So, this is a small and very annoying gripe I have with Yosemite: Whenever I close a window, say a Chrome window, it automatically switches focus to the next open Chrome window, regardless of the last active window I was in before closing the Chrome window. So if for example I'm closing a window in the background, I completely lose focus of where I was before.

Any way to rectify this annoyance?

  • Just to clarify - when saying 'window' you mean any application windows or Chrome tabs? Dec 30, 2014 at 8:43
  • 1
    I mean any application window. This is not a chrome specific behaviour
    – eladidan
    Dec 30, 2014 at 8:55
  • I think the response here misses the mark, and I am having the same issue. Maybe to illustrate it a little differently: - I am in chrome - I switch focus to one of many excel windows I have open, but not active - I close the excel window in focus. - Instead of switching back to chrome (the last app I used before excel), it switches to any other open excel window (even if it's minimized or on a different desktop). Very annoying. Please let me know if anyone has an answer to not automatically open a window of a same application when the window in focus is closed.
    – James W.
    Jan 12, 2017 at 18:42

2 Answers 2


macOS is an application-centric model (by most recently used), whilst Windows uses a window-centric model (by z-order).

Read more: https://www.isotoma.com/blog/2010/05/10/solving-the-real-alt-tab-problem/

You can use a number of third-party apps to make macOS use a window-centric model, see the answers to this question for some examples.


I may not understand your issue, but you can close any application even if (in coding terminology) it is not the 'frontmost application', just like you can scroll any window without it being the active window.

For example I have Safari open and that's what i'm currently active with and working in. I want to close iMove while retaining Safari as the frontmost application. You simply just click on the x button of iMovie without even making it an active application, it will close the window NOT QUIT the application.

So, in the scope of your question, if we go back to my example of using Safari, and i have two windows or tabs open and I use the keyboard shortcut command + w or otherwise to close the most active window, because the Application is the frontmost application it will automatically go to the next window of that application to retain intuitive workflow that apple so much loves.

I can't duplicate your error, so it must be a user-end issue. Chrome can't tell your OS how to operate, it can just navigate it's resources.

How are you closing it is the question? Keyboard Shortcut? Clicking the x without making it active? Additionally, where are you closing it could cause the problem, if your closing a full screen window then again, it's automatically going to go to the next most forefront window of that application since its the most active application. Also make sure that you have no hotkeys set to do what your explaining because as far as I know, this is an out-of-the-box feature. It should happen automatically.

Does this video describe your issue?:

Video Link

  • 1
    That's not the issue I'm describing. I'm talking about how OS X switches focus when I close windows. Let's say my active window is Preview, and I want to close a chrome window in the background. I then click the red X on the chrome window and it does close (momentarily switching focus to the chrome window), what I'd expect is for the focus to shift back to the Preview window, but that's not what happens. What actually happens is that it switches to the next open chrome window (as if I pressed ⌘ + ~ from the chrome window).
    – eladidan
    Dec 30, 2014 at 8:54
  • 1
    @eladidan Again, thats my concern. I understand your question clearly. But what I pointed out, regardless if Preview is your active application or window and you scroll on another window or application that is not preview, scrolling still works. Thats the same process from closing windows and applications. If preview is your active application and all you do is close the chrome window by clicking the x button then you in fact have not lost Preview as the active application. It still is the application.
    – soulshined
    Dec 30, 2014 at 9:03
  • @eladidan There really is no System Preferences setting to switch off for this if your manually clicking and not using hot keys or keyboard shortcuts. I have posted a link to a video to what I think your describing as an issue in my question. If that isn't happening because it's a normal operating procedure out of the box, then a setting somewhere has been altered.
    – soulshined
    Dec 30, 2014 at 9:12

You must log in to answer this question.

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