I frequently running into strange problem on Lion: my windows constantly being locked on z position (sometimes you can see this feature in some apps as "Window->Stay in Front/Behind"). But I really don't understand why is this happening, windows in this apps haven't such a feature (Preview is example). I'm heavily using keyboard shortcuts and suspect that I'm just accidentally triggering some system shortcuts for locking windows.
Am I right, does such exists? If not, what can be responsible for such a behavior?

  • I may have the same problem on lion. For example, the following procedure: - open some file in Preview, - open System Preferences -> Print & Scan, and click '+' which causes popup Add Printer - activate Preview by clicking it, makes Add Printer frontmost; nevertheless Preview is the active window on my environment.
    – aaa
    Commented Apr 7, 2012 at 9:43
  • What you describe is unusual enough that I would suspect an issue with third party software. If it were my own Mac, I would start by updating any non-Apple login items, Preference Panes, drivers (kexts) and so on.
    – username
    Commented Aug 5, 2012 at 4:17

1 Answer 1


If you switch applications while you launch an application it can lead to the frontmost window being not the active window. This is a problem I encounter quite often, it also happens when you launch an application and another one spawns a window. I'm unsure if you mean this, but it seems to be normal behavior. Looks like

enter image description here

In this case, the iTunes window is the frontmost window (recognizable by its buttons drawn colored), while iTerms window is drawn over the iTunes window. iTunes is also the active application as you can see on the menubar.

  • Thank you for your response, but I mean slightly different situation. In your example, Terminal is frontmost window, but isn't an active app, and yes, it is perfectly normal, because you can chose iTunes and it will become frontmost with Terminal behind it. In my situation, for no reason, window can be locked as frontmost and if I have another window behind it and try to choose it, it will not become frontmost. I hoped that it is defined behavior (it can be handy), but very likely that it's just a bug.
    – goodfella
    Commented Mar 7, 2012 at 18:14
  • OK, I already thought so, but was worth a try ;)
    – bot47
    Commented Mar 7, 2012 at 18:25

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