I can use command tab to switch between apps, and command tilde to switch between windows of the same app (for example, a regular window and an incognito window of Chrome).

However, when I full screen a window of Chrome, I lose the ability to switch between windows of the same app with command tilde. I also cannot switch back to it with command tab.

What I want is to be able to full screen all windows in all apps, and still be able to switch between apps and windows with the keyboard. How can I do this?

  • 1
    It drives me bananas that they broke cmd-tilde for fullscreen mode then pushed fullscreen functionality so hard. I'm currently: making everything fullscreen and using 3-finger lateral swiping to switch. This is not ideal as I don't want everything fullscreen, but at least it treats all windows equally, same app or different app. The one thing I miss from Windows (pre Win8) was their equal treatment of all windows when alt-tabbing. That's just simpler. Mar 2, 2015 at 15:37

4 Answers 4


A bonus method if you want to do this entirely with trackpad instead: I forgot to mention that HyperSwitch also adds this functionality into the mac's built in CMD+Tab app switcher.

enter image description here

You need to enable the setting in HyperSwitch to display window previews on the app switcher.

enter image description here

Again, using BetterTouchTool, I used a trackpad gesture to trigger the application switcher. This BetterTouchTool gesture makes the switcher stay open until you click on something, so you can switch windows entirely with trackpad.


you would need to create a new instance of the application via terminal:

In general it is simply :

open -a 'application' -n

But for Google Chrome it is:

/Applications/Google\ Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google\ Chrome --user-data-dir=my-profile-dir

that gives you the ability to switch between two windows in full screen mode that are completely seperate from each other. But i requires some sort of new user, also discussed here on SuperUser : https://superuser.com/questions/415531/how-can-i-have-multiple-browsing-sessions-in-google-chrome

And regarding the ability to switch the full screen-Apps: You know that you can switch between them with CTRL+Arrows (Left+Right = Switching Application) (Up + Down = Overview) ?

  • This doesn't work. This command just puts one of my open sessions in focus. Also, this is not always a solution since individual windows of an app are not always separate instances (I edited/simplified my question)
    – clocksmith
    Apr 17, 2014 at 20:29
  • I edited the answer, is it now working ?
    – rwenz3l
    Apr 17, 2014 at 20:34
  • 1
    It might work, but I do not know what to put for --user-data-dir=my-profile-dir. Also, this is not a scalable solution. I use several programs that I use with different windows (Sketch, Android Studio, Terminal, etc). It will not always be possible to launch new windows in this way, nor would I ever want to. Thanks for the input though.
    – clocksmith
    Apr 17, 2014 at 20:46
  • I also edited the answer regarding keyboard shortcuts, I thought you might be aware of it, but if not, try the CTRL+Arrows Solution).. That is all I know.. Switching Apps in general with CMD+TAB+Arrows | Switching the windows with CTRL+TAB | Switching in FUll Screen with CTRL+Arrows.
    – rwenz3l
    Apr 17, 2014 at 20:49
  • 1
    Also, be careful with multiple instances. Apps can generally assume they only have one instance open at a time, especially when preferences are involved—one instance might overwrite the preferences of another instance.
    – SilverWolf
    Nov 16, 2017 at 14:46

I know this post is old, but I came across it in Google when I was looking for a solution myself. Maybe someone else will look here too. I have found an answer by using the free app Hyperswitch

enter image description here

enter image description here

This engages a window switcher (fullscreen instances included) using cmd+`

It operates the same way as the normal mac cmd+tab app switcher. I also went to System Preferences--Keyboard and redefined the Mac OS "move focus to next window" command to Cmd + Shift + `

Then I tied that Cmd + Shift + ` keystroke to a trackpad gesture using BetterTouchTool. This allows me to also retain that "move focus to next window" functionality.

Here is Hyperswitch: bahoom.com/hyperswitch

Here is BetterTouchTool: www.boastr.net/downloads/


System Preferences > Trackpad > More gestures Tick App Expose Swipe down with three fingersenter image description here

  • It doesn't work in Full screen mode. I mean, if an app is in full screen mode, this gesture will not reveal app expose.
    – anki
    Sep 5, 2019 at 11:47

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