I think Ubuntu's current approach to desktop window management is more efficient than macOS's.

For example, if we have 4 different workspace areas (a.k.a. Desktop in macOS world), when you do ^ Option+Tab, you switch only between the windows in the same workspace.

On the other hand, Mac's ⌘ Command+Tab changes between the applications, and if the same application (for example Chrome) serves in different windows, you may end up in a different mission's desktop.

So my question is how can I adopt Ubuntu's approach for macOS?

This question is not a key mapping question, I am not asking if there is a method to map the keys similarly to Ubuntu. I am asking, for a method to use ⌘ Command+Tab or any other key combination to change windows only within the active desktop if that's possible.

Let me give an example. Assume the following state.

  • Desktop 1: Chrome-1, Safari
  • Desktop 2: Chrome-2, Firefox

When I am on Desktop 1, I want to switch only between Chrome-1 and Safari and never see Firefox and Chrome-2.

  • Set up alt-tab.
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 23 at 18:29
  • 2
    Ah, you want to switch between windows of different applications within one space? Sorry, totally missed this.
    – nohillside
    Mar 24 at 9:23
  • 1
    But AFAIK this is not possible without modifications/add-ons.
    – nohillside
    Mar 24 at 9:24
  • 1
    That's also 'half' covered by the dupe. Ctrl/F4 will march through most windows, without leaving the current Space… but it's too bizarrely random to rely on & stops once it thinks it's reach 'the end'. There is no other native method.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 24 at 10:11
  • 1
    tbh, I've always avoided this sort of thing by not putting one app on two spaces - but… for the past 25 years I've always had a desktop Mac with 2 big screens, extended keyboard & 'clever' mouse with a myriad programmable buttons. Only a month ago I got my first ever Macbook, so now I have only a tiny screen & a trackpad. Everything I do now takes three times as long. Windows are on top of windows, the trackpad is a device invented by the devil himself; it obeys gestures only when it feels like it, I've no smart mouse & no extended keyboard. Frankly, it makes me want to swear… a lot.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 24 at 11:57

1 Answer 1


The feature you are describing is available on Ubuntu (as you say) as well as Windows.

As far as I know there is no way to do this on macOS without using a 3rd party application.

Use AltTab on macOS

This is similar to what ⌘ CommandTab does but AltTab ables you to switch between all opened windows in current space/desktop using ^ Option (Alt)Tab (as you asked).

image from https://alt-tab-macos.netlify.app/ showing a preview of Alt-Tab in action

AltTab brings the power of Windows’s “alt-tab” window switcher to macOS.

To have it only switch between windows in current space, you have to open AltTab's parameters, and in the "Controls" tab, in "Show windows from:", select "Active Space".

  • Thanks @Thinkr, may I ask if the Alt-Tab software can enable the exact behavior? (Just changing between the same "desktop" windows, without jumping to other "desktop"s? If so, this address my question.) May 26 at 9:31
  • 1
    @MehmetKaplan Yes, Alt-Tab switches between opened windows of current desktop only. So I think it answers your question.
    – Thinkr
    May 26 at 11:26
  • I installed it now, but it seems also looping through all open windows (not only the active desktop). Is there a configuration or something similar that I am missing? May 26 at 11:49
  • Oh I found it. This can be configured very close to what I want. Thanks @Thinkr, this is solved. May 26 at 11:55

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