Sometimes I have a fullscreen app open , say safari. Then I want to switch to Terminal app thats open on the desktop( along with other apps like preview etc). When I cmd tab from safari to terminal , the PREVIEW app comes to focus , and its window comes on top.

I am using macOS sierra 12.1

Any tips on how to fix this ?

  • No idea how to fix this, but I've been dealing with this every day since Sierra. Handily, macos sets the application you wanted to go to as the default if you cmd+tab quick again...but it sure is a crappy workaround.
    – voxobscuro
    Jan 9, 2017 at 22:27
  • This is still a problem to this day. You can go to one of the paid apps that handle window switching, such as Witch and Contexts, but there's no guarantee that the developers won't stop updating them tomorrow, or that they will even fix bugs today. Mar 23, 2019 at 10:14

2 Answers 2


Force quit Preview, since it has a bad habit of running in the background, like text edit and others. Only Terminal, Finder and Safari should only be seen with cmd+tab pressed in full screen view....good luck

  • this is not really a solution , is it ? also , i think its okay to run a few apps in the background Dec 4, 2016 at 19:29
  • I agree Harvey, not a solution, just a plausible alternative quick fix...
    – Patrick
    Dec 6, 2016 at 15:21
  • It's not specifically a problem with Preview. It happens with any app, even Finder with no windows open, so even if you're switching between two non-Finder applications, it will still switch to the desktop every once in a while. Mar 23, 2019 at 10:14

Probably not in fullscreen.

  • To access fullscreen mode press ^ Control⌘ CommandF.
  • Alternatively you can use multiple desktop-windows to control your apps. Now using ⌘ Command⇨Tab will not only switch Tabs but also the Desktop for you.

Also ⌘ Command⇨Tab is not able to open apps, that are minimized to the dock.

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