What To Do When Your Mac Keeps Right Clicking

Macs have unique touchpads that are much more advanced than a lot of the competition. However, they occasionally experience issues that cause them to right-click continuously, even if you’re not touching the pad or the mouse. Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions to this common Mac issue.

When your Mac keeps right-clicking, head to the settings menu, then choose ‘Mouse Pad’ or ‘Trackpad.’ Choose ‘Left-Click’ as the primary option, then make sure you have right-click set as the two-finger click method. Clean the pad regularly to prevent it from getting stuck in the right-click mode.

In this article, we’ll show you how to stop your Mac from right-clicking all the time, why it happens, and how to prevent it from happening again.

A Mac mouse is on a desk surface next to a Mac computer.

How To Stop Your Mac From Right-Clicking

To stop your Mac from right-clicking, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Settings menu and look for the Trackpad options. Hit the Apple icon on your laptop or desktop to open the menu, then type ‘Mouse’ or ‘Pad’ to pull up the trackpad. You can also access this menu by choosing your computer preferences on the Apple icon near the top-left side of the screen.
  2. Find the primary clicking option, then set it to left-click. According to Laptop Mag, this will ensure the basic single-click option on your trackpad will act as a left-click. This means you won’t have to worry about your Mac opening right-click menus to scrolling uncontrollably whenever you touch the pad or mouse.
  3. Decide how you want to right-click on the Mac (you can also change your mouse’s settings to switch the right-click and left-click). Most people prefer double-tapping the trackpad to right-clicking. Macs let you choose between tapping and clicking, letting you customize your right-click and left-click options.
  4. Clean the edges of the trackpad with a toothpick to remove excess debris. Gently run the toothpick around the pad, collecting oils, hair, and other gunk that naturally collects around the laptop. You should also do this to each of the keys on the keyboard to ensure they don’t get stuck.
  5. Wipe the trackpad with a soft microfiber cloth weekly. This step ensures that no debris can get clogged around the trackpad or keyboard. It’s more of a preventative step than a repair method, but it’s more than worth it if you don’t want to have to keep dealing with your Mac right-clicking all the time.

While this problem is common, it’s not very difficult to stop or prevent. Thankfully, Apple made it easy to change your Mac’s clicking settings.

Make sure you check the trackpad settings every time you update your computer. In some situations, the right-click and left-click options can get changed, which causes the Mac to keep right-clicking.

Why Does Your Mac Keep Right-Clicking? 

Your Mac keeps right-clicking because there’s debris around the trackpad, the primary clicking method is set to ‘Right-Click,’ or there’s a software issue. Additionally, you might be accidentally double-tapping or clicking the pad with two fingers, which are two of the most common user errors.

Let’s take a look at each of these issues:

  • Dirty trackpads prevent the button from decompressing. When you click or tap the mousepad, it won’t come back up for a while if there’s debris holding it back. This is quite common if you don’t clean the trackpad. Your hands have oils that can hold the pad. It’s much worse if you spill something or drop crumbs on your Mac.
  • An incorrect clicking method will make you accidentally right-click instead of left-click. As mentioned above, it’s important to choose to left-click as the primary clicking option. Furthermore, you must ensure that your Mac isn’t set to click when you tap it if you’re prone to running your hand over the trackpad.
  • Some third-party apps can interfere with or change your Mac’s settings. If you recently installed or downloaded something from the internet and your Mac can’t stop right-clicking, uninstall the program. Test your trackpad to see if it stops after getting rid of the download. If this works, the third-party app is the culprit.
  • You might need to adjust your right-click settings on your mouse. While most software problems have to do with your Mac, many computer mouses have unique software settings. For example, you can switch the left-click and right-click on your mouse, which means you’ll always right-click if both sides are set to the same thing.

According to Apple Toolbox, you might only need to reset your Mac to stop the right-clicking issue. Hold the power button, then choose ‘Restart’ or manually power it off and back on.

You might be prompted to update your operating system when you restart your Mac, which could be enough to fix the problem.

That being said, if you’re unable to left-click on your Mac, there could be several other issues.

Most Bluetooth, wireless, and wired mouse problems can be solved with the mouse’s software. Make sure your mouse is compatible with your Mac and that it’s updated.

For more information about why your Mac can’t left-click, head to the following section.

Why Can My Mac Only Right-Click?

Your Mac can only right-click because your trackpad or mouse is malfunctioning. It could also be caused by the trap pad sticking to the hardware underneath it.

This problem usually happens with older Macs because the outer material wears down, letting the trackpad sink into the computer.

Replacing your trackpad is often the only solution if it’s worn or damaged. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Unplug your laptop and remove the battery. Never work on your laptop’s internal components while it’s plugged in, even if it’s off. The battery retains a lot of power, so it can shock you. Additionally, moving the battery when it’s plugged in can short-circuit the Mac, causing permanent damage.
  2. Disconnect the retaining screws and cable from the trackpad, then gently remove the trackpad from the Mac. The trackpad often has a retaining strip that secures the cable. Remove this adhesive and set it aside, ensuring dust, hair, and other debris don’t get on it. The strip is a crucial part of powering and securing the trackpad.
  3. Slide a like-for-like trackpad from Apple into the old trackpad’s space. Never use a third-party trackpad. While most Mac trackpads are identical, it’s important to choose the correct model for your laptop. Contact the manufacturer to find the part number for the model and year of your Mac computer.
  4. Connect the old cables, retaining screws, and adhesive strip to the new trackpad. Simply reverse each of the steps mentioned above to secure the new trackpad. Never slide a trackpad horizontally, though. Scraping the bottom of the trackpad prevents it from clicking on either side, which can worsen the problem.
  5. Replace the battery and the rear cover, then plug in your laptop, restart it, and test the trackpad. Head to the settings menu and make sure you have all of the primary clicking methods set as they were mentioned earlier in the article. Your new trackpad should be good to go without the unwanted right-clicking issues.

Why Does the Right-Clicking Menu Keep Popping Up on Mac? 

The right-clicking menu keeps popping up on your Mac because your trackpad or mouse is stuck. This causes the cursor to open a menu, drag across the screen, or scroll on various web pages. It can also happen if your iOS is outdated or the drivers are corrupted.

If this happens, stop typing or scrolling as quickly as possible.

This problem typically worsens, which means it can click random things on the webpage. The good news is that it’s relatively easy to fix.

Unsticking the track pack or mouse is often a matter of cleaning the device and resetting the computer.

Furthermore, the other side of the cleaning utensil has a soft pad used to clean the screen and keyboard. It’s an all-in-one compact laptop cleaner that’s perfect for Macs.

If cleaning the Mac doesn’t work, try these suggestions:

  • Reset the computer. This might seem simple, but it can often make a world of difference. Resetting your laptop stops all of the active programs, letting the laptop cool down and refresh itself. It also checks for available iOS and driver updates. Outdated Macs often experience minor setting issues that can make it frustrating to use the computer.
  • Scan your Mac for driver issues. Apple keeps all of the driver updates and corrupted file warnings in the same folder, making them convenient and easy to access. Go to the system preferences menu at the top-left side of the screen, then click on each of the icons with red notifications and update each of them.
  • Run a virus scanner on your Mac. Key-loggers and many other viruses take a lot of memory from your computer, which can make it overheat. Furthermore, these viruses can change your Mac’s settings. Removing each of the viruses and clearing your browser cache could be the quickest solution.

How To Fix a Mac Left-Click Acting Like a Right-Click

To fix a Mac left-click acting like a right-click, try this step-by-step method:

  1. Go to the settings menu and find the mouse settings, then choose the ‘Point & Click’ tab. This will help you decide what happens when you move the cursor, tap it, click it, and more. Each of these settings starts as a default, so you can reset them if you think you might’ve messed something up.
  2. Reset the secondary click option. Stack Exchange users explain that unchecking and checking the secondary click option will open your Mac to using the right-click button as a secondary option rather than making the left-click act as a left-click and a right-click simultaneously. This can also be done by resetting everything to the factory default.
  3. Reset the ‘Look Up & Data Detectors’ box. This setting lets your open dictionaries and other directories from the right-click button (aka the secondary click option). It doesn’t work without the previous step, though. It provides a use for the three-click setting, forcing the Mac to use the left-click as the primary option.
  4. Make sure you don’t have a Bluetooth keyboard interfering with the track pack or mouse on your Mac. Bluetooth is often known for changing settings on many Macs. If you have a Bluetooth computer or mouse, it could deactivate or alter the left-click setting. Go to the settings menu and ensure you can use the trackpad and mouse together.
  5. Check if your mouse’s software has each button set as a specific function. High-quality mouses use their own software. Open the program and set the functions. For example, you can set the left button as a left-click option and the right button as a right-click option. Failure to manually set these buttons can override the Mac.

Macs often have magnets in them, which means external magnets can interfere with the computer.

Keep anything magnetic away from your Mac to ensure it doesn’t pull the internal magnets.

These magnets can push and pull the trackpad, which shifts the clicking mechanisms and prevent them from working properly.

How To Prevent a Mac Trackpad From Working Inversely

When a Mac trackpad works inversely, all of the settings are swapped. Scrolling up goes down, moving the mouse down makes it go up, and right-clicking makes it left-click.

Here’s how you can prevent that from happening:

  1. Go to the Settings and System Preferences menu on the top-right side of the screen.
  2. Choose the Trackpad or Mouse icon.
  3. Uncheck the Inverse Scrolling & Clicking option.
  4. Disconnect and reconnect all Bluetooth devices (you might have to unregister them, then register them again).

Final Thoughts

Macs rarely experience irreversible software issues. However, they can sometimes right-click continuously, much to your annoyance. 

To fix this issue, clean your Mac with an approved cleaner, and check the settings and preferences after each iOS update.

This will help ensure that your Mac doesn’t get stuck right-clicking all the time. Good luck!