Is there a keyboard shortcut to restore a minimised application window from the Dock?

Almost all Apple Mac OS X applications respond to the Apple + M command which minimises the current application window to the Dock, which is fine.

I can then use Command + Tab to cycle through my running applications - including the minimised application, but selecting the application with the minimised window neither restores the minimised window, nor sets focus to the minimised application window in the Dock so I can restore it without having to reach for the Mouse.

Update: Thanks for the answers, however the consensus seems to be to use the 'Hide' feature (Apple + H) instead of minimising, as it's easier to get the window back using Command + Tab.

  • nice Applescript: stackoverflow.com/questions/7681418/…
    – user30849
    Commented Sep 27, 2012 at 9:50
  • 2
    @AndresSK CMD+L only works in some apps, and that is basically by accident. For example, CMD+L in Safari puts focus on the address bar. The window will indeed be un-minimized first if necessary but then focus will be in the address bar, not the main window body. In most other apps nothing happens at all. Too bad. Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 4:03

11 Answers 11

  1. Command + Tab until you get the app's icon.

  2. Before releasing the Command key, press and hold the Option key.

  1. You must switch to another app and let it take focus first. In other words, you can't just Command + Tab to another app and before actually selecting that app (by releasing the Command and Tab keys), switch right back to your minimized app, which you might attempt to do if you minimized it by accident or just simply changed your mind shortly after minimizing.

  2. Both the Command and left Option keys must be pressed on the same side (left or right) of the keyboard.

  • 13
    macOS Catalina: before releasing the Command key, press and hold the Option key AND release the Command key first.
    – Ricardo
    Commented May 3, 2021 at 23:48
  • It's 2024 and this is still a problem in Sonoma. So so bad. Commented Apr 15 at 15:11

To restore one of many minimized windows using only the keyboard, you have two choices:

While using Cmd + tab (eg. changing applications):

  1. Start with a minimized window
  2. Cmd + tab to the application icon (Continue to hold Cmd)
  3. While holding Cmd, push the (or ) arrow key on the keyboard. This will bring up a list of all the application's windows (You can release key command key once the window list view comes up if you like)
  4. Push the down arrow key () to select the minimized windows.
  5. Use the left and right arrow keys ( or ) to select the minimized window you want
  6. Push Return or Enter to restore the window and bring it into focus (make it the selected window)

(Tested on OS X Mountain Lion)


Directly when the application is already the current application:

Steps as above, but instead of steps 2 and 3 (Cmd + tab and arrow keys):

  1. Start with a minimized window
  2. Control + . If App Exposé is selected in Trackpad preferences, you can also swipe down with three fingers.

OS X Mountain Lion "Keyboard" preferences have a "Mission Control" keyboard shortcut for this:

OS10.8 Preferences: Keyboard/Keyboard Shortcuts/Mission Control


I asked for assistance at the Apple Genius bar in Aventura, and while they didn't have an answer, they did suggest using the Hide feature instead (Apple + H) which works well because when I Alt + Tab back to the application the hidden window is shown.


I don't know of a direct way to restore a minimized window, however, you can get keyboard focus in the dock by pressing fn+control+F3. Then select the item you want via the arrow keys and press space or return to restore it.


I had to find this one, as I use Linux as well as Mac OS X, and in Thunderbird Ctrl + M is the key to compose a new message... under Linux. On Mac OS X, it keeps "minimizing" the app. This is a little tricky, but...

Cmd + Tab to the app you want to restore. Release Tab, but keep Cmd held down. Now press Option (a.k.a. Alt), and while it is held down release Cmd.

I have been "training" myself to make use of Cmd + H (Hide) on Mac OS instead of minimizing. If you hide an app, then once it is selected via Cmd + Tab it pops back up on-screen.


Depending on how your keyboard is set in system preferences, the shortcut to focus the dock may be Ctrl + Fn + F3.


I would strongly suggest using Witch. This lets you bring back minimized apps, as well as 'orphaned' apps, after you have closed the main window. You can also directly access the different windows within an app. Well worth the registration fee; about 10 euros.

  • +1 for a good suggestion which happens to be a paid app (also look at Optimal Layout which is in the App Store)
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 21:01

I have found the answers to this question helpful for this as well.

For an easy way to invoke App Expose to get at minimized windows for current app use Ctrl-Down; Down; Enter.

Explanation here:

Ctrl-Down Exposes application windows.

Down To select the minimized window.

Enter To show the selected window


Some applications have their own shortcuts:

  • iTunes: ⌘ Cmd+⌥ Opt+1
  • Messages: ⌘ Cmd+0 (for the Messages window); ⌘ Cmd+1 (for Buddies list)
  • Calendar: ⌘ Cmd+0
  • Notes: ⌘ Cmd+0
  • 1
    If you could expand your list that would be great.
    – Deesbek
    Commented Nov 20, 2013 at 8:47
  • Alas, these are the only ones I've found so far. The "problem" with web browsers (the other commonly used app for which I wish there were a simple shortcut) is that you can have multiple windows, which means the app wouldn't know which to pull up in the case of multiple minimized windows. I suppose the same principle holds for apps like those in MS Office.
    – xfactorial
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 23:28

I use OS X El Capitan

Cmd M is minimize and then press Cmd L works


There is another way! Going off of the other answers you can actually access the other windows of a single application using Ctrl + Down. Now you can simply press any arrow to navigate through all the windows that are open or minimized.

If you didn't want to focus on the window you were on and wanted to cancel the whole thing and return to the window of that app that you were already focused on just press Ctrl + Up.

Also, don't forget you can access any of the windows that are not minimized of the same app by using Cmd + ` <-thats the same key as ~ for those who never use backticks.

  • This is the best answer! (The currently accepted answer is clumsy and only works for the most recently minimized window, whereas this simple method works for all windows.)
    – Zac
    Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 13:36

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