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When I want to switch between windows using ⌘ Cmd + ⇥ Tab it does not work with hidden or minimized windows. I can see the icons of these windows in the application switcher but choosing them does nothing. How can I get this to work again?

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    I just got a Mac, and this whole minimizing shit and not being able to restore that Window from Cmd+Tab—although it is shown within the window switcher—is super illegal UX.
    – Kalaschnik
    Commented Aug 5, 2020 at 12:02
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    @Kalaschnik Totally agree
    – aztack
    Commented Sep 28, 2020 at 3:58
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    This is f. crap. I work on a mac for 8 months and I can't get used to it. Its bad user experience. I do recall some articles praising intelligent people working in Apple on the design. I don't get it why they decided like this.
    – Marecky
    Commented Feb 4, 2022 at 16:02
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    @Marecky Just use Cmd+H to hide your apps and you should be fine. Apps hidden by Cmd+M not being brought forward by Cmd+Tab is useful because it prevents the screen from being cluttered if one accidentally releases the tab key on the wrong app. It is nice to have such an option.
    – Alper
    Commented Jan 31, 2023 at 2:09
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    Apple has a habit of of prioritizing system performance and aesthetics over usability features, when the tradeoffs are significant. What is unforgivable is Apple's assumtion that users will eventually get used to their design decisions. Doesn't work in all cases. This is one glaring example. The dumb mouse is another. Commented Sep 2, 2023 at 7:39

14 Answers 14

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This one is a bit tricky :

  • press ⌘ Cmd + ⇥ Tab to show your running apps. Keep holding ⌘ Cmd.

  • press ⇥ Tab until you've selected the app

  • press the ⌥ Option, and let go of the ⌘ Cmd.
    ( You must release ⌘ Cmd after pressing ⌥ Option ! )
    ( You must release ⌘ Cmd before release ⌥ Option ! )

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    Thank you, that worked. It's not very intuitive though. Is there a reason why it is necessary to press option to get the app back? Commented Dec 1, 2013 at 11:24
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    I did not know this trick. A little difficult for the fingers. Commented Dec 1, 2013 at 17:11
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    Is there a way to make it "opposite"?
    – Kyslik
    Commented Jan 16, 2016 at 11:24
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    would be nice if osx could be configured to behave properly here ... osx is falling behind linux more every day Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 23:27
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    This is great but command tab should do this!! Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 16:25
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Majority of the answers are years old. This is a 2021 solution

Use AltTab, it is the exact replica of windows functionality of Alt+ Tab. Takes care of both minimised/maximised window.

It's free and open source.

enter image description here

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    Thanks, this works perfectly! brew install alt-tab --cask Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 10:48
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    It didn't make a difference here :/ Commented Jun 14, 2021 at 12:51
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    Been checking back every year for a "real solution" and seems 2021 is my lucky year. So exciting! Works, and you can disable the thumbnails so it looks more likely the regular version. This is now the correct answer. Commented Oct 25, 2021 at 14:10
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    This is so perfect, its snappy, fast, and very customizable. Great solution to such a flawed UX, the default behaviour is under the option + tab
    – Marecky
    Commented Feb 9, 2022 at 13:50
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    I've been forced to use a Mac after decades of linux. This app has been extremely helpful in alleviating a bit the absolutely disgusting abject horror. Thank you. Thank you so much.
    – simon
    Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 10:02
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Use ⌘ Cmd-Tab to cycle to the desired application and then, while still holding down ⌘ Cmd, press the or arrow. This will show the application's windows in Expose. Select the desired window with the arrow keys and press Return to activate it.

http://www.macworld.com/article/1152366/commandtabminimizedwindows.html

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  • Found this more recent article useful and on point for this question. macworld.com/article/2048857/…
    – Ted
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 13:57
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    this is true however I fail to see the benefit of apple's approach to not auto show a minimized app's window when the app is selected using command+tab ... linux window managers just do what's most natural ... time to short apple stock Commented Jun 11, 2017 at 23:26
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    Doesn't seem to work for me for either hidden or minimised windows. I always get "No Available Windows". I'm on Sierra if it makes any difference.
    – piit79
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 11:16
  • Pretty nice in combo with left/right arrows after you hit Ctrl+Tab too. Arrows all the way to the window you're seeking. Commented Feb 10, 2020 at 15:29
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    This worked for me for ~8 years but suddenly stopped working today. Now I need to use this awkward approach: apple.stackexchange.com/a/112358/70049 Commented May 8, 2020 at 0:23
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Press ⌘ Cmd + H to hide a window instead of minimising it.

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    This is great, yet (on Catalina anyways) as a caveat, it looks like once you hide the windows, they can't be found with the up-arrow after cmd-tab mentioned in another answer. So odd that cmd-M and cmd-H both make the window hide in a completely different way, and are restored in completely different ways! Commented Feb 10, 2020 at 15:39
  • I like this solution best. I just have to get in the habit of using command h to hide any windows I don't want up on the screen instead of minimizing them. Too bad there is not a mouse way of doing the Hide... the yellow button only does minimize.
    – Wes
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 17:20
  • Note that %-H is a toggle: press once to Hide a window, press again to un-Hide it. Also note that it doesn't work on Maximized windows. Commented Feb 3, 2022 at 19:16
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    Holy shit, hiding and minimizing, the same visual thing happens, but different behavior. Suck it.
    – Mai Hai
    Commented Jun 8, 2022 at 7:16
  • Just a footnote - This has implications on the way system resources are utilized. Cmd-H is costlier if you have scores of applications opened but not all of them are actively used. Commented Sep 2, 2023 at 7:42
11

Try this:

On your Mac,

  1. Navigate to System Preferences
  2. Go to Mission Control
  3. Uncheck "When switching to an application, switch to a Space with open windows for the application"

Try using the cmd+tab now.

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    this works only for not minized windows
    – M.C.
    Commented Feb 2, 2016 at 17:59
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    This does nothing for me.
    – MrG
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 6:49
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    I was SO hoping this was the answer, but no.
    – ggedde
    Commented Sep 29, 2021 at 14:46
  • FINALLY!!! After years, this is the fix! Big big thanks! Commented Mar 14, 2023 at 1:13
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HyperSwitch Does the trick : https://bahoom.com/hyperswitch

I tested it. It needs to be updated. It's free. When I Cmd+Tab on minimized app it's open!

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  • I just looked at the hyperswitch website and one of their "Known issues" is "No option to show minimized windows yet." ... ? I haven't actually tried it though!
    – Wes
    Commented Oct 28, 2020 at 17:24
  • On that linked page it says in big letters, known issues, "No option to show minimized windows yet." Aka it doesn't do the one thing people are asking for here. Luckily the other answer AltTab does. Commented Oct 25, 2021 at 14:12
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So a summary of answers in other comments here;

Change the way you "Command-Tab"

Cmd+Tab to an app, and before releasing Cmd, also hold down Opt. This will open minimized apps like expected, but is annoying to remember to do.

Install a replacement for Cmd+Tab

brew install --cask alt-tab and use that instead. Should behave more like Windows 10/11, but you have to break the habit of hitting Cmd or use a key remapper to swap them.

Change the way you close apps

Use Cmd+H to hide apps rather than Cmd+W or Cmd+Q. Now opening them with Cmd+Tab should work as expected for those apps. This is what you probably should be doing, if your workflow is to hide things out of sight, then open them again later, e.g. MS Teams, Outlook, Calendar, etc., things that you still want to get notifications from, but don't need in front of you.

Personally, I love my Cmd+Q, so it's a hard habit to break to remember to only hide my Calendar/Slack, etc rather than just killing them.

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2

A 2023 answer I'm using a different solution.

If you turn on Stage Manager then apps both hide and minimise into Stage Manager. Then when you Cmd+Tab windows will come back for you whether they were hidden, minimised, or just moved away from.

This is on Ventura.

It's important to note that this only works on things you minimise or hide after you enable Stage Manager. And you can turn off Stage Manager's app drawer thing as well if you want.

I can't install AltTab unfortunately, so glad to have found this option.

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  • That is so random of Apple to have one feature magically change when the other is activated. But I shouldn't be surprised with the amount of bugs and bad UX I've encountered in just a couple days of using macOS.. Commented Feb 22 at 21:42
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I prefer the MC view. Anyway Keyboard Maestro provides with a simple keyboard customizable shortcut, a very good app launcher, very similar to cmd-tab/alt-tab universal function, but more customizable and with more options inside. You can browse through the apps in sliding with trackpad or mouse. Left click on icons open a menu. You can open from that menu or hit enter key. In that sliding view there are many apps; hidden, minimized, opened, and recent.

enter image description here

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  • As it’s currently written, your answer is unclear. Please edit to add additional details that will help others understand how this addresses the question asked. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Allan
    Commented Mar 7, 2023 at 22:32
  • Why unclear, it is another way to activate an effective app switcher with cmd+tab, including hidden and minimized windows and more, as from title of topic.
    – Alticoo
    Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 7:56
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My symptoms.. CommandTab would toggle the heading bar for each application but only some windows for the application would show up.

The suggestion above: On your Mac,

Navigate to System Preferences Go to Mission Control Uncheck "When switching to an application, switch to a Space with open windows for the application" Try using the CommandTab now.

Was already in place on my Mac. I did the opposite and now CommandTab works perfectly.

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Like Pirate X mentioned. Alt+Tab works flawlessly. You can even set the key to be Command instead of Option (Alt) and have it work normally but being able to raise minimized windows without having to press alt on the selected window.

It's super easy to install if you have "homebrew" installed:

brew install --cask alt-tab

Or just go to their website: https://alt-tab-macos.netlify.app and download it for manual installation.

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    I don't suggest alt-tab bcs it is breaking something on every update. Developer doesn't test it correctly and he doesn't care bug reports. Commented Mar 17, 2022 at 16:09
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Maybe a more convenient alternative to the ⌥ Option solution:
after switched to the desired app and released the ⌘ Cmd+Tab press ⌘ Cmd+

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goto settings->Desktop & Dock

make sure that below options are enabled.

enter image description here

-1

AppleScript

tell application "Slack" to reopen (activate)

Or try my app Command-Tab Plus, in addition to proper work with hidden or minimized apps has many convenient features that are not efficiently implemented in the built-in MacOs App's switcher

For example, there were discussed the problems of Mac Os X apps switcher

Restricting Command+tab options to only apps that are in the current space

Show only apps that are in the current space

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