In Mac OS X, how can cycle through minimized windows and/or maximize them using a shortcut?

I noticed that I cannot cycle through minimized windows with ⌘-``.

6 Answers 6


In addition to the built-in ways of cycling through windows, there is a nice shareware utility called Witch that is like Command + Tab on steroids. (You can easily remap keyboard shortcuts so that Witch uses Command + Tab, too.)

The website for the software is here (complete with a very nice screenshot).

The program costs 10 euros to register, but appears to work for a very long time without registration -- I finally did so after several months of use.

Highly recommended, especially for someone like me who came over from the Windows world recently and for whom the native Mac way of window-switching didn't quite mesh with my habits.

  • 4
    It's the best solution I found, but it's not perfect... Sometimes hangs for a while before the alt-tab list comes up. Also, it's 10 Euros for something that should be part of any decent window manager.
    – Nickolay
    Sep 6, 2009 at 11:05

If you want to maximize a minimized application, cmd-tab to it, then keep holding cmd down and press the option key. Then release both option and command and the window will maximize.

Witch is great for shareware, but for free, this shortcut is your best option.

Also, my workflow changed quite a bit from windows (where I minimized all kinds of things) to the mac, where I hide stuff (cmd-H) instead. I find hiding to be superior to minimizing.

I also love the shortcut of holding opt-cmd down and clicking on an icon in the toolbar to hide everything besides the clicked on application. Tidies things up and makes it easy to access the desktop.

Snow Leopard Update:

If you cmd-tab to an application and then keep holding cmd and hit the up or down arrows, you'll enter an expose-like mode where all of the windows for that app (including the minimized ones) are selectable. Then you can just use your arrow keys to select the right window and hit enter to select it.

  • 5
    I concur that hiding is better than minimizing. However, hiding works for applications not windows. I cannot hide a single window of an app while the other one is one. So I am forced to minimizing it.
    – notnoop
    Aug 21, 2009 at 6:08
  • While this is good if there's only one window open that was minimized, it doesn't work if an app has a minimized window and an open window. Good tip otherwise though!
    – jtimberman
    Aug 22, 2009 at 19:36
  • The Snow Leopard feature at the end here shows all my Google Chrome windows but only the up and down arrows then work. The ones shown on the right half of the screen don't seem to be accessible using either those or the left and right arrows. I'm running El Capitan. May 29, 2016 at 10:12

If full keyboard access is turned on in the system preferences, you can also use Ctrl + F3 to give the dock the keyboard focus. With the cursor keys you can then navigate to the the minimized window and use Return to unminimize the window.


Ctrl - F4 will cycle through open windows.

Command + Tab should work for all open applications.

  • 4
    That cycles through all windows but not minimized ones.
    – notnoop
    Aug 20, 2009 at 21:29

I do not believe there is. However, leaked Snow Leopard images show minimised windows in Exposé. Not helpful at the moment, but worth bearing in mind.

  • 2
    It's quite annoying that i need to use the mouse way too much! Oh well!
    – notnoop
    Aug 20, 2009 at 21:54

Here is a previous discussion with all kinds of useful os x shortcuts including the Ctrl-F4 mentioned by John T.


  • 2
    The link is defunct as of January 2014. Jan 26, 2014 at 17:50

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