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Unlike Windows, you cannot maximize a window in Mac with a click of the button. The little green (+) button next to the red and yellow buttons at the left of the windows does some strange stuff sometimes when you click it and doesn't do the expected operations.

How would you fully maximize a window on a Mac?

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11  
In the Mac OS (all iterations), windows maximize to the logical size of the content being viewed, not the size of the entire screen. Some have argued that Windows' behavior of maximizing to the size of the screen was simply a cheesy and lame copy of Mac OS' behavior. Either way, the technology isn't perfect, but it should help explain the majority of what you are seeing when you press the Maximize button. –  Philip Regan Sep 28 '10 at 14:28
4  
The flaw in your logic is that whatever "the logical size" the app is coded for is entirely subjective. Personally, I find very large finder windows to be more efficient, as I can see much of my folder hierarchy without having to take time scrolling. Others may find that having very small windows is preferable. –  BryanH Feb 10 '12 at 22:58
    
Gordon, I tried this shortcut approach on a MacPro running Yosemite, but the key combination did nothing in Excel. The problem with Excel and Yosemite is that clicking the green button in Excel makes the window full screen, and in the process the buttons for resizing/minimizing the display disappear at the top of the window! Worse still, you can't drag from the bottom right corner to resize. The only way to make the window small again is to hit the escape key or F11 which shows your desktop. This is not obvious to most users. Yosemite needs to be patched to fix this problem!!! –  Paul F Oct 31 at 12:11

14 Answers 14

up vote 38 down vote accepted

Shift-click the green (+)

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5  
Apparently shift-clicking the green (+) doesn't have any effect on fully maximising the applications. Are you sure that this works? –  JFW Oct 12 '10 at 14:53
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@JFW it depends if the app has been programmed to do it so. For instance, Google Chrome work with this. Finder, iTunes and Safari doesn't. Before anyone says so, TextEdit and Terminal are default to full screen without <kbd>shift</kbd>. Bottom line, this is not a good answer as it's far from being standardized enough through apps. –  Cawas Mar 22 '11 at 20:32
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Oh, wow. I've been using OSX for six years now. And I never new this... –  gentmatt Jun 27 '12 at 15:53
    
You can also try Option-click. I believe it works in iTunes –  Redandwhite Oct 19 '12 at 9:17

Download and use RightZoom. It overrides your green plus (zoom) button and works like Windows maximize. You can add it to your login items in your user account to run every time you start OS X.

alt text

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can it be uninstalled? will it return to the "normal behaviour? –  Asaf Sep 28 '10 at 19:36
1  
if don't run it the green + behave in default no need of uninstall. –  Am1rr3zA Sep 28 '10 at 20:43
    
this would be perfect if it was assigned to shift+click. –  Cawas Mar 22 '11 at 20:36
2  
Best answer IMO. Since the other, accepted answer only works with some applications, this is the best solution! –  daviesgeek Sep 2 '12 at 5:08

BetterTouchTool, if you have a macbook pro which has a multitouch pad (I'm betting you do), it lets you assign thing like Windows style maximise to the very top middle of your touch pad. But you don't have to use it like that, as it has an AeroSnap type feature, where you can just drag a window to the top of the screen and it will truly maximise, also dragging it to the left/right will make the window take up the left/right side of the screen.

I find the Mac version of maximise unsatisfactory for things like web page and xcode. And betterTouchTool has many good features.

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1  
+1 for BetterTouchTool - this is how I maximize windows on Mac too. –  Anonymous Dec 30 '12 at 12:29

I use an inexpensive app, Cinch from Irradiated Software. Whenever I need to maximize a window, I just drag it from the titlebar to the top of the screen, and Cinch takes care of resizing it for me. If I need to unmaximize, I just move it a little out of its position and it is restored to its previous state. I wish there were some way to do it (automatically) without extra applications, provided with the default system, but I know not of it.

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1  
cinch really rocks! –  Christian Muggli Feb 17 '12 at 16:58

Mac OS X does not have a button for maximizing windows, instead you should drag the bottom-right of the window to resize it to your prefered size.

And meanwhile the green plus button at the top-left resizes the window so that it fits the content of that window.

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I use Moom for that purpose, also for rearranging and moving my windows between monitors. You basically get the same keyboard based window management that windows 7 users get, just a lot more configurable.

I have it setup so that Ctrl+ CMD + Left puts the window to the left side of the current display, Ctrl+ CMD + right to the right side, + Ctrl + CMD + Down to the next of my current monitors and finally Ctrl + CMD + Up to maixmize the window. Makes for some pretty quick and sleek work combinations (Two windows next to each other for comparision? 1 second, there you go :))

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I use Spectacle. It's free and open source. The default key shortcut for maximizing windows is +F.

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This must've changed in the later versions. Spectacle now goes to full screen, not maximized. –  worc May 16 at 15:35

I move the window to the top-left edge of the screen, and drag the window-sizing handle on the bottom-right corner of the window to the bottom-right edge of the screen.

I don’t have to do it very often, as windows seem to remember what size they were at.

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For many applications (Safari, Mail, Terminal, ...), simply command-clicking the + button will maximize the window.

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Doesn't really work-Has the same effect of normally clicking the + button. –  JFW Oct 12 '10 at 14:54

I've assigned this script to ⌥⌘M. It doesn't work with all windows or with multiple displays though.

tell application "Finder" to set {0, 0, dtw, dth} to bounds of window of desktop
try
    tell application (path to frontmost application as text)
        if name is in {"Terminal"} then
            error
        else
            set bounds of window 1 to {0, 22, dtw, dth}
        end if
    end tell
on error
    tell application "System Events" to tell (process 1 where it is frontmost)
        try
            click (button 1 of window 1 where subrole is "AXZoomButton")
        end try
    end tell
end try
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DoublePane - $4.99 does that by Ctrl+Option+Up. This is also can be done with Spectacle which is free on MAS

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For later versions of OS X (10.7+), hit the enter image description here full-screen icon at the top right corner of the app's window.

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2  
That's full screen, not maximized. –  worc May 16 at 15:36
    
@worc what is the difference -Windows maximise makes the app window cover the whole screen –  Mark May 16 at 21:39
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The full screen button takes away the task bar and the dock. –  worc May 16 at 21:43

Using Alt-Click on the green (+) maximizes most windows. But if also that don't fit your wishes, you could use the plugin sizewell.

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By ignoring the meta keys, the green button's use is minimized.

You can define a shortcut for the Zoom function to toggle between Maximize and Normalize.

  1. System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts
  2. If you don't see a shortcut for Zoom, click the + button
  3. Enter Zoom in the Menu Title field and a shortcut key combination (e.g. ⇧⌘M)
  4. Click Add to save the shortcut.

Now the ⇧⌘M combination should toggle the current window between Maximize and Normalize.

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