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!

  • 22
    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 Jul 23 '11 at 11:05
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    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 Jul 25 '11 at 5:43
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    I added a small bounty in the hopes for someone to put in some effort of actually trying to find a method to do this, simple google fu just won't cut it. – tstm Aug 16 '11 at 12:43
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    Patiently waiting for spaces fix, still can't believe there isn't a solution. Absolutely loathe that animation. – Gavin Gilmour Dec 18 '11 at 11:23
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    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 Nov 12 '13 at 18:47

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

  • 6
    This is great! I get dizzy otherwise. – Ashe Oct 12 '16 at 3:56
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    Does this switch instantly? – Lenar Hoyt Dec 8 '16 at 22:21
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    @LenarHoyt Yes :) (there is a bit of fading / loading for like 100ms maybe) – Dorian Dec 9 '16 at 1:32
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    this should be the accepted answer. – Jinbom Heo Jul 5 '17 at 9:46
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    I wonder if we're able to get rid of the 100ms fade as well. – Cosmin Pascu Jun 20 '18 at 10:47

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.

  • 12
    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 Sep 9 '11 at 7:36
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    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 Aug 30 '12 at 19:32
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    bug #15348128 filed – alxndr Oct 30 '13 at 2:17
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    ...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 Oct 31 '13 at 18:55
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    bug num 16079706 filed. Just keep filing folks, they've gotta listen one day. – Patrick J Collins Feb 16 '14 at 14:15

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 May 22 '12 at 15:24
  • Great, thanks. As I usually use two spaces at most, I have replaced the numbers for arrows and now it is at least faster. – Harold Cavendish Aug 3 '12 at 19:08
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    unfortunately ctrl+number can't switch to fullscreen apps – Sparr Aug 7 '12 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 Feb 5 '14 at 19:12
  • Cmd + tab is the fastest I could find for switching full-screen apps – Ryan Little Jan 15 '16 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 May 16 '12 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 May 17 '12 at 1:56
  • The delay before reacting to a keypress is a deal breaker for me, but I'll be watching this app for better performance in the future. – Sparr Jul 24 '12 at 19:55
  • I tried totalspaces. It works really well, when it works. It seems to get confused when I add/remove spaces, and it won't ctrl-rightarrow properly through all the spaces/fullscreen apps. – Gattster Aug 9 '12 at 1:37
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    @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 Sep 11 '12 at 2:30

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.

  • 3
    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 May 27 '13 at 13:06

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