How can I prevent applications from being able to go fullscreen? Or, if this is not possible, how can I escape from fullscreen mode of a (possibly unresponsive) application, without quitting the application?

Here is the backstory for this question. I recently purchased Cave Story + on the app store, only to discover that it crashes when opened in Mavericks. Since the distributor doesn't appear interested in fixing the bug, I thought I might be able to fix it myself by tinkering with the executable. However, when I start up the application with lldb, it goes fullscreen, hits a breakpoint that I have set, and becomes unresponsive, leaving me locked out of my own computer.

  • 1
    have you tried pressing command + option and esc? It will load the force quit menu, giving you the option of quitting your application – user2277872 Feb 21 '14 at 2:27
  • @user2277872 Yes, and it doesn't work. The screen stays black. – augurar Feb 22 '14 at 21:42

It depends on how the application goes to full screen. If it is "standard" full screen that was introduced with Mavericks, moving the mouse cursor to the top of the screen should reveal the menubar with an option to "restore" the Window size.

Even if it is via another mechanism (vis special code), standard app switcher options should work. your options include:

  • Cmd + Tab - swicthes between apps
  • F3 on a standard Apple keyboard opens Mission Controls*
  • You can set up hot corners (System Preferences -> Desktop and Screensaver -> Hot Corners) to go to desktop or all windows by moving your mouse cursor to a corner of the screen to go to desktop or another app
  • Connect an additional monitor (if on a laptop)

*This is not technically F3. It is the shortcut got by pressing F3. You may have to Try Fn + F3 depending on how your heyboard is setup.

  • I don't have another monitor. The other suggestions don't work. Regarding hot corners, the mouse cursor isn't even visible on the screen. – augurar Feb 22 '14 at 21:39
  • Can you post a screenahot of your full screen Window? CMD + Shift + 3 will take a screenshot and place it on the desktop. – Nivas Feb 22 '14 at 22:53
  • It's just a black screen. Anyway, as the computer seems completely unresponsive, ⌘-Shift-3 probably won't work. – augurar Feb 25 '14 at 3:43
  • Ok. I did not realize that the computer was not responsive. In that case I don't think even a second monitor would help. You may be able to see the code hitting the breakpoint or something like that, but you may not be able to do anything. – Nivas Feb 25 '14 at 3:46
  • If I were able to switch to a terminal, everything would be fine. But with the OS apparently handing over complete control to the full-screen app, I can't interact with anything. – augurar Feb 25 '14 at 4:12

If you have it enabled a 4 finger swipe should let you get to other applications.

  • Tried this but it doesn't work. – augurar Feb 22 '14 at 21:38

You must log in to answer this question.

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