Disabling Multi-Touch Swipe in Chrome on OSX to Prevent Back and Forward Actions

This is a nifty little tidbit that could have saved me many a lost page or form fill in Chrome.  If you have the Swipe configured for OSX (as I do), it also works as the back and forward button in your Chrome browser.  Swipe to go back sounds like a great idea, right?

Right.  This is handy sometimes, but not when you spend 15 minutes filling in a web form and then accidentally swipe left with a second finger on the trackpad and chrome goes back a page losing all your work.

(Spoiler alert: This is a very, very, very anecdotal situation I just experienced)

How to Disable Chrome Swipe to Go Back

Just go out to a Terminal window and type the following:

defaults write com.google.Chrome AppleEnableSwipeNavigateWithScrolls -bool FALSE

You will have to restart your browser in order to complete the change.  That will stop the swipe from invoking the “back” or “forward” action within Google Chrome for the two-finger swipe gesture.

How to Enable Chrome to Swipe Back

As you can imagine, the reverse of the command by changing FALSE to TRUE will bring the swipe actions back for you.

defaults write com.google.Chrome AppleEnableSwipeNavigateWithScrolls -bool TRUE

Hope that helps you as much as it did for me!

26 thoughts on “Disabling Multi-Touch Swipe in Chrome on OSX to Prevent Back and Forward Actions”

  1. You are a wonderful person, thanks for sharing this. This has been driving me insane and i only thought just now to google it…. I guess i’m the idiot! 🙂

  2. Perfect – thanks for sharing! Horizontal scrolling and scrollbar response in chrome can be inconsistent and jerky, so a normal left scroll to see a hidden part of the page triggers the “back” scroll a lot. I have been cursing this “feature” for months and finally decided to do something about it. I have not hated a feature so much since “tap to click” on the trackpad and am going to share this with everyone who hates this as much as I do….

  3. I play a D&D game online with friends with roll20. Anytime I would try to scroll on the map, it would go back and I would have to reload the whole thing and reconnect to all the players. It was sooo annoying! Thank you for this.

  4. You don’t need to type that into a terminal or restart Chrome. You can just go in System Preferences > Trackpad, under the “More Gestures” tab, disable “Swipe between pages” (or set it to use 3 fingers instead of 2). Chrome will honour this setting.

  5. Hey, I used the terminal command, shut down Chrome, restarting the browser, tested it out, and it worked! I’m Googled this page again to say that the terminal command worked for me too! It was a 3 minute fix to my nightmares. Ha ha. I use FB Ads Manager and it has scrolling windows inside of the browser that WOULD NOT SCROLL to the side because it thought I wanted to go back a page in my browser! I hated having to go down the scroll bar and move the bar to scroll with my trackpad. I rarely comment online, but this was one fix worth taking the time to thank! Thank you.


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