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Enable Magic Mouse momentum scrolling in Mac OS X 10.5.8

Enable Magic Mouse momentum scrolling in Mac OS X 10.5.8

Magic Mouse owners who are still running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard have been left out in the cold. Apple only officially supports momentum scrolling in 10.6, but a simple hack can bring 10.5 users up to speed too.

For those of you who are wondering, momentum scrolling is the term used to describe the fancy fast/slow scrolling style seen on the iPhone. For example, when you flick your finger to scroll through a long list or page, the content flies by at first and then gets slower before coming to a stop. Bringing this kind of natural movement to the Mac is one of the Magic Mouse’s biggest features. And while it may seem like a trivial gimmick at first, it’s actually one of the best features of Apple’s new wireless mouse.

Sadly, though, folks with Mac OS X 10.5.8 installed on their computers are not able to take advantage of momentum scrolling – at least not by default. But if you’re in this group and follow these steps, you can reverse the artificial limitation imposed by Apple.

  1. Assuming you have already set up your Magic Mouse by pairing it to your Mac via Bluetooth, the first step is to launch Software Update. If an item called “Wireless Mouse Software Update 1.0” appears, install it and restart your Mac. If it’s not there, you likely already downloaded it and can move to the next step.
    Magic Mouse Momentum Scrolling in 10.5 Leopard
  2. With the update installed, launch Terminal (Applications > Utilities) and copy & paste the following command. Note this should all be on one continuous line.

    defaults write MouseMomentumScroll -bool yes

  3. Press Enter/Return to run the command.
  4. Launch System Preferences and go to the Mouse panel. Uncheck the box next to “Scroll,” then check it again.
    Magic Mouse Momentum Scrolling in 10.5 Leopard

Your 10.5.8 Mac should now have momentum scrolling enabled for the Magic Mouse. Test it out by going to a semi-long webpage, giving the mouse’s surface a flick, and watching the fluid movement. Repeat steps 2 and 3 above, replacing “yes” with “no” if you ever feel the need to reverse this behavior. Although I’m not sure you’ll ever want to go back – momentum scrolling is both functional and fun!

46 Comments Have Been Posted (Leave Your Response)

Tried your hack and I cant get it to work. I am running system 10.5.8 and I get a different mouse preference box than you do which does not have a scroll checkbox. I am going nuts trying to get this mouse to work without going to snow leopard!

The only reason I can think that your System Preferences looks different than the one shown in the article is that Software Update hasn’t installed the Magic Mouse update. Try searching for updates, restarting your Mac, and taking another look.


Thanks so much. Worked like a charm. Dave, I had to do two update searches before the Mouse update popped up. Keep searching for that update and your mouse will scroll because you’ve already run the command.

Thanks a lot, after just getting home with my magic mouse I thought apple had left me out in the cold again!


Ivan Gonzalez Cerrato
February 18th, 2010, 2:04 PM

Thanks a lot! Great Job!


Clay R. Patterson
April 14th, 2010, 6:39 AM

I used it from yours. Remember to keep Scroll in your System Preference|Mouse pane on in Mac OS X 10.5!!! So is Screen Zoom.

That’s great job, with scroll (and screen zoom) switch on! I used Magic Mouse since late winter.

Moving your Magic Mouse without Scrolling or (Screen) Zooming will not work.

THANK YOU! You made it work ! :)

I like the magic mouse, didn’t at first, and have been a MAC user for about 15 years. I suppose if you have gorilla hands you might not like it. Works fine for me I hate those trackboards, like using braille, maybe I’m old school, but I’m using a desktop. Now using 10.6.3 OK. The mouse has long battery life and I leave it on all the time. 2 batteries cost about 50 cents and last me a month with daily use. What to do if your wireless MAC mouse fails? Check for dust and cat hairs first over the optical sensor. I have found that the best solution if the mouse fails (or the wireless keyboard) and you have no apparent control of the desktop is to turn the mouse power switch off and use a regular plug in mouse (keep one around, just in case). Plug it into your extra keyboard port or a USB port. The pointer will work, then scroll to mouse preferences, select connect feature, turn the mac magic mouse power switch back on, remove the wired mouse and you’re back in business. If you try to use both of them then some weird things will start happening, so as soon as you get a response from the magic mouse, unlug the wired mpouse and you’re back in business. Works for me.

brilliant tip. new magic mouse + this hack = even better than before using my trackpad (which was already good).


my software update tab doesnt show up with an update and i dont have all the controls help please

Thanks a lot! That was brilliant!!!! Totally worked for me.

Brilliant, totally works!

Amazing tip man. Thanks a lot. Huge difference – NOW it is a Magic Mouse

Thank you! And thanks for making it easy to comment.

Brilliant – worked first time. Was persuaded not to buy Snow Leopard by the sales guy in Apple Store (US) as the were ‘other ways’ to get the momentum scroll to work. He didn’t go as far as pointing me at this link, but I’m pleased I found it with a simple search.

YOU’RE THE BEST!! Very easy to follow instructions, so happy it works!!!
thank you!!!

What a huge difference! It’s just another mouse! Works much faster and it’s a lot more efficient scrolling now!

Awesome! Thank you for these easy-to-follow directions. I was worried that I just lost 69 bucks. This is great!

Thanks! Works great!

THANK YOU!!!! It works!

Thank You 1000 times!!!!!

Thanks for the tip..It totally worked.

Yes, thank you! This worked perfectly!

thank you so much!!!

Thank you it worked!!

You beautiful people, works a treat!

Thks!!! It works perfectly even on my 6 yrs old Macbook ;-)

It worked great!, Very helpful. First I check for mouse update and it wasn’t on the list so I typed the code on the terminal, then tried software updates and it appeared on the list. Thanks a lot.

works great, thanks!

Your Faithful Reporter
April 2nd, 2011, 12:32 PM

Excellent… This shows that there is hope for humankind of this planet… Thanks!

Awesome! worked like a charm!

Worked very well, thank you..!

Thank you! Worked like a charm! THis was the whole reason I bought a magic mouse and was disappointed when it didn’t work. Now I love it!

OMG!! Thank you soooo much!

Good work!

Is there any way to use this logic to hack the magic trackpad to work properly (or at least with right click) on 10.5.8?

Very helpful, thanks! This made my life super easy!

Thanks for the fix-worked great! Especially since the jerks at the apple store assured me the magic mouse would scroll w/my 10.5.8, and of course it didn’t. Also could get no help from Apple on the phone. I love their products, but their customer service is going the way of Sears and Radio Shack. Thanks for the tip!

Thanks very much – works like a charm!

Thanks so much my mac os x 10.5.8 now runs the magic mouse like a magic mouse THANK YOU!

how to roll it back? …is there a way to remove this?

AWSOME!!! THANKSSS worked perfectly!!


Thank you much! Walked me thru the setup and works like a charm. Much appreciated!!

Went through disappointment to joy in approximately 5 minutes… LEGEND

Thank you! Finally able to use one mmouse on two machines…