Mac Basics: Mission Control

With a three finger swipe up on the trackpad, Mission Control brings together full-screen apps, Dashboard, Exposé, and Desktops, giving you an overview of everything on your system.

Mission Control

Get a bird’s-eye view of all the open windows and apps on your Mac. Just swipe up with three fingers on your trackpad or click the Mission Control icon in the Dock, and your desktop zooms out to Mission Control.

Enter Mission Control with one of these methods

  • On a trackpad or Magic Mouse, swipe up with three fingers or double tap (not double-click) with two fingers

  • On an Apple keyboard, press the F3 or fn-F9 key combination
  • Click the Mission Control icon in the Dock
  • Click the Mission Control icon in Launchpad

Elements of Mission Control

  1. Dashboard  - Click it to enter Dashboard
  2. Desktop  - The desktop you are currently in, as indicated by its white border
    • Tip: To close a desktop other than Desktop 1 - hover your cursor over the desktop you want to close, then click the X icon that appears in the upper left.
  3. Full-screen applications
  4. Add Desktop button - Appears when the cursor is in the upper right; click it to add a new Desktop or drag an application window or the application icon to it to move the application to a new Desktop.
  5. Application windows - Move your cursor to highlight, then click on the window you want to move to the foreground
    • Tip: Press the Space bar and the highlighted window zooms in for a preview; press the Space bar again to zoom out
    • Tip: To expand multiple application windows, like Safari has above, use one of these methods:
      • Magic Trackpad - Swipe two fingers up to expand; swipe two fingers down to collapse
      • Magic Mouse - Swipe one finger up to expand; swipe one finger down to collapse

* When enough desktops are created, their labels disappear and the desktops magnify as your cursor hovers over them, to reveal their label.

Exit Mission Control

Use one of these methods:

  • On a Magic Trackpad or Magic Mouse, swipe three fingers down
  • Double tap (not double-click) with two fingers
  • Click the desktop you wish to go to
  • Click the application window you would like to go to, even one that is zoomed
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