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I've been looking for a solution to the unusable mouse problem in Mac OS X for ages. I've tried a gazillion programs and fiddled with every setting there is or there can be added. So far, I haven't found a way to get linear mouse response in Mac OS X.

At this point I'm seriously considering installing another operating system.

But before I do that, or go hacking around OS binaries, maybe someone here has a solution?

I want linear mouse response. I want high sensitivity. I like my touchpad acceleration and would like to keep it if possible. Any ideas?

P.S. I've been at this for a long time, I'll probably have already tried the most popular answers.

I'm running Mac OS X 10.6.5 on a MacBook Pro. I don't use a particular brand of mouse.

I'm not looking for any commercial solutions.

I've tried:

From what I've gathered so far, the only method to kill the acceleration curve seems to be to set the mouse scaling to a negative value (for which there are apparently two methods.) Unfortunately, this also kills the tracking speed. Before 10.4, there was a function to which you could pass your own acceleration curve which solved everything.

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By the way, here is the Linux counterpart to this question: Disabling mouse acceleration in X.Org (Linux)

...and here's the programmatical variant, as I'll be trying to roll my own solution: Disabling mouse acceleration in Mac OS X @ SO

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This was posted in August: A rather desperate solution hacking the mouse driver. I'm don't expect alternatives have popped up in the short time since then. –  Daniel Beck Dec 4 '10 at 15:58
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@aib If you're up for writing your own, it's likely that the mouse curve app is just tweaking the acceleration settings (HIDPointerAccelerationSettings, HIDPointerAccelerationTable, HIDPointerAccelerationType, etc.) in the IORegistry of the IOHIDPointing object associated with the mouse. IOHIDFamily is open source, so you can figure out how the driver interprets those settings. –  Jeremy W. Sherman Dec 18 '10 at 18:43
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If you're here you're probably frustrated, so here's some trivia to lighten your mood: Did you know that the first time I tried to use the mouse on a Mac it took me more than 10 seconds to click a large 32x32 Firefox button (only ~3 of which I spent banging my head on the desk)? The muridae challenged Quake 3 railgunner that I am, I kept under- and overshooting it. –  aib Dec 23 '10 at 8:42
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Funny, it literally is a matter of getting things straight. (In this case, it would be the pointer curve.) I'm not going to discuss things further, because I've already conceded the point that linear response is the only logical, universal choice in favor of calling it all "personal preference." Still, it amazes me how some people have no standards about a device they use for hours on end to interact with a device they do all their work on. –  aib May 7 '11 at 10:23
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Personal preferences are just that: personal. If somebody does or doesn't like mouse acceleration, that's their prerogative. The point of Super User is to get answers to questions about computers, and this is a perfectly valid question. Please stop bickering about whose OS is "superior", or the irrelevant comments will be deleted. –  nhinkle May 8 '11 at 21:42

14 Answers 14

Use your manufacturer's mouse driver, if available

Alternatives are the general, commercial, all-purpose mouse utilities/drivers USB Overdrive or Steermouse, or use Mouse Acceleration Preference Pane.

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I have to use the newer version of MAPP, which doesn't have curve editing. Right now the closest I can get to a linear response is at -0.4x acceleration, but the sensitivity is terrible. I will not use commercial software simply because I find it ridiculous to buy software in order be able to use a mouse. I would rather spend a couple of hours to write one myself, though I guess that's a topic for SO. –  aib Dec 4 '10 at 13:03
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@aib You don't have to buy software to use a mouse, you just want to alter the way the mouse works. –  Martín Marconcini Apr 25 '11 at 19:19
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OK, I'll agree that it's a point-of-view-issue. To me (and I, apparently, might be the only person on the planet with this point of view) it is the difference between "working" and "not working". I've unplugged my mouse and stopped using anything on Mac that can't be controlled via the touchpad or a graphic tablet. –  aib Apr 25 '11 at 19:59
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@aib +2 for not being the only person in the planet that is frustrated. Right now I bought a new Logitech laser mouse and it's sitting right next to the computer as a decoration device. Feeling like going back to Best Buy and getting my money back. –  amateur barista May 7 '11 at 2:44

I had the same problem because I wanted to try League of Legends, an RTS-like online game - mouse acceleration can be a pain when you want precision combined with swift movement of your hand.

I found ControllerMate, which worked like a charm after some tweaks and tests:

ControllerMate is a controller programming tool that allows you to customize the behavior of your HID devices — keyboards, keypads, mice, trackballs, joysticks, gamepads, throttles, among others. ControllerMate’s philosophy is to be as flexible as possible, to provide a set of basic programming tools, and to allow the user to combine those tools in an endless variety of ways.

enter image description here

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I was never able to get USB Overdrive, MouseZoom, or anything else to produce a windows like cursor ballistic, but ControllerMate did the job. It's a bit of a hack and annoying, but at least it works. Since then I've moved to just using a mouse with OSX driver support. –  David Ma Apr 25 '11 at 9:42
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I downloaded controllermate and it is highly unusable, plus you have to dole out cash for it. 15 minutes of my life that I'm never going to recover. –  amateur barista May 7 '11 at 2:46

See this thread : Tired of Mac OS X's mouse acceleration?

Several solutions are discussed, including the source of a 21-lines C program that will turn of scaling, also available as a downloadable attachment. I suggest reading the entire thread first.

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Already read it, but might be something I missed the first time around so I'm gonna read it from the top again, and drop another feedback here. –  aib Dec 20 '10 at 12:30
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Nope, sorry. This is the mouse acceleration preferences pane method, which kills tracking speed along with the acceleration curve. –  aib Dec 23 '10 at 8:24
    
@aib +1 for saving me 15 minutes of my life. –  amateur barista May 7 '11 at 2:45

Give MouseZoom a try, it worked for me to slow down mouse motion.

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But I want to speed it up! Only without acceleration. By the way, if you want to know what the acceleration is like, try the maximum setting on that program. Tell me it's usable and I'll drop my quest for linear mouse response. That counter-intuitive response curve is exactly what's happening on the lower settings, only less exaggerated. –  aib Dec 25 '10 at 14:19

I use this fix from TeamLiquid, dubbed MouseFixer2:

http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=194668

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Short answer, write on a Terminal:

defaults write .GlobalPreferences com.apple.mouse.scaling -1
defaults write .GlobalPreferences com.apple.trackpad.scaling -1

That should do it for both mouse and trackpad. If you want to restore the default values, type:

defaults write .GlobalPreferences com.apple.mouse.scaling 

Big-time answer, check out Mouse Curves Acceleration Preference Pane (free download). Open your Preferences Panel > Mouse Acceleration and set the Mouse value to 0.0x

That should do it but if you want more control you can also check the App at the same page that gives you full control on these and other mouse settings.

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Does not work for Snow Leopard because Jobs decided to drop an API function which is a dependency of that program. It only works for Mac users with old versions of the OS. –  amateur barista May 7 '11 at 2:49
defaults write .GlobalPreferences com.apple.mouse.scaling -1

I use steermouse and it allows you to independently set acceleration and tracking speed. One thing, having manufacturer's driver and steermouse installed messes things up.

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There is a preference pane which can be installed to eliminate acceleration in OS X, available here.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but to remove the acceleration, set "Mouse" to -6.0x.

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Seems awfully familiar to the one I posted in my question. Sorry, but it kills mouse sensitivity along with the acceleration curve. It's what I'm using at the moment (or trying to, rather.) –  aib Dec 23 '10 at 8:21

If you also have a PC set up next to your Mac, you can use Synergy+ to share the PC's mouse. This has the added benefit of using the PC's mouse speed and acceleration settings, and if you're on Windows you can disable these from Control Panel.

Note that the Windows machine must be setup as the server, with the Mac as a client.

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Give USB Overdrive a try.

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Having used USB Overdrive and the Razer OSX drivers, USB overdrive is the clear winner. –  Omar Qureshi Apr 25 '11 at 9:45
    
The user already responded in december (see my answer) that he didn't want to use that. –  Daniel Beck Apr 25 '11 at 10:06

Because of this issue, I put away a logitech G5. I solved the problem using a Magic Mouse. Its drivers provide a smooth pointer acceleration I didn't find in any other mouse.

This is not a good solution, but worked for me...

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I hear there's a nice little App called Decelerator might just do the trick! ;-)

(Shameless plug, I wrote it. :D)

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Does it let you adjust the pointer speed? Without acceleration, that is. –  aib Jul 21 '11 at 21:20

I was going to toss BetterTouchTool into the ring but I saw your dislike for 3rd party software to make the mouse shape up. I'm adding it here in hope it helps someone else in the future.

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I'm only against commercial solutions: It's ridiculous to have to pay money to be able to use a mouse. I'll give that a try, thanks. –  aib Apr 25 '11 at 10:52
    
@aib I find it interesting how you keep saying "ridiculous to have to pay money to be able to use a mouse". Having used Windows since 3.0 and OS X since 10.0 (plus System 7, 8 and 9) and a varieties of Linuxes and BSD, I have yet to find a mouse that requires me to pay something extra… they all work out of the box. Your rant about having to pay is incorrectly expressed. That'd be the same if I complained about XX feature of YY operating system and complaining that it's unusable and that I have to pay for it to be changed. –  Martín Marconcini Apr 25 '11 at 19:24
    
@Martín Marconcini: I agree; I am romanticising the subject, but feature bloat is one of the things I cannot help feeling strongly about. It's a major usability issue (especially with Mac OS's acceleration curve) and to think that it could've been easily prevented - by removing code... Also, to make an easy point: If you've used so many systems, you already know that each one has a different acceleration code, and thus, mouse response. Linear response is the only universal one. –  aib Apr 25 '11 at 19:41
    
Oh, and I wasn't really exaggerating: See the 7th comment on this question. How hard should it be to land your pointer on a button? –  aib Apr 25 '11 at 19:48
    
@aib I know all the OSses use different algorithms and therefore the response is not the same, but I don't find it particularly hard to switch from one to the other; if anything I find Windows a little bit awkward to move. What I do believe is that one gets used after days of practice. Muscle memory is hard to beat, but not impossible. In any case, I really don't use the mouse that much these days. Launchbar and shortcuts are my mouse ;) –  Martín Marconcini Apr 25 '11 at 20:33

Magic Mouse. Inertial Scrolling set to off. You'll be back to Windows 3.0 but I have no idea why you would want to be.

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