I am new to Mac OS (2014 Macbook Air). I am looking at the arrow on top right corner of windows, when I click it, it maximizes window over the top menu and in order to switch back I need to hold mouse in top right corner in order for menu to appear and the button with arrows appears again to [kind of] minimize back as it was.

Is there a shortcut key to switch between these modes ? I could only find the Command+M shortcut which completely minimizes the window.

5 Answers 5


The button in the top right of each window is not for minimizing and maximizing the window, but for putting it in and out of fullscreen mode (which is why it covers the menu bar, as you said).

The keyboard shortcut to toggle fullscreen depends on the application.

Most applications that I use on a daily basis (such as Google Chrome, Terminal, Mail, and Safari) use ^++F (Control+Cmd+F) to toggle fullscreen mode.

Unfortunately, not all developers use this shortcut in their applications. iTerm, for example, uses +Enter to toggle fullscreen mode. If the application you refer to does not use either of these shortcuts, you should look for the fullscreen option in the View menu or by searching for "fullscreen" in the Help menu.

  • 5
    if there isn't a Shortcut to Fullscreen on an Application but the Application has a Menu Entry for it. Then you can add it your self via System Preferences. if you don't know how there are many howtos and tutorials in the internet. if your to lazy to search by yourself have a look here lifehacker.com/343328/…
    – konqui
    Jul 9, 2014 at 5:36
  • Good call, @konqui. I didn't want to delve into how to create custom shortcuts because most applications provide a shortcut for the menu item. You are correct, though - users who find themselves without the keyboard shortcut can definitely create their own.
    – aglasser
    Jul 9, 2014 at 14:10
  • 1
    Thanks, I used a lot of keyboard shortcut on Windows and now I need to get used to the Mac ones.
    – adrianTNT
    Jul 9, 2014 at 16:29
  • Glad that I could help!
    – aglasser
    Jul 9, 2014 at 16:32
  • Thanks for the iterm reference. That's actually why I came here!
    – O.rka
    Aug 22, 2016 at 17:47

Try Fn+F, sometimes shown as 🌐F

2022 Update: The default shortcut in MacOS (I believe since MacOS 11 "Big Sur") is now Fn+F which "out of the box" seems to work for most applications (at least on my MacBook / Apple Keyboard).

The details described below though can still be helpful if you have applications that are not honoring the Fn+F shortcut or you want to change it to something else, like CMD+CTRL+F

This is very possible.

I did the following and chose CMD+CTRL+F as a shortcut and worked on OSx 10.8 and upwards.

  1. Open System Preferences and click on the”Keyboard” icon Select the “Keyboard Shortcuts” tab and choose ‘Application Shortcuts’ from the list on the left

  2. Click on the + icon to add a new keyboard shortcut for all applications and type the following exactly:

    Enter Full Screen (This is the label as shown in the menu of the application)

  3. Now you need to assign it a keyboard shortcut, I chose Command+Control+F because it's the same as the general default that correctly mentioned

  4. Click “Add” and then click on the + icon again, this time typing:

Exit Full Screen

Choose the same keyboard shortcut as you chose before which in effect creates a toggle, and click onto “Add” again

  1. Lastly click on the + icon again, this time typing:

    Toggle Full Screen

    Again, assign the same key combination of Command+Control+F

    As you rightly said, applications like iTerm use this menu option, rather than Enter/Exit Full screen, but assigning to the same key makes it somewhat universal.

    If you find an application that has full screen and isn't covered by the above shortcuts, add the menu item as above for that Application and again assign to the same short-cut key and all should be good. Screen Shot

  • Thanks. This is very tedious if you're on a different language, so you have to provide the translated versions and english, since not all applications have localised strings.
    – Erik
    Jul 21, 2017 at 6:58
  • Thanks, this works for me however I find command+return is more convenient shortcut. Aug 24, 2019 at 12:18
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    Thanks, this was a lot more helpful than the accepted answer since there are many apps that don't have CMD+CTRL+F built in!
    – LemonPi
    Feb 7, 2020 at 7:33
  • I have cmd+ctrl+f to toggle full-screen predefined on Mac mini M1 with Monterey, so it just works. Should I write an own answer or would you add it to your answer which I think is better because you already have good votes.
    – Timo
    Mar 25, 2022 at 16:30
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    @Timo Fn+F "just works" these days too - Even shorter answer, so I updated it. (Thanks for the suggestion) Mar 26, 2022 at 18:29

Take 3 fingers and swipe across your trackpad from left to right.

That will get you back to the desktop real quick..not minimize the window completely. it accomplishes the same thing though and i prefer this method better cuz you can get back and forth from page by just a swipe back and forth..

  • Please edit your answer instead of adding a follow up in a new answer
    – klanomath
    Dec 18, 2014 at 13:24

Mine is set to fn+F1 to toggle fullscreen on/off. I can't remember if I set it as this, or if my mac came with it set as this. I have a Macbook Pro 13" Retina with Mavericks.


Restarting my Mac helped for me, I could spend hours trying to solve this :)

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