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?

6 Answers 6


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.

  • 9
    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
    Jun 15, 2015 at 3:23
  • You can use the regular application switcher (cmd + tab) 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
    Jan 7, 2017 at 9:54

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

  • 2
    This setting is already activated, so unfortunately not a solution for this/my problem Nov 12, 2013 at 10:02
  • Did you turn it on and off again? ;) This works, the only exception is Finder! Dec 9, 2013 at 13:34
  • Does not work for me either in a specific app (Project Zomboid, works fine elsewhere. Mar 8, 2015 at 16:22
  • Works like a charm! Feb 2, 2016 at 17:07
  • 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
    Nov 23, 2016 at 0:54

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
    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.
    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.


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.

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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

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