Since I can remember, I have been able to use the Show Desktop gesture, click and hold on a file, then reverse the Show Desktop gesture, and move the file over to a desired window, and release the trackpad, dropping the file into a desired location in a specific app.

On Monterey, once I begin to reveres the show desktop gesture, I am unable to move the mouse cursor while holding the click. So, if my mouse happens to be in the right place, I can slide the windows back onto the screen and drop the file. That's almost never the case.

I do not believe this was an issue on Big Sur. I noticed it when I got a MacBook Pro with the M1 Max chip in 2021, which came with Monterey. However, now that I have updated my old MacBook Pro with Monterey I have the same issue on both laptops.

If I use the trackpad to Show Desktop, click and hold on a file with my Magic Mouse, then hide the desktop again by gesture, I can use the mouse to continue the drag and drop operation.

Can the old functionality be restored?

  • 1) What is the app? I think behaviour is app dependent. If I have understood what you said correctly, it works to drop a pdf onto Safari, but not onto Preview. 2) What is wrong with drag and drop onto the app on the Dock?
    – Gilby
    Commented Feb 11, 2022 at 1:08
  • No the problem is that while the desktop is exposed after using the 4-finger pinch out gesture, and I “grab” the file, I can no longer move the cursor. I can close my fingers to being the windows back into screen but moving my finger to move the “picked up” file does not move the item around on the screen.
    – samh
    Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 13:17
  • This seems to be resolved by Ventura.
    – samh
    Commented Jul 5, 2023 at 3:18

2 Answers 2


Once you start the drag, you can press Space to restore all the windows.

Similarly, you can also do CommandTab while dragging, and drag the file onto the app's icon, or Tab to the app you want and drop the file onto its windows, once they come to the fore.

Alternatively, you can use one of the many apps like Yoink, which act as a little 'shelf' to drag files onto; then you can sort out your windows, and drag the file from the shelf.

  • Thanks! This use of space worked perfect for me first try. Commented Jun 29, 2023 at 11:43

The best solution I have come up with is to reveal desktop, "pick up" the item I want to drag and drop, and then ⌘-Tab to the application I want to drop it into. That reverses the reveal desktop gesture and puts all my windows back, and MacOS lets me then drag the cursor and "picked up" item to where I want it.

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