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Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher System
Command-Tab is a known shortcut that allows switching between applications. Press and hold Command, then press and release Tab (while holding Command), and OS X will show a strip of large app icons across the screen, letting you easily switch applications by pressing Tab (forward), tilde/backquote (backward), the mouse, or many other methods.

But say you are switching between one of your Safari windows and a specific Pages document, or whatever, and you don't need to see the app switcher every time. You can switch back and forth between them without seeing the app switcher. To do so, press and release Command and then Tab quickly, making sure you press Command first.

When done right, you won't even see the app switcher icons; you'll simply flip between the last two programs you've used. This is useful when you have lots of windows open, and every time you select one application, its windows cover other apps' windows.

[robg adds: This works in 10.5 and 10.6, and perhaps even 10.4. I thought we had covered it in a prior hint, but I couldn't find it when searching. If you find it's a duplicate, please let me know.]
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Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher
Authored by: _merlin on Sep 18, '09 08:13:13AM

It definitely works in 10.4 (Tiger). Triggering it seems to depend on how quickly you release command after pressing tab - you can hold command for a while before pressing tab and/or hold tab for a while after releasing command. However, continuing to hold command for any appreciable period of time after pressing tab will show the icons.



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Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher
Authored by: David Allen on Sep 18, '09 09:46:40AM

I cannot do it fast enough, because no matter how quickly I release Command there is a least a tiny blip of the Switcher.

Not that I understand why this matters!

---
David Austin Allen
Monterrey, NL, MX



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Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher
Authored by: everkleer80 on Sep 18, '09 11:37:20AM

You have to go REALLY fast! If I try to do it I waste like a second preparing for the finger acrobatics! I also have no idea why this is useful...



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Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher
Authored by: statbit on Sep 18, '09 09:51:50AM

Maybe this is a separate hint or something, but...

While the app switcher is active (holding down command), you can activate 'show application windows' style expose by pressing the up or down arrow on the keyboard.

This may be SL only -- don't have a 10.5 machine around any longer to try it on.



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Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher
Authored by: rmitchell on Sep 18, '09 10:43:34AM

@statbit Now that's a better tip then the original. Nice work.



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Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher
Authored by: robleach on Sep 18, '09 10:54:08AM

Exposé does not do that for me in 10.5, so I'm guessing it's only SL. I did note though that to get out of app switcher without selecting an app, you can continue to hold command down and hit escape.



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Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher
Authored by: timcrawf on Sep 18, '09 10:48:51AM

I believe it has been stated before.
It not only works in 10.4 it works in 10.3 (maybe 10.2).
If you can't make it work without seeing the App Switcher, keep practicing. This is what makes copy and paste between to programs so easy. Try this, place your thumb over the command key and your index finger over the tab, then as you press the command key, twist your wrist, you finger will go down and your thumb will come up.



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Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher
Authored by: robogobo on Sep 18, '09 04:39:56PM

I've been doing this for so long I seriously thought this hint was a joke.



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Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher
Authored by: rv8 on Sep 18, '09 05:24:48PM

The hint as written doesn't work for me. If I press and release Command, then press and release Tab, nothing happens. You need to to press Command, then press Tab, then release Command, then release Tab. And do it all very quickly.

---
Kevin Horton



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Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher
Authored by: alset on Sep 18, '09 07:27:31PM

I honestly couldn't believe this was being published now. If this truly hasn't been posted before, than I don't understand how it slipped for so many years. This is roughly equivalent to "did you know you can change the icon for a hard drive?" at this point.

Yes, this has been available since 10.2 and possibly earlier (a prior comment couldn't verify before 10.4).

Sorry if I sound negative, but I'm really that surprised. This is something every Mac user I know is aware of. It's something that is easily stumbled upon without being told.

---
standing on the shoulders of giants



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Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher
Authored by: friedmaj on Sep 18, '09 08:30:38PM

Just to clarify: you do not release Command before hitting tab. You hold Command, hit tab, then release them both immediately.

And I agree, this is such second nature I was briefly confused as to what the hint actually was.



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Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher
Authored by: MJCube on Sep 19, '09 01:00:05PM
I agree this is excessively obvious. Arguably it's a duplicate of robg's own hint from 2002, although back then it worked with the Dock instead of a bezel. Users who haven't already seen this in action are the same people who find it difficult to hit the key combo that fast even when they try.

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Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher
Authored by: UberFu on Sep 21, '09 07:07:25AM

Again - There is NO advantage to doing this.

Less effort to simply leave the  Key pressed and tap the TAB key to get to whatever App you need.

Simply a neat parlor trick of OS X.



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Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher
Authored by: Michelasso on Sep 22, '09 04:10:45AM

What's the point of this hint??



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Switch between apps without seeing the app switcher
Authored by: atchius on Oct 27, '09 01:11:55PM

Here's a Mac OS X Hint: If you press the Exposé button twice in a row, quickly enough, on a slow enough system… nothing ever happens!

Lol, seriously, this isn't really a hint so much as an observation that the Application Switcher bezel is a little slow to load… unless I'm missing something?



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