I recently switched to OS X Mountain Lion. I have applications like Skype and Pidgin which start at login and are hidden, but when I have more applications running and I do ⌘ cmd + ⇥ Tab to switch between application these hidden applications also appear there.

How can I avoid showing them?

  • 1
    Good question. There isn't a system setting to exclude these as a normal user default, presumably since that switcher is how most people get back to a hidden app. Let's see if we can get some attention - maybe there's a hidden preference for this?
    – bmike
    Aug 24 '13 at 13:20
  • we can always dig down deeper with UNIX systems I guess.
    – mrudult
    Aug 24 '13 at 13:56
  • The "hidden" option for login apps only means the window will be hidden initially, and the program runs only in the dock or menu bar. It has nothing to do with the cmd-tab switcher. What you're looking for is a completely separate thing.
    – Elliott
    Sep 1 '13 at 23:29
  • yeah. then is there any completely separate thing available?
    – mrudult
    Sep 2 '13 at 8:54

Here is a blog post from someone who managed to remove Finder from the Application Switcher by adding this entry:


To the info.plist file of the specific app (in this case, Finder).

  • 2
    That works flawlessly!! But only for few applications. Like Mail doesn't open up after editing it's plist.
    – mrudult
    Aug 26 '13 at 19:32
  • I've used it on a few apps that I didn't want to see pop up, like Chronicle, for example. Glad it worked for you.
    – Dave
    Aug 26 '13 at 19:36
  • 5
    Adding <key>NSUIELEMENT</key><string>1</string> also removes the application from the application switcher and Dock even when it is not hidden. And it's not really usable with Finder because it removes the menu bar. If the application is signed, it usually breaks the code signature, so that for example the application is not allowed to access keychains automatically. Also sandboxed applications (like Mail as Mrudul_T mentioned) have crashed on launch since 10.8 if their Info.plist has been modified.
    – Lri
    Aug 27 '13 at 2:20

The old app LiteSwitch X (Proteron Software) would allow you to selectively hide apps from the application switcher. For several years now it has been unsupported but I just googled for it and found a beta version that claims to add compatability for OS X Mavericks so it may work for you.

Back in it's day I loved using it but since it went undeveloped for so long, I had to look elsewhere (and couldn't find quite as good of a solution). I'll be testing out the new beta version myself! Until recently, the best I've found—though, it doesn't solve your problem—is Hyperswitch. Hyperswitch works great but doesn't (yet?) have the ability to hide apps.

Direct download link (LiteSwitch X v2.8b1)

  • LiteSwitch X supports excluding some specific applications, but it doesn't support not showing hidden applications.
    – Lri
    Aug 28 '13 at 4:29

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