macOS Sierra 10.12.5 (16F2073)

On my Mac whenever any application (chrome, spotify, slack, etc...) enters full screen mode I cannot exit or interact with the application in any way.

  • option+F11 does not result in any change
  • option+F10 does not result in any change
  • option+F9 does not result in any change
  • option+F8 does not result in any change
  • command+F does not result in any change
  • command+shift+F does not result in any change
  • command+control+F does not result in any change
  • Mousing to the very top of the entire monitor reveals a menu bar which does not respond to being clicked
  • Window control buttons (red, yellow, green - top left corner of the window) do not respond to being clicked.
  • command+W does not result in the window closing
  • If an application supports multiple windows (eg: chrome may have multiple windows with tabs inside of them), I can move the window around but I cannot interact with anything regarding the application (all of the above also applies to this sort of window).

I can only close the application via things like pkill -9 '<process-name>' at the command line.

My question:- How can I troubleshoot this further as I'd love to be able to use full screen mode.

  • 1
    Ctrl-h do anything? (Longshot and not sure that's a long term solution, but maybe?)
    – A.fm.
    Jul 26, 2017 at 21:20
  • 1
    What happens if you press the ESC key?
    – Monomeeth
    Jul 26, 2017 at 23:07
  • Nothing happens for either of those combinations.
    – Incognito
    Jul 31, 2017 at 3:06
  • @Incognito Okay, good to know. Have you had a chance to test your Mac in Safe Mode?
    – Monomeeth
    Jul 31, 2017 at 12:12

1 Answer 1


Troubleshooting is a process of elimination and often requires patience.

The first thing I would do is to test whether this behaviour is replicated in Safe Mode.

Boot into Safe Mode

Follow these steps to boot your Mac into Safe Mode:

  1. Fully shut down your Mac
  2. Restart your Mac
  3. Immediately press the Shift key and keep it down
  4. Let go of the Shift key when you see the login window (NOTE: If you have FileVault enabled you may need to log in twice).
  5. Take a note of what happens (i.e. is the issue still present, etc)
  6. Now exit Safe Mode by restarting your Mac as normal
  7. Once logged in again, test to see whether the behaviour continues

When you're finished let me know how you went and we'll go from there.

If you find that you don't have the problem in Safe Mode, but still do after logging in normally again, then it's time to investigate login items, fonts, and kernel extensions

Investigating login items, fonts, and kernel extensions

Let's start with Login Items:

  1. Startup normally
  2. Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups
  3. Select the Login Items tab
  4. Take a note of your Login Items
  5. Now remove all of them by highlighting them and clicking on the - button below
  6. Restart your computer

Now your Mac will boot up without those login items loading. Test this and see if the problem persists:

  • If the problem goes away you know one (or more) of the Login items were causing the problem. You can then add them back in one by one until you've identified the culprit. Problem solved.
  • If the problem does persist, it's either a problem with fonts you've installed yourself or with a 3rd party kernel extension. A little more info below:

Fonts:- You can remove any of the fonts you've installed yourself to see if this makes a difference.

Kernel Extensions:- You can open Terminal (found within your Utilites folder) and enter the following command:

kextstat | grep -v com.apple

The above command will list 3rd party kernel extensions (you may need to stretch the Terminal window so it's easier to read). Look for anything you don't remember installing, or something that belongs to software you've removed, or just anything that looks out of place. Remember though, this is a list of 3rd party kernel extensions and therefore any of them could be causing the problem.

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