Sometimes when I switch through programs using the Command+Tab shortcut certain programs appear to be greyed out. I can switch to the program in question with no problems nor is there anything happening with the program to indicate why it would be greyed out.

I'm just curious as to what it means...

(its a little heard to tell due to me having to screen capture with my phone :p but the quicktime icon is greyed out)

Quicktime Player greyed out

I'm running Snow Leopard 10.6.8

  • The obvious first question is - what were you doing in QuickTime at the time?
    – Alex
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 4:21
  • nothing, it was open to play a media file, but I closed the file and left QT running in the BG. The greyed out icon has occurred on almost all my programs at some stage - but none of them have been doing anything 'out of the ordinary'...
    – OrangeBox
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 5:27
  • Is it minimized (⌘M) or hidden (⌘H)?
    – Conner
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 6:08
  • nope, they are all 'up', none are minimised or hidden. Its just not the active program
    – OrangeBox
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 6:39
  • Is it like that in the dock also?
    – jackJoe
    Commented Feb 26, 2013 at 9:56

1 Answer 1


I recently read that the command+tab switcher no longer strictly shows a list of running apps, but is instead the combined set of running apps AND recent apps. The Mac OS now (much like iOS) kills off apps that have no open documents or otherwise don't need to be running (in its infinite wisdom). My GUESS is that the greyed out apps in the switcher are recent-but-not-running apps.

Annnd ... I just read that you're running 10.6.8. So, yeah, never mind that answer.

  • 1
    As you noted yourself, this "feature" is not part of 10.6.8.
    – nohillside
    Commented Aug 20, 2012 at 10:27

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