Quicktip: cycle through apps in both directions

CMD + Tab

Most Mac users know that holding the keyboard combination of Command (Apple Key) + Tab will cycle through running applications. But, you may not know that holding Command + ~ will cycle through them in the opposite direction (you have to call up the switcher with Command + Tab first). This comes in very handy if you pass by the app you want. You don’t have to go all the way around again, just switch to the ~ key to go back. Command + Shift + Tab has the same effect, but I find the ~ key more convenient.

A couple of other useful tips for the app switcher are…

  • If you want to open a file with something other than it’s default app, you can start dragging the file in the finder, hit Command + Tab to call up the switcher, and then drop the file on the app you want to open it with.
  • If you want to quit multiple apps, hit Command + Tab to call up the switcher, cycle through the apps, and hit “q” when the app you want to quit is hi-lighted (while continuing to hold Command).
  • When the switcher is active, you can also just click an app with your mouse to make it come to the front.

Oh, and if you really want to take command of the app switcher (no pun intended), have a look at Witch (Free). It’s like the built in app switcher, but it also lists every open window, making switching that much faster.

2 thoughts on “Quicktip: cycle through apps in both directions”

  1. You can of course use the left and right arrow keys once you have the switcher up. Just keep holding down the cmd key though. I had no idea you could hold down the tilde and it would work like that though, very nice to know.

  2. i actually prefer LiteSwitch X. i like the menu options available with the switcher active such as Relaunch(R), Quit(X), Force Quit(F+F), Force Quit & Relaunch(F+R) and Mark For Quit(Q). plus it shows application version numbers, a Get Info item, Show in Finder and the window is scalable and moveable. i don’t know if Witch does these things, i tried both and just found LiteSwitch X to be more intuitive to use.

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