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.

  • 3
    Just for the record Command + ` (the key above tab) works really well for me. Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 13:18
  • This is not default behaviour on your MBP. Somebody must've changed the default key mapping.
    – EmmEff
    Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 23:37
  • It's because the dock needs to be killed and restarted, checkout the answer here: superuser.com/questions/7715/…
    – Leon Gaban
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 4:12

7 Answers 7


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.

  • 1
    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
    Commented Mar 6, 2012 at 11:35
  • 1
    This is not the answer! This is: superuser.com/questions/7715/…
    – Leon Gaban
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 4:12

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

  • 4
    command + ~ does absolutely nothing on my 2015 Macbook Pro. Commented Sep 17, 2015 at 17:43
  • 1
    Note, however, that it won't cycle to minimized windows.
    – Muhd
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 21:35
  • 2
    Bloody hell, this cycles instead of being alternate. What's the command for alternate tab?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 5:24
  • This is the answer: superuser.com/questions/7715/…
    – Leon Gaban
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 4:13

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.

  • 3
    ugh there has to be an easier way to do this...
    – lobi
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 16:15
  • found it: bahoom.com/hyperswitch :)
    – lobi
    Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 16:39

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).

  • 1
    Apple is really behind, why staying blind over the years, this is simple stuff, navigating through Apple OS is a mess, people shouldn't need to pay an extra software to do sth that simple.
    – Raphael St
    Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 15:07

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

  • Not an answer to the question here, but an answer to mine :-)
    – jcaron
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 23:53

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
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 16:15
  • Ah, of course I had to add shift: < is a shift character :-)
    – lilalinux
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 16:27

I have just tried AltTab. You can check. Hyperswitch is getting really awkward lately.

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