On MacOS, closing the last window of an app does not close that app. (To speed up opening a new window later, I assume.)


Let's look at 2 common activities:

A) opening a document/file that is currently closed, or creating a new one. For this, I use finder, or I open (if closed) / switch to (if open) the wanted app from spotlight and do the rest there.

B) looking for a document/file that is open in some window. For this, I use CMD+Tabbing, or click on the app in the dock, or switch to the space where I know the document is located.

Because I use CMD+Tabbing exclusively for (B), I don't want to see apps without windows there.

For completeness: if it's easier/possible to hide these "apps without windows" altogether (without closing them), that's even better. With "hiding altogether", I mean:

  • hide them from command-tab;

  • hide them from the dock;

  • don't switch to them when changing space.

When command tabbing, can I have it exclusively show only apps with document windows open?

  • If you already CMD-TAB-ing anyway then change of workflow may deliver desired result: using CMD+W to close active window and CMD+Q to close active application. Commented Feb 19 at 9:04
  • Thanks for that tip. The difficulty I have with that is the following common scenario. I'm looking at a window, which I no longer need. I do not know, if its app has any other windows, possibly hidden, or possibly on other spaces. What do I do? If I close it with CMD+Q, those other windows are gone, which is not what I'd want. Plus, I might need the app later. So, I always use CMD+W. Now the app is still active and, if it doesn't have any windows, "in my way". How do you handle this? I'll add some context to the question.
    – ElRudi
    Commented Feb 19 at 9:45
  • You could use Mission Control to get an overview of all windows, rather than using the App switcher. There's no built-in way of modifying Cmd-Tab. There may be a third-party mod, but if it wasn't well-written and regularly updated, it might cause stability problems with all sorts of things.
    – benwiggy
    Commented Feb 19 at 10:13
  • Thanks for your input. I think Mission Control only shows the current workspace, is that correct?
    – ElRudi
    Commented Feb 19 at 13:24
  • I've removed the chit chat and Ask Different Meta and rephrased the final question. Let's tag this software recommendation as it's very unlikely macOS app switcher will be this malleable to your design intent.
    – bmike
    Commented Feb 19 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


I ended up using raycast's switch windows feature.

It works a bit differently: hotkey opens a central floating menu, with the arrow keys you can select one of the windows, enter to confirm. So it's a bit more involved, but it shows exactly what I want to see: the windows that are open.

In an app has 2 windows, it shows these 2 windows. If an app has no windows, it is not shown.

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