I know how to Hide (Cmd+H) or Minimize (Cmd+M) a focused window in OS X, but I can't find a keyboard shortcut or even a menu item to restore, unhide, unminimize, or otherwise show a window that I've hidden or minimized.

Anyone have a suggestion?

  • 5
    In OS X Mavericks (10.9.2), Cmd-Tab to the app that is Hidden (with previous Cmd-H) to restore it. (This doesn't work for Minimized windows.) Apr 2 '14 at 3:23

10 Answers 10


This way requires a bit of practice:

  • press ⌘ ⇥ (Command-Tab) to show your running apps. Keep holding .

  • press until you've selected the minimized app

  • press the (Option) key, and let go of the key. You must release the Command key after pressing the Option key!

Note that this only works for an app with all of its windows minimized. If there is already a visible window of the app you won't be able to get to the minimized one with this trick.

  • 10
    Kudos to @evaneykelen! I'll agree that this is the best answer. But de-kudos to Apple... the 'Note' in the answer & the uncomfortable shortcut trick are the reason why I still have Witch bound to my ⌥ ⇥ (Option-Tab) keys
    – brandonjp
    Apr 15 '12 at 16:06
  • 1
    "You must depress the Command key after pressing the Option key!" This is confusing - how can you depress the Command key if you were already holding it in? Jan 15 '13 at 16:30
  • 2
    Edited: "depress" -> "release" "depress... You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."
    – TrinitronX
    Jul 26 '13 at 17:40
  • 9
    That's so un-intuitive. cmd-tab to select, then cmd-m again to unhide it. (like a toggle). Because a lot of times you don't know you have minimized it until you released the cmd key! Now you have to cmd-tab forward and back then do the cmd-alt release.
    – mskw
    Dec 7 '13 at 17:12
  • 2
    So... Someone at Apple thought this was a good idea, did they?
    – Jack Leow
    Jun 18 '18 at 2:16

To restore one of many minimized windows using only the keyboard:

  1. Start with a minimized window
  2. Cmd + tab to the application icon (Continue to hold Cmd).
  3. Tip: After pressing Cmd + tab once, you can also use arrow left (and right) when holding the Cmd key, to quickly go to the application. This is a handy combination with the next step.
  4. While holding Cmd, push the up (or down) arrow key on the keyboard. This will bring up a list of all the application's windows (You can release key command key once the window list view comes up if you like)
  5. Push the down arrow key to select the minimized windows.
  6. Use the left and right arrow keys to select the minimized window you want
  7. Push enter to restore the window and bring it into focus (make it the selected window)

(Tested on OSX Mountain Lion. Step 2b tested on MacOS Sierra)

  • 5
    Agree! I like this answer much better. Especially considering that I have cmd + arrow switch between tabs in chrome! +1
    – genxgeek
    May 17 '15 at 17:46
  • 2
    Ok - yeah. I works... But who uses the arrow-keys? Ideally, I want to be able to do this with only my left hand. Why don't Apple just make me CMD-Tab with my left hand, hold down the 'Down-arrow' with my right hand and press the number '8' with my nose. This is ridiculous!!
    – Zeth
    May 25 '17 at 16:15
  • 1
    I don't see a step 2b? Tested on High Sierra 10.13 - works!
    – Qsigma
    Feb 16 '18 at 11:57

Another option is to press ⌃F3 (fn^F3 on a MacBook) to bring focus to the dock. From there you can navigate left/right/up/down to select the window you want to unminimize.

  • 2
    Yeah. That's endedup being the most common method I use. Except, I assigned a new key combo (I use: cmd + alt + ctrl + down arrow) to focus the dock, the start typing the name if the app and it goes to it. Hitting return brings it to the front. It works just fine, but still I wish there was a more symmetrical method baked in.
    – brandonjp
    Jan 21 '11 at 4:14
  • It doesn't work. Neither Command+W, nor Command+H hidden window couldn't be restored. :(
    – nickolay
    Aug 23 '12 at 10:50
  • With Cmd-W and Cmd-H you need to go to the application icon rather than the minimized window icon.
    – vfilby
    Dec 14 '13 at 17:53
  • This was exactly what I wanted. You can remap this in Settings > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Mission Control > Application windows. Dec 29 '16 at 11:36
  • It doesn't seem to work in my system (macos catalina 10.15.1). Sure F3 brings up a list of grouped windows, but cannot navigate within the group, either with tabs, arrow keys or whatever. Apr 22 '20 at 5:37

I always hide applications instead of minimizing windows:

  • Just focusing the application again unhides it
  • There is no animation
  • When an application has multiple windows, I often want to show or hide them as a group
  • I keep the Dock hidden, and it would be easy to forget minimized windows in the Dock

Anyway, here are a few (probably not that useful) scripts for unminimizing windows. You can assign shortcuts to them with an application like FastScripts or Alfred.

This unminimizes all windows of the current application:

tell application (path to frontmost application as text)
        set miniaturized of windows to false -- most applications
    end try
        set collapsed of windows to false -- at least Finder
    end try
end tell

If minimizing to application icons is not enabled, you could also click the last Dock icon:

    tell application "System Events" to tell process "Dock"
        click (last UI element of list 1 where role description is "minimized window dock item")
    end tell
end try

This clicks the dock icons of all minimized windows:

tell application "System Events" to tell process "Dock"
    click (UI elements of list 1 where role description is "minimized window dock item")
end tell
  • 1
    !! Nice work! The 'Dock Click' version above (second one) is not as reliable depending on if my app is stuck in the dock or not, minmized windows are stacked, etc. I modified the script to toggle the state (if minimized then unminimize and vice versa), saved it as a service via Automator. However, it takes about 30+ seconds after hitting the shortcut keys until the action actually occurs.
    – brandonjp
    Mar 24 '11 at 15:08
  • 1
    First, the delay is only when running it as a service created in Automator. When I run it in Applescript Editor it's lightning fast! As for the Dock stuff... I've got my minimized windows set to hide behind their app icon (aka they don't show to the far right), so it was still working for apps that are not set to 'Keep in Dock'
    – brandonjp
    Mar 26 '11 at 2:39
  • I've been looking for something like this for months! Makes my workflow so much more "flowy".
    – Ivan
    May 14 '15 at 0:01

To show a window that you've hidden with ⌘H, you can unhide it and bring it back to the foreground by switching to it with ⌘⇥ along with perhaps ⌘`.

A clunky way to bring up a window minimized using ⌘M is to bring up the Application Exposé using F10, then navigate down to the realm of minimized windows to select the one you want to restore.

  • I think this is about the best option when ⌘H Hiding an app... I just get annoyed that there's no native solution to restore a ⌘M Minimized window. When I Minimize a window, then Cmd+Tab back to that app... I can't find a shortcut to get the minimized window back.
    – brandonjp
    Oct 6 '10 at 18:04
  • @brandonjp: I've edited my answer to include one way of restoring a minimized window. I think it's a bit inefficient, personally, but it's a bit easier than a touchpad sometimes.
    – fideli
    Oct 6 '10 at 18:29

Some applications bind commands to their windows (Terminal comes to mind, but iTunes also with Cmd-Opt-1/2), you can restore those that way.

You want Witch for the kind of functionality you want. And having the zoom button accessible via keyboard is also pure bliss.

You can't hide windows, only applications. Unhide via Cmd-Tab (the hidden applications are to the right, so use Cmd-Shift-Tab to start there).

You can always open the Help menu's text field and type the window name (if you know it) to access its Window menu sub-item.

  • Yeah, I've been using Witch for a couple years now, and really love it. Just hoping that there was a native shortcut for bring minimized windows back to life.
    – brandonjp
    Oct 6 '10 at 18:09
  • 1
    Now where would then be the reason to use and appreciate Witch? :-) No native way except where the programmers explicitly thought of it.
    – Daniel Beck
    Oct 6 '10 at 18:22
  • Of course, you can always use Cmd-? for the search field and type the window's name. Thinking about it, I'll add it to my answer.
    – Daniel Beck
    Oct 6 '10 at 18:22
  • what is the zoom button you speak of?
    – Eddified
    Oct 21 '10 at 5:04
  • @Eddified: The third, green window button (close, minimize, zoom). It doesn't always maximize, so it's not called that.
    – Daniel Beck
    Oct 21 '10 at 9:16

Keyboard shortcuts:

  1. Hold down ⌘ + Tab
  2. While holding down , hit Tab to move to the app you are interested in
  3. While holding down , hit the arrow to make the window thumbnails appear at the bottom
  4. While holding down , hit the arrow to move the the bottom row where all the other windows are open
  5. Let go of and move left or right to select the window
  6. Hit Enter

Trackpad shortcuts:

  1. Configure it
    1. System Preferences » Trackpad » App Expose » Swipe down with three fingers
  2. Use it
    1. Swipe down with three fingers to make the window thumbnails appear at the bottom
    2. Click the window you are interested in

You can use Cmd-L to unminimize a window.

But I think it only works if you don't have another window of the same application open.


Its simpler:

  1. You know ⌘ + Tab shows app icons, and helps to switch between. And ⌘ + Shift + Tab does the same in reverse order.
  2. Press ⌘ + H to Hide while the ⌘ + Tab has the highlight on the desired app icon.
  3. Pressing ⌘ + H also unhides (or brings it back).

So, just put ⌘ + Tab and ⌘ + H to your muscle memory.

But the problem is, ⌘ + H doesnt unhide if the window was minimized using pointing device. In this case, use ⌘(hold) + Option(Hold) + release ⌘ and Option at the same time. I try not to use trackpad for minimising, because ⌘ + H seems simple and easy.

  • This did not work for me.
    – ABC123
    Oct 9 '18 at 21:25

You can also just use Spotlight Search cmd+space, start typing the app name and press enter. It will switch to the open app and unhide/unminimize the window.

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