I have 3 monitor screens that I work with, the center one (my MacBook screen) is the main screen with the dock. The scenario:

  • I have a terminal screen open on each screen, and I’m working on a terminal window on the left screen.
  • I cmd+tab to another application.
  • I cmd+tab back to terminal, but instead of going back to the left window terminal that I was on, it puts the focus on the terminal on the middle screen.

How can I prevent this behavior and have it return to the window it was previously active on?

Mission control settings: enter image description here

  • What version of OS X is this and what settings regarding MissionControl/Exposé/Spaces do you have? Testing it on 10.9 with 2 displays instead of 3, it works as you describe it should. – user121391 Oct 6 '16 at 15:07
  • OSX El Capitan (10.11.3). Edited my question to include an image of my Mission control settings. – Siddhartha Oct 6 '16 at 18:01

I don't think there's a general fix for this due to how different apps code their multiple window implementations.

Practically, I've found that pushing myself to use apps where I find I'm missing a key command to switch amongst windows in full scree mode and use trackpad gestures to navigate helps greatly.

Basically - letting go of managing lots of windows and embracing the full screen has minimized my need to have multiple windows.

I also, generally have 4 fixed Desktops in Mission control and pin some apps to specific desktops - so that I know certain apps are always in certain virtual screens which reduces the time needed to navigate back to the "unruly" apps that tend to have many tabs or many windows across several desktops.

Specifically for terminal, I have identical Mission Control settings as you and color coordinate my desktop background colors and terminal colors so I know to go back to the green screen for the terminal window that was green/black. (and red on red and white on grey, etc...) Using colors helps my brain get to where I was working since the terminals match the virtual screens.

  • Thanks Mike. That's handy. I still see this problem on Mojave as well. – Siddhartha May 18 at 18:45

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