I need to alter the action of "App Exposé" in Lion so that it behaves like the old Exposé in Snow Leopard that showed all apps at once.

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Does anyone know where I would find the files that control these actions?

I assumed the Dock since the Exposé app in SL appears to be a shortcut, but I don't have any luck finding something.

  • You mean, you want Mission Control to behave like Exposé again? Also, I'm not too sure you'll be able to change anything there – most of this stuff is actually compiled in.
    – slhck
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 18:36
  • 4
    Doesn't Mission Control still show all apps (+ your desktops) at the same time?
    – Daniel Beck
    Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 18:51
  • @slhck - I'm assuming spaces and expose replacing mission control is too much to ask. Instead, current situation is you can set an app expose in 10.7 to the same four finger gesture that used to activate regular expose in 10.6 I'd like to change this so that instead of getting an app expose it shows all windows Commented Oct 11, 2011 at 20:17
  • 2
    Would love to see an answer to this question, Expose in Lion took a big change for the terrible. You can never see all windows spread out across the screen, they're now always grouped into app bundles.
    – ck_
    Commented Nov 12, 2011 at 19:02
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    Yeah, this topic is a thorn in the side of most OSX users. I've looked in to it and talked a lot on Apple's forums about this. Suffice to say, it seems clear that they don't intend for the behavior to be changed. It could be compiled in to binaries on the OS. the OSX86 forums has a lot of talented OSX hackers on it, they may be able to help you (and the rest of us).. Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 18:36

2 Answers 2


If you REALLY want to run old exposé, your only viable option is to downgrade to SnowLeopard.

More realistically, you may not know that if you do a two-finger swipe up over a stack of windows for an app in Mission Control, they spread out so you get a better look at them. In my experience this has always been enough to find what I need.

The other very useful thing is app exposé, if you map that to to a gesture you like then you really can always find the Windows you need in seconds.

  • +1 for the two-finger swipe tip, I did not know that. I think Mission Control is great, once you give up trying to make it work exactly like Exposé used to.
    – benzado
    Commented May 6, 2012 at 19:46

I Snow Leopard at least, the Expose featured is handled by the dock. See Old (Leopard) Expose on Snow Leopard (for mac)

On Lion though I am unsure; though it is likely it is part of the dock as well seeing how the dock is intertwined with the window manager (when minimizing a window for example).

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