From an accessibility point of view there are many people who find it easier to control their computers by (effectively) the keyboard, rather than the mouse. One of the things that comes up semi-regularly is mistakes caused by not realising which window is the active one.

I'm looking for a tweak or even a program that makes it easier to see which window is the active one in OSX. I'd like like something that just, for example, dramatically increased the shadow, or boardered the active window in Red.

  • For me, the biggest offender is Apple Maps, especially using the Satellite view. I’m always clicking on the wrong window just behind another one.
    – Manngo
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 3:37

3 Answers 3


I just installed Honer and it rocks! It draws a border around the active window, defaulting to red, which makes it very obvious which is the active window!

Here's the before and after screenshots.

screenshot of Honer prefs without border screenshot with red border on window

You can choose the colour, width and transparency of the border. It's exactly what I personally have been looking for!

  • this is perfect Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 18:20
  • 3
    am i the only one who thinks that for an OS that is rooted on making things easy for the user,this is a pretty glaring omission?
    – Michael
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 19:18
  • 2
    Honer hasn't been updated since 2015 :( any other free options that are still maintained? Commented Sep 4, 2019 at 14:32
  • December 2019. Still works. The red’s a bit silly, though.
    – Manngo
    Commented Dec 30, 2019 at 3:37
  • 1
    Honer works OK, but it's kind of laggy - sometimes the border remains on screen for a while after a window or dialog has closed, which is ugly. On the other hand, it helps a lot - I agree, it is an essential accessibility feature. Should be part of the core OS.
    – Ed Randall
    Commented Sep 28, 2020 at 19:32

You could try white on black - then the shadow becomes more of a glow. Ctrl-Alt-Cmd-8 or Apple -> System Preferences -> Universal Access -> Seeing -> White on Black.

On the other hand you can use a third-party program like HazeOver

  • It seems like that option is gone, but under System Preferences > Accessibility > Display you can check Increase contrast and Reduce transparency, for similar results
    – floer32
    Commented Mar 2, 2021 at 21:55

A built in way to improve this is to adjust the macOS transparency setting.

Go to System Preferences → Accessibility → Display and check the box "Reduce transparency".

  • 4
    This doesn't seem to make a bit of difference for me.
    – Michael
    Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 19:12

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