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Some Mac users really enjoy full screen mode for apps and windows, so much so that they may want to open Mac apps automatically in full screen mode.
While Mac OS doesn’t have a system-wide setting to make apps open in full screen mode by default, there is a solution trick allowing many apps to open directly in full screen mode on Mac.
The best way to make sure Mac apps open in full screen mode by default is to change the usage behavior of your app a bit, combined with an adjustment to a Mac OS system setting. The end result will be that, at least with many apps that support full screen mode, they will instantly restart in full screen mode on the Mac. Let’s see how this workaround works to achieve the desired effect by launching Mac apps in full screen mode directly.
How to Set full screen mode as the default when opening Mac apps
This is a two step process.
First, we’re going to make a setting adjustment in the Mac OS System Preferences that will allow Mac apps to resume their previous state they were in before they quit.
- Go to the Apple menu and choose ‘System Preferences’ then go to ‘General’
- Uncheck the box ‘Close windows when closing an app’
- Close System Preferences
This setting ensures that when you exit an app, windows in that app are not automatically closed and instead reopen where you left off. This setting is essential if you want some Mac apps to open in full screen mode by default.
Second, you need to change the stop behavior of apps. If you are used to closing all windows of an app when or before you exit that app, then you should stop. Instead, put an app in full screen mode (like Safari, for example), and when you’re done using that app, quit it while the active full screen window is still open.
- Open an app and put it in full screen mode as usual (e.g. Safari)
- When you are done using that app leave the full screen window active, even if it is a new blank document or web page, an active full screen window should remain open
- Close the app as usual while that window is active in full screen, and don’t throw any open windows away
- By default, when you restart that Mac app, it will open directly in full screen mode
- Repeat with other apps if necessary
Assuming you followed the steps correctly and you continue to quit apps while that app is still running with a window in full screen mode, when you restart the app it will immediately go into full screen mode on the Mac to show up.
All in all: Restart Mac apps in full screen mode
For this to work properly, you need to follow the above order:
- You must exit the app while the primary window of the app is still in full screen mode
- AND, you must have the option to ‘Close Windows when exiting apps’ off feature in Mac OS System Settings
The system setting change is critical as it causes Mac apps to basically quit on restart. This means if you had previously enabled ‘Close windows when closing apps’ feature in Mac OS, so that apps startup behavior is the same as it used to be in older versions of Mac OS, then you should turn it off.
Of course, you can also just use your Mac apps like you always have, exit and resume, whether or not in full screen mode, and just get used to creating a full screen window on the Mac, either using a shortcut to enter and Exit full screen mode in Mac OS, a menu item or the green button to toggle in and out of full screen mode, but that’s up for you, and it clearly won’t be automatic.
This one trick works with all Mac apps that fully support full screen mode in Mac OS, such as Safari, Mail, Messages, Terminal, etc., but it may not work as well with some apps that are not designed to run in full screen mode. are used, and it certainly won’t work in an app that uses the feature to start with.
So that’s the workaround to try to open Mac apps in full screen mode by default. For now, that’s the best method to achieve that result, but perhaps a future version of Mac OS system software will provide a universal settings switch somewhere in System Preferences that allows Mac apps to run in full-screen mode by default. There may be other options as well, so if you know of any other method to launch Mac apps directly in full screen, share them in the comments below!
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