How to Add Alt + Tab to macOS (Windows-like behavior)

I recently starting using a Mac laptop again for the first time in almost 6 years, and the stark contrast between the two major OSes was made all the more clear to me. Little things about macOS I never noticed before my long stint with windows practically jumped out at me.

One such glaring oversight that seemed to be unforgivable is the fact that macOS doesn’t currently have a good built in window switcher. If you hold CMD (command) + Tab, you will get an application switcher, but it does not switch between active windows of the same program. This limitation is hard to form a habit around, as I found myself frequently attempted to CMD + Tab to another Firefox window, or another instance of a Finder window I had open. However, I found a nifty application that can bring that behavior to macOS, and I highly recommend you try it out. If you build the fast switching window shortcut into your daily routine, it will help maximize your productivity.

Here’s how to get it:

Download Standalone App Here (Alt-Tab)

You can also get it through brew, in which case I will assume you don’t need further instructions.

  1. Download Alt-Tab from here OR the link above (same link)
  2. Drag it to your /Applications folder by clicking Finder > Applications on sidebar & drag+dropping into the window
  3. Double click to launch
  4. Click the Controls tab
    1. Make sure shortcut 1 is highlighted
  5. Change the shortcut to your desired keys by clicking the keys in the line “Hold [KEY] and press: [KEY] Select next window”
    1. I highly recommend using CMD + Tab for the average user
  6. Now, close the window, don’t quit it.
  7. Test! You should be able to switch between applications and their windows with a nice, graphical interface upon pressing CMD + Tab. If you want to switch to the last used application then press CMD + Tab ONCE, meaning if you press CMD + Tab and release, you will continue to switch between your recently used applications. This is a great trick for copying down information, or quickly referencing another window while completing the current task.



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Published 2021-10-09 09:20:15

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