How to Use Mission Control to Switch Between Spaces on a Mac


Mission Control on Mac OS X Mavericks is an ideal tool for managing multiple applications that are open at the same time. Instead of sorting through windows, you can create a separate desktop, or space, for any group of apps. For example, if you like to play games or use social media as breaks when you're working, put them in their own desktops. They'll remain active but out of sight while you're trying to concentrate. Since you can create up to 16 Spaces at any time, you could conceivably have a separate Space for every app you run.

Launching Mission Control

  • You can open and close Mission Control in OS X Mavericks in two ways. If you have a trackpad, such as on a MacBook, or if you have a Magic Mouse, swipe upwards with three fingers and then double-tap the pad with two fingers. Make sure you tap the top or center of the pad and not the bottom, which would be a double-click and not a double-tap. The keyboard method of opening Mission Control is to press the "F3" on an Apple keyboard. If your keyboard is a brand other than Apple, use "Fn-F9."

Managing Spaces

  • When you launch Mission Control, the desktop is reduced and your active apps are spread across the screen. Clicking the "Desktop" icon on the top of the screen closes Mission Control. To create a new Space, move the mouse to the upper-right corner of the screen and click the semi-transparent "+" icon that displays. This new Space is added as a thumbnail at the top of the screen titled "Desktop 2." Click a thumbnail to go to that desktop. To delete a desktop, click the "X" in the corner of the thumbnail. Any active apps will be moved to the preceding desktop without losing any unsaved changes.

Moving Apps Between Spaces

  • When an app is already open in Desktop 1 and you try to open it again in Desktop 2 or 3, Mavericks immediately sends you back to Desktop 1. To move the app to Desktop 2, you could close the app and open it again. However, a faster method is to launch Mission Control while you're in Desktop 1, then drag the app onto the Desktop 2 thumbnail. If you decide you want to move an app to its own desktop, just launch Mission Control and drag the app into the upper right corner of the screen.

Using Full Screen Apps

  • If you like to use apps in full-screen mode, Mission Control makes it easy to switch from one app to another. Just launch Mission Control and all of your full-screen apps appear as thumbnails at the top of the screen. To put an app in full-screen mode, just click the double arrow in the upper right corner of its window. To escape full-screen mode, press "Esc" -- the top left key with an arrow in a circle on some Apple keyboards. Alternatively, move the cursor to the very top of the screen until the menu bar appears, then click the blue icon in the upper right corner.

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