I often have say a fullscreen* window of Chrome open, for example, and a secondary one on the left half of my screen, and want to take notes in another app open on the right half of my screen. But when I tab between them, changing focus from the note taking app back to say Chrome, it will put all the Chrome windows on the foreground, blocking my view of the other app I have open.

Is there any setting to change this behavior to only put the most recently active window of a given app on the foreground?

I found this Window Stacking on OS X related question, but it's almost 10 years old and doesn't have a satisfactory answer for me.

*Not literally fullscreen, just maximized so it takes up all of the screen.

  • If you can't figure it out exactly the way you are asking about, try this (no mouse action necessary): minimize (Command+M) the non-active window(s) of that application instead of hiding them (Command+H). When you need to activate a minimized window, use the app switcher (Command+Tab) to get to that app, continue holding down the Command key and while continuing to hold the Command key, choose and activate the minimized window by using the Down and then the Right / Left arrow keys. Double Command+Tab (separately) to get to the same app in the app switcher quickly.
    – Alper
    Commented Nov 5, 2022 at 12:21

1 Answer 1


You're fighting a paradigm, but one that has changed slightly over the years. It used to be that all methods of bringing an app to the front would bring all its windows to the front.

This behaviour survives in Cmd/Tab, but not if you just click the window you want frontmost. That should leave all other windows behind.
I don't know of any simple key-command that will achieve the same thing. You can invoke Cmd/Tab then use arrows to navigate, or use Mission Control, but tbh this method is very long-winded if you can just see & click on the window you wish to come to the front.

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