I think the reverse scrolling is lame, because it only applies to “holding an dragging” using a finger. When you use your scroll wheel and ‘turn the wheel downwards’, you expect the content to move the same direction. 

    But with this new ‘feature’, it does the opposite, which is a huge oversight from Apple. They should have detected the input device and apply scrolling direction based on that instead of simply assuming I’m using a touch device.
     

  • tim

    There should not be any indicator stalks in cars. They should be buttons right on the steering wheel.

  • tim

    Check your spelling and grammar before posting please!

  • Jinxfx48bit

    I’m on Leopard but trying your suggested app now. To get used to it I try to think about it like this: with the old method the ‘paper’ would be under the scrolling wheel on my mouse – with the new one on top of it :)
    Thanks for your tip :)

  • Jinxfx48bit

    (In not so strong wording but) I can agree with your view – the new method is logical when you use a touchpad and the old more with a scroll wheel.

    Could people with a scroll wheel get used to it? Sure, but why. As always I think they should have made it a preference. Sure the risk is that even people with touchpads will revert to the old method without trying and so ‘miss out’ and not get used to this more logical and natural way of using it (that’s how good the intention can be of Apple). On the other hand when there’s no preference setting people tend to feel ‘forced’ and simply because they feel they are forced (natural resistance) they’ll find a way of re-reverse it anyway (through a hack/app).

    So tough call – I think your suggestion would be a middle way, but then again a preference would have my preference.

    I’m trying it now anyway but as we’re in a mixed Windows / Mac environment where I have to use both I think when (/ If – I’m looking into the advantages of Lion for non-touchpad owners since we have iMac’s) I’m going to Lion I’ll revert to the old method.

  • Kheimon

    Sorry but this is plain annoying, besides this fuss about nautural scrolling and whatsoever
    THANK YOU for pointing me to Scroll Reverser, which works fine for me to Fix this crap in lion
    Thanks again

  • Kheimon

    Yeah but at least the article suggested me Scroll Reverser which works fine to fix that shit

  • Kheimon

    Placebo effect. Like: “Apple can’t be wrong so it HAS to be better”

  • Matt Waite

    This entire article is fairly pointless.  The old method of scrolling makes just as much sense if you think of moving the VIEWPORT rather than the things you’re looking at.  If I’m using a camera, I move my head DOWN to look DOWN.  Likewise, I scroll DOWN to look DOWN the page.

    But if I’m flying a flight sim, I push the stick forward (up) to push the nose down, and vice versa.

    Both methods are “natural” but when I’m navigating my desktop I don’t think of myself in an aircraft, so old scrolling is more “natural” for desktop apps.

    Apple is just trying to get everyone to change to match the iOS method so it’s easier to integrate desktop and mobile apps.  Fine once we all have touchscreens and will be actually touching the content we’re scrolling, but stupid to push it beforehand.

  • Kevthedad

    The new scrolling works EXACTLY the same as on an iPhone. You scroll UP to make the page go up. You should already be used to it.

  • Brandon Pereira

    grammer***

  • Mark Kahn

    Why lion’s reverse scrolling in plain wrong: When switching from using one finger to move the cursor to using two fingers to scroll, your cursor suddenly reverses direction relative to the page content.  That’s it, wrong.

    To explain in more detail: start at the top of the page and start to move the cursor down.  Cursor is moving down relative to the content.  Now drop a 2nd finger and start to scroll — Your cursor is suddenly moving UP instead of down.  Unless you want to argue that the direction of the mouse cursor should be flipped, Lion’s reverse scrolling in wrong.  period.

  • Mathieu Clément

    Good point about nothing being really “natural” there.
    The thing is that us, humans, can “get used to” about anything. This is a bit similar to the way you steer on a bicycle or motorbike. To go left, you turn the handlebar to the right (because of gyroscopic effects), but at low speed you turn it to the left to go left. It’s not intuitive but all riders, even kids on their bicycle get used to it most of the time “naturally”.

    I don’t think desktop Mac (i.e. most of them being iMac) will be shipped only with touchpad / trackpad anytime soon.If they do, you probably know what will happen: they won’t make mices anymore, and everyone will get one at Microsoft or Logitech (I have a MX Performance, which is great). That’s all.

    I think mices are the worst way to make a pointer move on your screen. Although I have a MX Performance I sometimes use, most of my work is done with the trackpad on the MBP, and with a Logitech Marble Trackball (which is operated by middle finger) on my workstation.The trackball has been proved to make the less harm to the human body, tough the Apple bluetooth trackpad (Magic Trackpad?) you operate at the same place on your desk than the mouse/trackball is also very good from an ergonomic point of view.

  • Dave Matthews

    I’m sorry, but I do see this as plain wrong, for various reasons as stated below. The track pad ISN’T a touch screen and is a TWO-FINGER drag device. So moving the screen from a remote location (the pad) is nothing like moving the content of a touch display which is under your finger. 

    If you were dragging on the desktop, then it would be intuitive, but activating a second finger (which acts very differently on a touch device) on your touch pad is about moving your view, not the desktop itself. It probably is just as intuitive either way, but this is just another example of Apple changing things to be different just because they can. 

  • salgud

    This is “awesome”? That it’s backwards from the way we’ve been doing it since scroll wheels came along ten years ago? Neither action is “natural”. My computer screen is not a desktop, just because that’s the metaphor they thought up to explain a GUI to people. It’s a SCREEN! So it doesn’t have to be like a physical desktop just because that was the chosen metaphor. It’s a METAPHOR! And since I’ve been doing it for ten years this way, I prefer to keep it that way, especially since I have a Windoze machine at work, and don’t want to have to stop what I’m doing every time I have to scroll to remember where I’m sitting! It works just fine the way it’s always been, and there’s no need whatsoever to need to reverse it now. It’d be like deciding that from today on, the direction we’ve always referred to as “right” shall heretofore be called “left”, and vice versa. 

    Unless of course, you’re a total Apple fanboi! 

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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