Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I can use command tab to switch between apps, and command tilde to switch between windows of the same app (for example, a regular window and an incognito window of Chrome).

However, when I full screen a window of Chrome, I lose the ability to switch between windows of the same app with command tilde. I also cannot switch back to it with command tab.

What I want is to be able to full screen all windows in all apps, and still be able to switch between apps and windows with the keyboard. How can I do this?

share|improve this question
It drives me bananas that they broke cmd-tilde for fullscreen mode then pushed fullscreen functionality so hard. I'm currently: making everything fullscreen and using 3-finger lateral swiping to switch. This is not ideal as I don't want everything fullscreen, but at least it treats all windows equally, same app or different app. The one thing I miss from Windows (pre Win8) was their equal treatment of all windows when alt-tabbing. That's just simpler. – peteorpeter Mar 2 '15 at 15:37

you would need to create a new instance of the application via terminal:

In general it is simply :

open -a 'application' -n

But for Google Chrome it is:

/Applications/Google\\ Chrome --user-data-dir=my-profile-dir

that gives you the ability to switch between two windows in full screen mode that are completely seperate from each other. But i requires some sort of new user, also discussed here on SuperUser :

And regarding the ability to switch the full screen-Apps: You know that you can switch between them with CTRL+Arrows (Left+Right = Switching Application) (Up + Down = Overview) ?

share|improve this answer
This doesn't work. This command just puts one of my open sessions in focus. Also, this is not always a solution since individual windows of an app are not always separate instances (I edited/simplified my question) – clocksmith Apr 17 '14 at 20:29
I edited the answer, is it now working ? – YoshiBotX Apr 17 '14 at 20:34
It might work, but I do not know what to put for --user-data-dir=my-profile-dir. Also, this is not a scalable solution. I use several programs that I use with different windows (Sketch, Android Studio, Terminal, etc). It will not always be possible to launch new windows in this way, nor would I ever want to. Thanks for the input though. – clocksmith Apr 17 '14 at 20:46
I also edited the answer regarding keyboard shortcuts, I thought you might be aware of it, but if not, try the CTRL+Arrows Solution).. That is all I know.. Switching Apps in general with CMD+TAB+Arrows | Switching the windows with CTRL+TAB | Switching in FUll Screen with CTRL+Arrows. – YoshiBotX Apr 17 '14 at 20:49

I know this post is old, but I came across it in Google when I was looking for a solution myself. Maybe someone else will look here too. I have found an answer by using the free app Hyperswitch

enter image description here

enter image description here

This engages a window switcher (fullscreen instances included) using cmd+`

It operates the same way as the normal mac cmd+tab app switcher. I also went to System Preferences--Keyboard and redefined the Mac OS "move focus to next window" command to Cmd + Shift + `

Then I tied that Cmd + Shift + ` keystroke to a trackpad gesture using BetterTouchTool. This allows me to also retain that "move focus to next window" functionality.

Here is Hyperswitch:

Here is BetterTouchTool:

share|improve this answer

A bonus method if you want to do this entirely with trackpad instead: I forgot to mention that HyperSwitch also adds this functionality into the mac's built in cmd+tab app switcher.

enter image description here

You need to enable the setting in HyperSwitch to display window previews on the app switcher. enter image description here Again, using BetterTouchTool, I used a trackpad gesture to trigger the application switcher. This BetterTouchTool gesture makes the switcher stay open until you click on something, so you can switch windows entirely with trackpad.

I would screenshot how to setup the BetterTouchTool gesture, but I'm limited to two links.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.