Mac Basics: Use Mission Control to switch between apps or spaces

Mission Control zooms out beyond your desktop to give you an easy way to switch between apps, spaces, and windows.

Mission Control

Mission Control is the quick way to see everything that's currently open on your Mac. To use Mission Control, do one of the following:

  • Swipe up with three or four fingers on your Trackpad
  • Double-tap the surface of your Magic Mouse with two fingers
  • Click the Mission Control icon in the Dock or Launchpad
  • On an Apple keyboard, press the Mission Control key

In Mission Control, all of your open windows and spaces are visible, grouped by app.

Organize your workspace with Spaces

A space is the desktop area you normally see on your display. With the Spaces feature of Mission Control, you can create multiple desktop areas to keep things organized. When you enter Mission Control, all of your spaces appear along the top of your screen. The desktop you're currently using is shown below the row of spaces.

Assign apps and windows to spaces

To move an app window to another space, drag it from your current desktop to the space at the top of the screen. You can also drag an app icon to move all of its windows to that space. When you use an app window in Full Screen mode, it automatically becomes its own space.

Switch between spaces

To switch between spaces do one of the following:

  • Enter Mission Control and click the space you want at the top of the Mission Control window
  • Swipe three or four fingers left or right across your trackpad to move to the previous or next space
  • Press Control-Right Arrow or Control-Left Arrow on your keyboard to move through your current spaces

When a window you're looking for resides in a specific space, click the related space at the top of the Mission Control window to switch spaces. Then click the window to bring it to the front of your view.

Add Spaces

To create additional spaces, open Mission Control and move your pointer to the upper-right corner of your screen. Click the Add Space (+) button that appears.

You can also drag an app's icon to the Add Space button to quickly create a space containing all of an app's windows.

Close Spaces

To remove a space you don't want anymore, move your pointer over that space at the top of the Mission Control window. Press the Option key on your keyboard, then click the close button (X) that appears next to any space you want to remove. Any windows currently in that space are automatically moved to another space that's still open.

Learn More

You can change the buttons and gestures used with Mission Control from the Trackpad and Mouse panes in System Preferences. You can also see movies that demonstrate how to use these gestures from these same panes.

For more information about Mission Control, Spaces, and switching between apps and windows, click the Finder icon in the Dock, then search for these terms in the Help menu. You find additional options and help by opening the Mission Control pane of System Preferences.

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