Is there a way to reopen apps that are minimized or "closed" but still running when using Cmd+Tab? For example if I close mail, then Cmd+Tab to mail, it does nothing.

The alternative is to try and remember to Cmd+H to hide a window vs. closing it, but seems odd that it appears in Cmd+Tab at all if selecting that app does nothing and you have to open it from the dock anyway.

  • 1
    I I close Mail and then cmd-tab to it it shows its menu sp does do as expected - what are you actually seeing?
    – mmmmmm
    Jun 5, 2015 at 20:47
  • The expected behaviour was to re-open the main window, which I believe it did in previous versions of OSX. I don't see a keyboard shortcut to do so. But yes, it does show Mail in the menu as it's in focus so things like Cmd+N (new message) work as expected.
    – Brian Hogg
    Jun 6, 2015 at 2:04

4 Answers 4


If you close the window and with the red X then it is closed. If you minimise the window the it should open. So try minimising it instead. Also, when you closed the window and the application still is running then there sometimes is a keyboard shortcut to reopen the window. Remember that you need to be 'focusing' on the application to be able to do keyboard shortcuts that affect that application. To see which application you are 'focusing' on is shown in the upper left corner of the screen.

EDIT: Tried this with the OS X Yosemite built-in mail.app and I was able to reopen the window of the application by pressing the key combination Alt+Cmd+N when I switched to it via Cmd+Tab. This was in tested in Yosemite, remember that it may differ with other versions of Mac OS X.

  • Doesn't look like there's a keyboard shortcut for opening the main window (that I can see) but Cmd+N opens a new message etc. Need to switch from Cmd+W (close) to Cmd+H (hide) and it'll auto open the main window again. Thanks!
    – Brian Hogg
    Jun 6, 2015 at 2:02
  • @BrianHogg I tried this with the built-in OS X mail.app and you can reopen the window by pressing alt+cmd+N. This is working in Yosemite but it may differ with your OS version if it isn't Yosemite.
    – Dempa
    Jun 6, 2015 at 7:19
  • Something to add -- I don't like minimizing my programs (adds clutter to the dock) nor do I like closing windows, because I can't invoke them quickly using Cmd+Tab. So, whenever I'm done with a program and want to hide it, I...well...hide it. Cmd+H will hide every window that program has. It's just like minimizing but it doesn't put each window in the dock. It's easy to get it back by Cmd+Tab'ing onto the program again as it will show instantly. Its just a different habbing as to hiding programs - Clicking the red x vs Cmd+H Jun 6, 2015 at 16:57
  • @SteppingHat That's a really cool feature. I didn't know about it at all. Now we can still keep the dock clean while still not closing the windows or having them visible on the screen. Brain Hogg could possibly use this or what I suggested in my previous comment to solve his issue.
    – Dempa
    Jun 6, 2015 at 17:19
  • Confirmed Alt+Cmd+N works in Yosemite and yes, Cmd+H is definitely the easier way to go! Thanks again.
    – Brian Hogg
    Jun 7, 2015 at 15:00

If you press cmd + tab, select the app (arrow or mouse) and then press 1 or arrow up it opens the window(s) in a preview style. Pretty handy if you have a app with lots of windows. You can click on the desired window to open.

This also seems to work if you have minimised the window with the green button.

Tested in Yosemite

  • This does work with minimized
    – Brian Hogg
    Jun 6, 2015 at 2:00

Press cmd+tab, repeat to select the icon of the closed application you want to activate and press left alt, while keeping cmd+tab pressed.

Not the most convenient shortcut, but for some reasons that's how it works.


This sequence restore the standard message viewer window from Mail when it has been minimized or not:

cmd ⌘+tab →|cmd ⌘+ or (release cmd ⌘)cmd ⌘+0

This receipe is Mail version dependant.

It would be much more efficient to define an application independant function which could be:

Unminimize ⇧⌘M

if you feel this might be a useful function, then make a suggestion to Apple: Apple MacOS feedback

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