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Mission Control is one of the better productivity enhancers features on the Mac, so you can quickly see all open windows, documents, and applications on Mac OS in a wide overview window. This provides a great way to quickly navigate the depths of open apps and windows and quickly get to the window or app you’re looking for.
For the stranger, Mission Control literally shows all open windows of all applications and documents, so whether you have dozens of Finder, Terminal, TextEdit, Pages, Photoshop or Safari windows open, you can access them all right away. on one screen in small, easily searchable thumbnails, then quickly and easily jump to specific windows or documents by simply clicking one of the small previews.
Despite being around for quite some time (it used to be called Expose in previous Mac OS X releases), Mission Control is underused by many Mac users, not just in regards to the more advanced Mission Control tricks but even at the simpler level of window management and active window recognition. With that in mind, we’re going to judge how to use the simplest Mission Control feature which immediately see all open windows, documents and apps on the Mac.
How to View every window on a Mac with Mission Control
There are at least three different ways to access the simplest Mission Control overview feature: with a keyboard shortcut, with a trackpad, and with a magic mouse. Each activation method is different, but the end result is always the same; you will see all open windows on the Mac.
Use Trackpad Gestures to See Everything Open Windows on Mac with Mission Control
For MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Magic Trackpad and Mac trackpad users in general, you can instantly access Mission Control with a gesture:
- Wipe Up Four fingers on the trackpad to activate Mission Control
- Click on a small preview to bring that window to the foreground
If this doesn’t work for you for some reason, you should probably enable it in your Trackpad settings in Apple menu> System Preferences> Trackpad> Gestures
Use a Mac Magic Mouse to see all open windows in Mission Control
The Magic Mouse also accepts gestures and also has easy access to Mission Control with a simple double tap with two fingers:
- Double-tap the Magic Mouse with Two Fingers to activate Mission Control
- Click on a thumbnail to open that window immediately in the foreground
If this doesn’t work with your Magic Mouse, you can enable it or change it to another tap option in Apple menu> System Preferences> Mouse> More gestures
Use a keyboard shortcut to view all windows and access Mission Control
You can also use a keystroke to quickly jump to Mission Control and see all windows open on a Mac:
- Press Control + Up Arrow to open Mission Control
- Choose a thumbnail preview to open that selected item in the foreground of the Mac
You can enable or adjust the keyboard shortcut in Apple menu> System Preferences> Mission Control if you find that the keystroke does not activate Mission Control as expected.
* If Mission Control groups your window previews instead of placing them side by side as thumbnails, uncheck the box to turn off the “Group windows by application” setting in the Mac OS Mission Control system preferences.
I am using this Mission Control gesture feature so often to view all open windows, apps and documents that I often forget that many other Mac users are unaware of it, until recently someone watched me using their computer and asked what they saw and how to use it.
So the next time you look at a chaotic, cluttered desktop full of windows, apps, and documents like this one:
Just use your trackpad, mouse, or keyboard to view all open windows in Mission Control as follows:
Do you have a tips or tricks for Mission Control on the Mac? Share them with us in the comments below, you may want to browse other Mission Control articles too.
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