I find myself often struggling to simply switch between open applications with shortcut (CMD + TAB). Sometimes the programs appear in the icons list to switch to (what appears when pressing CMD + TAB) but selecting them does nothing. It only works if I select the application via dock.

How can I reliably bring an application to the foreground?

Edit: Answering to comments: I want to switch between applications (ideally I'd want to switch between windows, like in Windows OS but I know this isn't possible with MacOS). I'm not using multiple spaces or have additional screens.

Edit2: I think it's possible to narrow down this question to the situation where an application appears on the selection view (what appears when pressing CMD + TAB) and selecting it does not make the application come to the foreground. E.g. I'm using Slack (not full screen), switch to another application (not full screen), then press CMD + TAB, select Slack and nothing happens. The application is definitely open. I have to click on the application's icon in the dock for it to come to the foreground. Why?

  • Cmd/Tab doesn't switch between windows, it switches between applications. If you have one app with windows over multiple Spaces, the you would be better to switch to that Space instead. I'm not quite sure that you are trying to achieve, so I cannot provide an answer.
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 9, 2019 at 19:26
  • Firstly, welcome to Ask Different! :) Can you please edit your post to clarify whether you're talking about switching between windows, or switching between applications? Also include any other relevant details, for example if you're using multiple spaces, additional screens, etc.
    – Monomeeth
    Nov 9, 2019 at 21:02
  • If no window is hidden & Cmd/Tab [release, pause] Cmd/Tab does not switch back to the last app, you have an actual issue. That is not by design. btw, "switching by windows" is just as easy - really the entire machine can be keyboard navigated, if you're determined - but we'd need to know an exact working method requirement, otherwise the answer would be far too complex.
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 12, 2019 at 16:47
  • 1
    @Tetsujin thank you! I'll delete this question because it's indeed to vague. The links helped.
    – User
    Nov 17, 2019 at 10:34


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