In Mac OS X Mountain Lion at least, if you Option+click ( Alt+click ) on another a window of another app, this will make the other application to gain focus, and the current app to be hidden as if you'd pressed Command+H.

Is there any way to disable this behaviour? Perhaps with some defaults write like command entered in a terminal?

I'd like to use Option+click for some different behaviour (moving windows by Option+clicking anywhere on them, using a third-party tool, Zoom2), and having Option+click trigger the hiding behaviour instead is very inconvenient.

  • You could just use a different shortcut in Zoom2 :)
    – asmeurer
    Nov 16, 2012 at 7:24
  • 1
    Possibly, but it's hard to find some combination that doesn't have some undocumented side-effect in Mac OS X, or doesn't require a silly number of meta keys. Obviously control+click is right out. Shift+click is occasionally useful, and command+click sometimes means things in certain apps. What would you suggest? Nov 22, 2012 at 0:26
  • Do you use a two-button mouse? Maybe option-right click.
    – asmeurer
    Nov 22, 2012 at 1:20
  • And if you use a trackpad/magic mouse, you could use some kind of gesture, like three finger tap. BetterTouchTool has awesome support for this sort of thing (and actually I think might even support this exact feature).
    – asmeurer
    Nov 22, 2012 at 1:21
  • 1
    Wait, my windows hiding themselves is a feature?
    – Thanatos
    Oct 8, 2019 at 15:39

2 Answers 2


As far as I know there is no way to disable this behavior. You can command-click to manipulate any window in the background without focusing it or bringing it to the front. (This has been around since classic Mac OS.) You can indeed combine commandalt to alt-click a window item in the background without triggering the application hiding.

  • Command-Option-Click on something in a background app does often hide the app in front. Example: with Safari in front, Command-Option-Click the checkbox of a calendar in Calendar; Safari is hidden and Calendar comes to front. Nov 15, 2012 at 22:50
  • 1
    developer.apple.com/library/mac/documentation/UserExperience/… observes: "If the user presses the Command key while dragging an inactive window, the window moves, but does not become active.". Nov 15, 2012 at 22:57
  • command+click dragging on the title bar of an inactive window will move it without making it active, but if I add otpion it does trigger the unwanted hiding behaviour. Nov 22, 2012 at 0:40
  • option-klicking a windwow's title bar doesn't have any standard functionality, so it doesn't make sense to do this. With window-item I meany any widget within that window, like buttons.
    – MacLemon
    Nov 22, 2012 at 9:56

One option would be to remap Option+Left Click to something else using KeyRemap4MacBook. It might not have exactly what you want, but I think it's not hard to add new shortcuts (or ask the author to add them for you). One option that I saw was Option+Left Click -> Middle Click. You could then (assumedly) set middle click to do what you want in Zoom2, and retain the Option+Click shortcut.

Of course, if you do this, it will change Option+Click everywhere, even if you aren't clicking on another window.

  • The downside of that, without contacting the KeyRemap4MacBook developer, is that I can't use middle click for anything else (eg opening new tabs in a browser). Unless I use KeyRemap4MacBook to remap actual middle-click to-- oh god, no. Nov 22, 2012 at 0:37
  • Supposedly, you can add any mapping you want just by editing some xml file or something. I've never actually tried it myself, so I can't say how hard it is. I have contacted the developer before, though, and he seems to be friendly enough.
    – asmeurer
    Nov 22, 2012 at 1:19

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