Command+Tab is the main keyboard shortcut for switching applications in macOS. Hold Command then press Tab—you’ll see icons representing every application open on your Mac, as shown above. Press Tab again until you switch to the application you want.
It’s simple at first glance, but there’s more power hidden here. You can hide and quit applications from here, too, allowing you to close a bunch of applications at once. There’s also a way to switch between individual windows in a particular application.
Bulk Quit or Hide Applications
Press Command+Tab to bring up the application switcher, as usual, and cycle to the application you want to quit. Continue holding Command, then press the “q” key. The selected application will quit.
As we’ve pointed out before, macOS apps stay open when you hit the red X button. If you’re the sort of person who tends to close windows without quitting the application, this keyboard shortcut lets you bulk quit applications later, which is useful if your computer is starting to slow down.
If clutter is a bigger problem than performance, you can also bulk hide applications. Bring up the application switcher again, select the application you want to hide, then press “h.” Every window for the selected application will be hidden instantly.
It’s a quick way to remove clutter from your screen, especially if you’re not the sort of person who uses Mission Control to manage apps on multiple desktops.
Switch Between Individual Windows
There are a few more keys you can use while you’re holding Command. The Right and Left arrow keys let you change the currently selected application, which can be faster than pressing tab repeatedly when you want to go backwards.
But here’s the real trick: the Up and Down arrow keys will both show all current windows in a particular application when pressed.
In this example, there are several photos open in Preview. Holding Command you can use the arrow keys to change which is selected—look for the blue frame around one of the windows. Press “Enter” and you’ll open the currently selected window.
If this is too slow for you there’s a quick keyboard shortcut not everyone knows about: Command+~. This lets you jump between windows in the currently open application.
- › How to Quickly Scroll Through Home Screen Pages on iPhone and iPad
- › How to Play Android 11’s Hidden Easter Egg Game
- › How to Move a Window to Another Virtual Desktop on Windows 10
- › How to Replicate the iOS 14 App Library on Android
- › What’s the Deal with Google Home and Nest? Is There a Difference?