I always have a lot of applications open at the same time. In order to quickly switch between them, I use CMD+Tab shortcut. In order to switch even faster, I sometimes use CMD+Tab and then select the app I want with my mouse pointer and have a gesture to open Application Switcher with my Trackpad.

I just installed OS X Mavericks and realized it always shows Application Switcher on my laptop screen instead of "main" external display. This makes it hard to switch fast between applications since my cursor is on the external display and App Switcher is on laptop's screen.

Is there any way to change this? I tried swapping the menubar "block" in System Preferences => Display => Arrangement, but it didn't help.


6 Answers 6


Try moving your Dock to a different screen in System Preferences > Dock > Position on screen. The Application Switcher will open on the same display as the Dock.

You can also quickly move your Dock (and Application Switcher) to another display by hovering your mouse on the very bottom of the desired display for a moment.

The Dock will then rise up and appear on the desired display. (Note: this only seems to work if the Dock's Position on Screen setting is Bottom)

  • Thanks! That worked. I'll mark this as the answer if no other solution, without "Dock hack" is posted.
    – Viktor
    Commented Oct 23, 2013 at 13:09
  • 1
    This doesn't work for me - I have my main monitor above my laptop screen..
    – Guy Bowden
    Commented Oct 25, 2013 at 8:11
  • 5
    The screen that has shown the Dock as last will also show the application switcher. For me this can be both screens, as the dock can appear on the bottom of each screen.
    – bouke
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 11:51
  • @GuyBowden it might work if you position the dock to the bottom, then the switcher should only appear on the bottom screen.
    – bouke
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 11:52
  • 3
    This does not work if your dock is not on the bottom
    – BM5k
    Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 1:16

Please let Apple know if you find this behaviour non ideal. Personally I would prefer either of the following behaviours:

  1. The Application Switcher is always displayed on the monitor on which the menu bar has been placed under System PreferencesDisplaysArrangement.

  2. The Application Switcher is displayed on the display with the active (opaque) menu bar.

  • 3
    This also does not work if your dock is not on the bottom.
    – BM5k
    Commented Dec 17, 2013 at 1:17
  • 1st option works no on macOS Sierra.
    – Dror
    Commented Apr 26, 2017 at 8:54
  • I had an issue where my Application Switcher was NOT on the same screen as my Dock & Menu Bar. I fixed this by going into System Preferences → Displays → Arrangement and moving the Menu Bar. Closing and reopening System Preferences. Then moving it back. This resynced them. Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 18:00

cmd+tab when you mouse-over the dock. The app switcher will move to the display your mouse is on.

Found this out by accident... the obvious behaviour would seem to be that the app switcher appears on whatever display the cursor is.


As correctly mentioned in the comments, you don't actually need to cmd+tab when you mouse-over the dock, you can just mouse-over the dock on whichever display you want, from then on the Application Switcher will show on that display.

However, as the question was about showing the Application Switcher, why not do both at once?

  • 3
    This happens because you mouse-over the dock, and app switcher shows on the display with dock.
    – Viktor
    Commented Oct 24, 2013 at 6:47
  • worked for me on El Capitan, nice trick!
    – Alex
    Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 7:24
  • This is because this is the display with the active dock. Would happen anyway. Commented Aug 15, 2016 at 21:07

I know this is a very old question, but in 2023 you can make the switcher always appear on all screens without having to fiddle around with the Dock with the following terminal commands:

defaults write com.apple.Dock appswitcher-all-displays -bool true
killall Dock

I had the same problem. I have my laptop on the left, my external monitor on the right. My dock is always way left on my laptop. If I move the dock to the right, it goes to my external monitor. Now the application switcher defaults to the external monitor. Also system preferences open up on the external monitor side as well. Much nicer--also gives me extra space on my laptop desktop.


In the Display Preferences panel, click on the Arrangement tab. Click on the white menu bar and drag it to the display you wish to make primary.

  • Hi Welcome to AskDifferent, as you can see all the aspects of your answer have been covered by earlier answers. I find if a question is worth answering it is worth upvoting. Also some instructions and a link may get you more upvotes, also please read the answer section of the help page.
    – Deesbek
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 2:49
  • Thanks Charles, I didn't know I could move that little white bar. However my Dock and App Switcher are still on the lower display lol. Commented Mar 17, 2016 at 5:14
  • 2
    You would expect that, but dragging the white bar somewhere does not affect the position of the switcher at all unfortunately. I want it to be on a different screen than my (side) dock, but it seems impossible.
    – Micros
    Commented May 30, 2017 at 13:48

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