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In Mac OS X El Capitan, is there a shortcut to move full screen apps between monitors?

My current method is first bringing the app out of full screen mode, then drag it to the second monitor and then maximize it again.

I wish there was a shortcut to just move it from monitor 1 to monitor 2.

edit: I'm not talking about moving between workspaces on a single monitor... I am talking about 2 monitors.

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6 Answers 6

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You can use Mission Control (formerly known as Exposé) to move full screen apps across monitors. Mission Control initially shows lists of workspaces across the top of all monitors, and when you move the mouse cursor up into that area they change into thumbnails. If you drag one of the thumbnails from one monitor to another, the workspace corresponding to that thumbnail moves to that monitor. A thumbnail for a primary desktop can be rearranged within its own monitor, but it can't be dragged to another monitor.

To clarify what I mean by primary desktop, each monitor initially has a workspace without full screen applications, and additional workspaces for full screen applications (which, in El Capitan, can contain one or two applications apiece). What I'm calling a primary desktop is that initial workspace. The + in the upper right corner of each monitor while Mission Control is active can create a new desktop, and a desktop created that way can be moved across monitors, but the desktop which was not created that way remains on its own monitor.

Keyboard shortcuts and trackpad gestures are available for Mission Control.

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  • To clarify, you say that desktops cannot be moved between monitors. Isn't each full-screen app given its own desktop, though?
    – tubedogg
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 15:48
  • By desktop I mean a workspace which does not consist of one or more full screen apps. Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 15:54
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In case you wanted to do so with your keyboard only, expanding @Fralec's answer:

I use Spectacle (as of 2021, no longer being maintained) as well, and the following sequence does the job:

  1. Cmd+Alt+F - Exit from full screen on current monitor

  2. Shift+Cmd+Alt+/ - Move to next screen

  3. Cmd+Alt+F - Enter full screen on the next monitor

Hope that does the trick for you :)

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  • 1
    Rectangle is actively maintained and has Spectacle's functionality rectangleapp.com
    – Max Ghenis
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 3:39
  • Here is an explanation of why those three shortcuts can't be combined automatically: github.com/rxhanson/Rectangle/issues/16
    – Domi W
    Commented Feb 16, 2022 at 6:53
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    It's ridiculous how bad the window management in MacOS is. Ubuntu has done it better for years, and its free. Windows does it better. Apple, with its trillion-dollar valuation, still can't seem to figure it out and its customers have to rely on third-party apps for basic functionality.
    – Matt West
    Commented Apr 18, 2022 at 3:37
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You can use BetterTouchTool to configure a keyboard command triggering a two-step action, which first moves your application to the next monitor, and then makes it fullscreen.

To switch the fullscreen app back to the first screen, just press the keyboard command twice and it will move over.

enter image description here

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  • I was trying to get this set up, however, it seems that my "move window to next monitor" doesn't work. Tried "center window on next monitor" "maximize window on next monitor" but to no avail. Any ideas?
    – jan
    Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 5:01
  • Maybe "move window to next monitor" works only if the window is minimized first? @jan
    – Ambareesh
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 18:22
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Many Tricks Moom seems to have this functionality also. I just found out about that $10 app today (I've been using the mentioned Spectacle for the task, however, Moom also has a feature to re-arrange windows to chosen locations, etc.)

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I use a free app called Spectacle to manage my windows.

If you hold Shift+Alt++ or , you can easily move your window from one monitor to another.

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  • 6
    does not work in full screen mode. works when a window is not in full screen mode.. Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 14:29
  • Spectacle is no longer maintained, but Rectangle is and has similar functionality rectangleapp.com
    – Max Ghenis
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 3:39
  • Also see here for an explanation why it is not possible: github.com/rxhanson/Rectangle/issues/16
    – Domi W
    Commented Feb 16, 2022 at 6:53
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Its simple 3 steps:

  1. Let's get the title first

    Open the Finder, select Window then the complete title Move to UE......

Screenshot of the Finder's Window menu with the 'Move to...' monitor selected

  1. Now Create a Shortcut in System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > App Shortcuts

    Add a shortcut as I have added in the image for All Applications and the shortcut keys you prefer.

Screenshot of the Keyboard System Preferences' Shortcut tab

  1. You are done. Use it, add more
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    OP said "full screen" app. This option is greyed out in full screen
    – Sam
    Commented Apr 22, 2023 at 1:51

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