how to speed up mouse tracking on a Mac without an app

How to speed up mouse tracking on a Mac (without an app)

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One of the great takeaways from Tim Ferriss’s podcast interview with Noah Kagan was the impact your mouse tracking speed can have on your productivity. By whacking the tracking speed up all the way, you can significantly increase the speed at which you get things done on your computer. If the increase in speed seems too much, give it 10-minutes and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can adapt to the new speed.

I currently use a MacBook and have had the trackpad/mouse speed all the way up for some time. However, I recently found myself thinking; I WANT MORE!

Unfortunately, Apple’s upper limit on tracking sensitivity isn’t as high as I’d like. So, I started Googling around to try and find a quick and easy solution for increasing the trackpad/mouse speed.

I came across an app called BetterTouchTool that lets you customise the tracking speed and add a tonne of other trackpad functionality to your computer. It looks nice, but all I wanted to do was increase the trackpad speed without fluffing around with a tonne of other features and settings (plus I’m overly cautious about adding unnecessary apps to my computer when a simple terminal command or Automator workflow will do).

It didn’t take long, but I found a way to customise the trackpad speed using Terminal.

Use the following steps to increase your trackpad sensitivity:

Step one: Open Terminal (located in the Utilities folder of your Applications. Or Spotlight search “terminal”).

Step two (optional): Enter the following command to view your current speed:

defaults read -g

This will return a number that represents the tracking speed.

mac tracking speed

Step three: To speed up your mouse tracking, you can simply change this number by typing the following command, replacing the “mouse speed” with a new number such as 5.0:

defaults write -g your_mouse_speed

The maximum mouse speed you can access from the System Preferences is 3.0. I changed my speed to 7.0 which is perfect for my liking.

defaults write -g  5.0

mac mouse sensitivity speed

Step four: Restart your computer.

To revert the speed back to normal, you can adjust the mouse tracking speed in system preferences, or use Terminal to set the value back to 3.0.

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