I would very much like to disable the sliding animation that occurs when switching desktops via ctrl+/ or ctrl+[number] in Lion. This was previously accomplished in previous versions with this command:

defaults write com.apple.dock workspaces-swoosh-animation-off -bool YES && killall Dock

This new animation is even more slow than in Snow Leopard - nearly 1 second to switch - a real productivity killer.

Any help greatly appreciated!

  • 29
    For me, it's not so much the time, more that to be my most productive I switch desktops like a a crazy man, I find this new animation is making me feel sick... no need for the background and ALL desktop icons to move every time is there. will post back here if I find a solution.
    – user8235
    Commented Jul 23, 2011 at 11:05
  • 10
    I agree with Rob, the animation creates the same feeling as being seasick. Just a way to make it faster or even remove that small bit of easing at the end would be good.
    – Ryan Bigg
    Commented Jul 25, 2011 at 5:43
  • 3
    Patiently waiting for spaces fix, still can't believe there isn't a solution. Absolutely loathe that animation. Commented Dec 18, 2011 at 11:23
  • 2
    If the only app you want fullscreen and not doing this happens to be iTerm, you're in luck: in the General panel of the preferences, there's a checkbox "Use Lion-style Fullscreen windows" that defaults to checked. Uncheck it and iTerm will be able to go fullscreen behind other windows.
    – alxndr
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 18:47
  • 6
    I hate you Apple. I love workspaces on any system, but I'm about to throw up. It's just messed up, really.
    – Apache
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 14:15

6 Answers 6


I posted a bug on Radar#28495374 and here is the response from Apple:

Fixed in 10.12. Go to Accessibility and Turn on Reduce Motion…

Please let us know whether the issue is resolved for you by updating your bug report.

Reduce motion in Accessibility mac os 10.12

  • 9
    This is great! I get dizzy otherwise.
    – Amelia
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 3:56
  • 4
    this should be the accepted answer.
    – Jinbom Heo
    Commented Jul 5, 2017 at 9:46
  • 105
    I wonder if we're able to get rid of the 100ms fade as well. Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 10:47
  • 43
    how to get rid of the stupid 300ms fade Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 13:31
  • 10
    That's very unfortunate. The Mac OS feature is useless with this strongly noticeable delay. That's a ridiculous amount of time and focus lost if I'm switching between desktops hundreds of times a day. The app some people are recommending also hasn't posted to their blog for over a year so not interested in trying that. xkcd.com/1205
    – Freewalker
    Commented Jul 8, 2020 at 19:05

I dug deep into the app using GDB but the results were disappointing. I don't think there is a way to do this currently. Here's what I learned:

First you can change the speed of switching into Mission Control (still called Expose in the prefs). To do that just enter this command:

defaults write com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration -int 0; killall Dock

And to go back to defaults run this command:

defaults delete com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration; killall Dock

Secondly there's a reference in the binary to fps-spaceswitch (frames per second spaceswitch). I messed with this for a while and also tried variations on this such as spaceswitch-animation-duration without luck.

Unfortunately (at least as of 10.7.1) there does not appear to be a way to change any settings related to this animation.

I filled a bug for this with Apple. The Radar number is 10073864. I would encourage you to also file the report at https://bugreport.apple.com/. Note in your description that it is a duplicate of the above bug report number to help the support staff categorize and prioritize this bug.

  • 15
    Instead of using an -int you can actually use a -float and set it to fractions. I set mine to 0.20, it is not nearly as jarring as setting it to 0 whereby it just flashes into place and sort of leaves an animation.
    – X-Istence
    Commented Sep 9, 2011 at 7:36
  • 6
    another work around is to use double-tap-jump-back to quickly switch back to the last space you were using. to enable: defaults write com.apple.dock double-tap-jump-back -bool TRUE;killall Dock From: cultofmac.com/133205/…
    – Cam
    Commented Aug 30, 2012 at 19:32
  • 4
    ...and Apple has responded wontfix: "Engineering has determined that this is not to be fixed. If you have questions regarding the resolution of this issue, please update your bug report with them. We are now closing this bug report."
    – alxndr
    Commented Oct 31, 2013 at 18:55
  • 2
    bug num 16079706 filed. Just keep filing folks, they've gotta listen one day. Commented Feb 16, 2014 at 14:15
  • 4
    is there a solution closer to 2022? this doesn't seem to work on the new M1 with macos Ventura
    – Ionel Lupu
    Commented Nov 15, 2022 at 13:36

I've just noticed that doing ctrl+[number] is noticeably faster than ctrl+/ .

It's still animated but it does complete the animation in about half the time. I'm not sure if that helps but I'll throw that out there.

  • you, sir, win the internet. thankyou so much. another note is that when using ctrl + [number] it skips other desktops in between the current one and the [number]th one.
    – jammypeach
    Commented May 22, 2012 at 15:24
  • 1
    Great, thanks. As I usually use two spaces at most, I have replaced the numbers for arrows and now it is at least faster. Commented Aug 3, 2012 at 19:08
  • 64
    unfortunately ctrl+number can't switch to fullscreen apps
    – Sparr
    Commented Aug 7, 2012 at 20:54
  • Ctrl+number works for full screen apps in 10.8.5 Note that you have to enable the Ctrl-number shortcuts in the System Preferences Keyboard panel and you can only do so for 1-4.
    – Perry
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 19:12
  • Cmd + tab is the fastest I could find for switching full-screen apps
    – user88974
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 2:12

TotalSpaces has an option to disable the animation for changing spaces:

TotalSpaces is still in beta and a bit glitchy though. There's a small delay before changing spaces, and the whole screen seems to move a few pixels horizontally during the transition. Edit: both of those have now been fixed.

  • This app sure is promising - I hope more people find it and help shake out the remaining bugs. It's a really nice power user tool and solves a hole in window management if you come from other WM to Mac.
    – bmike
    Commented May 16, 2012 at 19:29
  • This is awesome. The single row of space drove me crazy enough when lion came out that I briefly considered implementing something like this, but didn't get around to it. Here's to hoping it gets fixed in Mountain Lion but in the meantime, I'm shelling the $12 to register this app.
    – Noah
    Commented May 17, 2012 at 1:56
  • 4
    @Sparr: (At least) in 0.11.0 you can eliminate the delay via TS's preferences by unchecking Use transitions in the Transitions tab and unchecking Show notification graphic on desktop change on the General tab. @Gattster: Make sure the layout settings on the Layout tab match the actual number of desktops defined and that Navigate right to additional full screen apps is checked. For full-screen app integration with multiple desktops, use the Advanced tab. NOTE: Whenever you change the number of desktops via Mission Control, you need do make corresponding changes in TotalSpaces.
    – mklement0
    Commented Sep 11, 2012 at 2:30
  • 1
    Doesn't work anymore. Don't upgrade to Monterey. Commented Jan 12, 2022 at 13:02
  • 1
    Doesn't work with Ventura 13+ Commented Jan 18, 2023 at 11:53

I noticed that it is possible to control the speed of the space-change animation when you use the Swipe gesture in OS X Lion. You can make the spaces change as fast, if not faster, than they did in Snow Leopard by doing a quick three-finger or four-finger swipe to the left or the right. Of course, it's definitely something to get accostomed to if you've always used +/.

This did get me thinking. Since it seems that changing spaces via arrow keys, number keys, and gestures all perform the same type of animation, there is likely a single system command that all three of these actions map to. Additionally, since they all perform the animation at a different speed, there must be a parameter that controls the animation speed. I'm not an OS X developer, so hopefully someone else with a better knowledge of the underlying functionality of OS X would be able to determine what system commands are actually running when the user performs a certain action.

  • 4
    The finger swipe actually is faster when you swipe faster. It goes the same speed of your hand for the most part. Obviously this is an Apple knows best kind of decision - it feels natural until you use it for a long time and get sea sick!
    – ktamlyn
    Commented May 27, 2013 at 13:06
  • 1
    Frustratingly, it seems that Monterey made the threshold of what counts as this "fast" swipe a lot stricter compared to Big Sur. I have to basically throw my whole arm into it if I want it to work now.
    – 2rs2ts
    Commented May 10, 2022 at 21:23
  • 1
    For me it's not the speed of the swipe, it's the time-to-interactive that's the issue. Once I've animated the swipe, I'm still waiting for a second for the end 'ease' compulsory part of the animation, before the content of the desktop / windows becomes interactive, and it's infuriating! Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 10:20

Rather than using Spaces, I have found that switching among non-fullscreen apps using the Alfred app is 'instant'. I create a key binding using shift+ctrl plus a letter for each app (e.g. e for Excel, w for Word, etc.). I have been doing this for years and the experience is truly instant.

If you put the apps in fullscreen mode, you still get the animation, so you still need to do Accessibility->Reduce Motion. In that case the app switching with Alfred is faster than using ctrl->arrow, but not as instant as it is if you avoid fullscreen.

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