After switching to Apple Macintosh again (because of the ridiculous M1 performance), I was suddenly reminded why I switched back to Windows the last time.
You know, there are three things I do on a high-frequency basis when using a computer:
- Switching Windows
And, believe it or not, Apple managed to screw up two (!) of those three.
Thank God, they didn’t f*ck up clicking. Clicking works well with a Mac, on both a mouse or the touchpad (or „trackpad“ – because it’s important to not use a standard word for that). But when we get to scrolling, oh my god. Don’t believe you can screw up scrolling? Yes, you can, but that is for another article.
How to switch to ‚last window used‘ on a Mac
Switching between two windows via shortcut on a Mac is a pain in the ass. Especially if you are coming from any decent computer operating system like f.e. Linux or Windows. Usually, you have a simple shortcut (like CTRL + TAB) to use to get to the last window you used. Not so in Apples OSX. There, you’ll need to go through a little decision tree in your head every time you want to change to the last window used.
After looking at a Stackexchange’s Superuser article and this Ask Different article, I tried to write the process down. It looks like this:
And yes, I know the right side is hardcore oversimplified. The right side. Not the left. That’s because there are many programs that use other combinations for the task, but I went over that and covered most of the cases (I think).
Solution: Shortcut for Last Window on MacOS
Yeah, as you already thought: You have to rely on third party software. (And pay for some solutions). I hate that. But I found a solution I’m happy with. So let’s first see what the market has to offer:
- Alt-Tab (free)
- Hyperswitch (free, deprecated)
- Witch (paid)
- MacSwitcher (free)
For me, I tried many and I stick with Hyperswitch. Witch is overkill and costs, the others didn’t exactly fit my need. Hyperswitch does exactly what I want it to do: Switch to the last window used. Fast. With Thumbnails.
But a word of warning here: The developer didn’t finish the software. It’s in Beta for years. Outdated. I tried to contact him for continuing the work, but he didn’t answer. So please be aware that this piece of software could be a security risk. Use on your own risk.
Does Hyperswitch really always switch to the last window used?
Nope. If you use software / apps in fullscreen mode, macOS reshuffles the order by talking it out of the desktop and put it on a new 1-app desktop at the end of the line. (Don’t ask. Just don’t). That’s a pity, since I love using full-screen when I’m working on the small Notebook-Screen on the road.
Why don’t use desktops and 4-finger swipe?
That’s actually a good question. There are two reasons:
- I’m not always using the touchpad
Most of the time, I’m using my notebooks with my desk setup. There is no touchpad. And I want to be consistent when switching between different OS. „Why don’t buy a trackpad, errr Magicpad (or however Apple calls their touchpad for the desk)“ you ask? Well:
As every real pro knows: Nothing beats „Mouse left hand, Shortcut right hand“ when it comes to speed. OK OK, pure keyboard-only does (looking at you, VIM-Freaks!), but that is not feasible if you have a mixed application environment and don’t eat command line for breakfast.
MacOS sometimes feels like an OS for low-performer xD