In OS X Mavericks, when you press ⌘ + Tab, the App switcher shows up. I use this all the time. However, I also use 3 displays, and the App Switcher seems to be less than intuitive.

Apparently the App Switcher is closely tied to the Dock. Whichever display the Dock appears on is where the App Switcher will appear on.

I am aware you can either lock the dock to your "Main" screen, or move it around by hovering at the bottom of the screen. But why would I want to hover at the bottom to see the dock, THEN ⌘ + Tab...

What would seem intuitive to me is one of 2 things:

  1. App Switcher appears on ALL displays at once.
  2. App Switcher appears where your focus is. A few options here: where your mouse is, where the "in focus" window is, or where you last typed...

Is there a plugin or something to change this behavior?

1 Answer 1



OS X has two modes, depending on whether you adjusted the 'Displays have separate Spaces' in System Preferences > Mission Control.

In the default (enabled) mode you'll find that which ever screen has focus (i.e the front window is on that screen and you can type into it) will have the app switcher. This is indicated by the fact the Menu Bar at the top is sold rather than translucent.

In the disabled mode you'll find which ever screen is allocated as the primary display in System Preferences > Displays > Arrangement will have all of the OS related GUI on it, i.e. the Menu Bar, Dock, and other system level interactions will only show on that screen.


You can change your application switcher with Witch to allow more Windows like window switching rather than application switching. Maybe this would be more intuitive to you, alternatively try using mission control F3 which shows you all the applications on each screen on the screen they are on.

  • 1
    I wish your comment about "default (enabled)" mode were true. If the Task Switcher would appear on the display that has focus, that would be intuitive. It does not. It appears on the screen that has the Dock. The Dock only moves when you hover at the bottom of a display.
    – Dustin
    Jul 16, 2015 at 14:24

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