How to Set Up a Gaming Mouse in OS X

Gaming in OS X is becoming slightly more prevalent thanks in part to new partnerships between Apple and several major game distributors. Programs like Steam, which allow you to purchase and download games directly to your Mac, are available and the list of titles supported by OS X is constantly growing. So, why would you want to game on a Magic Mouse when there are so many great gaming-specific options available? Thankfully, there are a few ways to set up a gaming mouse in OS X.

The first step to setting up a third-party mouse of any kind is taking a trip to the manufacturer’s Web site and seeing if they have any noted support for OS X. Some manufacturers actually make apps specifically for this purpose, and they can usually be found in the support area of their site. Through these apps and drivers, you should be able to customize functions for each of the extra buttons to allow you to not only play games with a fully-functional gaming mouse, but customize functionality so your Web browsing and other tasks can match what is available on Windows. For example, button 4 and 5 of your mouse could be set up as forward and backward buttons in your Web browser.

If your mouse’s manufacturer doesn’t have any software or drivers that support OS X (or if the ones they have aren’t very good), you’re not entirely out of luck. A free program called USB Overdrive can replace your gaming mouse’s OS X drivers and allow you to customize virtually everything about how the mouse functions down to the mouse acceleration level. It will even help with third-party keyboards and gaming controllers. In a sense, it’s an all-in-one solution for anyone who doesn’t like the Magic Mouse or Apple keyboard.

USB Overdrive sits in your system panel and comes with an easy uninstallation file that resides in your Applications folder. While the main program is free, a paid license will get rid of a 10-second holding period before you can access the controls in System Preferences. Complete functionality is available for both registered and unregistered users.

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Ryan Matthew Pierson