I have many many apps running in the background some are infact two or three windows of same program, i.e. Firefox 3-4 windows and Xcode 3-4 windows etc...

I know that I can switch using + but that only switches on programs and I want to go to each individual window.

I've tried spotlight and it's not what im looking for. Also, I do not prefer to install any paid software and would like to use build in features if possible.

2 Answers 2


To switch between windows of the same application, use + ~.

If you need a shortcut like the Windows' Alt+Tab that switches between all open windows, you can set one in your System Preferences -> Keyboard Shortcuts as shown below.

Keyboard Shortcuts

As you can see above, the default is Ctrl+F4, which actually means you need to press Ctrl+Fn+F4 because of the special meaning of the function keys. You could change it to any unused key combination, e.g. Alt+Tab itself.

  • cool didnt knew things like this exist in mac appreciate it -- any other cool things i can capture as a mac newbie?
    – codejunkie
    Mar 23, 2012 at 12:16
  • @codejunkie: Definitely! Look up the most upvoted questions on this site.
    – Hippo
    Mar 23, 2012 at 12:18
  • out interest how do you do page up and page down in a document i.e.if i press ctrl page up in eclipse it goes top of page and if i press ctrl page down it goes last line on page.
    – codejunkie
    Mar 23, 2012 at 18:35
  • @codejunkie: I'm not sure which shortcuts you're referring to, but the equivalent of the Windows' PageUp/Down is Fn+Up/Down Arrow. The equivalent of Home/End is Fn+Left/Right Arrow.
    – Hippo
    Mar 23, 2012 at 18:45

There are several options to navigate between windows build right into OSX. Basic input methods are...


You can configure various window management effects in System Preferences → Keyboard → Keyboard Shortcuts → Mission Control/Keyboard & Text Input

  • ++() Application Switcher
  • +~+() Window Switcher
  • ctrl+/ Desktop Switcher
  • some of the function keys trigger certain features
  • ...


You can configure various window management effects in System Prefernces → Trackpad/Mouse (requires multitouch input device)

Using these inputs you can trigger the following window management options...

  1. Classical Exposé

    (OSX 10.3-10.6) View all open windows of all open applications at once.

    enter image description here

  2. Dock/App Exposé

    (like 1, but only of one application) (OSX 10.6-today)

  3. Mission Control (OSX 10.7-today)

    View all open windows of all open applications and all desktops at once.

    enter image description here

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