When using either Cmd-Tab or the Dock icon to switch to iTunes, the iTunes window does not come to the foreground. It has focus, but still stays behind any windows that are occluding it.

Only by clicking on the iTunes window itself can I bring it to the foreground, usually by using Expose, because it's often completely hidden.

This does not happen with other user accounts on my machine. It has been happening for a couple years now, on Leopard as well as Snow Leopard.

  • Machine: MacBook Pro 15" Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz
  • OS: Snow Leopard (10.6.2)
  • iTunes: v9.0.2

Anyone have any ideas? I've tried trashing my iTunes preferences and removing and reinstalling iTunes. My next thought is to do a clean install of Snow Leopard, but I don't really want to spend a day reinstalling everything.


If this happens to you when your iTunes window is actually open, just not the foreground application, you may have something else going on, it sounds like an issue with expose or something (which I believe is what command-tabbing to applications is handled by). Try trashing your dock plist and see if that does anything for you.

From what I have found, it depends on how you have hidden the window. Command-tabbing to an application that you have hidden using command-h should cause the window to come up. However, if you command tab to a window you have closed (either by hitting command-w or the red x), the window will not show upon command-tabbing to it. If you always hide iTunes with command-h I think you will be alright.

I think, that if it is a "feature" rather then a bug, the logic would be because the window was closed, so there is really no existing window to display. On the other hand, if a window was hidden, there is still content to display it is just hidden from view.

  • Awesome! Trashing the dock plist did the trick. Thanks! Feb 25 '10 at 18:29
  • No problem. Glad to hear it worked.
    – finiteloop
    Feb 25 '10 at 19:02

I have this problem happen on my Macs occasionally, usually because I am doing something really bad (like opening 100 tabs in Firefox). Often the problem is caused by high CPU utilization and/or high memory utilization. You might try using top (especially in the "w" mode).

I wish I had some more application-specific advice about iTunes. Does this happen when you start with a smaller collection, or with a new user account for testing?

  • I've had a similar problem when running intensive flash applications (fancy say watching Hulu) and tabbing between programs.
    – Josh K
    Jan 12 '10 at 16:01
  • I don't think it's a memory issue - it happens after a fresh reboot, when only iTunes and Finder are running. It does not happen with a different user account. Jan 13 '10 at 15:28
  • if you use top, you can check for both.
    – benc
    Jan 21 '10 at 5:17

This happens sometimes to me for other apps, particularly when switching Spaces. Once you do ⌘Tab to switch to iTunes, try ⌘` a couple times. This switches between windows in the foreground application, and tends to bring up the windows that are hiding. I agree this is an issue and (I think) it's only been the case since 10.6.

  • Interesting. That worked. Although I've been seeing this problem since 10.5 (at least), so I don't think it's purely a 10.6 issue. Jan 13 '10 at 15:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.