Mountain Lion and Scrollbars


OS X Mountain Lion changed not only how scrolling works, but if and when scroll bars appear. The issue of natural vs. unnatural scrolling is one that can be successfully argued by either side; in other words, I think it’s a toss-up. But the issue of scroll bars not appearing, or only appearing if you are in the process of scrolling, is a user interface mistake on Apple’s part. Apple may have gone a little too far in its zeal to bring all things iOS to the Mac OS.

You don’t have to live with Mountain Lion’s scroll bar defaults; you can change them to meet your needs or preferences.


  1. Launch System Preferences, either from the Dock or from the Apple menu. If you’re trying Mountain Lion for the first time, you can also launch System Preferences from the Launchpad by clicking the Launchpad Dock icon, and then clicking the System Preferences icon.
  2. Once the System Preferences window opens, select the General preference pane.
  3. The middle section of the General preference pane controls when scroll bars appear and a few additional scroll bar options.
  4. To return the scroll bars to their pre-Lion functionality, select “Always” from the Show Scroll Bars options.

The scroll bars will now always be visible, even when you’re not scrolling.


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