I have a MacBook Pro running Ubuntu 14.04, with Unity on it. By default, Unity has a three-finger gesture that invokes the Alt-Tab launcher. But I really like the OS X-style three-finger drag gesture.

Is there any way to override the default settings and use the gesture from OS X?


2 Answers 2


If I understand correctly, 3 finger drag does not equal to 3 finger gestures. When you do a 3 finger drag the pointer moves with your fingers, but when you do a 3 finger gesture the pointer remains in the same place.

I have done some modifications to the Synaptics Xorg driver to add support for 3-finger drag in Xubuntu: https://github.com/quadpixels/three-finger-dragging

This is a video showing how it works ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eLSEtibfyw

And unfortunately you have to compile it from source ...

Note: this is only for my personal test, it comes without any warranty. I have tested it only on a Magic Trackpad, but I think it should also work with MacBook's trackpad.


  • It works like a charm! One comment, I use ubuntu on macbook as of recently and the three-finger-drag was the only thing I missed (ans spent good deal of time finding how to fix). The only small caveat was that by default ./configure; make; sudo make install installs the driver in /usr/local/libs/xorgs/modules/input , and X loads it from /usr/libs/.... Renaming the old drivers to .old and symlinking to the new ones fixed that :). Thanks for this! Sep 20, 2015 at 21:10
  • That's a great work! I incorporated your changes into: github.com/sencer/synaptics which is a newer version (1.8.99), but SHM is NOT removed for use with multitouch stuff like xSwipe.
    – sencer
    Jan 9, 2016 at 6:02

From Ububtu 13.04 seems to be possible to use touchegg package

There's one reference you can find interesting OS X-like multitouch gestures for Macbook Pro running Ubuntu about how to disable Unity default multitouch gestures and bring in OS X like touchpad gestures.

  • 1
    I really don't want to have to recompile anything (even though I am a developer), but thanks for the suggestion.
    – iBelieve
    Jul 10, 2014 at 22:29
  • You're welcome... but you didn't ask for a simple solution :-) It's seems they will give such level of customization in the next generation of Unity: in the meantime... it seems you need to experience it first-hand or use only 2 fingers ;-)
    – Hastur
    Jul 12, 2014 at 20:15

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