I want to expand window of an app in macOS, but I don't want to go into fullscreen mode.

Is this possible somehow by clicking some button?

Oh nvm, I can double click the application bar.. and it expands fully.


3 Answers 3


What you are looking for is called the "Zoom" command. It resides in the "Window" menu in an app like Chrome. You can assign a keyboard shortcut to "Zoom" and you will have a quick mouseless command for this.


Move the cursor to any one of the four corners of the Window. When the cursor icon changes to a diagonal bi-directional arrow, press and hold the Option key and double click.

macOS maximize window without taking it full-screen

This would zoom the window to occupy the entire screen without it entering into full-screen mode.


Double click the application bar

  • Great answer and I guess we don't need to hold the Option key.
    – Udhy
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 8:43
  • 7
    @Udhy Without holding the Option key, the window would maximize only in the corresponding direction.
    – Nimesh Neema
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 9:13
  • 3
    Holding the options key does not seem to have any affect anymore on macOS 10.15.7. It just maximizes in the corresponding direction. macOS window management.. what a joke Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 7:55
  • 1
    I've been a Mac user for a bajillion years and I never know the option+double-click trick. Wow. Thanks!
    – Sam
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 1:00
  • Macos is a funny OS with a lot of hidden functionality and missing basic requirements :)
    – Emil
    Commented Feb 11, 2023 at 2:12

If you want this consistently, you will need to install a third party utility, like Rectangle, Magnet, Moom or several others.

In some cases you can hold Shift ⇧⃣ while clicking the green stoplight button to have a "cover the whole screen, but don't go into full screen mode" behavior, but this depends on the app.

The reason for this is that historically, macOS had no concept of windows covering the whole screen:

This is the behavior up until macOS 10.16 Catalina, so this is what you are experiencing.

  • 2
    lol "no concept of windows covering the whole screen", sooo nobody there got the idea that user would stretch app window to the point where it covers whole screen? IMO the full screen mode shouldn't be the default... but this is apple, it just sucks ass
    – Marecky
    Commented Dec 15, 2021 at 10:37
  • Is there any terminal command one could run to revert the green button function back to the MacOS X 10.9 and earlier spec?
    – Dave
    Commented Jun 22, 2022 at 14:52
  • @Dave: No, you can use tools or you can choose to use double-clicking on the window itself: Make the green full screen window icon on Yosemite maximize windows
    – nd.
    Commented Aug 22, 2022 at 5:57

No, Mac does not allow for maximizing a window without going into the fullscreen mode which means it must exist on its own desktop.

Sure, you can make a window bigger, and some people call that maximizing, but it doesn't hide the menu bar or title bar of the window, and is distracting. The only way to hide the menu bar and window chrome is to use the fullscreen mode, which puts it in a new desktop. Plus, MacOS also makes you suffer through an animation with delay to get to the fullscreened app.

This is a severe user experience issue that Apple either won't or cannot fix.

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