I've recently transitioned to using OSX after using windows/linux for the last 14 years. Few things I like, few things I can't come to terms with. The biggest gripe is active window management on OSX.

Scenario : 2 windows open side by side. Say one of them is a chat. Another is a turn based card game.

Action : Click on a control object of the passive window

In Windows, 2 things happen seamlessly. The window becomes active AND the control gets activated.

In OSX, with the same action, the window becomes active sometimes (depends on which application's window it is). Sometimes it doesn't get activated until you click on that windows titlebar (Happens a lot with the mail app). And then, only after it is activated, I can interact with anything inside that window.

This behaviour pisses me off. This, combined with the fact that there is no window snap available by default. (I installed BTT for this. Works well) I am ready to unlearn the way I handle windows in Windows if OSX provides a more efficient way of working on 2 applications at the same time. Anybody ?

I have a 15 inch retina macbook pro with OSX 10.10.5

  • With the keyboard 'CMB + TAB' or with the pad '4 fingers on the (right / left)' ?
    – StrawHara
    Sep 28, 2015 at 7:26
  • Read my question completely. I am not asking to switch between windows that are otherwise not visible. Both the windows are completely visible. I just need to be able to multitask with them without having to activate one before using it.
    – Proteen
    Sep 28, 2015 at 7:35
  • On apps that I am using this does not seem to happen. What apps are you trying it on?
    – Joop
    Sep 28, 2015 at 7:39
  • Ohhh, what is your chat app ? Did you tried with some others one ? From my point of view your chat app, simply don't use multitasking...
    – StrawHara
    Sep 28, 2015 at 7:40
  • Happening With Google Chrome, Mail, Finder, Calender, System preferences, Quicktime. I am sure its not app specific, I wish I could record my screen to explain my annoyance. Mail is the biggest culprit. Its not in the same league as the other osx apps. Its very laggy. So having this problem + lag is even worse. @Joop Do you mean to say that you can click on a button in the inactive window and it clicks on the first go ??
    – Proteen
    Sep 28, 2015 at 7:43

1 Answer 1


There are ways to enable "focus follows mouse" discussed here: How can I make focus follow the mouse cursor?, but that might be more than you want...

Otherwise I second MrMojoRisin, get used to cmd+tab or 4 finger swipe (you need BetterTouchTool on Yosemite to bring this last one back).

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