Does Apple have keyboard shortcuts to switch between applications in Mission Control? (Instead of hovering over with the cursor)?

e.g., which key combination cal I press to get me from "preview" to "app store?"

Mission Control

  • 2
    Arrow keys would be useful here, though don't seem to work as expected.
    – samus
    Sep 15, 2021 at 14:43
  • 1
    Use "Application Windows" instead of "Mission Control" - yes, it will only show you the windows from one application, BUT - and this is the trick - you can use tab in this view to cycle through your applications and then select the right window using the arrow keys.
    – Valentin
    Dec 3, 2021 at 8:10
  • 3
    Due to lack of points I can't add an answer but when you enable Settings > Accessibility > (Motor) Keyboard > Check: Enable Full Keyboard Access you can cycle through the options using (shift) + tab and select the one you want with the spacebar. I'm not quite sure whether this affects normal operation in other applications though.
    – MarijnK
    Mar 7, 2022 at 15:52
  • Mission Control is the beginning of Apple going down in quality: you can't use the arrows to move among windows, but you can quicklook a window (zoom-in) with the space bar, weird. Once upon a time, you could use the keyboard in Expose. Indeed, if you Expose the current app (ctrl+arrow down), you can move from one window to another pressing the arrow keys, like in the old good times. Nov 20, 2022 at 7:22
  • @Valentin that means I have to constantly keep in mind what app has what windows. A completely unnecessary mental strain. Mar 1 at 15:39

4 Answers 4


There is no keyboard shortcut to switch between applications within Mission Control.

In System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Mission Control you can see all of the built in keyboard shortcuts available:

  • Mission Control
  • Show Notification Center
  • Turn Do Not Disturb On/Off
  • Application Windows
  • Show Desktop
  • Show Dashboard
  • Mission Control
    • Move left a space
    • Move right a space
    • Switch to Desktop n

None of which allow you to move between applications in a space.

Mission Control is designed to be used with a mouse or trackpad. If you only use the keyboard, don't activate Mission Control, instead use command + tab to switch between apps.

  • 11
    Command+tab unfortunately doesn't do the same, though. It will not switch between multiple windows from the same app, for example (it may be the only difference).
    – User
    Jun 18, 2020 at 15:34
  • 2
    you can still use <COMMAND>+<`> to switch between Windows from the same application. in US keyboards that is the key directly above the TAB (` is called backtick) Feb 10, 2021 at 16:44
  • 4
    Command + Tab shows all the minimised apps. Thats defeats the purpose of minimising them, which is to unclutter the Mission Control so that you can focus on the non-minimised apps.
    – Martin
    Aug 5, 2021 at 6:54
  • 7
    @Martin, and on top of that, cmd+tab wont restore the minimized app if selected. (but will make the current app out of focus) I recently switched from windows to mac and this thing is driving me nuts. How come people are okay with this since ~10 years and how come apple has not fixed it yet. Aug 14, 2021 at 2:36
  • 1
    "... designed to be used with a mouse or trackpad." How is that ever an argument? Any basic feature should be controllable by keyboard, that's standard accessibility. Design can't rule that out. Apr 14, 2023 at 9:59

For anyone wanting a good way to switch windows with the keyboard. I found https://contexts.co/ the best solution out there.

It's incredibly fast and allows you to select windows based on a fuzzy text search or keyboard shortcuts.

  • 2
    Contexts is awesome, but sadly doesn't allow for searching within tabs. It only searches the top-most/active tab of each window. Witch (manytricks.com/witch) is similar to Contexts. Not as fast, but it allows for searching within tabs of a window. I'm hoping Contexts will add tab searching soon (it's on their todo list), but, until then, I find Witch more useful.
    – Troy
    Oct 8, 2019 at 18:28
  • This is not what the OP asked - a mere shortcut for selecting inside Mission Control. Isn't there even an extension for it? Or can't we script it easily?
    – Martin
    Aug 5, 2021 at 6:58

I think alt-tab does what you want (and is open source).

The shortcut is alt-tab.

  • 3
    AltTab looks great, but requires Screen Recording and Accessibility permissions, which many (myself included) aren't comfortable granting.
    – yoniLavi
    Jun 16, 2023 at 11:02

Hammerspoon is a great solution to this problem. Especially being I already had been using it for years. Once you install you can use the lua code supplied in the docs to get started. https://www.hammerspoon.org/docs/hs.expose.html

Once invoked through a shortcut of your liking it assigns and displays a keycode to each of the open windows inside expose/mission control. You can set filters and customize however you'd like.

  • 1
    This looks interesting, maybe a little bit complicated for such a "simple"/should-be-minor thing the OP is asking for. Any of you have shorter instructions to use this (or anything else) to create the missing shortcut?
    – Martin
    Aug 5, 2021 at 7:03
  • @Martin you are probably right. The nice thing about hammerspoon is that it solves a range of problems related to automation as well as your custom problems. The cost is that it will take more tweaking.
    – Att Righ
    Jul 28, 2022 at 10:53

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