I use a lot of different spaces for my fullscreen applications to get me focus on the different tasks I have to do. For example, I have a space with my mail app, subversion app, safari and so on.

To switch between my active apps I use + tab all the time. Even though the icon of my fullscreen apps appears when tabbing and the menubar getting active, I don't see the app. Only when I go to Mission Control and click the app it will switch to the fullscreen window.

Is there a setting or a shortcut to achieve this without using the mouse?

10 Answers 10


This doesn't let you switch straight to a target app, but ctrl + cursor keys will let you move left and right through your spaces to reach the full screen app.

The shortcut can be changed in system preferences -> Keyboard -> Shortcuts -> Mission Control.

  • 11
    is there a way to jump directly to a full screen app when you have more than one? Similar to switching tabs on Chrome using using command+[number]?
    – syclee
    Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 3:23
  • You can use the regular application switcher (cmd + tab) Commented Jun 15, 2015 at 5:37
  • 4
    @KevinGrabher, however, this only works when there are no other non-fullscreen windows of the target app.
    – mike_k
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 9:54
  • 1
    Also worth mentioning that if you're on a MacBook, you can set up swipes to do this -- 4 finger death pun^H^H^H^H swipe and you're in a new fullscreen. System Prefs >>> Trackpad >>> More Gestures >>> Swipe between full-screen apps.
    – ruffin
    Commented Oct 1, 2022 at 15:44

yes, there is. Activated System Preferences -> Mission Control -> When switch to an application, switch to space…

  • 3
    This setting is already activated, so unfortunately not a solution for this/my problem Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 10:02
  • Did you turn it on and off again? ;) This works, the only exception is Finder! Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 13:34
  • Does not work for me either in a specific app (Project Zomboid, works fine elsewhere. Commented Mar 8, 2015 at 16:22
  • 1
    problem is when there are multiple full screen windows for a single app. you cannot seem to bind the control-number sequence to them. real bummber.
    – wprater
    Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 0:54
  • 1
    This preference worked for me, even though I don't otherwise use Missino Control or spaces at all. (I suppose Fullscreen acts as a separate virtual space.) Cmd-Tab now shows the full-screen application window. Commented May 17, 2021 at 1:59

I suggest Apptivate app for this. Easiest way for switching between apps. No need for complicated shortcuts, jus stroke sequence like: F1, than any key for yours app. No problem to use single key (F1 / F2 / F3 ...), or longer sequence (F1,F2,F1 / F2,F2,q).

  • Great idea! If you do this, don't forget to enable the Use F# keys as standard function keys in the keyboard settings.
    – joepio
    Commented Oct 10, 2018 at 9:20
  • Love it, great solution. I created a pattern for all the apps I keep fullscreen. Ctrl-A, <first letter of app>. This lets you avoid keyboard shortcut conflicts with other apps. Kind of like emacs with a metakey. So,Ctrl-A,S gets me to Sublime, Ctrl-A,T gets me to Terminal, etc.
    – Peter P.
    Commented Jul 18, 2019 at 3:46

I spent a really long time looking at this and found that under keyboard > shortcuts there is a section under the name keyboard called mission control. It says that ctrl + arrow key, whether it be left or right, will switch "spaces". "Spaces" are your full-screen applications you have running. You can use cmd + tab to switch the focus window that will appear at the top, but it didn't seem to work for full-screen apps as quickly as the ctrl + arrow key. All of those keyboard shortcuts work, but if you wanted a quick way to switch between full-screen apps, just use ctrl + arrow key. I don't know what to tell you for minimized apps though because those don't work. You could just set focus to the app and use the "show available windows" option in mission control by using ctrl + arrow down.


If you're using new MacBook Pro models with the Touch Bar, you can change your Keyboard settings for Touch Bar to display Spaces (including full screen apps) on the Touch Bar, which allows you to directly switch to a specific fullscreen app without looping through all of them with Cmd+Tab or swipe gestures. It looks something like this. demo of touch bar with spaces

Here's the relevant Settings page. keyboard settings with touch bar settings highlighted

  • 1
    I find this answer to be darkly funny, because for me (using an external keyboard) the touchbar is even further to reach than the touchpad. Sigh.
    – q.undertow
    Commented Aug 11, 2022 at 22:30

It has been a while and it seems that the keyboard shortcut for switching spaces has changed. In Mac OS X High Sierra it was set to ctrl + option + arrow key for me.

enter image description here


For those users that have Ventura, System Settings > Desktop & Dock > Mission Control > When switching an app...

system settings screenshot


This free tool solves the problem for any mouse: Mac Mouse Fix (source code)!

(My is "Bloody V8", and it works)

Here's my config:

enter image description here

The middle click with dragging to the left/right will move space to the left/right.

You can also set switching to side buttons directly if you don't like dragging. I left side buttons for Chrome's tab switching.

enter image description here


Press Control + Right Arrow or Control + Left Arrow to switch between full-screen apps and desktops.


To switch between my active apps I use ⌘ + tab all the time. Even though the icon of my fullscreen apps appears when tabbing and the menubar getting active, I don't see the app. Only when I go to Mission Control and click the app it will switch to the fullscreen window.

I'm guessing the app in fullscreen also has non-fullscreen windows open.

If so, alt-tab prioritizes the group of windows in a shared desktop/space rather than the individual full-screen window(s).

I close all of an app's windows in the shared desktop and/or make those windows fullscreen too if I know I want to use an alt-tab based workflow for a while. If you have all windows fullscreen, alt-tab will take you back to the fullscreen window you've most recently accessed when you select the app.

Note: You will have to use another method to navigate to the other fullscreen windows from that app if you have more than one.

I realize closing all windows in a shared desktop isn't desirable in all situations, but, where it's bearable, this method (close shared and/or make all fullscreen) will deliver the experience you describe.

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