Before Mavericks, I could maximise a window while holding shift key, and the window would always fill up the entire screen without needing any third party tools or changes.

It no longer works in Mavericks, is there a workaround or hidden setting to revert to the old behavior?

  • 1
    Do you want to maximize the window or go to full screen? – Matteo Jan 3 '14 at 11:47
  • 2
    Maximize window, not going full screen. – Howard Jan 3 '14 at 15:30
  • I have 10.8.5 and shift clicking the + button of a finder window does not maximize it such that it fills up the entire screen. So maybe it was a plugin nonetheless? – Saaru Lindestøkke Jan 4 '14 at 10:18
  • Is this still an issue? My shift+click work fine to maximize windows to fill the screen (all except finder windows...) – les Mar 16 '14 at 5:39
  • 1
    @les shift+click is going full screen. – worc Jan 7 '16 at 19:38

20 Answers 20


For maximizing windows (and more), I use SizeUp: http://www.irradiatedsoftware.com/sizeup/

This is not the same as full-screen mode which Mark refers to.

enter image description here


While holding Shift + Option, click the green Plus button on the upper-left corner of the window.


Option + click on maximize button works for me.

  • +1 confirmed still works on macOS Mojave 10.14.6. – andrewwong97 Nov 11 '19 at 19:11

I have been using SizeUp but recently I heard of Spectacle:

enter image description here

which seems to do most, but not all, of the same things, and is free and open-source.


What you can do is make an app go full screen. This is done by hitting the double arrow icon at the top right of the window (see picture below) or the keyboard shortcut ^++F.

enter image description here


In OS X Yosemite, Double click on window title. That's all.

  • 1
    This zooms the window per the old green + button, not to fill the screen. – grg Oct 31 '14 at 11:55
  • 1
    Al that does for me is to stretch the window vertically only but not maximize it. Shift+option+click on the green does maximize it for me. Man I'm glad I found this, newcomer from Windows and it was getting kinda old doing it by hand. :) – unrealtrip Jul 7 '15 at 19:40
  • Testing only in Chrome, on 10.10.4, double clicking the title bar expands the window vertically to fill the screen height. Shift-double clicking expands it both vertically and horizontally. – dokkaebi Sep 10 '15 at 5:54

To summarize the options above for OSX yosemite 10.10.3.

  • I am able to go into full screen mode by going to the top left and clicking the green button

enter image description here

  • If I click Option (a.k.a. Alt) then the green button turns into a + (plus) symbol and will maximize VERTICALLY ONLY.

  • If I click Option + Shift then the green button turns into a + symbol as above but will maximize the both horizontally and vertically to take up the whole screen.

THIS DOES NOT WORK ON FINDER. only the vertical maximize works on finder no idea why.


BetterTouchTool will do this using a trigger such as this:

Trigger Example


BetterTouchTool is actually the best solution. You can do so much with it. ANd once again it comes to the rescue here since Apple is too stupid to fix this after 15 years of a senseless green window button. I setup left clicking the green button normally to the old behavior (i.e.: does whatever it wants without rhyme or reason), ctrl-left click green button = maximize to the left, alt-left click green button = maximize to the right, shift-left click green button maximize window to fill the desktop (NOT fullscreen mode, i.e.: window does not take up a new space). Brilliant.

Note: in BTT, you have to go to the "OTHER" tab and add a new trigger. Not under trackpad.


Shift + Click in Mavericks is working for me to maximize a window to fill the entire screen. This is the first I have learned about that option. I have been endlessly frustrated by that on Mac in the past.

  • the maximise button on any window – Craig Wayne Oct 14 '14 at 8:19

Just updated to Yosemite: Alt+maximize (the green + in the upper left corner of the window) seems to work in both directions (not in finder, there it just stretches the window).


Shift+ option + Green button on the window fills the screen without covering the dock


I have used FastScripts to assign a shortcut to this script:

    tell application "Finder" to set b to bounds of window of desktop
        tell application (path to frontmost application as text)
            set bounds of window 1 to {item 1 of b, 22, item 3 of b, item 4 of b}
        end tell
    on error
        tell application "System Events" to tell window 1 of (process 1 where it is frontmost)
                set position to {0, 22}
                set size to {item 3 of b, (item 4 of b) - 22}
            on error
                click (button 1 of window 1 where subrole is "AXZoomButton")
            end try
        end tell
    end try
end try

Changing the bounds of a window doesn't work with all applications, but using the accessibility API through System Events is slightly slower. Other applications like Slate always use the accessibility API.


In 10.0, I use Option + left click to small green plus button on top left windows


Mavericks 10.9.5 — the maximising behaviour is different according to the Appearance setting in System Preferences/General. If this is set to Graphite, the x, -, and + buttons are grey and their behaviour is unchanged by modifier keys. If it's set to Blue, then those buttons are coloured in the usual traffic-light scheme and shift+click or shift+option+click will maximise without entering full screen. Lord knows what Apple were thinking but that's how it is...


Once i used "Better Touch" in Mac to enable the maximise feature and it was successful.

All-time mac users and pc-migraters understand different things when asked "to maximise windows without going fullscreen"

This usage wish is coming from pc-usage.

Alt + "click maximise button" does not maximize the window borders to screen's every edge and snap it. it only changes the windows size big enough to show all content without needing to scroll. That's not maximising without going fullscreen.

All-time mac users do not understand the wish since they never experienced it.

i also like going full screen and snap to borders without going fullscreen like macromedia-flash or video-fullscreen fullscreen. that's something missing in Mac.

When pc-users asks for going full screen, this is what they ask > maximise window to left screen border, to screen right border, to dock upper border, to status bar bottom border. do not hide status bar, and dock


Shift + Alt click on Full Screen button


Hold Option and Shift while the application is active and click on the Green Button, top left corner.

  • How does this differ from or improve on other answers? – user151019 Mar 16 '16 at 12:13


For anyone using iTerm:

toggle maximize window: Cmd + Alt + =

  • Welcome to Stack Exchange! While that may be good advice for users of iTerm, this question is about windows in general. We generally ask that answers fully address the asker's question. – Timothy Mueller-Harder Oct 21 '15 at 23:51

I use Cinch

Which basically gives you Win 8 features plus a maximise to window (but not full screen/hide everything else).

I find this limitation in OSX effing annoying and even more annoying that I have to pay for an app to do this. I read somewhere Apple Fanboys stating that this is 'just how OSX does things so you need to adjust' sort of thing and that Apple is clever because the window just adjusts to the 'optimal screen size'. This is rubbish as pretty much all the 'optimal' sizes cause the page to show the tablet/reduced resolution page rather than the full experience webpage.

I can't believe Apple have not added this very basic and useful 'feature'. Green maximise is so awful I never use it as it takes a second delay to even get in/out of it! I thought UX/HCI (apparently Apples strong point...) was about reducing cognitive load but OSX actually increases it in many ways my experience!

One of the major niggles I have with the limitations of OSX, even Linux is better at these things!

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .