In my MacBook Pro running Lion, I use Command + Tab to switch apps, and Alt1 + Tab for switching windows within an app.

In my work iMac, also running Lion, Alt + Tab isn't doing anything, and I can't find any setting for that. Also, I dont remember tweaking anything in the MacBook Pro to get this to work.

note 1 - Alt is the same as Option on most Mac keyboards, but mine just has Alt printed.

  • 2
    Just for the record Command + ` (the key above tab) works really well for me. – bassplayer7 Mar 6 '12 at 13:18
  • This is not default behaviour on your MBP. Somebody must've changed the default key mapping. – EmmEff Mar 6 '12 at 23:37
  • It's because the dock needs to be killed and restarted, checkout the answer here: superuser.com/questions/7715/… – Leon Gaban Jun 8 '18 at 4:12

Option+Tab shouldn't be assigned to switching windows by default. You could've reassigned it in the Keyboard preferences:

It could also be handled by some third party app like Witch, LiteSwitch X, or Keyboard Maestro on the MacBook Pro.

  • Thanks! I dont remember having done that, but whatever. I reccomend this shortcut, its very convenient to have command + tab and alt + tab so close to one another – 0al0 Mar 6 '12 at 11:35
  • This is not the answer! This is: superuser.com/questions/7715/… – Leon Gaban Jun 8 '18 at 4:12

Try Command + ` (backtick). That is the default.

  • 3
    command + ~ does absolutely nothing on my 2015 Macbook Pro. – IgorGanapolsky Sep 17 '15 at 17:43
  • 1
    Note, however, that it won't cycle to minimized windows. – Muhd Dec 30 '15 at 21:35
  • 1
    Bloody hell, this cycles instead of being alternate. What's the command for alternate tab? – Pacerier Oct 17 '17 at 5:24
  • This is the answer: superuser.com/questions/7715/… – Leon Gaban Jun 8 '18 at 4:13

Use Hyperswitch. I just stumbled on this posting now, and did some digging and found this nice "new" app.


Works well for me (basically turns your mac's application-switching into a windows-style task-switching environment <- much more intuitive especially when working w/ multiple screens/spaces).


Mavericks use Command + Tab to switch between the application but if you want to cycle through the different window of same application use this: Command + Tab + DownArrow it will show all the open windows of the same application which you can select using arrow keys.


On german Keyboard Layouts changing windows of an app is mapped to Command + < and Command + Shift + < respectively.

  • I have a german MBP15 Retina with english keyboard. CMD-~ didn't work, but CMD-shift-< does. CMD-> does other things, though. Thank you. – lilalinux Feb 2 '15 at 16:15
  • Ah, of course I had to add shift: < is a shift character :-) – lilalinux Feb 2 '15 at 16:27

Go to Applications ➔ Utilities ➔ Terminal.app


killall -9 Dock

Reference https://superuser.com/questions/7715/cmd-tab-suddenly-stopped-working-and-my-dock-is-unresponsive-what-do-i-do/7717#7717

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