Mac: Hover to Switch Window

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

Mac has a auto-click feature: when the pointer stops moving, it automatically does a click.

Apple calls this feature “dwell”.

This saves you lots clicks. And is also extremely useful as a way to switch windows.

If you have hand pain due to mouse or keyboard, turn this on.

If you use Apple's touchpad, then you may not need this, because touch click is easy on the fingers. Apple touchpad

I started to use this in 2017-09. It takes a week to get used to. You have to learn to park the pointer at an inactive area (such as at empty place of the menu at top of screen). But once used to, it's wonderful. I never have to mouse click.

Turn on Dwell

Mac system preference accessibility 2018 02 24
MacOS System Preference, Accessibility icon. 2018-02-24
Mac dwell autoclick 2018 02 24.png 4095
Mac dwell autoclick 2018 02 24.png 4095
Mac dwell control 2017 11 58d54
Mac dwell control 2017-11-27 (macOS High Sierra, v 10.13.1)

Stop the Keyboard Panel from Popping Up

Each time the mouse moves, a huge keyboard panel pops up.

To stop that, click on the button “Panel Editor”, and create a new panel “Empty”.

Mac dwell panel empty 2018 02 24 4000
Mac dwell panel, create a Empty panel

You can also use “Panel Editor” to create a small panel, just 2 buttons in it, “click” and “pause”. Make them small.

Mac dwell panel 095d5
Customized, tiny, Mac dwell panel.

Also, make the panel not disappear. Uncheckbox the “fade panel after inactivity” in the keyboard preference.

Stop Dwell Temporarily

To stop auto-click temporarily, use the menu at upper right.

Mac stop dwell menu 2018 02 24 94439
Mac stop dwell menu

Or, setup a “hot corner” on the screen, so that you can move mouse there to stop the auto click.

Mac dwell hot corner 2018 02 24 31332
Mac dwell hot corner 2018 02 24 31332

macOS Sierra, v 10.12.6

In earlier macOS version, the dwell setup is slightly different.

Mac dwell control 29711
macOS Dwell Control (auto-click) 2017-09-20. (macOS Sierra, v 10.12.6)
  1. Go to the menu 〖Apple ▸ System Preferences…〗
  2. click Accessibility
  3. click Dwell Control.
Mac dwell control 50332
macOS Dwell Control (auto-click) 2017-09-20.

I recommend setting the “Dewell movement tolerance” to 0. When it's not 0, small pointer movement will be ignored.

You can experiment by setting it to 0 or 50. You'll see the difference.

With Trackball

The auto-click feature is especially great when using a trackball or trackpad.

logitech mx ergo trackball 70139 s305x205
Logitech Mx Ergo Trackball

see Best Trackballs 2018

See also:

back to Keyboard Shortcut and Layout Tutorial

Apple/Mac Keyboard Topic

  1. Mac: Keyboard/Automation Tools
  2. Mac: Swap Control, Caps Lock, Option, Command Keys
  3. Mac: How to Change Keybinding
  4. Mac Keyboard Viewer and Unicode
  5. Mac: How to Switch to Dvorak Keyboard Layout
  6. Mac: Hover to Switch Window
  7. Mac Keyboard Shortcuts
  8. Apple Keyboards ⌨
  9. Apple Keyboard History ⌨
  10. Difference Between Apple and PC keyboards
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