- How to Switch Among Applications with Mac OS X Snow Leopard By Mark L. Chambers You might think that juggling multiple Mac applications will lead to confusion, but luckily, Mac OS X Snow Leopard makes it easy to jump between programs that are running on your Mac.
- Aug 23, 2009 Hi! Is there a way to switch between apps? This is what i am trying, i am installing an app but its taking ages to decompress, and the screen locks up (its set to lock in 3 minutes), but if i press the home button and go into settings-general-(etc) and change the setting to 5 mins.
You might think that juggling multiple applications on your MacBook will lead to confusion, fatigue, and dry mouth, but luckily Mac OS X includes a number of features that make it easy to jump between running programs. Use any of these methods to jump from open application to application:
Click anywhere in the desired window to make it the active window.
Click the application icon in the Dock. All applications that are running have an icon in the Dock. Depending on the Dock settings in System Preferences, the icon may also have a shiny dot beneath it to indicate that the application is open.
Press Command+Tab. If you have a dozen windows open, this can get a bit tedious, which leads you to one of Lion’s sassiest features, Mission Control.
Press F9 (or F3, depending on your keyboard) to show all open windows using Mission Control, grouped by application; then click the one you want. Move the cursor on top of the window you want to activate — the window turns blue when it’s selected — and click once to switch to that window. You can specify which keys you want to use within the Mission Control pane in System Preferences.
Press F10 (or Control+F3, depending on your keyboard) to show all open windows from the application that you’re currently using; then click the one that you want to activate. This Mission Control function is great for choosing from all the images that you’ve opened in Photoshop or all the Safari web pages littering your Desktop!
You can use cmd + tab to switch the focus window that will appear at the top, but it didn't seem to work for full-screen apps as quickly as the ctrl + arrow key. All of those keyboard shortcuts work, but if you wanted a quick way to switch between full-screen apps, just use ctrl + arrow key.
Along with the window switch, an astute observer will notice that the application menu bar also changes to match the now-active application.
Besides the F9/F3 and F10/Control+F3 hot keys, Mission Control provides one more nifty function: Press F11 (or Command+F3), and all your open windows scurry to the side of the screen. (Much like a herd of zebras if you dropped a lioness in the middle.)
Now you can work with drives, files, and aliases on your Desktop — and when you’re ready to confront those dozen application windows again, just press the keyboard shortcut a second time.
Although the Mission Control screen appears automatically when necessary, you can also launch it at any time from your MacBook’s Launchpad display, or by pressing the Mission Control/F9 key on your keyboard. From the trackpad, display the Mission Control screen by swiping up with three fingers.
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Ah, but what if you want to switch to an entirely different set of applications? For example, suppose that you’re slaving away at your pixel-pushing job — designing a magazine cover with Pages. Your page design desktop also includes Photoshop and Aperture, which you switch between.
Suddenly, however, you realize you need to schedule a meeting with others in your office using iCal, and you want to check your e-mail in Apple Mail. What to do?
Well, you could certainly open Launchpad and launch those two applications on top of your graphics applications, and then minimize or close them . . . but with Mission Control’s Spaces feature, you can press the Control+Left Arrow or Control+Right Arrow sequences to switch to a completely different “communications” desktop, with iCal and Apple Mail windows already open and in your favorite positions!
After you’re done setting up your meeting and answering any important e-mail, simply press Control+Left Arrow or Control+Right Arrow again to switch back to your “graphics” desktop, where all your work is exactly as you left it! (And yes, Virginia, Spaces does indeed work with full-screen applications.)
Now imagine that you’ve also created a custom “music” desktop for GarageBand and iTunes . . . or perhaps you paired iWeb, MobileMe, and iPhoto together as a “Webmaster” desktop. See why everyone’s so excited? (Let’s see Windows 7 do that out of the box.)
To create a new desktop for use within Spaces, click the Launchpad icon in the Dock and then click the Mission Control icon. Now you can set up new Spaces desktops. Move your pointer to the top-right corner of the Mission Control screen and click the Add button (with the plus sign) that appears.
(If you’ve relocated your Dock to the right side of the screen, the Add button shows up in the upper left corner instead.) Spaces creates a new, empty, desktop thumbnail.
Switch to the new desktop by clicking the thumbnail at the top of the Mission Control screen and open those applications you want to include. (Alternatively, you can drag the applications from Mission Control onto the desired desktop thumbnail.) That’s all there is to it!
To switch an application window between Spaces desktops, drag the window to the edge of the desktop and hold it there. Spaces will automatically move the window to the next desktop. (Applications can also be dragged between desktops within the Mission Control screen.)
You can also delete a desktop from the Mission Control screen by hovering your mouse pointer over the offending Spaces thumbnail and then clicking the Delete button (with the X) that appears.
You can jump directly to a specific Spaces desktop by clicking its thumbnail within your Mission Control screen — or you can also hold down the Control key and press the number corresponding to that desktop. Finally, you can always use the Control+Left Arrow or Control+Right Arrow shortcuts to move between desktops and full-screen applications.
|Click here to return to the 'Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher' hint|
It definitely works in 10.4 (Tiger). Triggering it seems to depend on how quickly you release command after pressing tab - you can hold command for a while before pressing tab and/or hold tab for a while after releasing command. However, continuing to hold command for any appreciable period of time after pressing tab will show the icons.
I cannot do it fast enough, because no matter how quickly I release Command there is a least a tiny blip of the Switcher.
Not that I understand why this matters!
David Austin Allen
Monterrey, NL, MX
You have to go REALLY fast! If I try to do it I waste like a second preparing for the finger acrobatics! I also have no idea why this is useful..
Maybe this is a separate hint or something, but..
While the app switcher is active (holding down command), you can activate 'show application windows' style expose by pressing the up or down arrow on the keyboard.
This may be SL only -- don't have a 10.5 machine around any longer to try it on.
@statbit Now that's a better tip then the original. Nice work.
Exposé does not do that for me in 10.5, so I'm guessing it's only SL. I did note though that to get out of app switcher without selecting an app, you can continue to hold command down and hit escape.
I believe it has been stated before.
It not only works in 10.4 it works in 10.3 (maybe 10.2).
If you can't make it work without seeing the App Switcher, keep practicing. This is what makes copy and paste between to programs so easy. Try this, place your thumb over the command key and your index finger over the tab, then as you press the command key, twist your wrist, you finger will go down and your thumb will come up.
I've been doing this for so long I seriously thought this hint was a joke.
The hint as written doesn't work for me. If I press and release Command, then press and release Tab, nothing happens. You need to to press Command, then press Tab, then release Command, then release Tab. And do it all very quickly.
I honestly couldn't believe this was being published now. If this truly hasn't been posted before, than I don't understand how it slipped for so many years. This is roughly equivalent to 'did you know you can change the icon for a hard drive?' at this point.
Yes, this has been available since 10.2 and possibly earlier (a prior comment couldn't verify before 10.4).
Sorry if I sound negative, but I'm really that surprised. This is something every Mac user I know is aware of. It's something that is easily stumbled upon without being told.
standing on the shoulders of giants
Just to clarify: you do not release Command before hitting tab. You hold Command, hit tab, then release them both immediately.
And I agree, this is such second nature I was briefly confused as to what the hint actually was.
Again - There is NO advantage to doing this.
Less effort to simply leave the ï£¿ Key pressed and tap the TAB key to get to whatever App you need.
Simply a neat parlor trick of OS X.
Fast Way To Switch Between Apps On A Mac Laptop
Here's a Mac OS X Hint: If you press the Exposé button twice in a row, quickly enough, on a slow enough system… nothing ever happens!
Lol, seriously, this isn't really a hint so much as an observation that the Application Switcher bezel is a little slow to load… unless I'm missing something?