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Disable Two-Finger Horizontal Swipe Gesture For Chrome Or Any Other Mac App

The swipe gestures in OS X are an impressive way to move between desktop spaces, open the Launchpad, or do a number of other impressive things. Though they can also be annoying at times because they work system wide and there are some apps where a two-finger swipe function wouldn’t make sense or even cause inconvenience. Unfortunately, the OS offers no way of customizing these gestures. A common beef that some of you might have is the way the two-finger swipe gesture, when accidentally executed in Chrome, will move you to the next or previous page in your browser’s history. Fortunately, there is a little script to disable it. The method works not only for Chrome, but for any other app as well, only requiring a change in the command to refer to the appropriate app. So, let’s get it up and running, and get rid of this annoyance from Chrome on OS X.

Open Chrome and browse a few pages in the same tab. You will find (if you haven’t already done so by accident) that left-to-right or right-to-left two-finger swipes takes you backward or forward to the pages in your browser’s history. An on-screen animation appears to show whether you’re going back or forward.

chrome-two-finger-swipe (1)

To fix this, run the following command in Terminal:

defaults write com.google.Chrome.plist AppleEnableSwipeNavigateWithScrolls -bool FALSE

Wait for the reponse to appear, as shown in the screenshot below, and then quit Chrome and open it again. If you try the two-finger swipe gesture now, you’ll see that it no longer works.

two finger swipe

Note that these commands should work not just for Chrome, but for just about any app, since it modifies the app’s respective plist file. You can substitute the file name ‘google.chrome.plist’ with that of any other app.

If you’re reconsidering the change and want to bring the same old functionality back, run the following command in terminal:

defaults write com.google.Chrome.plist AppleEnableSwipeNavigateWithScrolls -bool TRUE

Now quit and relaunch Chrome, and the gesture will work again. You will still be able to scroll up and down in a tab using the vertical two-finger swipe gesture, and the pinch-to-zoom gesture will continue to work as well.

Apple probably will not allow this feature to be fully customizable in the foreseeable future and rightly so; it’s a feature that the majority of OS X users love, especially for the reason that it works system wide, and they would prefer not to have to manage it themselves. So, it’s really a matter of personal preference. You might not have a problem with the gesture in Chrome, but it might prove to be a nuisance in some other app you’ve installed, in which case, this is a simple solution to the problem.

[via OS X Hints]

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