In the post-PC era where mobile devices rule we can be excused if we forget some of the Mac’s time honored keyboard shortcuts. Command-C to copy. Command-Q to Quit. Command-P to Print. Yeah, right. Like we print things these days.
We still use Command-X to Cut and Command-V to Paste. What else? Command-Tab. That brings up the Mac’s app switcher. Hit Command-Tab and use the Mac’s arrow keys to move left and right through all the open applications. Is there a better way? Two, actually. One simple and elegant. The other with more options. Both priced the same.
First on my list is an app window switcher I’ve used for a long time and recommend to Mac newbies. It’s called Command-Tab Plus and it helps to keep your hands on the keyboard to switch between specific apps.
The reason you’ll love using Command-Tab Plus is because of its simplicity and time saving capability. Instead of having to Arrow-Key a dozen times to get to an open app you want, Command-Tab Plus gets you there with shortcuts– customizable hotkeys– that make switching to a specific app while using the keyboard almost instant.
It also comes with a few appearance customization and an option to switch not just between apps but also between windows, and you can hide open apps that you wouldn’t switch to all (helps reduce clutter).
If you like more options then try Contexts. This app does the standard Command-Tab-like switch, but has a built-in search and sidebar flap which I love and has options to prioritize acronym matches.
Fast Search works with a Function key so you can search and keep your hands on the keyboard. That’s the first step to become a Mac power user. Be keyboard centric. Contexts adds a bit of complexity with options to have multiple switchers, and the ability to Close, Quit, Minimize, or Hide open app windows. But it also means you can switch with a click to the visible pop out sidebar.
Wait. There’s more. Even Mac trackpad scroll gestures allow you to switch between apps– kinda sorta like iPad– and you can switch between multiple Mac spaces or screens. And, yes, there’s a dark mode option, too.
Both of these apps do the basics very well– switch apps and windows faster and easier than the built-in Command-Tab in macOS. If you’re keyboard centric already, give Contexts a try. If you want to be keyboard centric, try Command-Tab Plus first.