Previous 1 2 3 Next 42 Replies Latest reply: Sep 27, 2015 10:53 AM by buddhaseeking
Neil Youngson Level 1 (0 points)

When I switch between apps using Command-Tab the system brings the correct application to the foreground (as indicated by the menu bar) but the application's windows often remain in the background behind another app that is running in the same space.


e.g. if I have Mail and Preview running in Space 1 and Safari in Space 2, using command-tab to switch from Safari to Mail will often leave me seeing Mail's menus at the top of the screen, but looking at windows from open Preview documents. To get the correct windows to the foreground I often have to then either do a three-finger up swipe to get Mission Control and click on Mail, or use Command-Tab again and re-select Mail from the apps listed.


The App Switcher (Command-Tab) should bring the selected app AND its windows to the foreground, but this often doesn't happen - I say often because the behaviour is inconsistent, sometimes it works as it should, but often it doesn't.


Please, please don't reply to this query if all you have to offer is an alternative method of app switching - I know there are other ways to switch between apps but I've been using Command-Tab for years (and Macs for 20+ years) and I want to figure out how to fix this problem, not just work around it.


I'm working on an 11" MacBook Air with Lion 10.7.2


Thanks for your help!

  • Donimo Level 1 (0 points)

    I have the same problem. I'm surprised no one else has mentioned it. This is on a clean install of Lion on 2009 15" Macbook Pro.

  • akimmitt Level 1 (0 points)

    Same problem, I noticed from day one when I purchased my laptop with lion. Very inconsistent, and usually requires me to click on the window to bring it to the front and make it active.

  • CaptainCaveman Level 1 (0 points)

    Anyone found a solution to this one? Been driving me nuts for months now. Command + Tab to an app "sometimes" does not activate it, the menu of the app does show but the content/window does not. I usually command + tilde to switch to it. As if command + tab activates some hidden background window of the app instead of the (only often) app window itself.


    Macbook Pro on OS X 10.7.3

  • NorrinRadd Level 1 (0 points)

    I've seen this from day one with Lion.  Extremely annoying.  Sometimes it works too, so it's intermittent.  It's obviously a bug.  Why it hasn't been fixed I have no idea.  I swear Lion is the worst OS release I've ever seen Apple do. 


    The mission control disaster kept my attention so well, I never googled this problem until today. 


    Especially since, instead of being a horrible design decision (mission control), this is so obviously an accindental bug, I figured I wouldn't have to look into it.  "Of course Apple will fix this in a couple of months...." -- WRONG.


    Anyway, if anyone has a fix, please chime in. 

  • NorrinRadd Level 1 (0 points)

    Since this is clearly a bug, here is one way of talking directly to apple, in hopes that they'll address this more quickly.



    Also, does anyone know if this happens in Mountain Lion.  Maybe they plan to only fix it there....

  • Mark IV Level 1 (0 points)

    I've had the problem with Word, for example, not coming to the foreground. If it only happened with certain pre-Lion apps like Word, it could be that they were out of date. Recently, though, Cmd-Tab sometimes seemed to quit working altogether. Looking around the web I find reports of Cmd-Tab issues going back to Lion's launch:

    1. Your problem is also noted in a few posts -- I didn't find a direct solution.

    2. As a separate problem, people noted a change in Cmd-Tab app order from Snow Lion.

    3. A related problem occurs for people using an app in full-screen view; the solution is said to be checking the last box in the Mission Control pref pane.

    4. Some people have adopted the 3-finger upward swipe, but this lacks the efficiency of staying on the keyboard.

    5. Some people use the F9 Mission Control key, or reassign it to Ctrl-UpArrow, but it appears you still have to leave the keyboard to select an app in Mission Control.

    6. One person noted that Cmd-Tab failures in Lion seemed to begin after screen-sharing sessions.

    7. If Cmd-Tab starts 'skipping' some apps, or fails to show any apps at all, some folks have luck with a restart.


    Is a bug this big that lasts this long Apple trying to get us all using gestures? If that were true, it would be another ignore-the-user feature of Lion. Although Steve Jobs famously said it wasn't fair to ask consumers to know what they want (eg, the iPod), a forced march away from efficiency and functionality is not the same thing.

  • Firefoxsilver9 Level 1 (5 points)

    I'm having the exact same issues and its very fustrating. Either the inactive window will show up when switching to the application or another application window entirely. I sent Apple feedback on the issue but we'll see what happens.

  • readingandwriting Level 1 (0 points)


    I leave one application open per virtual desktop with multiple windows of the same application behind each other.



  • Traveler42 Level 1 (0 points)

    This happens to me intermittently on a MacBook Air with 10.7.4 (and each of the previous 10.7) versions.


    It really breaks your flow when you want to go back and forth between two applications.  You find you have to use cmd ` followed by cmd-shift ` to get back to the correct window.


    This happens with all sorts of applications including Finder itself.


    It would be very nice to fix this.  Laboring under it for a year now.


  • Neil Youngson Level 1 (0 points)

    Mountain Lion finally fixes this problem!


    I recomend the upgrade, Mountain Lion is fast and stable and fixes many annoyances in Lion. It is to Lion what Snow Leopard was to Leopard.



  • Firefoxsilver9 Level 1 (5 points)

    Yes ML does indeed fix the issue. Worth the upgrade.

  • Traveler42 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks.  With schedules and all, it won't be until next month that I can try that out.  When I do, I will report back.

  • NorrinRadd Level 1 (0 points)

    Neil Youngson wrote:


    Mountain Lion finally fixes this problem!


    I recomend the upgrade, Mountain Lion is fast and stable and fixes many annoyances in Lion. It is to Lion what Snow Leopard was to Leopard.




    If only Lion wasn't 3 degrades from Leopard. 

  • Byzandinos Level 1 (0 points)

    This also drove me crazy but I do think that it actually works as designed.  Command Tab does bring the app to the front (not just the menu) as long as you have not minimized it before.  Eg if you open Word, Terminal, Mail and you minimize Terminal... when you Command Tab you will always be able to bring Word and Mail to the front but not Terminal... you need to go to the bottom menu (or wherever you have the apps menu strip) and click on Terminal to activate it again... after that it will come to the front with Word and Mail with the Command Tab.

    So in effect it is doing what you set it up to do... if you have minimized the app then it will stay minimized.


    Hope this helps

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