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I have a wireless USB mouse by Anker (https://www.anker.com/products/98ANWVM-UBA) with a few extra buttons that I would like to take advantage of on my Macbook Pro (running OS X 10.11.6). On their website, it says that these buttons can only be used in Windows browsers. Is there a way I can use a third-party tool or something else to allow me to use these extra buttons on my Mac?

Thanks.

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6 Answers 6

170

If you just want the side buttons to do back/forward in ANY app/environment, this app is the most basic, streamlined one I've found for this purpose on Mac OS X, and completely free (donate!). http://sensible-side-buttons.archagon.net/

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37

I made Mac Mouse Fix.

It lets you remap your side buttons to back and forward among many other cool features that make your mouse better.

On top of that it's open source, lightweight, easy to use and 100% free.

Download | GitHub


Update

I've made some changes to the pricing model:

  • Mac Mouse Fix 2
    Remains 100% free, and I plan to keep supporting it.
    Download
  • The latest version of Mac Mouse Fix
    Free for 30 days, costs a few dollars to own.
    Download

Thanks for your support - enjoy the app!

Mac Mouse Fix 3 UI

Screenshot of Mac Mouse Fix version 3 ^

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  • See here for updates about the licensing. Dec 27, 2023 at 20:59
  • Hey @Jonathan Hult, thank you for the comment! Just to give some context for this: For Mac Mouse Fix 3, I've changed the license under which the source code and app are published from an MIT license to a license I made up called "MMF License". It's not one of the traditional open source licenses like MIT, but the entire source code for the app is still fully available on GitHub and you can use any part of it in your free or commercial products with minimal restrictions. I hope that everyone feels that this is still in the spirit of open source and that it can benefit other Mac users and devs. May 11 at 14:10
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A solution that comes builtin with Mac OSX (without third-party apps nor workarounds) is setting the mouse three buttons within Settings, Mission Control, Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts. Here you'll be able to select the action for each of the buttons.

Mission Control, Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts

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  • one note, I used virtualbox on a linux machine (old computer) and reprogrammed my "button 4" with the native software [KLIM AIM], Mac will not recognize it now, I need to revert it back to the default. Otherwise, this works great! Thanks.
    – Chad
    Mar 14, 2022 at 13:29
  • The UI is different now in MacOS 13.6 (of course) but after clicking the relevant box, you can then click the mouse button, and MacOS will register it: example with MS Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop mouse
    – jakub.g
    Oct 10, 2023 at 7:41
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    Now hidden under System Settings > Desktop & Dock > Shortcuts
    – mmacvicar
    Nov 27, 2023 at 19:12
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There are a few apps that can do this task. I use SteerMouse [$20] which can handle mice with up to 15 buttons.

The latest v5 can now use 'chords' [multiple buttons to generate a separate action] & modifier keys - that gives a potential 24 actions for every button, different for every app if you wish... if you can ever think of that many ;)

USB Overdrive is another I can think of, but I've never used that one, so can't comment.

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  • 1
    Neither USB Overdrive nor Sensible Side Buttons worked for my vertical mouse (J-Tech V628); however, SteerMouse is working amazingly so far. Oct 17, 2018 at 17:37
  • @MuffinTheMan - Since posting this I've actually moved from a dearly-departed MX-518, for which SteerMouse was ideal, to an MX Master... which only works properly with the Logitech panel. I miss my chords :/
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 17, 2018 at 17:56
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I was able to enable the "previous" and "next" mouse buttons with these commands.

defaults write com.apple.driver.AppleHIDMouse Button3 1
defaults write com.apple.driver.AppleHIDMouse Button4 1

You can see your settings with defaults read com.apple.driver.AppleHIDMouse.

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  • What was you able to do after enabling, like was you able to use enabled buttons as hotkeys? Dec 2, 2023 at 12:07
  • I tested this and for me it enabled to use those buttons as expected in all browsers. This should be the accepted answer
    – Shwouchk
    Jan 8 at 4:20
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    Actually I need to correct myself - I was hasty to comment. After further testing it turns out that this doesn't work in safari, only in external browsers.
    – Shwouchk
    Jan 8 at 9:09
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If you don't want to use extra software, one funny workaround is to connect a Mighty Mouse (not a Magic Mouse) and go to the mouse preferences. The Mighty Mouse has buttons 3 and 4, the scroll wheel click and side buttons squeeze respectively, and you can map those to custom actions. Then you can connect your third-party mouse, and those buttons on it will still perform the actions you set. Haven't done this in a while, so can't confirm it works in the latest macOS. There must be a defaults write command to do this instead, but I can't figure it out; the mouse prefs files just have integer values for buttons 3, 4, and 5 that don't seem to affect anything when changed.

If you just want the extra buttons to control Exposé/Mission Control, you can do that in the Mission Control prefs without connecting a Mighty Mouse.

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