Is there an alternative to Alt + Tab from Windows on Mac?


If you are a new Mac user but are familiar with the keyboard shortcut Alt + Tab to quickly switch between applications in Windows, you might be glad to know about the built-in ability on macOS to do something similar.

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Is there an analogue of the Alt + Tab command from Windows on macOS?

Windows users are no doubt familiar with a feature often referred to as Task Switcher… It consists in quickly switching between open applications by pressing a key combination Alt + Tab… This feature has been present in the operating system since the 1987 version of Windows 2.0, but macOS has a similar combination.

If you want to quickly switch between open apps on Mac, click ⌘Cmd + Tab… A row of open application icons will appear in the center of the screen. If you hold down the ⌘Cmd, then when you press the key Tab the cursor will move between the icons from left to right.

analogue of the Alt + Tab command from Windows in macOS

You can also hold ⌘Cmd + ⇧Shift and press Tabto move the selection cursor in the opposite direction – from right to left. Or you can press ⌘Cmd + Tab and use the left and right arrow keys to select the desired application.

With the application you want to switch to, release the keys ⌘Cmd + Taband the application will move to the foreground.

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Display all windows of an open application with ⌘Cmd + Tab

There are other things you can do with the ⌘Cmd + Tab switch. After pressing this combination, highlight the icon of the application you want, and then press the up or down arrow. This will start a mode in which thumbnails of all open windows of this application are displayed on the screen. It’s like a long-standing macOS feature called Exposé or Mission Control.

Display all windows of an open application with ⌘Cmd + Tab

Here you can select any window you want by clicking on it with your mouse pointer or highlighting it with the left and right arrow keys and pressing Return (Enter).

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Exiting and minimizing applications with ⌘Cmd + Tab

You can also manage open applications with the ⌘Cmd + Tab keyboard shortcut. In the list of applications opened with its help, highlight the program you need and press the key “Q”to exit this application. Also you can press the key “H”to hide or show this app again.

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Quickly switch between windows of open applications

There is a way to manage windows without using a combination ⌘Cmd + Tab… If you have two or more windows open and active from the same application and you want to switch between them using a keyboard shortcut, press ⌘Cmd + `(backtick / tilde)

You can also click ⌘Cmd + ⇧Shift + `to view the windows in reverse order. When you see the window you want in the foreground, just release the keys. As you can see, the task switcher on macOS is no worse than Windows, and sometimes even better.

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