Mac OS X 10.6

I am new to Mac. In Windows, we used to open multiple Visual Studio or Eclipse instance and switch to each other by clicking icons on taskbar.

I found this thread shows how to create a customized dock icon to launch multiple Xcode, and then we can get several icons on Dock like taskbar in Windows.

I was wondering in Mac world, is it prefer to open multiple instance of Xcode or just have one Xcode with multiple projects opened. What is the most convenient way to switch back and forth?

  • I am using XCode 7 and I could open two XCode projects side by side in two windows. Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 16:37

2 Answers 2


My intuition on this is that OS X and its applications aren't designed to operate in multiple instances. When two processes are making changes to the same preference .plist files concurrently, you might get unintended behavior. Some applications are designed to work in a "project library" setup, like GarageBand and the new iMovie (these applications can only work on one project at a time), but if Xcode allows you to open multiple projects at the same time, that's definitely the way to go. Almost all document-based applications work this way, ex: Office, TextEdit, Safari.

If you're new to Mac, it will soon become apparent that a window is not the same thing as a running application. A single application may have many windows at a time, and closing all of those windows individually does not necessarily close the application (though this will occasionally be the case, see System Preferences.) Instead of switching between windows with alt-tab, you switch between applications with Command-Tab, and switch between that application's open windows with Command-` (backtick, on the ~ key). When closing applications, get into the habit of choosing quit from the application menu (or hitting Command-Q) instead of x-ing out of every open window. In most cases this would leave the application still running with 0 open windows. Running applications are denoted with a glowing light under their dock icons, and will also show up in the Command-Tab application switcher.

Protip: to quit multiple applications quickly, hold down Command, use Tab or shift-Tab to select each application you want to close, and whack q to send each one a quit command. Then release tab to switch to the application you want to use when it is selected.

  • Thanks for the very helpful answer. Just got a quick question. As you said, if open many projects within just one Xcode instance launched, how can I switch between projects with a clicking icon-like way? Instead of go to 'window' or 'cmd-`' (which is convenient though). Thanks.
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 31, 2010 at 17:10
  • Expose is your friend. Check it out in System Preferences: you can assign hotkeys, screen corners, and/or multi-touch gestures to immediately identify all windows, all windows in your current application, or sweep away all windows to view the desktop.
    – NReilingh
    Commented Jul 31, 2010 at 17:49
  • Ah, also: The screen corner option is probably most similar to clicking on an icon for a window. In Snow Leopard, you can also have Expose display minimized windows if you choose.
    – NReilingh
    Commented Jul 31, 2010 at 17:56

very simple, use the following command on terminal open -n -a "APPLICATION NAME"

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