As silly as it sounds, I just can't manage to switch out and back into full-screen games on my MacBook, like Alt-Tab does on Windows. I've tried searching online and found posts saying I should use the (Command) key with m or f or Esc, but none of these work... and in general I had some trouble searching for it online since Lion has a new "fullscreen" feature for applications which behaves differently than fullscreen games but is called the same. :(

So, is there a way to do this?

Right now I'm relying on the Steam overlay which allows me to access a browser from in-game, but sometimes I want to access other applications and I just can't figure out how.

  • Does F10 do anything when in full screen?
    – au revoir
    Commented Dec 10, 2011 at 5:34
  • @Jason nope, nothing.
    – Oak
    Commented Dec 10, 2011 at 10:00

10 Answers 10


tab usually is correct.

Unfortunately many games are badly ported - so they often do not support it in full-screen mode. Some games (for me Telltale games) allow to switch to a "window" mode - when you are in that it is typically possible to switch.

  • 2
    I tried playing a few games in windowed mode while setting their resolution to be the same as the monitor's, but that always leaves the Dock and menu bar on top of the game, rather than underneath it :\ and yes I can play windowed with a smaller window, but that's a shame.
    – Oak
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 22:01
  • You can set the dock to autohide (putting your cursor near it un-hides) and there are utilities to hide the menu bar if that's your only option. Commented Dec 10, 2011 at 0:00
  • @Nick any examples of such utilities? I've set Civilization V to a smaller window because of the menu bar.
    – Wilerson
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 17:59
  • 2
    @Wilerson How about MagicMenu? Most people report success. Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 18:02
  • @Nick nice, it worked!
    – Wilerson
    Commented Dec 12, 2011 at 20:23

cmd + option + esc will always work. it's the analog to ctrl + alt + del

  • 2
    Not entirely True. It works, but it is analog to ctrl + shirt + esc. Ctrl alt del will not give the task manager immediately, while cmd option esc will.
    – Mathias711
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 16:43
  • 6
    This exits the app. Not a good solution.
    – jvriesem
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 4:50

What I end up doing is the 3 finger (upwards) swipe. Then I select something on another desktop and it pulls me over there.

Though Cmd+Tab usually works for me....

  • 1
    That swipe doesn't work for me during a game...
    – Oak
    Commented Dec 9, 2011 at 23:46
  • Hmm...I'm not good enough with a Mac to know why it doesn't work for you, but it works for me.
    – erik
    Commented Dec 10, 2011 at 0:35
  • @Oak What about a sideways four-finger swipe? Each fullscreen app acts like its own "desktop", and that's the default desktop-switching gesture. Commented Sep 1, 2013 at 4:23

IF possible, rather than play the game's built in fullscreen mode, play in windowed and then use the arrows at the top right corner on the window, the using f3(on a desktop it may be different on a laptop but it looks like three different sized windows next to each other) and selecting desktop or the game.


I can't command tab or anything out of the game, but rather I just close my computer lid, let it sleep. When I log in again, or wake my computer up, it shows the desktop, the game temporarily closed. Then you can do whatever you want then press the game button again and the game will open again. That's how it works for me with Skyrim and GTA.


Command + Enter = Windowed Game and Command + Tab = Hiding the game


Go to steam, press the steam tab at the top left. Go to preferences. Go to the in-game tab and click on the overlay shortcut keys and press f5. Restart whatever game you are playing and press f5 to tab out and there you go. Hope this helped :D


cmd + f(fullscreen) worked for me. then you change the resolution for prefer size.


This works on the Halo trial, but I'm not sure if it works with other games. Try Command+H.


If cmd + tab doesn't work for you, try cmd + esc! That worked for me!


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