126

There is a question that deals with the different behaviour of the fullscreen button in the window bar. There, it is shown that by doing:

+ + Click on green or outer right icon (plus icon)

I can maximize a window in both width and height to the current screen.

Now I am wondering if I can make this behaviour standard just by clicking the icon. For an extra bonus, I wonder if there is a keyboard shortcut to achieve the same thing.

  • 1
    I wonder this as well... as of yet I've not found a way to do this. – Michael Oct 20 '14 at 17:37
  • 7
    Just a heads up, Alt + Click does the equivalent of your Alt + Shift + Click so think the Shift key doesn't need to be pressed? – Jai Govindani Nov 1 '14 at 15:53
  • 7
    @JaiGovindani It's true that not all application behave the same. For most, it seems Alt + Click is enough; yet there are some exception like Google Chrome. There, Alt Click only expands in height but not in width. – k0pernikus Nov 2 '14 at 13:19
  • 1
    Apple made a bad choice (a long time ago) that really needs to be rectified. Maybe they figure everyone wants to use the kybd and work within conceptual "spaces" (on full screen apps?) but then, why not add a shortcut for full screen/ minimize and moreover, why not just bring back spaces? Now we pretty much have to CMD+TAB to switch between apps. and there's no accessible option for maximizing the window or even going to full screen unless we download some questionable third party app. smh. – Shanimal Sep 19 '18 at 17:19
  • In Mac OS Sierra you can also double click on the window corner(s) to automatically expand them to maximum size, I hope this helps. – Kubuntuer82 Jan 21 at 14:40

10 Answers 10

47

Use spectacle, a free open source app that has a bunch of handy window management shortcuts.

While it doesn't change the default behavior of the green button, it makes it superfluous for me to do so as I can do everything using keyboard shortcuts without using the mouse.

For full screen, press:

cmd + option + F

It also has a bunch of options for 1/2 screen, 1/3 screen, top half, bottom half, etc.

List of all the available options for spectacle to modify the windows

  • 2
    Nice find. Spectacle makes me especially happy for also providing the split or snap window feature known from Windows 7. – k0pernikus Nov 2 '14 at 13:30
  • 1
    Nice find indeed, but sadly "Full Screen" maximizes the window like Microsoft Windows would: using almost all screen estate, not using an optimized width and height. (It's indeed what the question asker wanted, and still better than OS X full screen. But I don't want my browsers to use the full screen width; I like the Option-click behavior of the zoom-icon much better, which makes sane applications choose a width that is optimal for its current content. But @k0pernikus is right: the split and snap features are nice.) – Arjan Nov 29 '14 at 11:06
  • 2
    But it doesn't change the green button behaviour (like RightZoom did before Yosemite), right? – chesterbr Jan 30 '15 at 15:31
  • 1
    And the Mac does a lot of things out of the box that Windows needs 3rd parts apps for. They are different. – Gray Sep 8 '15 at 20:57
  • 1
    I've managed to speed up Spectacle use by making full screen Ctrl-Opt-Cmd-Up (otherwise unused). This means not you don't have to do any awkward reaching when using the otherwise excellent keyboard shortcuts (left-half, right-half, second-monitor, top-half, bottom-half). – Foliovision May 31 '16 at 2:15
51

I found that BetterTouchTool solves this problem nicely (Note: BetterTouchTool is no longer free, the trial expires after 45 days). The Preferences aren't quite intuitive:

  • Select "Other" category at the top of the window.
  • Make sure that "Global" is selected at the left side.
  • Click "Configure New Trigger" button in the bottom part of the window.
  • Select "Leftclick Green Window Button" as trigger.
  • Select "Zoom Window Below Cursor" as predefined action.
  • Enjoy!

screenshot

BetterTouchTool also allows defining a keyboard shortcut for this action (under "Keyboard"). However, the action will still be "Zoom Window Below Cursor" then - it will zoom whichever window your mouse cursor happens to be on, not the currently active window. So this isn't as helpful as it could be unfortunately.

  • 3
    I'm sure I would not have found this setting without your help. And indeed this perfectly restores the pre-Yosemite behavior. (So: for sane applications not boldly maximizing both height and width, but zooming to the best fit. Like for Chrome, often: maximum height and some optimal width that does not use my full screen). Nice find. Annoying full screen be gone! :-) – Arjan Nov 29 '14 at 11:18
  • 4
    Thanks very much. This helped me a lot. However if you want to maximize the screen, the action "Maximize Window" instead of "Zoom Window Below Cursor" might be a better choice. – userM1433372 Jan 23 '15 at 7:26
  • It's better to tie it to "Option+Click" instead. – Grocery Feb 5 '15 at 18:10
  • @Grocery: Sure, if you use both functions - that's not what was asked in this question however ;) – Wladimir Palant Feb 5 '15 at 18:35
  • 1
    Ah! That's better. – Jasper Blues Aug 26 '15 at 5:44
18

You can go to System Preferences -> Dock uncheck "Double-click a window's title bar to minimize" and then, when you double click on the title bar in a window, it will maximize the window without going into full screen mode.

I find it easier than having to hold down the option key and clicking on the green button.

  • 6
    Doesn't actually maximize in the windows sense. It just resizes to a different annoying size. Damn apple. – benvolioT Apr 13 '15 at 17:29
  • It depends on the app. For most apps, it works just fine. For Chrome and Safari it doesn't maximize, unless you hold down shift! – nevster Oct 20 '16 at 3:08
  • @benvolioT use alt/option + shift and click on green button. quite annoying but does what your expect. – srikanth Nutigattu Jan 25 '17 at 4:21
  • 1
    It's not a question of which app, but of scrollbars. If the window has an horizontal scrollbar, it will stretch horizontally on double click as well. Quite useless in the age of responsive sites. – Domino Mar 15 '17 at 14:46
  • ??? On High Sierra, this makes it worse. None of my windows maximize anymore, not even with option click. :( – Shanimal Sep 19 '18 at 17:00
12

I tried searching for hidden preference keys from the output of mdfind kMDItemContentType=public.unix-executable -onlyin /System|xargs strings 2>/dev/null|grep -E '^[a-zA-Z0-9.-]{10,80}$'|awk '!a[$0]++', but I couldn't find anything.

You can assign a shortcut for the Zoom menu item from System Preferences:

  • 1
    Not a bad approach, but it doesn't work for all applications - some don't have a Zoom menu item (Colloquy for example). Also, if the application uses this shortcut for something else you are out of luck, so you better use one that is really unique. – Wladimir Palant Nov 20 '14 at 19:35
  • This is a clean way to do it. – CousinCocaine May 28 '15 at 13:15
  • Sadly it is not (@Wkadunur Oakant explais why) and I am starting to think there is no clean way of doing that. Actually there is no way of doing it, not only the clean one – Srneczek Sep 18 '15 at 9:35
2

The question "How do you maximize windows?" was asked here, and user Am1rr3za offered the following, which will allow to you to override the default behavior of the maximize button to automatically maximize the window in both width and height:

Download and use RightZoom. It overrides your green plus (zoom) button and works like Windows maximize. You can add it to your login items in your user account to run every time you start OS X.

This software is free and it allows for custom key-bindings!

As for having to use Option + Shift + Left-Click to use the maximize feature:

I have noticed that in order to have a screen maximized within the viewport without actually entering "full screen/no distractions" mode in Yosemite, I only need to hold the Option key and left-click the maximize button, and that's worked for everything I use on a daily basis: Finder, Chrome, Transmit, SublimeText 3, WebStorm, Outlook, iTerm 2, and even Photoshop CS5(which seems to give me some issues with sizing on my Mac). I don't think you need to hold the Shift key to achieve the screen maximization you're looking for!

  • 3
    I have tried this app and it does not work as stated in the grey box. – Mike Kormendy Oct 25 '14 at 17:30
  • 3
    Fair warning about RightZoom, it's developer also makes key loggers, personally I wouldn't run software from a source like that.. – Chris Nov 3 '14 at 13:09
  • 1
    As for the app itself, it doesn't work for me either. – Nit Nov 4 '14 at 17:23
  • 1
    It was a nifty little app, but doesn't work with Yosemite... – PatrickT Mar 20 '15 at 16:07
  • 1
    I must warn against RightZoom as it created massive issues in an admittedly old installer and waste a lot of time finding the cause. The only reason for this is is most likely RightZoom hacks the system enough to cause issues. This was the last time I installed any haxies. Better to edit the system yourself and that is easier to remember. – MiB Mar 17 '16 at 13:38
2

In System Preferences --> Dock: uncheck the option "Double-click a window's title bar to minimize". When you double-click the title bar, it maximizes the window without entering full screen mode.

  • Works for some programs, not others. But this is the best answer I've seen as it doesn't require additional programs. – Scott Biggs Jun 8 '15 at 17:31
1

The behaviour of this green button can be changed using a tiny accessibility add-on. Follow the instructions at http://osxdaily.com/2015/03/11/change-the-green-button-maximize-behavior-in-os-x-yosemite-with-bettertouchtool/

Basically, this application (once installed and authorized) with let you enhance the UI of OS X by allowing you to define new behaviours and modify existing ones. This adds for instance the window snapping capability to the Finder and also lets you define new gestures for the Magic Mouse and the Trackpad.

There is one little thing to know though, once you will modify the behaviour of the green button of the OS X window, this will not change the appearance of that button to make it look like a plus (+) instead of a fullscreen icon.

It allows also specifying modifier keys for mouse related action (ex. cmd + left click, ...)

  • As an additional information, the recent version of OSX does give the possibility to press Option + Full-Screen to maximize the size of the window without going Full Screen. – Abdoulaye Siby Dec 7 '17 at 6:53
1

ShiftIt is a free app that does a similar job to some of the others mentioned here: Cmd+Alt+Ctrl+F gives you full-screen. It also does quarter screen, center, and move to next screen if you have multiple monitors. It requires XQuartz which does rather dwarf its <1Mb download. Hadn't come across Spectacle before; it may offer a more complete feature set.

To address another issue mentioned: the accessibility options are under Preferences/Security and Privacy/Accessibility, not the top-level accessibility.

0

Better Touch Tool appears to be the easiest way to fix this. The newest version of it allows rebinding of the green button.

Glazblog has a nice article on setting this up.

I also got it to work with RightZoom

Some more details are at Packetmonger Blog

-3

Hi not sure if I've misread the OP - but in Yosemite, to enter full screen mode you just click the green icon at the top left of the open window to make it full screen and click it again to reduce back to original size - as in cough Windows

  • 4
    You have misread the OP. OP wishes to change the green button to act like it did pre-Yosemite. – Grant Birchmeier Nov 24 '14 at 20:44

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